The director of Foldup CIC is Andrew Wilson.
Andrew has been using mobile technology for creative participation for more than 10 years. In 2001 he designed the Guardian’s text message poetry competition, which had 7000 entries in two weeks, and attracted worldwide media coverage. In 2003 his City Poems project was among the first wave of artworks to explore everyday mobile communications technology, the city, public space and creative participation. City Poems was commended in the British Interactive Media Awards and adapted as STADSchromosomen (City Chromosome) for Antwerp World Book Capital in 2004.
Between 2003 and 2010 he was co-director of Blink, an art and technology organisation that established a track record of being the among the first to find creative uses for new features of consumer mobile technology, including camera phones in 2004, mobile video in 2004 with Pocket Shorts, a commissioning scheme for young film-makers in England and Scotland, and bluetooth sharing in 2005 (presented at the Edinburgh and Rotterdam film festivals, Tate Britain and touring). Between 1999 and 2008 Andrew ran regular short film screenings at non-cinema venues in five cities across Yorkshire and, funded by the regional screen agency, Blink commissioned more than 50 micro budget short films, almost all of which went on to festival screenings in the UK and internationally.
In 2006 Andrew began experimenting with RFID/NFC (the technology used in Oyster cards) to explore how the real time data from “smart city” infrastructure could be hacked to turn the built environment and public space into a space for games and storytelling. The third of these projects, Five Trees Forest, using NFC enabled mobile phones, won a Yorkshire Digital Award and was presented at the Children’s Media Festival in Sheffield and the Sheffield Literature Festival.
Since 2008 Andrew has been collaborating with Dr Paul Coulton of the School of Computing at Lancaster University, and they have co-authored papers for conferences including HCI 2010: ‘Play is a Serious Business’; Digital Games Research Association 2011 and Advances in Computer Entertainment 2011. Andrew has participated in workshops on social and cultural understandings of pervasive computing and mobile devices at a number of international computer science conferences, and in 2004 he was the ACE/AHRC Arts and Sciences Research Fellow in the School of Biology at Newcastle University, exploring portable technology and the science of co-operation.
Andrew is trying to work out a socially engaged arts practice that recognises playful innovation with technology, the value of small enterprises, and a concern with the process of adoption of technology by participants and organisations. As a structure to enable this socially engaged practice, in 2010 he founded Thumbprint Co-operative, and he has worked with large organisations including the BBC, Greater Manchester Police and Kirklees Council as well as with local councillors, front line council staff, third sector organisations including a drug treatment agency and an arts and mental health charity, and small voluntary groups such as a community creative writing workshop and a community allotment. Part of this work has been supported by funding from NESTA through two of its national programmes, Reboot Britain and Make It Local.
Andrew is a board member of The Poetry Business, one of the best respected independent poetry publishers in the UK. He has written a 90 minute radio play broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and a book of poetry that was discussed on Radio 4′s today programme and in the Observer.
TL;DR here is quite an entertaining short video about Marshotron, a location based game that me, Paul and Paul’s student Mark Lochrie made with a group of teenage lads from the Marsh estate in Lancaster: link to YouTube The balding bloke in the grey sweatshirt is me!