Academics from the Cognitive Science Research Group in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science have worked with the Department of Drama to develop interactive technology for stroke survivors.
Patrick Healey, Professor of Human Interaction and Rosella Galindo, PhD Researcher in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science have been working with Lois Weaver, Professor of Contemporary Performance in the Department of Drama, to explore the use of interactive technology and participatory performing arts for stroke recovery. The project is called ‘Embodied Imagination’.
Their collaborative approach delves into the potential of interactive technology through a therapeutic intervention called the ‘Green Screening workshop’. This workshop is designed to help stroke survivors explore physical and social identities, imagining new ways of being by enacting fantasies of “things they always wanted to do” (like swimming with dolphins or singing in a rock band). Performance methods are supported by a custom-made Interactive Scenography to build fantasy narratives enacted with and for other participants.
The Interactive Scenography uses real-time motion capture technology to render movement visualisations immersed in abstract digital environments. Evaluations suggest that the technology stimulates unselfconscious movement that does not foreground physical problems and generates a diverse range of fantasies. The interactive and communal aspects of the workshop process have also proved to be paramount for this intervention.
The ‘Green Screening workshop’ concept was devised by the performance company Split Britches in 2011, employing the loss of memory and experience incurred by a stroke as an aesthetic framework to create a new performance work, ‘Ruff’, and to support stroke communities through their public engagement practice. Nurtured by Queen Mary's principles of inclusion, community engagement and innovation, the project established a collaborative relationship with the Cognitive Science Research Group during 2016 to increase its impact.
On 2019, ‘Embodied Imagination’ was awarded a Large Grant by the Centre for Public Engagement at QMUL. With this funding, the project is building on former workshop iterations to engage more stroke support groups around England and to promote online resources for remote support funded by a Large Grant from the Centre for Public Engagement at QMUL. Training sessions for creative practitioners are also offered to disseminate the methodologies and technologies developed for the ‘Green Screening workshop'.
For the next steps of the project, Healey, Galindo and Weaver aim to establish a two-way dialogue with creative technologists and health experts about format possibilities and future applications for other vulnerable communities. The open-source technology and research resources developed for this project will be launched online in the upcoming weeks and can be found at www.greenscreening.co.uk.
Professor Weaver said: “The Green Screening workshop frames disability as a source for technological and performative innovation, highlighting shifted paradigms around neurodiversity.”
Galindo explains: “This work highlights how the combination of performance methods and interactive tools can bring a rich, prospective and political understanding of people’s lived experience to design.”
A stroke is a cerebrovascular accident in which a specific group of brain cells is destroyed due to the interruption of blood flow. It has a diverse range of repercussions, including memory loss, cognitive and physical impairment. Strokes can have a severe impact on the quality of life and lead to social isolation. Rehabilitation for stroke survivors focuses primarily on regaining motor control of affected areas and speech therapy, as appropriate. Once people are discharged from the hospital, they need to adjust to their changed physical, cognitive and emotional possibilities. Peer and social support can be critical to this by providing opportunities to share their concerns and experiences. This promotes functional independence, self-confidence and cooperation.
Official Website: www.greenscreening.co.uk
Split Britches’ link about the project: http://www.split-britches.com/greenscreening