[ISEA2011] Paper: Fionnuala Conway & Linda Doyle – Art of Decision: an interdisciplinary approach to raising awareness of Active Citizenship


In recent years, developments in Irish society have made clear that the health and stability of Irish democracy is of growing concern to politicians and citizens alike. As in other countries, Ireland experiences significant levels of voter apathy, increasing immigration and increasing diversity around moral, religious and ethical perspectives. This concern has led to a need to address what it means to be a citizen in Ireland and in 2006, the Taskforce on Active Citizenship was established to look at the current state of citizenship and ways to facilitate greater engagement of citizens in all aspects of life. Among other recommendations, the Taskforce suggested that innovative projects to raise awareness and interest in Active Citizenship should be supported and promoted, projects in which community development and Active Citizenship are presented as something attractive, real and personal and that could spark public debate and interest.

The Art of Decision, a research project and interactive multimedia exhibition designed to raise awareness of Active Citizenship, explores the possibilities that creative applications of multimedia and technology, in combination with an artistic approach and aesthetic sensibilities, offer for the development of new innovative approaches and responses to the Taskforce recommendation. In order to explore citizenship, it draws from citizenship theory and social research methods, in combination with multimedia and technology and used in an artistic way, to create a novel mixed-method interdisciplinary approach to art creation and offer new ways to engage citizens. Multimedia, used in an artistic way offers new ways to enliven the presentation of factual information and in combination with social research methods, is used to present participant-authored content on Active Citizenship.

The exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to travel through 9 interactive multimedia rooms that present opinions and ideas about power and decision-making from a variety of research participants in an engaging, theatrical way. Contributors’ ideas are presented alongside statistical information in a meaningful and innovative fashion using sound, film and interactive installations. The technology also facilitates visitors to contribute their ideas to Art of Decision as it evolves in the space and in future research. artofdecision.net     Art of Decision documentary

  • Fionnuala Conway is a musician/composer and multimedia artist. She has been lecturing on the M.Phil. in Music and Media Technologies course at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, since 2002 and was appointed Course Director in 2006. With a background in music and music technology, she has has worked as composer and performer on a number of theatre productions and produced work in a wide variety of forms, from traditional materials to interactive digital media, wearable technology, installations and theatre presentation, including Art of Decision and Urban Chameleon. HerPhD thesis, Exploring Citizenship through Art and Technology, focuses on the creative use of technology to generate awareness of citizenship (and other social issues), with a particular focus on interactive immersive physical environments. Art of Decision is the practical manifestation of Fionnuala’s thesis and includes 9 interactive installation rooms that present opinions and ideas about power and decision-making from a variety of research participants in an engaging, theatrical way.
  • Prof. Linda Doyle is Director of `CTVR/the telecommunications research centre’ and a faculty member in the School of Engineering in Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland. CTVR is a national centre comprising six different universities and involving over 100 researchers. Prof. Doyle’s research focuses on wireless networks, reconfigurable systems and spectrum management regimes. Prof. Doyle is an international leader in cognitive radio research and her group has built an international reputation in experimental cognitive radio work and shown how these new kinds of communications systems can strongly impact on society. In addition to mainstream telecommunications research Prof. Doyle has a significant interest in art and technology and has been involved in a wide range of collaborative interdisciplinary projects in the last decade. One of her current projects is focused on the 1953 film by Ray and Charles Eames- ‘A Communications Primer’.

Full text (PDF) p.  511-516