WLKR: Walker Residency with Jeremiah Alexander
Walker, just in case you didn’t know, is a suburb in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North East of England. Once home to a thriving shipbuilding Industry, it is now considered one of the most disadvantaged areas in the UK. Not a place most tourists would think to visit but a place loved by many! This project is about getting to know those people.
From September 2014 to February 2015, Jeremiah Alexander was Artist in Residence in Walker, working with students fromWalker Technology CollegeandSir Charles Parsons Schoolas part of a wider artist led programme across the city, developed and managed byNewcastle City Council Arts Team, with support fromISIS Arts. Together they underwent a journey of discovery into Walker, its places and its people. A journey which ended with a question… or rather 12 of them.
Through their exploration into identity and community, the group curated 12 questions, chosen for their ability to evoke meaningful responses from the answerer. These questions were then used to interview people in Walker, with each individual answer recorded and stored as an online hidden video. The questions themselves were immortalised as metal plaques, each one designed by one of the students on the project. Each question and corresponding answers linked together by an invisible bond, a bond traceable only by accompanying WLKR App.
Each metal question plaque is interactive, they contain both a bluetooth beacon and a barcode. Either of these smart sensors can be scanned by the App in order to find and view an answer to the chosen question*. It is hoped that both the answers and the questions will encourage you, the viewer, to explore both your own identity and the collective identity of community.
Participate & Enjoy!
*If you can’t venture into Walker to find a question plaque, then you can also scan any barcode to discover a random question and answer.
The WLKR app can be downloaded from the iTunes store for free for your Smartphone or Tablet.
Jeremiah Alexanderhas been an independent digital practitioner for 7 years. Within that time he has built a multi award winning digital agency (Ideonic) and co-founded an education technology startup (Every1Speaks). Through Ideonic, he has led, designed and developed a wealth of innovative digital content, with a major focus on Arts and Culture, and a preference for co-design with the target audience through focus groups and workshops.
Jeremiah has led the development of two landmark heritage projects in Newcastle. Working with Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and Newcastle Libraries, Ideonic developed the Hidden Newcastle App, a location based mobile gaming experience where players unlocked audiovisual stories about the weird and wonderful characters of Newcastle past - this is currently being revamped for a big re-launch this year. Working with Tyneside Cinema and BAFTA nominated filmmaker Ian Fenton, Ideonic developed the multi-award winning Time Machine, a transmedia gaming experience that revolutionised the concept of a school trip. Time Machine was winner of an RTS Innovation award, multiple BigChip awards and a Learning on Screen Award, it was also featured in the Times Education Supplement.
Jeremiah has also developed a number of very successful projects outside the region, including working with the Tate to develop Art Lab, a game that teaches children about the process of Art Restoration. Also working with both the BBC and Channel 4 on various innovation-related projects, including a Guardian Media Innovation Award winning Facemorphing App (MirrorMe), which showed people what they would look like in the future based upon their current lifestyle.
Jeremiah’s work focuses on engaging with communities in order to better understand his audience. He was a practitioner with Creative Partnerships, where he delivered gaming inspired workshops in both Primary and Secondary schools. This includes delivering the sessions in school but also having young people come and spend time working on the project from his office. He has led workshops on behalf of Channel 4’s 4Talent programme, Young Enterprise NE and Universities both here and internationally, including Estonia, Brazil and China. He is currently working with ChildrenNE on a project to raise awareness of child poverty in the region, which has included a workshop with young people involved in the campaign.
Jeremiah is an alumnus of Teesside University and an RSA Fellow. He was a finalist in the British Council’s Young Interactive Entrepreneur 2009 and was also part of an Arts Council delegation to SXSW 2010.