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Myles Runham | 13:15 UK time, Wednesday, 10 June 2009

"Creativity is critical to the BBC."

"Everyone likes to feel creative."

So far, so obvious.

But how do you help people to be creative and explore their talents?

Creativity is not only about artistic endeavour. It's not only for artists. Technology can be creative too, or at least, applied creatively. The web and greater broadband access to it have pushed back the boundaries of what can be done with creative skills and facilitated greater participation.

blast_studio.jpgThe Blast Studio brings these threads together into what, we think, is the first online, collaborative art installation (do tell us about others we have missed though). At the Blast Studio site you can control multicoloured paintball machines to fire patterns on the studio wall, guide the drip of coloured glue onto the surface of a lit plastic dome, play with the light and sound of phosphorescent lighting and write messages. You can view the progress thanks to a regular snapshot of the space using a wonderful 360 degree lens camera on a timeline of activity over the 30 days. The studio closes on Saturday so hurry on down and make your mark. All of this happens for real thanks to the studio at Topolski Century.

Photo of Blast Studio by Agostinhoe on Flickr.

So, why (in partnership with Fallon) did we do this? Because creativity is at the heart of Blast and experimenting with new ways of expressing this is part of the Blast mission. This may not be quite so obvious to those who are unfamiliar with Blast as a project.

The Blast team focus on providing opportunities for young people to explore their creative potential. This may take the form of posting their work on the Blast site (whether music, fashion, writing, design, film or any genre you chose); it may take the form of participating in workshops on the nationwide tour or at a partner event. It can also mean getting concrete work experience from one of the 300 work related learning experiences. The essence of all of these options is that young people do this for themselves; viewing, critiquing and, we hope, learning from each other. We aim to provide them with tools, platforms and places for that to happen. Creativity can be daunting and often feel distant and unattainable. Blast intends to bridge that gap.

I think that Blast is one of the first dedicated social learning spaces online for 13 to 19 year olds, so innovative in this respect as well. Over time, we will add more tools and features to the new site to further support learning from mentors, professionals and peers. Blast is a new step in a decades long journey by the BBC to apply creative resources and talent to the learning needs of the UK, whether at school, or at home and for any age.

Blast is not about BBC content but about user content. We place our work on an equal footing with our users. It's not our project it's yours.

Have you tried the Blast studio? If you have let me know what you think.

Myles Runham is Head of Interactive Learning, BBC Learning, BBC Vision



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