Category Archives: fusion

Making the most of the cards you are dealt

Commonly found in the school yard for decades, the Panini sticker album has been a perennial World Cup favourite. Apparently nine participants can work together to fill the album most efficiently with minimal duplicates (the same number of cards are produced for each player – though in every album there seem to be valuable and rare stickers). To while away the years between tournaments you could always rely on an ever-expanding range of Top Trumps cards. Custom cars were a favourite of mine and my heart sank when dealt the souped-up mini that just didn’t cut the mustard compared to an American muscle car.

Many years later a colleague of mine, Kacy Mackreth an early career researcher, suggested a Top Trumps style of card to facilitate some research looking into children’s health. This was the first time I had worked on a research project and I was able to devise some simple cards which were piloted, refined and then used with a board to create a sort of game (a selection are shown below). Within a year or so I moved on to work on a major project evaluating programmes run by Premier League football clubs intended to engage hard to reach men.

My current research is looking at interdisciplinary working which combines STE(A)M, creative and digital skills/teams. Looking back at collaborating with colleagues in a range of unfamiliar disciplines and epistemological stances, reminds me how dynamic and productive the environment at the Carnegie Research Institute was, brought together by Professor Jim McKenna who provided a supportive, inclusive framework for those new to research and those like me who were finding their way by trading useful skills.


Mackreth, K. and Berry, R. (2011) The childhood activity market: A consumer orientation approach to understanding physical activity behaviours. Carnegie Seed Grant. Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University.


TransFUSION at the RSA


Today I attended the TransFUSION Conference organised by Creative Skillset at the RSA in London. This provided a great opportunity to listen to new perspectives and to take part in workshops and activities with academics from across the UK. In particular I looked forward to hearing from Aleks Krotoski, Steve McKevitt and learning first hand about Brighton Fuse.

Aleks on Google:

  • A relevance machine, can’t cope with attitudes
  • Assumes usefulness can be predicted
  • Does just enough to be magical
  • Creates the mise en scene (in the same way a director might choose the frame)
  • Assumes  all sources are created equal
  • Infers quantitative judgments are superior

… on Facebook:

  • An authentication service
  • Be your tools
  • Be your categories
  • Be your wallet

… on the Web:

  • Life beats (personal or group rites of passage, watersheds, re-birth) don’t translate to the web
  • The web never forgets
  • It cannot make that judgment
  • Don’t expect it to adapt to us
  • Remember the biases
  • We don’t yet understand how power works online
  • Developers produce profound socio-cultural transformations

Ali Blackwell from Decoded who’s mission is to demystify the digital, by contrast, found computational thinking empowering. Services such as If This Then That and Make Things Do Stuff can demystify app development and how Raspberry Pi (and the web in general) captures the spirit of the BBC Micro.

Steve McKevitt (Chairman of Golden and formerly with Designer’s Republic) left us in no doubt about what agencies look for:

  • Divergent thinkers
  • Determination
  • Talent
  • Fusion skills

Contrasted what what they all too often find:

  • Straight line thinkers
  • Idealists
  • Qualified
  • Vertical skills (as opposed to ‘T’-skills?)

Fusion Skills: Perspectives and Best Practice

What is Fusion? Employers are increasingly looking for hybrid mixes of creativity, technology/STEM and business awareness in their new recruits and this can be a challenge for HE, because it often demands the involvement of different disciplines and tutors collaborating across departments/faculties and guiding students through a wide range of knowledge and skills. As Anne Morrison Director of the BBC Academy has said “We need universities to develop graduates with interdisciplinary skills, or who can lead interdisciplinary teams”. 

Taken from Creative Skillset’s website.

Brighton Fuse

Brighton Fuse is a 2-year research and development project which will analyse the growth of Brighton’s successful creative, digital and information technology (CDIT) cluster, and pilot schemes to promote further innovation and economic development. Brighton Fuse focuses on analysing the interplay between the arts and humanities and digital technology and on explaining how these factors lead to innovation and business success. It also examines the role of higher education and graduate skills in this process.

Taken from the Brighton Fuse website.