Curzon Through to National Lottery Final

The Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon has been selected as one of three heritage finalists (out of a total of 21 across all categories) for the National Lottery Awards.  All 21 finalists will attend a star-studded BBC ceremony later this year where the winners will be revealed by a host of celebrity guests. Voting for the finals will be open on Tuesday 11th September at 9am – don’t forget to support The Curzon!

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Curzon Memories App featured on Radio 4 You and Yours

The Curzon Memories App was featured on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours on Monday 30 July 2012.  The item reviewed the recent AppCircus Google Campus London app development showcase where the app was selected to be pitched in front of a distinguished panel of judges, earlier in July. The section on apps is about 19 minutes into the slot.

In the broadcast, I introduce the app and outline its key features, including the unique Projection Hero installation, a miniature cinema which you can manipulate from your smartphone, which particularly appealed to one of the jury, Facebook’s  Simon Cross:

“You take the concept of what they did which is to bring the history of this old cinema to life, they could’ve stopped at videos and text, but connecting it to something physical such as a screen you can control from your phone, that’s a completely different experience … it just  feels like you are connected to it, because your phone is controlling it … that feels pretty cool to me”.  

The things that Cross loves in an app involve “location and contextuality, because that’s what a phone does better than anything else, it knows where you are and it’s your device, it’s very personal.”

AppCircus organiser Rudy De Waele says “Apps are the way to engage users, so the mobile application becomes your remote control for the physical world”.

This idea is embodied in Projection Hero, an Internet of Things installation developed in collaboration with Tarim from Media playgrounds, where you can gain control of the cinema using your smartphone:

The installation situates you as the projectionist, inviting you to dim the lights, open the tabs and play the next reel using sensors and actuators to manipulate the installation. Hidden inside the box is a laptop which connects to an Internet server with an Arduino and h-bridge to control the curtains and lights.

The app, which was developed with AppFurnace by Calvium, sadly wasn’t to win the AppCircus pitch, but the opportunity to pitch in front of judges was invaluable.

The Internet of Things is the subject of a future REACT hub ‘Objects Sandbox’ theme which will be in development Jan – March 2014, with production running April through June 2014.

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Curzon Cinema shortlisted for National Lottery Award

The Curzon Community Cinema in Clevedon has been shortlisted for the semi-finals of the National Lottery Awards – you can vote for them here. Please spread the word and get as many people to vote as possible.


The Curzon Community Cinema in Clevedon is through to the semi-finals of The National Lottery Awards 2012, and needs the public’s votes to win.

The Cinema, which celebrates its centenary this year, is one of only ten projects to make it through to the semi-finals in the Best Heritage Project category of The National Lottery Awards.  The Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects, and they recognise and celebrate the difference that Lottery-funded projects make to communities across the UK.

The Curzon was awarded £321,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2010 as part funding toward a £500,000 refurbishment project.  The money allowed the cinema to complete the most urgent repairs to the Grade II listed building’s roof, create a new, permanent exhibition on the history of cinema in Clevedon, open a new lounge bar, and better display the Curzon Collection of Heritage Cinema Technology.  The money also allowed the Curzon to employ a full time Education and Learning Coordinator, who has developed an extensive programme of work with local schools, provided vocational experiences for the Curzon Youth Panel, and extended the Curzon’s programme to include regular Senior Screenings, and the new Curzon Kids’ Club.

The winning project in each category will receive national recognition on a star-studded BBC One TV show in early November and will receive a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their project.

Gareth Negus, Director of the Curzon, said, “We’re delighted to have reached the semi-finals of the awards; the news was a marvellous 100th birthday present!  The Curzon has always been a cinema for the people and the aim of our project was to share with the public the rich heritage of our building, and of cinema exhibition in the UK.  The Curzon embodies the story of cinema in the UK in many ways, and we hope to continue that story for many years to come.”

Voting for the finals starts at 9am on Tuesday 26 June and ends at midnight on Sunday 22 July. To register your vote for the Curzon, log on to or call 0844 836 9712. Calls cost no more than 5p from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may vary, calls from mobiles could cost considerably more. Callers are advised to check with their telephone network provider to be certain of the cost. No profit will be made from the cost of the phone vote by The National Lottery

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Curzon Memories App @appcircus

The Curzon Memories App has been selected to pitch in front of industry professionals at the London AppCircus showcase on 4 July. The overall winner will get a chance to be one of the 20 apps pitching at the Mobile Premier Awards in 2013!

Posted in App-aratus theory, GPS, Interior localization, Postdigital, Projection Hero, QR Codes | Leave a comment

New Curzon Memories App Video

I’ve just uploaded a new promo of the Curzon Memories App which you can view below:

Filmed by Sy Taffel and featuring Jess Linington.

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Lovely photos of the Curzon Memories App Launch

Here’s some lovely photos of the app launch courtesy of Andy Darvill, one of the Curzon’s Board of Trustees:

The Living History exhibition alive with visitors, one of whom is manipulating the Projection Hero exhibit with her smartphone in the foreground. Can you spot the tiny QR code on the back row?  Thanks to members of the Youth Panel who tested the third iteration for suggesting the idea of hiding them in the same place they’re hidden in the actual auditorium.  Also note that the lego figures have their own little bag of popcorn, which is spilling out on to the floor.  Nearly set off the smoke alarm in the Oak Room Cafe at the launch when I burnt the microwave popcorn…

Education Officer Cathy Poole is in the background above, she said the launch brought people down to the Curzon she’d been trying to get down there for years. Peter Insole is also in the background, with whom I’m collaborating on the City Strata, Cinemapping ‘Heritage Sandbox’ project.

Hilary Neal, Chair of the Management board, looking through the projection booth windows on Projection Hero, whilst Jeanie Sinclair (Falmouth) operates the cinema.

QR codes 15-29 are hidden in the Main Collection which is usually open on the first Sunday and the third Saturday and Sunday of every month – see the Curzon’s What’s On  page for more information. Here’s one on the Kalee 11 – which was an early British sound projector that had two different sound systems, sound-on-disc and optical sound on film.  All the QR codes in this section trigger curator Maurice Thornton’s commentary from within the app, but if you happen to scan outside the app using any old QR reader, they take you to the individual projector on the Curzon Collection website, as the link above does.

Trustee Brian Crewe reinstalled one of the old ashtrays especially for the ‘Ashtray’ QR Code, which contains memories of the watching the films through a fug of smoke… not sure how long this QR code will last, but have given spare copies to the Curzon – might need to find a way to protect this one in the longer term.

Huge thanks for all who came to the launch.  If you want an opportunity to try the app in situ then it’s the Curzon’s 100th anniversary this weekend with loads happening, the Collection is open, there’ll be Bioscope projection, the inaugral concert of the newly installed Christie organ and a screening of A Night to Remember (1958) in honour of the cinema’s premiere matinees when the proceeds when to the Lord Mayor’s Fund for the victims of the Titanic disaster.

You can download the app for iPhone and Android from the official website.

Thanks also to Jacqui Bressington, Amy and Georgia for helping with the cream tea! Thanks for letting me use these wonderful photos Andy, a great record of a lovely day.

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Curzon Memories App as interactive documentary

I spoke about the Curzon Memories App at the recent idocs2012 conference hosted by UWE’s Digital Cultures Research Centre at Watershed.  I hadn’t really thought I was making a documentary the whole time I was developing the app, but with hindsight, my experience as a filmmaker couldn’t help but inform the project and trying to articulate my work at this event really helped me to see that ‘experience design’ is essentially an extension of documentary practice – we all want to move people and make them see the world differently – I’m just excited about doing that in the actual place you are interested in exploring.  Brian Winston’s post cites “the breathtaking and illuminating elegance of Charlotte Croft’s ‘Geo-spatial, Geo-temporal’ app to guide a tourist around a physical site.”  The slides for my talk are now available here.

Posted in Heritage, Media Practice Research, Postdigital, Watershed Media Centre | Leave a comment