Digital Arts & Creative Technology

SHIFT and FACT FUTURES at Spare Parts Festival

This weekend we were part of the Spare Parts Festival and the Sandbach Transport Festival, which took place all weekend across Sandbach.

Our FACT FUTURES: Future Landscapes 2050 game gave festival goers the opportunity to describe how Cheshire East might look in 32 years time.  People choose a series of 3d printed objects and laser cut captions giving people of all ages the chance to discuss and create their future landscapes together.

The game is based on the UK Government’s Foresight Future of Cities Project, which outlines 4 possible future scenarios for cities in 2050. To build their own visions people could choose objects and captions adapted from the high-tech city (which include space travel, vertical living and fast mobile lives), the digital city (3d printers, sensors and immersive digital environments), the liveable city (low carbon, wellbeing and ecology) and the fortress city (rich society breaks from poor, climate disaster and resource wars). You can see the report here.

FACT’s Learning Technologist brought a 3d printer and laser cutter and was busy producing objects and captions live on site for the game.

Visitors were invited to create their own future city of 2050, using a plethora of materials for inspiration.  They discussed with us how they see the future from the different perspectives of economy (money), ecology (nature) and equity (people). You can see some of the amazing responses to the brief below.

By coincidence it was also Earth Day 2018, so it was a great opportunity to think about our collective futures – powered by solar power or hydrogen, fed by huge vertical farms or agri-tech in the countryside, homes with green roofs or 3d printers, water efficient cities or polluted ones, bike-friendly or driverless cars.  What would your landscape look like?


FACT FUTURES will be delivering digital workshops across rural Cheshire East in the summer. If you would like us to visit your class or group of young people aged 14-19 please get in touch.

We were also really excited about the amazing Virtual Reality Playground.

Virtual Reality Playground is an immersive installation created by artist Brendan Walker. It is based on two popular entertainment technologies: the age-old swing and the 21st century virtual reality headset – the former designed to excite the vestibular system (how we balance), the latter designed to excite the visual cortex (how we process visual information).
Each headset is loaded with one of four geometric virtual worlds. Using motion sensors on the swing seat (Samsung S7 phone) and a VR headset (a Samsung S7 phone inside Samsung Galaxy headset), movement and gaze in the virtual world is able to accurately track movement and gaze in the real world. Presence in the virtual world is reinforced by synchronised sensations of swinging in the real world. Over the course of 2.5 minutes, riders are made to believe that they are moving in incredible ways: bouncing, rolling and swooping in the virtual world.

There was also a wheelchair accessible swing – it had only one rider over the weekend, but her response was priceless: laughing with delight during the ride; afterwards, in tears, she said she felt she was walking again.

Check out more of the future landscapes created and other pictures of the festival on our Facebook page, our twitter, our Instagram and our Flickr.


Huge thanks to Crewe Photographic Society for the photographs.

Catch us next at trAction Crewe.