for Watching Happiness

Building the pod was an experiment. After some weeks of working with structures, maquettes, materials and frame shape it finally took on its own manifestation from all the research, on the building day. Held in place by theatre weights and building support from Peter Miles and AV support from Justin Hodgett.

I particularly used the term watching happiness as of course we were faced with a visual time based medium but because we usually think of feeling happiness not seeing it. We see thinks that make us happy but its a feeling – thats how we describe it.

Once the pod was made it immediately created a unique space and atmosphere separate to the room it was in. Like a time machine – a tardis – though of course time was the same but its one way we explain a change of atmosphere, this different sense of space, like this. Many people commented on this also over the two days.

Visitors who were alone in it, commented that it was very calm, relaxing, inspiring, space to be, a space to escape to, reflect in – some watched the sequence of films more than once. Usually these were people who visited on their own. People in groups tended to be more verbal inside the pod. From it emanated laughter aaaah’s and aaaaaw’s and silence. This was what I heard in general. It really felt like a happiness pod.

Master’s students feedback on what they liked most about the pod and installation:

‘The provision of an entirely novel space in a familiar building. Seeing so many different perspectives on peoples ideas of happiness.’
‘The atmosphere inside the ‘tent’. It gave me happiness!’
‘This feels different. Taps into emotions. Different perspectives – always illuminating as it shows the richness of human response.’
‘It was outside my natural comfort zone, but a very safe way to be stretched.’
‘Connection with colleagues I wouldn’t otherwise know anything about. It allowed a gateway to advocating for my needs.’

Staff members
‘The laughter and doing something fun that brought people together. A sense of community that gave us a shared identity.
Being hugged and immersed in happiness pod feeling calm and lost in the moments of the videos.’
Other feedback (Masters students) re other sessions that might enhance the experience

‘A joint ‘creating art together’ session (creating a single joint art object/painting)
‘Having a lunchtime drop-in session to enable people to add to an ongoing piece of art.’

‘Relaxation/massage/art workshops.therapy workshops.’

‘Maybe trying to experience different classroom settings during the lectures’

‘Interactive aspect among viewers even though its only for a minute.’

‘A calming and reflecting space’

‘The creators of the exhibition discussing their work.’


‘A ‘collective’ art work at end of year party.’

Other comments from Masters students

‘Great addition to the Faculty’
‘Project should have happened sooner as part of induction period!’

from Phd student:
‘Lovely idea. Can phd students have an artist too?’

ConversationsI had were about time and space, having an out of Faculty space within the Faculty. Surprise, amazement and excitement at the variedness of films. People told me they came out feeling happy, or had a smile on their faces. They liked the idea – of having somewhere else to go in the Faculty. Some were silent when inside and didn’t want to speak. In their own world.
Many people told me they had not got round to sending and had ideas of what they would have done. One said it hadn’t occurred to her to send anything other than talking or words. I myself shared that it hadn’t occurred to me to do anything other than imagery or sound.


Click Art Session III to find out more


M-i -maps




What can a map be, what can a map be for? Can a map we make reveal something we might not know or see normally? A map to get lost by?

1. Warm-up activity In pairs – draw your partners journey from the moment they got up or left their home from their description that they give to you while blindfolded or facing away from you. Then swap. Map maker: You can represent this in any style you like. Think about symbols and shapes how will you show things they say. Describer: When you are describing your journey try to think of things you noticed, colours, smells, thoughts, music, sound, people and directions and landmarks. After looking at resources brought in – old maps, childrens drawings, artists:

2. Research as a m-i-map or m-e-map. Make a map in the free-est, open-ended and experimental style of your research journey from where you started to where you are now. What kind of terrain did you start from, how has it changed, what has the weather been like, can you represent these and questions that you had and solved or things your discarded along the way. At end of session. Reflection and looking at the work and how research journeys have been represented. Where will the map take you now and next. Can you think of this map as having no beginning or end but that this is a section of a journey. Imagine this new map to come. Does it have to be in the same style. How will you manage it, contain it, make sense of it. Where can it take you to What do you want to find or see on the way. How will it look visually.

Maps made:






Click Art Session II images to find out more

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Click Art session I images to find out more


Click POPUP I to find out more







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