CSM students develop initiatives to support leadership through sport in Ghana
At an evening to celebrate a wonderful collaboration with UK Sport, Central Saint Martins’ students presented their work to a specially invited audience.
Imagine playing football without a ball. Or even playing the Nintendo Wii console without the real screen – but instead with actual people. As futuristic as it may sound, this was one of the concepts presented last Monday by University of the Arts London students in a response to a brief to promote leadership and physical activity through sports in Ghana.
The idea, called Invisi*Play, was part of an assignment given in January by UK Sport – the nation’s high performance sports agency – to first-year MA students of Innovation Management at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in collaboration with University of Ghana (Accra) and University of Development Studies (Tamale).
The whole class had to find new ways to enable young Ghanaians to engage with sport as part of the Beckwith International Leadership Development programme (BILD). However, the MA students had to tackle one of the main obstacles against games in the African country: the lack of equipment. By the end, they came up with 12 different solutions.
The Invisi*Play, developed by the Green Team, consists basically in a bracelet with GPS, Bluetooth and an accelerometer device. The bracelet has three themed functions: Sports, Arts and Education. Therefore, one player could choose to play tennis, learn how to dance, or even write by drawing letters in the air!
Considering the fact that there is an 80% mobile penetration in the country, the group decided to make use of 3G mobile technology. For the regions with less infrastructure, such as the rural areas, they also created a low end version based on radio wave technology. “It’s all imaginary”, explained Christina Sadek, member of the group. “It’s your brain doing it instead of you watching on a TV screen”.
In the wake of the London Olympic Games next year, one can even start to dream about other uses for the device. Ruby Azzopardi, also from the Green Team, pointed out the device could be useful for the Paralympic games “Since it works with vibro-tactile, sound and light feedback, Invisi*Play could be used for people with hearing of visual impairment”.
Among the projects presented this week was also Movement X, by the Orange Team. The idea was inspired in Haka, a traditional dance form of the Māori from New Zealand, and the students then researched the gestures and dances of Ghana. According student Maria Perez, the goal is to “create a new identity for the BILD programme and beyond to all sports in Ghana – linking sport and the people through movement – they would see it, imitate it and do it. It could be performed in the beginning of matches –as well as maybe in the Olympics!”
To cope with the lack of equipment in Ghana there were also some ‘diy’ solutions from the Red and Yellow teams. Both groups thought the best way to deal with the problem would be teaching Ghanaians how to make their own tools to play. Children would then be given training and workshops on how to make balls, nets or bats out of locally available materials, such as plastic bags, wool, bamboo or leather. “It’s also about sharing and learning”, says Shile Guan, from the Red Team.
Ivy Shao, from the Yellow Team, also stresses another important aspect or their project, Innov 4 Ghana: create a commercial channel through which North Ghanaian communities can create their own sport equipment that have the potential to be sold for financial gain and personal independence. “It’s about linking local business opportunities to the production of sports equipment”, notes Ivy.
The exhibit also saw the proposals of the Blue and the Violet Team. The first is the author of the Build up Cards project, which encourages kids to create their own games – or adapt already existing local ones – by writing their rules in printed cards. The new games would then be challenged in the main BILD sports event, where the contestants would be able to swap the cards between them.
The Violet Team , by the other hand, thought about a local sport radio programme “created by and for children”. The participants would be able to “broadcast their sport activities and calls to action across rural areas, creating routine, competition, and a platform to share their activities with the world”.
Nick Pink, International Development Adviser for the UK Sport, was amazed by the innovative solutions created by the CSM students. “Some of the ideas may require a few improvements, like the Invisi*Play, but there are others that could go on trial immediately, such as the Movement X”. He said that some of the ideas would be taken to Ghana for further research in the next weeks.
CSM’s Jo Morrison initiated the project and said that she was “delighted with the enormous breadth and quality of outcomes” and that like the students and Course Director Jamie Brassett, she is keen to learn how the ideas are received in Ghana.
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011