Application & Interactions – Week 8: Concept Development

Week 8 Lecture & Resources

Science Museum Brief

Research – SMG Collection

I have an interest in photography and started to look at the Science Museum collection to see what I could find on that topic as a starting point. I discovered a wide range of objects and photographs from the pioneers in the 1800s, as well as examples of different camera equipment through the years.

Below are some artefacts I found within the Science Museum Group archive which relate to the development of photography.

Cyanotype of Cystoseira granulata from Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions – the first book to be published with photographic illustrations, a title that was self-published by Anna Atkins in 1843.
Early photographic plates made by J. T. Chapman Ltd of Manchester, circa 1888.
Box Brownie camera by Kodak, circa 1908-1915.

Workshop Challenge

Brainstorming ideas/mind map

After exploring the Science Museum archive, and discovering it has a wealth of objects and images relating to the history of photography, I took some time to write down a few initial ideas.

Some rough design concepts for the Science Museum brief:

  1. Themed murals depicting different objects + stories that you can interact with by scanning with a smartphone (maybe giant QR codes, or some kind of AR?) to learn more
  2. Being able to photograph (or scan?) a random object and use it to perform a visual search, this is then analysed by AI technology and which then suggests stories or related objects in the Science Museum archives that look similar – kind of like an educational version of the Asos Style Match tool (as described in my Week 7 blog post).
  3. An interactive, visual timeline showing how photography has evolved over time (both in the scientific and artistic sense). Going from the earliest pioneers in the 1800s, including the first ever photographic book, to more modern developments.
  4. Some way of tracking a user’s journey through the website/archive that then creates a collection of “stories” – this could generate a personalised print-on-demand souvenir newspaper or other printed artefact. Or maybe you get a “ticket” with a QR code that you can scan to access a summary of your visit.
  5. I quite like the idea of developing something that involves people in the collection in a completely analogue way, like perhaps running Cyanotype workshops for people to learn how to make them by experimenting with photo-sensitive paper.

Reflection on the week

Going into the group crit session this week, my ideas were not fully developed or refined. I chose to talk specifically about the visual search tool concept and it was useful to get feedback from both my peers and John Stack. I found it interesting to see the wide variety of ideas and concepts that everyone came up with in response to the brief, and the comments from John during the session were very insightful.

After the session, I also revisited recording of the initial guest lecture when the Science Museum project was introduced, which I found to be a helpful exercise in refreshing my understanding of the brief.


Science Museum Group. ‘Cystoseira Granulata.’ Available at Group. [accessed 08/11/2021]

Science Museum Group. 2019. ‘Meaningful Matter.’ Available at [accessed 08/11/2021]

Science Museum Group. ‘No1 Brownie camera Model.’ Available at [accessed 08/11/2021]

Science Museum Group. ’Photographic plates.’ Available at [accessed 08/11/2021]