We are very happy to welcome Tony as the new Co-Director of the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence. Tony has been in the crew all along as a supporter, facilitator, sounding board and all round generally amazing human being. His passion for bringing together tech, arts, and mindfulness in the service of human thriving is astounding and it is a real honour to welcome him on board.
The remit of the Centre is changing and adapting as a result. Our key focus for the coming years is creativity and technology. Tony’s work and experience will be central to ensuring we can really innovate and collaborate with the key thinkers and paradigm shifters in this interdisciplinary work.
Tony’s work has showcased the artists and researchers who are pushing boundaries and experimenting with technology to engage our sensory experience in novel ways. These cross disciplinary endeavours often challenge our preconceptions and perceptions. THIS is the work of mindfulness as we explore the frontiers of interdisciplinary work that promotes new models of health and thriving.
The bigger intention? To help us re-connect to ourselves, each other and to nature.
One area of Tony’s work is his exploration of a new form of immersive media which aims to broaden our attention and develop awareness (FovoLab). This may be an antidote to the narrow focus of attention demanded by many contemporary media devices, such as our smart phones.
While the tiny screen of our smartphone is our entry point to an incredible world, the required narrowing of the attentional lens may have both physical and psychological unforeseen consequences.
It is therefore necessary to balance this narrowing of focus with the development of skills to widen the aperture of our attention. This will allow us to tune into a much broader sensory experience, including out bodies, each other and the world around us.
Drawing on Tony’s extensive experience in the arts and creative sectors, the Centre intends to develop and design a series of creative/tech events in pop-up locations, or as part of larger retreats and festivals. In this way we can bring what we know from the mindfulness research out of the labs and onto the streets to connect with larger and more diverse audiences. Creative and embodied practices will be a key feature of our play in this area.
These new delivery models will be informed by evidence-based bottom-up approaches that empower people to regulate themselves and self-heal. Tony is developing workshops exploring creative ways of broadening awareness to the breadth of sensory experience, including peripheral vision. One of these was delivered in collaboration with Dr. Tamara Russell, Sara Haq and Liz Finegold at the Southbank as part of their Beyond Belief Festival in 2017.
Tony is developing and consolidating a new area of research showing how the arts, music and technology can have a demonstrable impact on our mental health and wellbeing. He will present his academic paper ‘Return to nature: how media art heals?’ at the forthcoming Electronic Visualisation in the Arts London Conference.
He continues to develop his own practice of mindfulness as a conscious, mindful leader with a passion for designing unique methods for research, training and awareness development.