Connected Downs

How does technology impact the way we experience the natural world around us?

A co-created research project that culminated in an exhibition at the Mint House, Pevensey, July 2024

An exploration of how some South Downs folk, made up of different ages and backgrounds, see the world around them, and through learning the stories of the land, find a belonging to a space.The project has been exploring how digital technology impacts on the experience of teenagers’ experience of the natural world. 

Through six themes, the exhibition explores ways to bring new audiences to the South Downs by reframing ways to interact and engage with the natural world in, what can often be, a digital first world. Each theme contains a film and supporting material to help frame the different theme. 

Changing Chalk

Working in partnership to connect nature, people and heritage for the future of the South Downs.

Changing Chalk is a partnership of organisations supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, working together for the future of the South Downs. Through this project, we are reversing the decline of the fragile chalk grassland, and connecting local communities to the nationally significant landscape on their doorstep.

Click here to find out more about Changing Chalk

Funders and Researcher

This project is a funded project by the University of Brighton through the UKRI Impact Acceleration Account, from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It has been led by Mark Wells who is a senior lecturer in the school of art and media at the university of Brighton. Mark’s research looks at the impact of digital technology has on our perception of time and space. He does this through creating and designing interventions in the physical space in order to generate questions and raise awareness of our use of technology and how this might impact our awareness of time and space and the world around us.

Mark uses design as a tool to provoke questioning and self-awareness of our relationship, experience and understanding with the physical environment, with the aim to recognise the importance of wellbeing in a digital space. Through this, his research looks at the intersection of art, design and technology and the impact they have in shaping culture and society.

Mark works specifically on projects about social wellbeing and community building that are cross-disciplinary, collaborative and creative, where digital interactive design and user experience is used to build awareness and engagement.