playful cubes for storytelling, brainstorming ideas or playing games in three dimensions

Community & Events

Diffusion engaging with the community, online and out in the world.


an ongoing programme enabling residents at Proboscis studio to create eBooks and StoryCubes for their own projects.

Learning, Schools & Education

eBooks & StoryCubes created for learning and educational purposes


Browse the collection of Diffusion Shareables: eBooks & StoryCubes


Home » eBooks, Events, One-Off Shareables
Expeditions in Paper Science + Unguided by Matthew Sheret
Submitted by on December 11, 2009 – 9:48 am2 Comments

sheret_expeditions_cover unguided_comic_cover

Expeditions in Paper Science A4 | US Letter PDF 330Kb
Unguided A4 | US Letter PDF 1.3Mb

About : These two eBooks were created by Matthew Sheret at the first bookleteer Pitch Up & Publish event in October 2009. Matthew writes, “Expeditions in Paper Science was my first pass at the system, a reasonably off-the-cuff collation of some of my blog entries this summer. I’ve long been interested in the idea of physicalising web articles, and while an industry has solidified around POD in the last few years they remain a step removed from the immediacy I’m itching for. Bookleteer instantly unlocked that; simple cut-‘n’-paste gave me a nice little document I’ve been throwing around since.

“The speed of delivery got me thinking about incorporating illustrations into the format. With content just a link away I turned to a story the We Are Words + Pictures team created for an anthology earlier this year. Unguided was another speedy job, knocked up in less than five minutes. Finding the source images was just a matter of dropping links into Bookleteer’s interface. The end result was admittedly rough and ready – I’d done it without much consideration of the effects of shrinkage on the A5 illustrations – but the story is still very much intact. It would be the work of ten minutes to optimise the images, and an easy design decision next time to say to an illustrator “Okay, let’s go for an A6 format” which is the kind of space a panel from a webcomic could thrive in.

“Seeing two diverse types of content drop nicely into the format actually sparked a lot of thinking among We Are Words + Pictures about the restrictions of our work in an online environment. The physical nature of the books is a joy; cutting and folding them together doesn’t make them any less robust, and when you introduce them to a group they’re thrown, passed around and digested in a way that even link blogging can’t replicate.”

Published December 2009

Matthew Sheret is co-founder of We Are Words + Pictures, an occasional market stall and exhibition team that promote the work of illustrators and writers creating ‘zines and comics worldwide. They have taken part in events in London, Leeds, San Diego and Stockholm, and will announce a programme of events for 2010 in the new year. He also works as a freelance writer for clients that include, Global Comment and Newspaper Club, and can be reached at

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Home » Anarchaeologies, eBooks, Events
Belo Horizonte Anarchaeology by Giles Lane
Submitted by on November 17, 2009 – 3:42 pm3 Comments

BH_anarchaeology_1_cover BH_anarchaeology_2_cover

BH_anarchaeology_3_cover BH_anarchaeology_4_cover

Waves A4 | US Letter PDF 1.4Mb
Street Art 1 A4 | US Letter PDF 4.2Mb
Corners A4 | US Letter PDF 2.8Mb
Street Art 2 A4 | US Letter PDF 5.1Mb

About : Fragments towards an anarchaeology of Belo Horizonte is a series of eBooks created as part of Proboscis’ contribution to festival and symposium 2009. Very simply the aim is to offer an outsider’s eye on some of the outstanding features of the city by going for a series of walks and photographing the things that seem particular to the city. The walks were done during gaps in the symposium programme over two days, so are a very cursory engagement with Belo Horizonte, its people and life. However, the patterns discerned and organised into thematic eBooks perhaps give a taste or hint of what could be revealed in a deeper anarchaeology.

Waves – captures some examples of the use of waveforms in Brasilian design: from motifs printed on city rubbish bins, to the ubiquitous wave patterns embedded into the pavements.

Corners – Belo Horizonte is Brasil’s first planned city, the central district laid out on a rigid orthoganol grid cut through by diagonal avenues. At many intersections there may be up to eight streets converging leading to numerous wedge shaped buildings, almost all with elegant curved corners.

Street Art – much of Belo Horizonte seems to be colonised by elaborate street art and graffitti, on a scale I’ve not seen anywhere else. Complex artworks are sometimes run the length of an entire city block or radically transform municipal features such as bridges and stairs. These are clearly artworks, not just random graffitti – some are clearly commissioned for private or public buildings, but most seem to be tolerated if not officially sanctioned.

“Fragmentos para uma anarqueologia de Belo Horizonte” é uma série de eBooks criados como parte da contribuição do Proboscis para o Simposio do Festival de 2009. Muito simplesmente, o objetivo é apresentar um olhar estrangeiro sobre algumas das principais características da cidade, através de uma série de caminhadas nas quais foram feitas fotografias daquilo que parecia ser particular na cidade. As caminhadas foram feitas nos intervalos do simpósio durante dois dias e são, assim, um engajamento muito superficial com Belo Horizonte, sua gente e seu cotidiano. No entanto, os padrões eleitos e organizados nos eBooks temáticos talvez possam apresentar um sabor ou uma dica do que poderia ser revelado em uma anarqueologia mais aprofundada.

Ondas – capta alguns exemplos da utilização de formas de onda no design brasileiro: desde motivos impressos em lixeiras da cidade, até os padrões repetitivos de onda assentados como pavimento no chão.

Esquinas – Belo Horizonte é a primeira cidade moderna planejada no Brasil. O centro da cidade foi colocado sobre uma grelha ortogonal rígida, cortada por avenidas em diagonal. Em muitos cruzamentos, pode haver até oito ruas convergentes levando a numerosos edifícios em forma de cunha, quase todos com elegantes curvas na esquina.

Arte de rua – grande parte de Belo Horizonte parece ser colonizada por uma arte de rua elaborada e por graffiti, numa escala que não vi em nenhum outro lugar. Obras complexas são, por vezes, do comprimento de um quarteirão inteiro ou transformam radicalmente obras municipais tais como pontes e escadas. São claramente obras de arte, não apenas graffiti aleatório – alguns são claramente encomendados para os edifícios públicos ou privados, mas a maioria parece ser tolerada se não oficialmente sancionada.
(tr. Renata Marquez)

Published November 2009

Giles Lane is an artist, researcher and teacher. He founded and is co-director of Proboscis, a non-profit creative studio based in London where, since 1994, he has led projects such as Urban TapestriesSnoutMapping PerceptionExperiencing DemocracyEveryday Archaeology; and Private Reveries, Public Spaces. Giles is a Visiting Tutor on the MA Design Critical Practice at Goldsmiths College (University of London) and is a Research Associate of the Media and Communications Department at London School of Economics. Giles was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2008 for his contribution to community development through creative practice.

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3 comments - Latest by:
  • Giles Lane
    Thanks Renata, that's extremely kind of you. There's an other translation on the main Anarchaeologies site kindly provided by Diego…
    Comment posted on 11-23-2009 at 12:55
  • Renata Marquez
    translations for you "Fragmentos para uma anarqueologia de Belo Horizonte" é uma série de eBooks criados como parte da contribuição…
    Comment posted on 11-22-2009 at 21:34
  • uberVU - social comments
    Social comments and analytics for this post... This post was mentioned on Twitter by proboscisstudio: new on #diffusion: Belo…
    Comment posted on 11-17-2009 at 17:55

Home » Community & Events, Events, Publishing on Demand
Pitch Up & Publish 1 Slideshow
Submitted by on October 21, 2009 – 6:41 pmNo Comment

The first event was a fun evening and everyone who attended created at least 1 eBook each, with the exception of Matthew who managed to create two lovely examples. Thanks to everyone who came (Christopher, Fred, Kati, Matthew & Sara), and the team (Karen, John & Stefan).

The next Pitch Up & Publish will be on Thursday 5th November 2009 at our studio in Clerkenwell.

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Home » Community & Events, Events, Publishing on Demand
Pitch Up & Publish
Submitted by on September 21, 2009 – 12:41 pm4 Comments

Starting in October we will be running regular informal evening workshops for people to literally pitch up and publish using Initially these will be held at our Clerkenwell Studio for up to 15 participants – all you need is a laptop and some content (text /photos/ drawings etc) you’d like to create and share as eBooks or StoryCubes (shareables). We will provide free user accounts to bookleteer and guide you through the steps of preparing and generating your shareables to share online, via email or as physical publications. Once created you can publish them on your own website or, if appropriate, we can publish them on Diffusion.

The first workshop will be held during the week beginning October 12th 2009 (date tbc) between 6.30-9pm.
To reserve a place please email us at diffusion (at)
Participants will be asked to make small donation to cover materials and refreshments.

Click to continue reading “Pitch Up & Publish”

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Home » Community & Events, eBooks, eNotebooks, Events
Sensory Threads Workshop eNotebook by Proboscis
Submitted by on September 15, 2008 – 11:26 amNo Comment

Download A4 | US Letter PDF 360Kb

About : Proboscis are running a creative workshop on September 18th at ZAIM, Yokohama as part of the Dislocate08 festival. The workshop is the initial stage of our research for Sensory Threads, engaging artists, urbanists, designers, technologists, musicians and dancers in an active investigation into the sensorial patterns and rhythms to be found in our environment. The area around ZAIM in Yokohama will become our research field as we seek out and evidence the recurring, overlapping and intersecting sounds and movements that take place as we act in, and react to, our environment.

Sensory Threads is a work-in-progress to develop an instrument enabling a group of people to create a soundscape reflecting their collaborative experiences in the environment. For this interactive sensory experience, we are designing sensors for detecting environmental phenomena at the periphery of human perception as well as the movement and proximity of the wearers themselves. Possible targets for the sensors may be electro-magnetic radiation, hi/lo sound frequencies, heart rate etc). The sensors’ datastreams will feed into generative audio software, creating a multi-layered and multi-dimensional soundscape feeding back the players’ journey through their environment. Variations in the soundscape reflect changes in the wearers interactions with each other and the environment around them. We aim to premiere the work in 2009.

Sensory Threads is being created by Proboscis in collaboration with Birkbeck College’s Pervasive Computing Lab, The Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary (University of London), the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham and the School of Management at University of Southampton.

Published September 2008.

Proboscis is an artist-led creative studio based in London, UK. The Sensory Threads workshop is being led by Giles Lane and Karen Martin with Frederik Lesage.

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Home » Community & Events, Events
StoryCubes at Btween08 – the video
Submitted by on August 11, 2008 – 5:43 pmNo Comment

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Home » Community & Events, Community Projects, eNotebooks, Events
Using eBooks for a treasure hunt as part of a consultative process by Kevin Harris
Submitted by on July 1, 2008 – 6:42 pm2 Comments

I’ve been working recently with Bradford Libraries (West Yorkshire, England) on a few small community engagement projects. They have received funding under the Community Libraries Programme to extend and refurbish the library at Manningham. In June 2008 I was asked to run a public event in the library to engage people with the process and open up a period of consultation.

The intention was to have a two hour early evening slot, with the architect and plans available, plus members of staff of course, but no set programme. So the first condition was to design a consultation event where people are constantly coming and going, but you want to attract their attention, inform them, provoke thinking and capture their views.

The idea of a treasure hunt as a fun way to generate interest quickly became the key component of the event. Working with library staff I developed a set of clues which would require users to go to specific locations in and around the building. The planned extension will be built over part of an existing car park and a community garden will be designed alongside, so we had the chance with the treasure hunt to help people visualise it. I was pretty sure that the Diffusion eBooks would be the ideal mechanism for linking clues to further suggestions and comments.

Here’s how it worked. Visitors were given an eBook, with the first clue printed on the first page. Each clue required the hunter to go to a specific location, inside or outside the library building, where they would find the next clue printed on a set of peel-off labels. They took one of these labels and stuck it onto a space on a new page in the eBook.

We provided space on each page for hunters to write an answer to each clue. Additionally there was a supplementary consultative question, designed to solicit ideas and suggestions for the new building.

So for example, the second clue asked “Where will the disabled parking spaces be?” This required checking the site plans, with the architect on hand to help work out the answer. The hunter then had to pop outside to the specific location, where friendly staff held a folder of labels for clue 3. If necessary, users were shown where the label should be placed in their eBook. The supplementary question asked: “What else is needed to make sure that disabled people have good access to the new library?”

At the location of the answer to the final clue, users found a note saying “Well done! You’ve finished the treasure hunt – please go back to the start and collect your prize.”

We anticipated that some users would rather get on with the hunt, and then perhaps settle down afterwards to write comments in answer to the questions. In practice, we found that most took this course and staff were on hand to encourage and support comment. Nonetheless, it was obvious that a number of hunters lacked confidence writing in the English language and were reluctant to offer any comments. Aware of this, staff engaged most of them in conversation and anyway it didn’t matter – they were in the library, taking part, willingly engaged and ready to contribute in other ways.

What worked well
The treasure hunt clues and the eBooks were developed remotely, with staff locally printing out the eBooks and, never having encountered them before, making them up a day or two in advance. As always, one or two showed greater dexterity than others, but it was done. I travelled to Bradford on the day of the event knowing that the documentation was ready.

In terms of helping to guide people through the treasure hunt process, the eBooks worked flawlessly. No-one got lost or did the clues in the wrong order. And no-one got into any difficulty with the sticking of labels: every one was placed in the right place on the right page.

We printed some eBooks on A3, giving a page format of around 21 x 15cm. These proved more popular and suited being carried around for 15-30 minutes, allowing plenty of space for notes.

What I’d do differently
We had the smaller eBooks printed on yellow paper, but ideally I’d like to introduce some colour in other ways and the obvious place to do this is with the sticky labels.

A key point
It’s important not to see this as an engagement technique in a vacuum. If we did, we wouldn’t get results. We ran this exercise while the library was open, with staff having conversations with users, an SMS option for comments, and other opportunities for people to get involved in the decision-making process. The eBooks fit perfectly in the treasure hunt and the treasure hunt is just one component in an ongoing mix of engagement activities and processes.

Kevin Harris
June 2008

Read Kevin’s post on his Neighbourhoods blog.

2 comments - Latest by:
  • Kevin Harris: eBook Treasure Hunt | bookleteer blog
    [...] this post on Kevin writes that the eBook Treasure Hunt worked well and no-one had difficulty [...]
    Comment posted on 8-18-2010 at 08:03
  • Business trainer bruce
    This is a brilliant idea. Simple but very effective. Although time can always be an issue…
    Comment posted on 3-11-2010 at 08:44

Home » Community & Events, eBooks, Events, StoryCubes
Manchester Beacon Workshop & b.TWEEN StoryCubes
Submitted by on June 26, 2008 – 10:48 pmOne Comment

storycubes at btween08

Manchester Beacon Workshop eBook A4 | US Letter PDF 1.8Mb
Manchester Beacon Workshop StoryCubes A4 only PDF 1.9Mb
b.TWEEN StoryCubes A4 only PDF 3.8Mb 

About : The eBook is a document of the ideas, issues and challenges for an “an online service that maps connections between people, places, knowledge and creative activity in Manchester” – an new tool for public engagement and knowledge transfer for Manchester to be commissioned by the Manchester Beacon Project and Just b. Productions. It records the activities of workshop facilitated by Proboscis in Manchester in June 2008; 16 StoryCubes created during the workshop are also available, as well as 24 of the StoryCubes created by delegates and the public at b.TWEEN08 as part of the ‘landscape of ideas’ for the commission brief.

The workshop and StoryCubes installation was facilitated and documented by Proboscis for Just b. Productions by Giles Lane and Karen Martin.

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Home » Community & Events, Events, StoryCubes
geeKyoto StoryCubes
Submitted by on June 11, 2008 – 9:28 pm2 Comments


Download A4 only PDF 1.1Mb

About : 24 StoryCubes making up a ‘landscape of ideas’ created by participants at geeKyoto2008.

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Home » Community & Events, eBooks, eNotebooks, Events
geeKyoto eNotebooks
Submitted by on June 10, 2008 – 7:42 pmOne Comment

eNotebook 1 by Graham A4 only PDF 145 Kb 
eNotebook 2 by Michael Evans A4 only PDF 176 Kb 
eNotebook 3 by Agnieska Gryglewicz A4 only PDF 163 Kb 
eNotebook 4 by Laura A4 only PDF 136 Kb 
eNotebook 5 by Lucy K Wills A4 only PDF 180 Kb 
eNotebook 6 by Alex Haw A4 only PDF 197 Kb  

About : Six eNotebooks completed by participants at geeKyoto2008 (Saturday May 17th 2008, Conway Hall London).

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Home » Community & Events, eBooks, eNotebooks, Events
geeKyoto eNotebook: your ideas on intervention and risk
Submitted by on May 8, 2008 – 11:21 amOne Comment

Download A4 | US Letter PDF 280Kb

About : This eNotebook has been created for geeKyoto2008. Proboscis and the organisers have collaborated to design this notebook for delegates (and others who can’t make it to the event) to share their thoughts and ideas, observations and hopes, fears and aspirations for the future of the planet. The completed eBooks will be collected up, scanned and made into an online library of ideas to inform and help shape future geeKyoto events. If you can’t attend but would like to share your ideas download and make up the eBook, fill it in and post it to Proboscis at 1st Floor, 24 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4SX, UK. We will scan it in and add it to those completed during the event.

Fixing The Broken World
10:00 – 16:30 – Saturday 17th May 2008. Conway Hall, London. £20.

We broke the world. Now what?
A one day conference in central London organised by Mark Simpkins and Ben Hammersley, with designers, technologists, artists, architects, policy-makers, explorers, economists and scientists, and clever people like you, to discuss the future and how we’ll live in it.

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Home » Events, Residencies
Friends Out There, Friday 15th Feb Watford Colosseum
Submitted by on February 11, 2008 – 7:17 pmNo Comment

Bev Carter, Friends Out ThereBev Carter, who participated in last year’s Case Study programme, is organising the launch event, Friends Out There, for a charity which will run arts based projects with residents of Umulogho Village, Nigeria at the Watford Colosseum (Map) just 20 minutes by London from Euston Station.

A celebration of African dance, art and music, the main aim of the event is to raise funds to improve facilities in Umulogho village and establish a new school building. Bev’s Case Study project, A Little Something About Me includes two eBooks (A Little Something About Me and Kedu? How Are You?) based on the experiences of children at the school and is part of a long term exchange being developed between Umologho schoolchildren and schoolchildren in the UK.

Visit the Friend Out There blog

Doors open at 6pm with live performances from 7.45pm until 00.45am featuring:

  • Kakatsitsi, Master Drummers from Ghana
  • Chimanimani from Zimbabwe,
  • Fire juggling and stilt walking by Area 51, the Masters of Breathtaking
  • and special guest Rolf Harris performing live accompanied by his friend Shining Bear on didgeridoo

More details and tickets available from the Colosseum box office: 01923 225671

Originally blogged by Kevin Harris

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Home » Community & Events, Events, StoryCubes, Urban & Social Tapestries
Art and Cartography
Submitted by on February 11, 2008 – 5:00 pmNo Comment

Images by Stefan Wagner (left) and Antje Lehn (right)

Proboscis recently took part in the ‘zoomandscale’ exhibition at Academy of Fine Arts and Kunsthalle Wien project space, Vienna. The exhibition took place alongside the Art and Cartography symposium, a collaboration between the Technical University Vienna, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and RMIT University, Melbourne.

Proboscis produced a set of twenty-seven StoryCubes illustrating processes and outcomes from the Social Tapestries research programme. This included details of our collaborations, methods, tools, techniques and aims; as well as activities, artworks, interfaces, communities, partners and concepts of public authoring. The display aimed to evoke the collaborative nature of our process by inviting visitors to construct their own StoryCube landscapes and share their thoughts with other members of the audience.

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Home » Community & Events, Events, Publishing on Demand, Residencies
Diffusion Discussion Day, 30/11/2007
Submitted by on December 18, 2007 – 10:15 pm3 Comments

On Friday 30th November, an informal evaluation of the Diffusion Generator Case Study Residency programme took place at the Proboscis studio. Those who participated included Bev Carter, artist and community development consultant; Paul Goodwin, a writer, curator and urban researcher; Andrew Hunter, artist, writer and the Director/Curator of RENDER, University of Waterloo, Canada; Michelle Kasprzak, curator, writer, artist and the Programmes Director of New Media Scotland and finally Tony White, a writer – author of novels including Foxy-T (Faber and Faber), and the non-fiction work Another Fool in the Balkans (Cadogan). They were hosted by Karen Martin who facilitated the residency programme, Phil Ayres, an architect, programmer and lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture (programmer of the Generator), Giles Lane, Alice Angus, Orlagh Woods from Proboscis.

The day began with an informal look at the different approaches and processes taken by each of the participants in the residency programme, exploring and sharing how they each used the Diffusion Generator to create and publish eBooks (as well as the occasional StoryCube). These included two way communications between children in the UK and Nigeria, a way to collate research for a book creatively, as a means to document an exhibition and research programme, as a visual journey through the city, as a series of interviews with curators and as a storytelling device.

In the afternoon, several other people were invited to take part in a larger discussion to explore other ways the Generator could be used. Among our guests were Linda Doyle of Trinity College Dublin, Michael Bhaskar of Pan Macmillan, Ellie Smith and Charles Beckett of Arts Council England, London.

Some of the various ideas for future uses of the Shareables and Generator included:

  • as an evaluation tool for conferences or events
  • within galleries or museums as interpretation tools
  • for community engagement projects
  • for internal marketing within organisations
  • as a brand consulting tool
  • to collect conversations and feedback dialogues
  • for a short story competition
  • to promote emerging writers alongside mainstream first publications
  • for sampling ideas
  • for rapid publishing of poetry slams
  • and as educational tools

A more detailed evaluation will be published as an eBook in the new year.
Diffusion Discussion Day Diffusion Discussion Day Diffusion Discussion Day
Diffusion Discussion Day Diffusion Discussion Day Diffusion Discussion Day

3 comments - Latest by:
  • Biogeek29
    yo, I LOVE BIOLOGY! especially diffusion. like biology is totally an art, if i could i would…
    Comment posted on 1-11-2010 at 16:37
  • Biogeek29
    well i wish i was there and i love talking about diffusion. tell me when the next one…
    Comment posted on 1-11-2010 at 16:34
  • Michael Bhaskar
    Thank you for having me over; it was an extremely enjoyable afternoon. I wrote on our blog how I thought…
    Comment posted on 12-20-2007 at 12:28