Summer Series: Art Giving a New Perspective to Smart Communities, with Jess Coldrey

Summer Series: Art Giving a New Perspective to Smart Communities, with Jess Coldrey

By Zoe Eather

Hi #smartcommunity friends! Welcome to the Summer Series here on the Smart Community Podcast. As you know, we’re taking a little break from new content over the Australian summer holidays, and instead we are sharing the replays of a few of our all time favourite episodes. This week we’re sharing my interview with Jess Coldrey, from way back in Episode 258, which was released in October 2021.

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast I have a fascinating talk with Jess Coldrey about how art can shape the future of Smart Communities. Jess is a human geographer and creative technology artist and through her work, aims to harness the under-utilised potential of infrastructure to address social and environmental needs. Jess tells us about her varied and interesting background, her studies in Visual Arts and Human Geography, her current work and latest venture heading to England to study humanitarian engineering, before telling us about her passion for futurism and how societies progress in a socially different way. Jess and I discuss how her work fits into the Smart Communities space, how she has used her creative and collaborative skills in past projects to bring in new ways of thinking and ideas, how her training has helped give a different perspective and what a Smart Community is to her. Jess then shares with us some of the projects she has been working on as well as some of her achievements before we discuss how art can trigger emotional responses allowing people to think differently and boldly about the future of communities, how art galleries and libraries could potentially be the hub of communities and the value that could bring. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of the post Covid world and the different requirements communities will need in future.

Since we recorded this interview, Jess has been up to a lot! She was named Top 50 Women in Engineering in the UK; she did an art residency in France raising awareness of endometriosis; she obtained her MSc in England as a John Monash Scholar, focusing on drone tree planting; she exhibited a piece in the Tate Britain, which houses the UK's national collection of art; spoke on the radio about inspiring and retaining women in engineering; created a series of 3D scanned postcards to encourage environmental volunteering and recently she’s been to India as a United Nations UNLEASH Global Talent to work in international teams prototyping technological solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals. She’s got some exciting projects on the horizon too, including leading a drone tree planting project with AirSeed/RedCross, responding to landslides and flooding in Lismore here in Australia, and she’s doing an art residency at King's College London Engineering, working with robotics and photography to help shape a creative identity for the new department, and understand 'what inspires us' as engineers to share with the world and encourage others into the profession. We will be sure to get Jess back on the show in future for a full update about what she has been up to since we recorded this episode and how our thinking has progressed since our conversation. But in the meantime, as always we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Find the full show notes at:

Connect with Jess via LinkedIn

Connect with me via email:

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital

Heart UK