Not some much as an answer to your question but two broad questions we try to
answer when introducing new digital equipment in to art and design teaching and
Centralisation or Dispersal
Do you place all the equipment in a dedicated lab or 'farm' out the equipment
to integrate with existing facilities? The former has the benefits of being
easier to technically manage, easier to maintain security and can be used for
'class' teaching. The later allows an immediacy between the analogue equipment
(e.g. print making facility, chemical based photography etc), studio (e.g. a
performance space etc) and the digital equipment.
At Sheffield we have settled in the middle, having six specialist clusters,
each physically located near existing facilities and serving different needs.
We also have two labs for 'class' teaching.
Network or not?
Is each machine standalone, networked within a room or networked to the rest of
Standalone machine's can easily be moved to where they are wanted, they can
easily be 'plugged' into existing facilities (e.g. an analogue video editing
suite). Standalone machines are often not subject to the controlling hand of
'technical services', people who rarely seem to understand the requirements of
A networked room allows common output devices (e.g. serveral printers) to be
shared between computers with the added benefit of creating a peer to peer
Networking to the main university allows software metering, reducing the cost
of software upgrades. Using the centralised network gives us access to
facilities such as live media streaming.
We use all three.
Currently we are carrying out a research project to see if we can set up a very
high speed wireless networking system. If successful we will be able to
integrate, relocate and reconfigure any machine whilst maintaining software
metering, integration with in and output devices and connection to the wider
world. The research is due for completion by the end of the year; details of
the research outcomes will be available on our commercial partner's [Fretwell
Downing] website: http://www.fdgroup.com/
I hope this helps,
Lecturer in Digital Media
Art and Design Research Centre
Sheffield Hallam University