Ah, the IRB. This is Institutional Review Board, a very necessary function of any human centered research. As there has been deliberate and inadvertent abuse of humans in the far and recent past, the IRB has been set up to ensure that humans are treated properly in research.

Regardless that we are not doing biological, but cognitive research, the team will still undergo an IRB review for approval.

Now I must say, as an artist this is a revelation. I briefly did an IRB when I took my User Experience class during my Serious Game Design Certificate Program at Michigan State, but as we were interviewing, the IRB training was very minimal.

IRB in the human sciences is extremely, intense. I, the artist, did have to take some of the training modules multiple times in order to glean enough knowledge to pass the written tests. It was TOUGH. But did get though.

We are putting together all, and I mean it is A LOT of material together for hopefully October IRB. Dr. Velez, Keene and Corwin are doing most of the writing for the proposal and I will be working on the illustration for the Test, and the visual narrative. Every thing that we will use, regardless of how insignificant it seems, will need to be put forward for review.


July-August 2017

July and August was spent working on the visual narrative images. This included meetings with the artist to give visual markup and feedback via art/design, how it will work with the game interface, and aphasia appropriateness.

HSC funds were encumbered to hire their graduate students to assist in delivery of the visual narrative, and iPads were purchased for VINI delivery

MCOM funds were encumbered to utilize their Phd student Casey Smith to create the interaction.


June 2017

Early in the summer, another collaborative grant opportunity emerged, which encouraged scientist to scientist collaboration within the TTU/HSC systems. We brought on board Dr. Justin Keene, who brings psycho-physical expertise into the aphasia project. We will be adding this component gathering both cognitive and physical data, which will give us a clear picture as to the efficacy of our visual intervention. Although we applied, we did not receive the PCRG but Dr. Keene has remained with the project.

Busy Summer 2017

The VINI project was in full swing with the development of the visual narrative. ¬†From the grant funds, Stacy Elko procured one 22 inch Cintiq Drawing pad to begin the narrative, while waiting on the three 12.9inch ¬†iPad Pro with Apple pencil. The app Procreate was used to create the drawings as the advantage over Sketchbook Pro was the export functions. We would be able to export the Procreate files in ‘procreate’ or PSD format preserving their layers. Casey would then be able to pick out pieces for animation if necessary.

The artist then generated 175+ storyboards from which to base the final drawings. The drawings still took multiple revisions, given feedback from Dr. Corwin concerning aphasia friendly imagery.

Four phases

The project is divided up into 4 phases: art production, game design, testing, data collection/writeup

So as the artist on the team, Stacy Elko was responsible for directing/creating the visual narrative that would be used. The team wrote the text for the narrative, and 2 MFA students, Stephanie Berrie and Jeremiah Macha were hired to work on the drawings which were slated to be finished by August 31, 2017.

Dr. John Velez has brought in a PhD student Casey Smith well versed in Unity 3D to begin determining the basic game interface.

At the end of May 2017, the TCVPA developed an ARC-arts research collaboration lab in the basement of the library where we began having meeting. This meeting, in the ARCphoto 1, all the images of the visual narrative were projected for markup revision.

Received Grants!

After months of organizing meetings amidst hectic teaching schedules we finished the applications and Chris Hall, the grant writer submitted them. Then on pins and needles.

April 2017 the results were announced and we received both an AIM grant and an SGIR grant for a total of $100,000

The team was ecstatic and felt vindicated for our work.

Next posts: organizing the art, artists, visual narrative and PCRG grant


Without belaboring the difficulties of grant writing, our team proceeded to work on an Arts and Medicine grant application through the Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts at TTU and the SGIR grant. We worked closely with the TCVPA/Library grant writer Chris Hall.

Initially we were including fMRI component to our research utilizing the facilities at the Experimental Science Department at TTU. We were wanting to incorporate the neuro-imaging along with our cognitive research but upon touring the facility and discussing the research, we decided that was a extremely large complicated component that we were not yet prepared to tackle.