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Rocio Rey Aloe: UAL Creative Computing Institute Diploma

Rocio Rey holding computing components next to her laptop
  • Written byChloe Dunn
  • Published date 23 May 2022
Rocio Rey holding computing components next to her laptop
Computing components, 2021, UAL Creative Computing Institute, Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

Rocio Rey Aloe completed the UAL Creative Computing Institute Diploma last year and is now in her 3rd year of BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. Rocio’s practice explores ways in which technology and interactivity aid emotional connection. Her work aims to support the emotional and mental wellbeing of those who interact with it.

Here, Rocio talks us through a typical day at  UAL Creative Computing Institute and gives her advice for anyone thinking of studying the Diploma.

Rocio Aloe Rey working with computing components
Rocio Aloe Rey working with computing components, UAL Diploma in Creative Computing, 2021, UAL Creative Computing Institute, Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

Tell us a bit about your creative background, practice, influences and interests.

Despite having a life-long curiosity for making, it wasn't until my foundation year where I got introduced to the art and design field and focused full time on it. After completing my foundation, I went onto the BA Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. There, I was exposed to multiple design disciplines, methods and mediums. The course helped me to have a better understanding of my interests within the field. After completing my second year of my BA, I joined UAL CCI for a year to study the UAL Creative Computing Institute Diploma. There, I developed my skillset and found clarity on why and how I produce work. Currently, I'm back in CSM graphics for my final year, creating work which aids emotional connections and wellbeing through interactivity. I'm interested in others, their stories and struggles, community, mental health and psychology. I address all of these themes through participation and interactivity, mainly through physical computing.

What attracted you to the diploma?

In the second year of my bachelor's, I realised I was very interested in interactivity and physical computing. However, I felt lost about where to start and I lacked time to explore this - at the time - foreign medium. I was craving technical knowledge to develop all the ideas I had conceptualised. The Diploma gave me this and came at the perfect time.

What did a usual day at UAL CCI look like?

A Monday in my Diploma year would start with a class at around 10am where our tutor, Joel Gethin Lewis, would lead a calming, optional group meditation. Right after, we’d have a lecture filled with information about coding, computing history, pioneers and computational work. Next would usually come a workshop section where we would work in groups to tackle coding exercises. Lastly, we would have some coding tasks to finish throughout the week.

UAL CCI is filled with welcoming and supportive people. It feels like a safe space for everyone to develop their interest in technology.

Rocio Aloe Rey in the Physical Computing Lab
Rocio Aloe Rey in the Physical Computing Lab, UAL Diploma in Creative Computing, 2021, UAL Creative Computing Institute, Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

What did you enjoy most about studying at UAL CCI?

One of the best feelings I had when studying in UAL CCI was the sensation of finally arriving where I belonged in terms of community and situating my practice. I loved how it opened a whole new level of understanding in me of the technologies that surround me in the everyday, and how it fostered my curiosity.

The Diploma has provided me a multiplicity of opportunities in several aspects: it has broadened my network, provided me with job opportunities and expanded my skill set.

How was going back to your original course when you completed your year in creative computing?

Being back in my original course was a bit challenging in the social aspect of it since I had to get used to a whole new cohort and dynamic. However, I noticed how myself and my practice had matured in that year. I finally felt ready to progress to my last year of university and make work I felt proud about. My focus as a practitioner was clearer and my work stronger.

The Diploma meant an enrichment in my processes and outcomes. Now, I'm able to quickly introduce interactive elements throughout, having an extensive pool of knowledge and techniques I can draw from if the project or concept requires it.

What is your advice for anyone thinking of doing the diploma?

If you are thinking of doing it, go for it! There is so much to gain from the experience, even if it's just having a better understanding of the methods and themes you would like or not like to explore.

Don't be afraid of choosing a pathway others are not choosing. If it's right for you and for your practice it is worth it.

Absorb as much as you can once you are there and try to be active, it will pay off!

Rocio Aloe Rey working in the Physical Computing Lab
Rocio Aloe Rey working in the Physical Computing Lab, UAL Diploma in Creative Computing, 2021, UAL Creative Computing Institute, Photograph: Alys Tomlinson