The science of co-operation.
I spent a year as a research fellow in the school of biology at Newcastle University, looking at co-operation.
This opened up all sorts of areas of interest that have stayed with me: complexity, emergence, network science, the biological basis of co-operation, the ways in which science contributes to how we understand human social structures, cross-discipline and cross-domain collaboration...
I got to read lots of stuff that I would never have done otherwise, from academic papers on things like how the social structures of dolphin groups have scale-free network properties (good for diffusing knowledge fast and very resilient) to theories about the evolution of language, a book about data mining for law enforcement, another about the physics of society, and Elinor Ostrom's book about how to manage common pool resources.
The RFID Snakes and Ladders game was an outcome of this, in an odd way.
All in all it was a fantastic opportunity and a privilege.
Thanks Arts and Humanities Research Council and Arts Council England!