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Artists' labs  

Practice-lead talent development opportunities exploring emerging technologies

In 2017 we held three artists' labs exploring data culture, VR/AR, and AI. 

Our labs are part of the in_collusion programme, a three year talent development programme that'll help creative people and businesses to develop new skills and ideas around three emerging technologies - artificial intelligence, data culture, and virtual/augmented/mixed reality. 

Through a series of national call-outs, we engage artists to take part in our labs - week long development sessions that explore evolving ideas and ways in which artists can engage with technologies/impacts of technologies that are shaping our world. We set labs against the backdrop of Cambridge as a leading centre of research and development and invite artists from all disciplines to apply for these exciting opportunities. Participants have a unique opportunity to work in an intensive peer environment with artists, academics and computer engineers leading to new pilot projects. 

Following the three labs, we're working with seven artists on R&D projects to progress the ideas they started to develop at the labs. 

Find out about our labs.



Read all about our previous four labs below. 

Artificial Intelligence lab, 12 - 16 June 2017 at Leverhulme Centre of Future Intelligence 

Working with the Leverhulme Centre of Future Intelligence (CFI), the AI Lab brought together a stella lineup of speakers including Murray Shanahan (Imperial College London, whose book on AI inspired Alex Garland’s film Ex Machina, Centre Director Stephen Cave who chaired a lively debate as part of the ethics panel, and Peter Ferguson (Arm) who delivered an overview of current and future AI healthcare technologies.  The lab also included national artists Ronald Fraser-Munro and Vicky Bennett, who both talked about their work in the context of emerging technologies and potential ‘bias’. An audience of around 28 gathered on Friday, 16 June (partners, associates and CFI/CSeR team) to hear the artists’ emerging ideas. The area of ethics emerging around artificial intelligence is of particular interest to artists as real world issues arise through its application in industry and the everyday.

Participating artists:
Leila Johnston | Gary Zhexi Zhang | Sophie Bullock | Mark Farid | Daniel Bandfield | Rachel Gwanwyn Briscoe | Alistair Gentry | Simon Wilkinson

Virtual, augmented & mixed reality lab, 15 - 19 May 2017 at Cambridge Junction

Eight artists from across the UK delved into virtual, augmented and mixed reality at this week-long development session. The artists explored and produced work using new virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies including the HTC Vive using Tilt Brush, 360 cameras and the Microsoft Hololens. Leading experts from University of Cambridge Engineering department, Anglia Ruskin University's gaming department, Sedgwick Museum and established digital artists such as Gibson/Martelli and Kinicho VR joined the artists mid-week to showcase the latest techniques and methodologies. PhD students from Cambridge School of Art with Anglia Ruskin University and young talent from local creative industries attended this inspirational talks track. The event closed on Friday 19th May, where the artists present their experience and ideas to Collusion’s partners and key representatives from Cambridge’s arts and technology sectors.

Participating artists:
Jo Clements | Marcia X | Mike Faulkner | Lee Mason | Nuria Bonet | Harmeet Chagger-Khan | Emily Bowers | Soa J. Hwang

Here's a slideshow from the VR / AR lab:

Data culture lab, 16 - 20 January 2017 at Anglia Ruskin University

Our data-culture lab selected nine artists from across the UK. The artists heard from a broad range of speakers interested in data culture including Dr David Stillwell (Judge Business School), Dr Trevor Woods (Cambridge Consultants), and Mark Farid (artist, Data Shadow). Practical workshop sessions looked at how data could inform work, for example use of Lidar data in Minecraft and Json feeds for visualising data. The second half of the week focused on converting the information and inspiration into new ideas, which they presented as early ideas to an invited audience on the Friday afternoon which included representatives from Arts Council England, ARM, Cambridge Consultants, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, University of Cambridge Museums, FACT; Furtherfield, local authorities, and FE colleges. 

Participating artists:
Anna Brownsted | Jane Glennie | Jo Lawrence | Marcus Dyer | Hwa Young Jung | Rosie Munro Kerr | Henry Driver | Richard DeDomenici | Heinrich & Palmer

Check out this slideshow from the data-culture lab;

Our labs are supported by Anglia Ruskin University, University of Cambridge Museums with, Arm, Cambridge ConsultantsArts Council England and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.

Real Time Lab, 26 - 30 January 2015 at Anglia Ruskin University  

Real Time Lab brought together eight European artists from a range of disciplines to engage in an intensive week of activity focused on the emerging worlds of locative media and internet of things. A key point for the lab was to combine peer interaction with practical development of pilot projects. Artists attending gained insight into each other’s work including data visualisation, graphics for television, performance art, political engagement and site specific responses. You can read  more about Real Time Lab here.


Our fantastic partners are;






Media coverage

Programme launch and partner announcement: national press release

Datalab: Cambridge Independent 25 -31 January 2017

Datalab: Cambridge News Business section 27 January 2017