How do creative approaches to innovation drive new projects, ideas, businesses and artistic practices? As the creative and the digital economies continue to grow in size and importance to the UK, the question becomes more and more pertinent — for governments looking to drive sector-wide innovation, for businesses developing new products and services, and for artists seeking new ideas, challenges and creative projects.

The KTN addressed these issues at a half-day event hosted at the Digital Catapult in London. The event marked the culmination of the Arts and Technology programme, funded by Arts Council England and Innovate UK, and which…


VR image from CityMix Sao Paulo project

Beatrice Pembroke, Director of Creative Economy at the British Council, sets out their exciting programme of work on Creative Hubs

It’s no accident that the arts-and-tech pilot programme is being delivered through three of the most exciting creative organisations in the UK right now.

When Arts Council England, Innovate UK and the KTN set out to support innovation in arts, tech and business they did a clever thing by selecting Makerversity, Madlab and Near Now and giving them the freedom to decide how best to support new ideas and talent.

Each one is a different example of a trusted creative…


Callum Lee from BOP Consulting, and formerly of the European Creative Business Network, led the recent study visit to Amsterdam. Here he reflects on the increasing interest in arts and technology innovation across the EU.

Arts, Tech, Business

Across Europe, governments are putting greater emphasis on the potential benefits that collaborations between art, technology, and business can bring. This includes investigating and investing in the work of some world-leading institutions.

Culture is seen by governments of all levels as one of the Europe’s key strategic advantages, and a unique shared European asset. Reflecting this, there has been significant investment in…


Tom Campbell on how learning from the Arts and Tech programme can help change our perceptions about arts research

The notion of art as a form of research is hardly a new idea, arguably it goes back to Aristotle, but in recent years it has been given a particular impetus. As the creative economy has grown in importance, so too has a confidence that arts and humanities need not be dependent on research methodologies from other disciplines. Alongside this, there is a greater awareness that creative attributes and practices can form the basis for inquiry, generating knowledge and refining insight.


A Lab, Amsterdam

An intensive 24 hours in Amsterdam provided an ideal context for the first formal gathering of the partners participating in the Arts and Tech programme, being run by Arts Council England, Innovate UK and the KTN. Graham Hitchen describes a hugely valuable educational visit to the Dutch capital…

Visits to The Tolhuistuin, the Eye, and A-Lab — in buildings which were formerly on the site of Shell laboratories and which are becoming one of Amsterdam’s new cultural zones — to Fab City, Makerversity, and the Waag, provided the backdrop for a discussion on innovation challenges across arts and technology.


Graham Hitchen is a strategist who helps set-up and run complex projects — including the Arts and Technology Programme. He was Design and Innovation Project Director for the London Development Agency, and also the founding Director of Creative London.

Here, Graham describes how the Arts and Tech programme is responding to arts and technology today — and how the relationship between the two is more complex and fascinating than you might think….

The Arts and Tech ‘lab’

The programmes being piloted by MadLab, Makerversity and NearNow are aiming to test an approach to the development and support of innovation across arts and technology.


Suggesting topics for the unconference sessions at the residential event in February 2016

Lucy Sollitt is Arts Council England’s Creative Media Relationship Manager, London. Arts Council England is one of the three founding partners of the Arts and Technology pilot programme. Here, Lucy explains her involvement in the project, and how the programme will ask some pertinent questions about art’s role today.

The explosion of new technologies and online platforms has brought a mushrooming of creative practice at the intersection of art and technology, from bio-tech & data to gaming & networked performance. At the same time we’ve seen the growth of the much-hyped tech start up scene and the absorption of art — technologically enabled and otherwise — into popular culture, appropriation by brands and the emergence of new personalised creations.


Arts and Technology programme participants at the Residential event, February 2016

Matt Brown is Lead Technologist, Creative Industries at Innovate UK, one of the three founding partners of the Arts and Technology pilot programme. Here, he explains Innovate UK’s involvement, and what effects he hopes the programme will have…

The programme emerged out of the consultation and research the we undertook for Innovate UK’s most recent Creative Industries strategy.

The opportunities brought to the sector by digital technologies had developed to such an extend that it was no longer possible to continue to separate technology development from content creation and story-telling.


Frank Boyd, Director of the Creative Industries, Design and Digital Economy at the Knowledge Transfer Network

Frank Boyd is Director of the Creative Industries, Design and Digital Economy at the Knowledge Transfer Network, one of the three founding partners of the Arts and Technology pilot programme. Here, he explains the KTN’s involvement, and what effects he hopes the programme will have…

From a personal perspective, the drive for the programme is deep rooted.

I’ve been working on projects that explore the relationship between technology, art practice and the creative industries since setting up Artec, the first digital arts centre in the UK, over 25 years ago. That’s a mission I pursued in a number of roles in the arts sector, broadcast and audio visual industries before engaging in the wider industrial innovation work of the Knowledge Transfer Network and Innovate UK.

The origins of the current Art and Technology Programme are in the joint development by the Technology Strategy Board (now…


Suggestions for learning sessions at the Arts and Technology residential unconference, February 2016

The Arts and Technology programme is an exciting, pioneering pilot scheme designed to support innovation in arts practice, technology development and associated business models.

It’s organised by Arts Council England, Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network, and is being delivered by three regional partners: Makerversity in London, MadLab in Manchester and Near Now at The Broadway Arts Centre in Nottingham.

Arts and Technology

A pilot programme supporting innovation in art, technology and business involving Makerversity (London), MadLab (Manchester) and Near Now (Nottingham).

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