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

Helping artists grow in a time of rapid change

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.

Lucy Sollitt

The context for this Arts and Technology pilot is one of rapid change and expansion. But artists have a long history of experimenting with technology in ways that are collaborative and antagonistic, presciently exploring new uses and reflecting on potential human impacts.

It is increasingly important for artists to be able to confidently assert their value in relation to current trends and generate income in order to continue and/or grow their practice. This is not about artists learning from tech and commercial models, but how these fields can learn from and challenge each other.

The pilot programme will help enrich the existing eco-system of artistic and creative practice. For the artists taking part, the programme will give them the tools, networks and advice necessary to develop new practices, ideas, products and services, building their business acumen in the process.

More broadly, it will also test funding models informing how Arts Council England, the Knowledge Transfer Network and Innovate UK can support this field to flourish in the future.

Artists, makers and creatives from the Madlab cohort

For the Arts Council, the pilot sits within our emerging Creative Industries agenda, though there is strong synergy with our Creative Media strategy. Specifically it addresses our goals around talent development, the creation of new work and building resilience across the arts.

Near Now, Madlab, and Makerversity are all taking different approaches to devising programmes which realise these principles, all informed by their expertise and networks. Between them, their programmes are developing an arts and technology studio, running a structured ‘accelerator’ and supporting broad cohorts of practitioners to develop specific areas of innovative work.

I hope the Art and Technology pilot programme will generate some insights into important questions about how artists can thrive and bring new perspectives on our tech enabled future.

this post was adapted from an article written by Lucy for the Creativeworks London blog