Innovation & Enterprise


Art (I)Relevance: AI and art futures symposium

12 September 2019, 10:00 am–6:00 pm

Black and white photo of a circuit board © Jake Elwes

The inaugural 'AI and art futures symposium' will explore the interplay of art market futures, art and data, and the role of the tangible and intangible artefact. Attendance is by invitation only.

Event Information

Open to

Invitation Only


UCL and Arts Council England


Barbican Centre
Silk Street


This one-day event will bring together leading international speakers to discuss:

  • historical and emergent digital arts practice
  • art market trends
  • data driven innovation for makers and public and private audiences.

Panel discussions will respond to sector themes and technological innovation. 

A prototype lab will offer a space to test and share emerging content and concepts from industry and academia. 

This event is supported by Arts Council England and will take place at the Barbican, London.


The event will explore the following topics:

  • How the democratisation of art is shaping art markets: What are the current themes emerging from the art markets and how is digitalisation shaping future interactions?
  • Technological advances and the experience of art: Data driven opportunities and considerations for the collector.
  • Will blockchain save art? Next phase perspectives on blockchain for artists and markets.
  • Digital futures, materiality and added value: When data is a medium for artistic expression, is there a future for the material artefact? 

There'll also be a prototype lab and a drinks reception in the Barbican Conservatory to test emerging content from industry and academia.

Who it’s for

Contributors and guests at this event will include artists, collectors and those working in museums, galleries, policy and academia.


Speakers will include:

  • Adriano Torcello di Picinati, Director, Deloitte Art and Finance
  • Bernadine Brocker-Wieder, CEO, Vastari Group
  • Professor Chris Salter, Artist, Professor of Computation Arts, Concordia University
  • Mary-Alice Stack, Chief Executive, Creative United
  • Kadine James, Creative Tech Lead, Hobs3D
  • Simon Cane, Executive Director, UCL Culture
  • Professor Miguel Rodrigues, Information Theory and Processing, UCL
  • Nick Lambert, Director of Research, Ravensbourne
  • Tonya Nelson, Director Arts Technology and Innovation, Arts Council England
  • Lawrence Chiles, Head of Digital Services, The National Gallery
  • Melanie Lenz, Digital Art Curator, V&A
  • Dr Anna Donovan, Vice Dean (Innovation), Lecturer in Law, UCL
  • Mark Waugh, Business Development Director, DACS 
  • Amanda Gray, Partner, Mischon de Reya LLP
  • Robert Norton, Founder and CEO, Verisart
  • Kieren Reed, Director, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL
  • Phaedra Shanbaum, Lecturer, Digital Art, UCL Knowledge Lab
  • Professor Jon Thomson, Artist, Thomson and Craighead, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL
  • Alison Craighead, Artist, Thomson & Craighead
  • Professor Deepa Mann-Klerr, Visiting Professor in Immersive Futures, Ulster University
  • Jake Elwes, Artist
  • Natalie Kane, Curator of Digital Design, V&A
  • Alastair MacKinven, Artist at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL
Prototype lab contributors 

The prototype lab contributors are:

  • Cecilie Waagner
  • Gibson Martelli
  • Paul O'Dowd
  • Graham Fink
  • Rachel Ara
  • Nick Lambert
  • Shama Rahman
  • Michael Takeo
  • Analema Group
  • Francesca Perona
  • Vastari
  • Mark Farid
  • Susan Lechelt
  • Hobs 3D
  • Routledge
  • Chao Zhou
  • Arius Technology
  • Verisart
  • Hallidonto 
  • Art Market Research
  • Jonathan Rankin (on behalf of Design Informatics)

Date and times

The symposium will take place on Thursday, 12 September 2019, from 10am to 6pm.

Register your interest

This event is open to invited guests only. If you're interested in attending, please email p.cadenhead@ucl.ac.uk

Photo © Jake Elwes


    About the Speakers

    Alastair MacKinven

    Artist at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL

    Alastair is an artist teacing at Slade School of Fine Art. Recent shows include a debut exhibition in New York at Reena Spaulings (2017). Previous solo shows include 'not liver again said the eagle to Prometheus' (at an unnamed space in London, 2016), 'When the Schtick Hits the Fan at Salon 4/London' (2014), 'Alastair Mackinven’s New Chinese Art at Curtat Tunnel/Lausanne' (2013), and 'New Wave of British Heavy Painting at City of London Art/London' (2012).

    He is also a member of the band The Country Teasers and as a co-founder of NANG Gallery (with Ben Wallers and Merlin Carpenter). 

    Dr Anna Donovan

    Vice Dean (Innovation), Lecturer in Law at UCL

    Anna a lecturer at the Faculty of Laws, UCL, where she was the inaugural Vice Dean (Innovation). She's also a Research Associate at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies. Anna is a member of the UK LawTech Delivery Panel where she chairs the Education Taskforce and a member of the BSI Steering Group developing industry standards for the utilisation of smart contracts. 

    She regularly advises global law firms, tech companies and financial organisations on the adoption and regulation of LawTech and distributed ledger technologies, with a particular focus on smart contracts.

    Anna is a qualified solicitor in England and Wales (currently non-practising), having spent eight years in corporate practice prior to academia.  Anna is also admitted as an attorney-at-law in New York.  

    Bernadine Brocker-Wieder

    CEO at Vastari Group

    Bernadine is CEO and Co-Founder of Vastari Group, an online platform securely connecting private collectors of art, exhibition producers, venues and museums for exhibition loans and tours. She was a founding member of the team at Trinity House gallery on Maddox Street in London, has worked to represent illustrators at Traffic Creative Management agency and facilitated museum exhibition design at Ralph Appelbaum Associates in New York.

    She's a member of the Professional Advisors to the International Art Market, the Association of Women in the Arts and the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars.

    Professor Chris Salter

    Professor of Computation Arts at Concordia University

    Chris is an artist, professor of computation arts at Concordia University in Montreal and Co-Director of the Hexagram network for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technology.

    He completed his PhD in directing/dramatic criticism at Stanford University where he also researched and studied at CCMRA. His work has been seen all over the world at such venues as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Barbican Centre, Chronus Art Center Shanghai, among many others. He is the author of Entangled (MIT Press, 2010) and Alien Agency (MITP, 2015). His new book project on machine and human sensing will appear from MIT Press in 2020.

    Professor Deepa Mann-Klerr

    Visiting Professor in Immersive Futures at Ulster University

    Deepa is CEO of Neon an immersive health technology company, Visiting Professor in Immersive Futures with Ulster University, a Diversity & Inclusion Consultant and an award winning visual artist.

    As a thought leader she regularly keynotes at conferences on the intersection and forecasting of creativity, technology, innovation, diversity, health, wellbeing and storytelling.

    As an artist she has a strong focus on public art neon installations, notably Lumiere Durham 2019, London 2016, and 2013 in Derry/Londonderry UK City of Culture. Deepa authored the first report into racism in NI "Out Of The Shadows” in 1998.

    Jake Elwes


    Jake graduated with a BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art (UCL), London in 2017, having also attended SAIC, Chicago (Erasmus), in 2016 and Central St Martins (foundation) in 2012. 

    Jake’s recent works have looked at Artificial Intelligence, investigating the technology, philosophy and ethics behind it.

    He's exhibited in the UK and internationally, including the ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; CyFest, Venice; Edinburgh Futures Institute, UK; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany; Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2017, Newcastle & London, UK; Ars Electronica 2017, Linz, Austria; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; City Loop, Barcelona; Nature Morte, Delhi, India and the Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI), Cambridge, UK.

    Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead

    at Thomson & Craighead

    Jon and Alison work across video, sound, sculpture, installation and online space, using technology as a means to reformulate fundamental human questions for contemporary times.

    The duo create generative visual and musical systems that employ chance operations as a means to cut loose from the confines of traditional narrative, re-contextualising the familiar to allow for new readings of known structures and situations. They've shown extensively at galleries, film festivals and for site-specific commissions in the UK and internationally. 

    Kadine James

    Creative Tech Lead at Hobs3D

    Kadine is a prominent UK tech evangelist, combining seven years' experience in 3D printing, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. She's committed to the next generation #Immersive #Creatives #Makers #Designers #VR artists/gamers.

    Kadine sits on the Tech and Media Boards at Ravensbourne University and is the CEO and Founder of the Immersive Kind Collective, a social enterprise which brings together artists and creatives that are using technology in their practice. Kadine is UK Chair of Women in 3D Printing a global platform which inspires, encourages and supports Women working rapid prototyping technologies. 

    Kieren Reed

    Director at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL

    Kieren's art research encompasses sculpture, public art, performance and installation, from studies in form to the production of architectural structures. His art is most often linked to a process, place, site or a consideration of a space or situation.

    Kieren Reed works individually and in collaboration with artist Abigail Hunt. Recent projects and commissions have included Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Folkestone Triennial, Whitstable Biennale, Focal Pont Gallery, Camden Arts Centre, Ikon Gallery, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Artsway, Herbert Read Gallery, Gasworks and Studio Voltaire.

    Lawrence Chiles

    Head of Digital Services at The National Gallery

    Lawrence has over 15 years’ experience delivering large-scale digital projects for cultural and arts organisations including the BBC, Disney, Discovery, British Council, DACS, Royal Museums Greenwich and the National Gallery.

    Mary-Alice Stack

    Chief Executive at Creative United

    Mary-Alice is Chief Executive of Creative United, a community interest company that supports economic growth and social impact in the arts, cultural and creative industries across the UK.

    Prior to Creative United, she spent eight years working for Arts Council England leading on the development of a range of pioneering public engagement and access to finance initiatives.

    Mary-Alice is a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art and a Trustee of the charity New Contemporaries which supports the professional development and career opportunities of fine art graduates from across the UK.

    Melanie Lenz

    Digital Art Curator at Victoria and Albert Museum

    Before joining the V&A, Melanie was a curatorial fellow at the Barbican Art Gallery with over 10 years of experience working in the museum sector curating, commissioning and delivering imaginative education projects.

    Her interests include early digital art practices and contemporary visual culture. She co-curated 'Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers' (2018) and has published papers on Early Argentine computer art (2018), Women, Art & Technology (2014), Collecting and conserving born digital art (2011).

    She has initiated art partnerships with a variety of organisations including Women Who Code and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

    Natalie Kane

    Curator of Digital Design at Victoria and Albert Museum

    Natalie is responsible for the acquisition, care and display of the museum's digital design collection. She was curator of the UK entry to the 2019 Milan Triennale with the work of Forensic Architecture.

    She's a visiting tutor at the London College of Communication and the Institute of European Design in Barcelona, and an Advisory Board member of the Society for Computers and Law. In 2019 she received the Art Fund New Collecting Awards for her work developing digital design collections at the V&A.

    Dr Nick Lambert

    Director of Research at Ravensbourne University London

    Nick is Director of Research at Ravensbourne University London. He's also Chair of the Computer Arts Society and studies art and technology, in terms of the digital medium in contemporary art and visual culture. Through this, he engages with questions about the boundary between “fine” and “applied” arts, design and interfaces.

    He's written on the history of computer art and curates exhibitions with artists and theorists in this field. He has also developed interests in the evolution of immersive visual technologies and exhibited artworks in New York and London.

    Phaedra Shanbaum

    Lecturer, Digital Art at UCL Knowledge Lab

    Phaedra is a lecturer on the MA Digital Media, Cultural Theory and Education MA at the Knowledge Lab at UCL. From 2006 to 2008, she co-curated and co-directed Axiom Gallery for new and experimental media in Boston, MA and has organised exhibitions and screenings at various galleries, venues and Festivals in the US and Europe.

    Her current research links media and cultural theory and art history to computer science practices, exploring questions surrounding the ever-changing relationship between the human body and technology

    Simon Cane

    Executive Director at UCL Culture

    Simon leads UCL Culture, a multifaceted department that uses cultural assets in the form of historic and contemporary collections, performance spaces, public art and knowhow to engage and connect UCL research with the world.

    He previously developed a career in the museums sector starting out as a conservator before diversifying into other roles across a range of institutions before moving to UCL in 2015.

    Whilst Simon’s background is in material culture and its preservation, he is
    equally interested in the power of knowledge and culture, their production, their
    sharing and their impact. 

    Tonya Nelson

    Director Arts Technology and Innovation at Arts Council England

    Tonya is the first Director of Arts Technology and Innovation at Arts Council England after coauthoring the DCMS policy report Culture is Digital.

    She's held a number of leadership positions since entering the cultural sector, including acting as Director of Museums and Cultural Programmes at University College London (UCL).

    She is currently Chair of the Bomb Factory Arts Foundation board of trustees, Chair of the UK Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM UK), and sits on the board trustees of The National Gallery.