FutureEverything: A study of artists/technology collaborations


The FutureEverything’s mission is to bring positive societal change through art, design and technology. We empower citizens by increasing access to and participation in digital arts and culture. Our vision is to become a UK leader in citizen led participatory design and the creation and production of groundbreaking digital art.


FutureEverything has been developing an Open Prototyping framework, an innovative evaluation tool and a structured process to introduce art, creativity and public participation into innovation in technology in general, and the Internet of Things in particular. Here, integrating art and technology allows the development and testing of concepts, ideas or processes without a concrete tie to a particular product or instrumental goal. The aim of this project is to underpin the framework by documenting and evaluating a series of exemplar projects.

We would like this REAlab project to demonstrate, through a series of case studies based on live projects developed as part of the Vertigo program (https://vertigo.starts.eu/) as well as on historic projects, how collaborations between artists and technology partners can stimulate technology innovation.

DESIRED PROJECT OUTCOMES (to be defined with team)

The team will use Open Prototyping as a framework to evaluate 3-5 of these projects. We would like the result to be in the form of case studies that propose approaches and methods that align with, implement and extend the Open Prototyping framework.

It is anticipated that the Open Prototyping framework is of interest to a wider audience than the academy. The demographic for studies that demonstrate the value of collaborations between artists and technology partners might include large technology corporations, SMEs, innovation organisations and funders, practicing artists, designers, cultural organisations or academic researchers in a variety of fields. As such, the language should be accessible and jargon be avoided. Case studies should be academically rigorous, and optionally also documented in a highly visual way to enable dissemination outside of the academy.

In addition, there is scope to extend the Open Prototyping framework through new approaches such as the exploration and application of appropriate ethnographic methods, or by use of the framework to uncover and examine new ethical questions regarding human/technology interaction.


  • Through its long history FutureEverything has access to an extensive literature review of past practice in the field of artist/technology collaboration. FutureEverything holds documentary evidence of a number of existing projects which can inform the nature of some or all of the case studies.
  • FutureEverything staff also have expertise in event planning, which may be of use for the suggested public dissemination events, or for collection of ethnographic data.
  • FutureEverything can provide introductions to artists and technology partners, alongside staff members who have undertaken producer roles in the creation of project artworks and those who have a pre-existing understanding of Open Prototyping as a methodology.
  • Depending on the projects selected with the team, travel may be required for case studies that may be based outside the UK. In such cases, where travel is outside the Greater Manchester region and required for the delivery of the project, FutureEverything can provide travel costs subject to previous agreement.


It is essential that the team as a whole can demonstrate design research skills in developing, iterating and evaluating against design frameworks, methodologies and process models. Ideally the team will be multi-disciplinary in skillset, as the hybrid nature of the projects to be evaluated invites cross-disciplinary interventions. The team should demonstrate an openness to their individual approach to the framework, one that sees the crossing of boundaries as a route which encourages co-production, creativity and collaboration between disciplines.

Particular disciplines that would add value to this project could include, but not be limited to:

  • technology studies
  • computer science
  • engineering
  • cultural studies
  • philosophy of technology
  • art history
  • art curation
  • performance studies.

Specific areas of research that are of particular interest to this project would include curatorial research on new media art and socially engaged art; ethics of trust factors in the Internet of Things; social science research on the challenges of user acceptance in the realms of the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, with particular emphasis on the engineering and computer science factors integral to the Internet of Things development cycle.

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