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Arts in Society Innovation Scheme

How can academics and artists work together to offer new critical perspectives on contemporary culture and society?

In 2017, King's launched a new programme in partnership with  Somerset House Studios that sought to inspire, facilitate and support new collaborations between King’s researchers from across the Arts & Sciences and the Studios’ hub of 100 resident artists and designers.


Now in its second iteration, the programme provides King's academic staff with the opportunity to collaborate with a Studio artist on the research and development of a creative idea that offers new critical perspectives on contemporary culture and society.

Themes include (but are not limited to): climate change; nature and the environment; migration; immigration and borders; identity and gender politics; mental health and science in society; feminism; diversity and race; how digital is shaping communities, industry and manufacture; IRL vs URL; international politics and how they shape UK society; radicalism and activism.


The programme

  • Connects King’s researchers from across the Arts & Sciences with artists and designers working in shared intellectual spaces

  • Supports the design and development of new collaborations between academics and artists

  • Seed-funds innovative proof-of-concept projects which test creative new ways of understanding, exploring and discussing contemporary social issues.

The 2018 programme included a series of evening networking events for King’s academics and Studio artists to get to know each other and explore their common interests. Each event was themed and involved 3 Studio artists and 3 or more King’s academics giving a short presentation on their work in a PechaKucha style. The themes for the event series were as follows:

1. Climate Change, Nature and Environment

2. Identity and Gender Politics

3. Mental Health and Science in Society

4. Migration, Immigration and Borders 

5. Technology and Digital Shaping Society


2018 projects

Following the networking events, an Ideas Lab was held in March 2018 which supported collaborations between King's academics and studio artists who'd connected at one of the themed evenings and helped to develop their thinking around a project idea through a facilitated process.

Seed-funding was awarded to the best arts in society proof of concept ideas that subsequently emerged and six projects are now underway:

  • Sense of Time, led by Professor Matthew Soteriou, Department of Philosophy (Faculty of Arts & Humanities) with Ted Hunt
    The project is both a physical and metaphysical investigation into the nature of how our individual and collective perception of time measurement influences and governs how we occupy time.

  • Mossi forecasts: reading weather in Burkina Faso, led by Camilla Audia and Frances Crowley, Department of Geography (Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy) with Maeve Brennan
    The project aims to provide a tangible understanding of climate change in the 'Anthropocene' by gathering personal testimonies and first-hand evidence of climate change from scientists and rural communities in Burkina Faso.

  • Euro-vision, or the making of the automated gaze, led by Dr Btihaj Ajana, Department of Digital Humanities (Faculty of Arts & Humanities) with FRAUD 
    The project examines the 'affects' that predictive technologies have in the emergence and evolution of migrant flows.

  • Technologically Fabricated Intimacy, led by Dr Alessandro Gandini, Department of Digital Humanities (Faculty of Arts & Humanities) with Marjia Bozinovska Jones
    The project will address the implications of hyper-connectivity in society by looking at blockchain-based dating apps to investigate ways users form intimate, technologically-mediated relationships.

  • 3 Days of Fat, led by Dr Charlotte Mills, Department of Nutritional Sciences (Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine) with Thought Collider
    The project will confront society's relationship with fat as substance through a live art-science research programme that will include a series of themed public experiments, performances and discussions.

2017 projects

The first iteration of the programme launched in Spring 2017 with a facilitated Open Space workshop which brought together over 70 academics from across King’s and artists from  Somerset House Studios. Six collaborations were supported through the programme, the outcomes from which were the following projects: 

  • Boom! The Politics of Black Sound, led by Dr madison moore, Department of English (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) with Evan Ifekoya.
    The project curated a series of public events around club culture and the politics of black queer sound.

  • The Filibuster, led by Professor Anna Snaith, Department of English (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) with Deborah Pearson.             
    The project was a durational piece that reflected on the comfort that Deborah Pearson has anecdotally observed when watching men think out loud in public settings, compared with the reticence she observes from women.

  • Food Fictions and Frictions, led by Dr Christine Barnes, Department of Geography (Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy) with Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta.
    The project explored the stories told about food through the media, and critically examined the impacts they are having on food culture and identity making.

  • Migrant Agency and the Moving Image, led by Dr Leonie Ansems de Vries, Department of War Studies (Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy) with Imran Perretta.
    Following on from the work of the King's Migration Research Group, the project explored the ongoing “refugee crisis” through the eyes of refugees themselves.

  • Rest in Public Space, led by Dr Luke Dickens, Department of Geography (Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy) with Anne Frobeen.             
    The project aimed to highlight the value of restorative public spaces by examining cultural attitudes towards public rest alongside a diverse range of personal tactics that people use to elicit a sense of calm or rest at the emotional and sensory level.

  • Work Out led by Dorothee Boulanger and Dr Alana Harris, Department of History (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) in collaboration with Phoebe Davies.
    The project sought to explore issues of masculinity, consent and male action to end sexual violence in education institutions by bringing together academics, artists, students, athletes and activists


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It was supported by the university's Culture team.

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