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07 June 2022

A New Chapter: six months of artist-researcher collaborations

King’s College London researchers and Somerset House Studios artists have been exploring new perspectives on contemporary culture and society through creative interdisciplinary practice.

Image of a board game with squares, lines, orange puns, cards and dice
Prototype game developed as part of the Live and Let Live project

This May, King’s and Somerset House Studios celebrated the progress of six funded artist-researcher collaborations in an inspiring showcase evening, bringing together a diverse audience of academic, arts and culture representatives.

Treated to presentations, live demonstrations, and digital and physical displays, the audience were given unique insight into the innovative experimentation and collaborative process between King’s researchers from the Arts & Sciences faculties and the Studios’ hub of resident artists and designers. Over the past six months, the artist-researcher teams have sought to foster new perspectives and understanding of contemporary culture and society through creative interdisciplinary practice.

It was a privilege to explore core concepts with Vivienne, ultimately crystallising ideas that greatly enrich my research. This can now reach wider audiences and has a chance of making a real impact. Getting the chance, at the showcase, to see the breadth of research and the ways in which art could communicate concepts was fascinating. It left me wondering, what more is possible?

Cari Hyde-Vaamonde, MERCY project, PhD Candidate, Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London

Spanning five faculties at King’s and crossing diverse academic and artistic practices from literature, law, astrophysics, business and global affairs to visual art, immersive experience, film, and gaming, the artist-researcher pairs have involved students, researchers, activists, community groups and members of the public in their exploratory practice. They have produced everything from digital archive interfaces mapping modes of political resistance, prototype board games and AI based visual games, to cosmic narratives around radio telescopes built by students.

Artists and academics having the opportunity to work together is integral to the wider creative ecology, producing unique perspectives and distinctive work, and we’re excited to see how these collaborations are progressing.

Marie McPartlin, Director of Somerset House Studios

You can read more about the project teams here:

Artefacts of Resistance: creating archives of transnational protest movements, by Dr Srilata Sircar from the King’s India Institute in the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy and Manu Luksch from Somerset House Studios, is a digital media archive documenting contemporary protest movements that builds on transnational solidarity networks.

Cosmic Wonder, by Dr Jeffrey Grube from the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences and Sonya Dyer from Somerset House Studios, uses the first radio telescope being built at King’s by students as the entry point for investigating the cosmos and the speculative narratives that this work inspires, exploring questions of space, futurity, race and gender.

The edge of the moment: kairos and climate crisis, by Dr Sarah Lewis, in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Sam Williams from Somerset House Studios, has been exploring the notion of kairos – the moment of opportunity – within the context of the current climate crisis through the lens of discussion, film and multi-sensory food experience.

Image from the showcase event
Image from the showcase event

Live and Let Live, a project by Dr Anna Dubiel from King’s Business School and Andy Merritt from Somerset House Studios. The collaboration has developed an interactive boardgame to help explain how micro-insurance to cover the cost of wildlife-related damage to crops or property can help humans and wildlife to live together in greater harmony.

MERCY, by Cari Hyde-Vaamonde from the Dickson Poon School of Law and Vivienne Griffin from Somerset House Studios, explores the little-known role of AI and algorithms in judicial systems. The team has created an interactive video game, which puts the player in the courtroom, and spotlights the distinct lack of mercy when machines are making the decisions in court.

Self-witness: countermapping the data politics of asylum, by Dr Lucrezia Canzutti from the Department of War Studies in the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy and Gary Zhexi Zhang from Somerset House Studios, aims to explore the crucial role of data in migrants’ asylum claims. This digital interface and installation of artefacts raises awareness of the very tangible effects that data has on asylum seekers’ lives.

The six King’s x Somerset House Studios projects present a fascinating range of contemporary enquiries, from new narratives about space to AI in the judicial system and the data politics of asylum and resistance. With a focus on collaboration and testing rather than final outputs, the projects serve as platforms to inspire collective imagination and shared futures, exploring new perspectives and partnerships and engaging with a range of communities and audiences.

Beatrice Pembroke, Executive Director, Culture at King’s College London

Going forward, project teams will continue to work together, developing further their collaborative practice and shared research, seeking new opportunities and cementing ideas in new projects and major funding bids.

Find out more

In this story

Srilata Sircar

Lecturer in India and Global Affairs

Sarah Lewis

Senior Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature

Lucrezia Canzutti

Research Associate

Jeffrey Grube

Senior Lecturer in Physics Education

Anna Dubiel

Senior Lecturer in Marketing

Beatrice Pembroke

Executive Director, Culture