Cyber North have worked with the University of Sunderland Creative Fuse Team to support a vibrant group of local artists and practitioners from across the North East as a part of our Cyber Eyes Wide Open programme.
Between July and September 2021, Cyber Eyes Wide Open brought together number of cyber security companies and a talented group of regional artists to explore representations of cyber security. The aim of the project was to offer creative insight into how cyber security maybe better understood and to offer visualisations and stories that could enable communication and insight from a fresh perspective. The project team offered a series of facilitated workshops and in groups our artists, university academics and companies raised four projects, looking at cyber security and the young, cybersecurity and humanity, hidden layers and animations. The projects delivered over 40 artworks, two exhibitions with over 200 visitors and a knowledge exchange event. We explored new opportunities for artists to inform business, to work together and start new work.
The goal of Cyber Eyes Wide Open was to explore a deeper relationship between art and technology business, to access new income generation niches for regional artists and to improve routes for businesses to better communicate issues of technologies to customers and the public. Our workshops facilitated engagement between academics artists and the creative Fuse team where shared experiences, inspirations and skills brought variety to works and allowed innovation in thinking, medium and scale. The works spanned glass, ceramics, paint, photography, performance, video, poetry and printing.
Our weekly sessions were framed around the participants discussing their progress with their work and preparing to reveal the outputs for their partner businesses at the end of each month. The monthly reveal meetings allowed the businesses to respond to the progress of the work and to confirm the content. We also prepared for the exhibitions and offered support in terms of being able feedback to dynamo and the Creative Fuse project.
Cyber Eyes Wide Open has opened up space for dialogue, sparking new connections and collaborations, centring the voices of the businesses throughout the programme. The workshops have begun to tease out valuable themes such as collaborative working and the value of cultural assets in enabling understanding of complex issues, and the importance of engaging new ways to tell stories, in this case, of Cyber security. Our emergent informal network of artists is contributing to further developments in new commercial opportunities being raised in Sunderland, the Christmas@Hope Street market was a first step towards developing a new opportunity for commercialisation. This network innovation is as much about ideas and exchanging knowledge and sharing learning as it is about ‘harder’ outcomes like developing new products and services. We will be offering a second phase of commissions for 2022 where we hope to engage with new artists companies and questions to be explored.