Join creative workshops on sustainable digital research infrastructure.

Artist Paul Millhouse-Smith has been commissioned by the UKRI Net Zero Digital Research Infrastructure Scoping Project to inspire collective action on sustainable digital research infrastructure.

We are encouraging a wide range of people, at any career stage and from any research area, to join one of four creative workshops facilitated by Paul, in January and February 2023. These participatory workshops, as well as creative exercises to complete in your own time, will help to shape and create Paul’s final art piece.

Are you involved in undertaking research or supporting research? Do you have a particular interest in digital research infrastructure and net zero?

Register your interest to attend a creative workshop.

Sustainable digital research infrastructure

From supercomputers to staff laptops, we are working towards making all the digital tools and practices used for UK research carbon neutral. A roadmap towards carbon neutral digital research infrastructure will be developed, with involvement of UK researchers from across disciplines, and take an integrated and coordinated approach.

To meet the ambitious sustainability target – of reaching net zero digital research infrastructure by 2040 – a broad transformation will be required. The arts have a role in this transformation as a medium through which people can consider their values, shift attitudes, reflect on issues, and find connection.

Art to inspire collective action

Paul Millhouse-Smith is a multi-disciplinary artist and technologist who explores our relationship with the past and new technologies. In response to our project, Paul has envisaged physical and virtual artworks that will stimulate engaging conversations across the research community – and encourage people to look at the challenge of net zero for digital research infrastructure from a fresh perspective.

Inspired by some of the world’s earliest examples of narrative art and information sharing via pottery, the physical artwork will combine researcher’s experiences and perspectives on the Net Zero ambition with cutting-edge 3D ceramic printing technology to create six one-metre-high vases. As a sustainable material clay has the ability to change and take on different forms, whilst providing a canvas for designs derrived through the participatory workshop series. Using clay for this commission is a metaphor for lasting change – and the change that is required for reaching net zero digital research infrastructure.

The virtual aspect of the commission will be a 3D playable virtual environment, to be experienced through a web browser, virtual reality headset, or film projections. Hologram-like versions of the vases will also be displayed inside a re-imagined digital infrastructure. This virtual interface offers an alternate way for people to engage with the artworks in their own time and place.

The development phase of the commission runs from November 2022 to June 2023, and will culminate in an immersive installation and visitor experience in summer 2023 at The Reel Store – the UK’s first permanent digital art gallery, in Coventry.

Creative participatory workshops – register your interest to attend

The creative workshops series is for people from across the UK digital research infrastructure community. Through making sessions facilitated by Paul the workshops are an opportunity to share and capture conversations related to critical decisions around the work we do.

The themes explored include our values and perceptions of the importance of: research, digital infrastructure, and the world we live in – in the context of our rapidly changing climate.

Using a variety of techniques – like observational drawing, mark making and collage – we will think about the impressions we make and the legacy that we leave behind.

Throughout the workshop, participants will be encouraged to think about existing or speculative contributions to the digital research infrastructure roadmap, and to contribute to lively and open discussion.

You will need some paper, pencils and pens – or you can use some of your own art supplies if you have them.

Each workshop will be about 3 hours, and held online using Zoom.

There are four workshops available, and participants only need to attend one:

  • Friday 27 January 1-4pm
  • Monday 30 January 1-4pm
  • Friday 3 February 10am-1pm
  • Tuesday 7 February 10am-1pm
  • If you are unable to attend any of these dates, there will be an opportunity to complete some of the creative exercises ‘offline’ in your own time.

Find out more information and register your interest via the online form, and please indicate if you would like to join a workshop or complete the exercises in your own time.

Further information

For workshop-related questions, media enquiries, or questions about the UKRI Net Zero Digital Research Infrastructure Scoping Project and the art commission, contact CEDA’s Communication’s Manager Poppy Townsend (via the CEDA helpdesk).