Barbican launches design accelerator programme

Alt.Barbican will give designers and creatives access to industry experts, and enable them to pursue projects on topics such as wearable technology and artificial intelligence.

Dries Depoorter, Seattle Crime Cams

The Barbican has introduced a new art and design accelerator initiative, which will allow creatives to develop projects encompassing everything from artificial intelligence (AI) to wearable technology.

The London-based arts and learning organisation has launched the Alt.Barbican accelerator in collaboration with creative hub The Trampery.

Applicants for Alt.Barbican were required to submit a range of project proposals in response to the theme of “the subversion of reality”.

Senior producer at the Barbican, Sidd Khajuria, says: “The launch of Alt.Barbican attracted a huge number of exciting applications from artists whose work bridges multiple disciplines across the worlds of technology, business and the arts.

“The Barbican’s vision is ‘arts without boundaries’ and it’s vital that we – as a cross-arts centre – continue to support emerging areas of practice.”

Five designers and creatives are set to take part in the first round of the accelerator, after being selected from more than 230 applicants.

These include designer, maker and coder Ling Tan, who is interested in how people interact with the built environment and wearable tech, and media artist Dries Depoorter, whose previous projects include an AI-powered camera that analyses photos compared to previous World Press Photo winners and only saves the ones that are of a similar quality.


Other creatives chosen to take part in the first round of the accelerator include games designer Henry Driver, Magz Hall and Jasmine Johnson.

The five creatives will take part in workshops led by organisations such as Arts Council England on subjects including networking, pitching and presenting. Other sessions will cover topics such as fundraising, working internationally and audience development.

In August, the creatives will show their work at Montreal-based digital arts and electronic music festival Mutek.

They will also have the opportunity to apply for a further £7,500 worth of funding, which will be used to help them produce a piece or body of work to be shown at the Barbican.

The Trampery founder Charles Armstrong, says: “We will be borrowing skills and ideas from the start-up world to deliver a programme which encourages an entrepreneurial mindset, as well as providing access to tools to help make their practices more sustainable.”

Ling Tan, Transformer (photo by Umbrellium)
Henry Driver, Second Skin
Jasmine Johnson, installation at Jerwood Project Space (Photo by Hydar)
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