Award-winning festival is putting Leicester on the map

An award-winning festival that combines artificial intelligence, art and cutting-edge computer scientists is putting Leicester on the map.

The Art AI Festival, which is run by Professor Tracy Harwood of the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been invited to be part of a network of the UK’s top science festivals.

ARTAI main pic

The UK Science Festivals Network Association is run by the British Science Association, supported by the UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome Trust. It exists to promote science and help festivals gain new audiences by showcasing some of the best work happening today.

Membership means the Art AI Festival will have the chance to work with the network to grow, be a voice for science, have access to funded projects and work with other festivals to promote best practice.

Professor Harwood said: “Being a member is a commitment to knowledge exchange.  Of course, it's what the Art AI Festival was specifically set up to do - generate public engagement with AI.  The Association is especially interested in the niche focus we have on creative AI, because many of the creatives we draw on are leading computer scientists developing AIs and applications too, and others are more creative practice led who looking to expand their technology knowledge.”

ARTAI lampost

The Art AI Festival began in 2018. Partners are Highcross, Phoenix Cinema and Luba Elliott, an independent curator specialising in AI and supporters include Arts Council England, Leicester City Council, Haymarket, LCB Depot and De Montfort University. Featured artists in the 2021 programme include Alexander Mordvintsev who invented Google’s DeepDream algorithm which has become a key milestone in the development of creative applications of artificial intelligence. Creative AI artworks and installations have been shown across Leicester since May 2021, running until March 2022, coinciding with some artworks being co-located at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Luba Elliott, who has been the Festival’s creative AI curator since the beginning, said: “I'm thrilled that our Art AI Festival is now part of the UK Science Festival Network Association.  As a festival showcasing the latest art projects made with artificial intelligence, we help the public better understand and engage with this technology. For us, the UK Science Festival Network Association presents great opportunities for shared learnings, growth and collaboration.”

James Burkmar, Manager of LCB Depot where the Festival’s Cities Tango installation is currently being shown, added: "Since 2016 LCB has consciously repositioned itself as a hub for the creative industries. However this is not a sole venture - partnerships are key. As lead instigator and enabler of the formidable Art AI Festival, beating a path to Tracy's door was critical.  Art AI provides colour, excitement, and great content with an international reach. We are lucky to have it and we will continue to find new ways to work together to make that which is amazing everyday - for academia, for businesses and for our citizens."

Mike Dalzell, Director of Tourism, Culture and Investment at Leicester City Council, added: “Leicester has a tremendous track record for celebrating festivals that reflect our diverse cultures and use all the creative disciplines. It is particularly exciting that the Art AI programmes have been recognised as a worthy member of the UK Science Festivals Network.  This can only add weight to the appeal and reach of the events which are invariably ground breaking and engage people with science and technologies in new and innovative ways.”

Antonio Benitez , of the UK Science Festival Network, said: “The Network brings festivals together to share knowledge and experience and facilitates partnerships and collaboration through our projects.

“ We are looking forward to have our colleagues from the Art AI Festival on board and to have the opportunity to learn more from them about the fascinating world of Artificial Intelligence and how it is being used  today in filmmaking, music, architecture and art.

Click here find out more about the Art AI Festival 2021-22 programme  and follow on Twitter @ArtAIFestival,, and Instagram @ArtAIFestLeics.  Prof Tracy Harwood can be contacted on

Posted on Monday 24th January 2022

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