Institute of Creative Technologies projects

Current work of the Institute of Creative Technologies involves projects in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality, Digital Art, Digital Performance, Holography, Interaction Design, The Internet of Things, Smart Cities and 3D Imaging.



DigiScore is a five-year, European Research Council project based at De Montfort University. The project has launched the first scientific investigation into the transformation of the music score through computational technologies.

Headed up by PI, Prof. Craig Vear, DigiScore is in collaboration with leading experts from across the globe. International partners include, Prof. Dr. Li Xiaobing, Central Conservatory of Music, (China), Dr. Cat Hope, Monash University (Australia), Prof. Dr. Kenneth Fields, University of California at Santa Barbara (USA) and Prof. Dr. Sandeep Bhagwati, Concordia University (Canada).

The core aims of the project are to:

(1) determine scientific knowledge of how digital scores stimulate new creative opportunities and experiences within a range of music practices,

(2) develop a theoretical framework for digital scores as an important transdisciplinary area of research,

(3) build a scientific study of inclusive digital musicianship through the transformative potential of the digital score.

Digital Culture and Smart Cities

An ongoing project involving a number of activities that explore the roles of digital culture in the development of our future 'smart cities'. The project originated in the IOCT's hosting of a seminal conference (funded by #DMULocal and the Confucius Institute) at Phoenix Leicester in 2016 which explored the implications for cities of the rapid developments in creative technologies practices.Related to this project, Harwood directed the first Art-AI Festival in Leicester, which took place in May 2018, working in collaboration with Highcross Leicester (Hammersons Plc), Phoenix and Luba Elliott (organizer of the London Meetup on Art-AI).  With two public installations and a series of seminars, performance and workshops, the event attracted considerable public attention.  For further information about the festival, visit to the project website.

H Space 

H Space  is  an  augmented  reality  art  project  being  developed  with  the  collaboration  of  Microsoft Research  Asia,  Tsinghua  University  and  Guangdong  University  of  Technology.  It  uses  the  Microsoft  HoloLens  to  add  a  virtual  artwork  to  the  audience’s  environment.  Building  on  Ernest  Edmonds  earlier  Cities  Tango  works  and  his  collaboration  with  Sean  Clark, H  Space  adds  a  dynamic  wall  of  colours  that  shift  and  change  as  the  wearer  of  the  HoloLens  moves  around.  The  first  version  of  this  work  was  shown  in  the  Art  Gallery  at  SIGGRAPH2018  in  Vancouver. 

Living with the Internet of Things

This project is an ongoing area of investigation into how the IoT will influence us as consumers.  An extended programme of research, the focus of the work is on how we trust services realized through a technology system enabled by sensors, how we understand risk and uncertainty in a context of service failure, and the implications for how we manage privacy and security.  The project is a collaboration with the University of Otago's (New Zealand) Dr Tony Garry, a researcher in their Department of Marketing.  The project's multimedia outputs were funded by University of Otago and the main survey data collection was supported by InternetNZ.

Machinima: Investigating the Cultural Values

This project investigated the cultural impacts of machinima (machine cinema).  The project was funded as part of the Arts & Humanities Research Council's Cultural Values project.  Machinima is a relatively recent cultural phenomenon, born on the internet but which can now be experienced at a variety of events such as digital arts media and film festivals around the world, as well as online in community and gaming fora. The project was developed from a long-standing interest in the machinima phenomenon, with Harwood having directed the First European Machinima Festival at the IOCT in 2007, and subsequently published a number of articles on its development and impacts. The full research findings are reported on the project website, along with examples of machinima and machinima outputs.

Pervasive Theatre

This project explored the opportunities and implications of transmedia performance environments. This article centres on the experimental Pervasive Theatre project (Assault Events 2014, commissioned by futuredream funded through Arts Council England), which explored the potential of online social tools to create a multimedia, collaborative and participatory work situated across multiple platforms. This project brought together researchers, artists, writers, technologists and practitioners from the interdisciplinary fields of digital writing, transmedia and performance to explore ways to develop narratives that weave together physical and online worlds, blurring the distinction between reality and fantasy, audience and performers in a way that would be exciting, immersive and participative.

Pop Up Play

Pop Up Play is an open source mixed-reality software system developed in a research partnership between Prof Craig Vear, The Spark Arts (Leicester) and DotLib (software developer). The Pop Up Play system and pedagogic framework supports creative play for children through its immersive learning environment and mixed reality system. This flexible system could be based on children's books, gallery or museum exhibits, theatrical productions, or curriculum topics and can immerse participants in projected images and worlds for creative play and open-ended learning. 

Shaping  Space

Shaping  Space  is  an  installation  that  was  initially  commissioned  for  Ernest  Edmonds’ Site  Gallery  Sheffield  solo  exhibition,  Light  Logic  (2012-13).   The  work  was  supported  both  by  the  Arts  Council  of  England  and  by  the  Henry  Moore  Foundation.  It  is  a  representation  of  computed  life,  moving  and  changing  of  its  own  accord  but  maturing  and  developing  as  a  result  of  the  movement  of  the  audience.  Following  the  first  exhibition  of  Shaping  Space  at  Site  Gallery,  it  has  been  shown  in  Sydney,  Olomouc,  Riga,  Rio  de  Janeiro  and  Venice. 

The Living Score

The living score is a practice-based research project at the intersection of digital music composition, performance embodiment, and AI. Through a series of compositional prototypes the notion of a cooperative and collaborative music system that co-creates within the flow of music performance is implemented and evaluated with professional musicians. This research has led to the creation of a research monograph called The Digital Score (Routledge), and a series of commissions from international artists and festivals. Link to premiere performance of 'Black cats and Blues' (2018)