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Present Futures 2023 cohort

A first-of-its-kind collaborative short course on the impact of new technologies on contemporary art and its institutions, delivered by RCA Executive Education with Acute Art.


In a first-ever collaboration between the RCA and Acute Art, the inaugural "Present Futures: Virtual and Augmented Reality in Art" short course featured guest contributions from world-leading artists working in the field of augmented reality (AR), plus site visits to galleries and studios across London over five intensive days from 28 August to 3 September 2023.

Course Structure

Led by Daniel Birnbaum (Director, Acute Art) and John Slyce (School of Arts & Humanities, RCA) the course boasted interactive sessions with 17 guest speakers, including globally recognised artists Es Devlin, Olafur Eliasson and Brian Donnelly (KAWS); leading art world figures such as Hans Ulrich Obrist and Vignesh Sundaresan (Metakovan); and RCA academics.

Based at the 180 Strand creative hub (Acute Art headquarters) and the Royal College of Art Campuses, site visits to Serpentine South Gallery, the National Gallery, Outernet and the Gilbert and George Centre allowed participants to immerse themselves in 21st-century AR art in contemporary institutions.


Participants came away with an introductory understanding of the impact of immersive technologies and on contemporary art and its institutions, including: how today’s visual media (AR, VR and AI) will expand how we make, present and experience art; the curatorial significance of these new visual technologies and implications for cultural institutions regarding commissioning, curation and conservation; and how these new art forms might be shown, circulated and collected, and by whom.

Participants channelled these themes into the creation and presentation of a final digital project, showcasing the convergence of new technologies and artistic expression.

Find out more about the next course on 9, 10 & 13 May 2024.

Key details


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