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Courtesy Bjarne Melgaard and Acute Art
Next course starts 9 May 2024

An introduction to the fascinating world of VR/AR/AI and how these new technologies are changing contemporary art and its institutions, delivered in collaboration with Acute Art.

Key details


  • Early bird fee: £1,800 - ends 29 February 2024
  • Regular fee: £2,000 - from 1 March 2024


  • RCA Battersea campus, and off-site visits around London

    9, 10 & 13 May 2024

    10.00am – 5pm BST daily



Providing unparalleled access to globally recognised artists, designers, entrepreneurs and art world practitioners involved in the field of Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), this three-day course is led by John Slyce (Senior Tutor, RCA School of Humanities) and Daniel Birnbaum (Artistic Director, Acute Art).

World-leading speakers will deliver each session, with site visits across London to map the production and reception of 21st century VR/AR art.

Confirmed guest contributors you will interact with in-person or online on the 2024 programme include:

Disclaimer: The list of contributors is subject to change depending on availability.

These individuals will share how they are engaging with, exhibiting, collecting, negotiating and understanding the impact of these new technologies on the art world ecosystem. This marks the second iteration of the collaboration between the world's leading university for Art and Design, the RCA and preeminent producer and platform for VR in an art context, Acute Art.

Read course leader John Slyce's thought piece on modern technology in the artworld.

About the course

This short course has been designed for those interested in or curious about the intersection of VR/AR/AI and contemporary art, including its production, presentation, experience, collection and conservation.

This would include but not be limited to:

  • Artists/digital makers
  • Gallerists
  • Collectors
  • Technologists
  • Those interested in digital technologies and art
  • Those interested in NFTs, blockchain and art
  • Postgraduate level students or undergraduates preparing for Master’s study

In an exclusive small group setting, you will receive and reflect on new ways to understand, appreciate and negotiate the impact of new technologies in art and the cultural realm.

This course will offer multiple perspectives on the following core questions:

  • How will today’s visual media (AR, VR and AI) expand how we make, present and experience art?
  • How might the virtual turn change the nature of art, just as photographic techniques and mass distribution altered our understanding of what an artwork can be across the 19th and 20th centuries?
  • What are the curatorial significance of these new visual technologies and implications for cultural institutions and their professional staff in commissioning, curation and conservation?
  • How will these new art forms be shown, circulated and collected, and by whom?

Participants who complete the course will receive an RCA certificate of attendance.

Learning takes place over 3 days in person, participants get taught as a group and work in smaller teams.

The sessions include a mix of:

  • Talks
  • Practical exercises
  • Collaborative workshops, including creative briefs that invite participants to generate a curation of AR works they place throughout London through Acute’s award-winning app
  • Final crit of project presentations, with feedback and commentary provided from Daniel Birnbaum and John Slyce.

Day 1: 9 May

RCA Battersea campus 10am – 5pm BST

Theme: Introduction to VR/AR in an Art Context and Acute/RCA collaboration

  • Presentations from keynote speakers
  • Introduction to producing VR projects: Daniel Birnbaum and John Slyce

Day 2: 10 May

Acute Art, 180 The Strand & off-site visits 10am – 5pm BST

Theme: Intimations of the Virtual - VR/AR and Public and Private Realms–values, experiences, makers and markets

  • Visits to studio: Es Devlin, Artist
  • Visit to galleries around London, with keynote speakers
  • Rodrigo Marques, CTO of Acute Art
  • Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator and Director of the Serpentine Gallery

Day 3: 13 May

RCA Battersea campus 10am – 5pm BST

  • Group workshops, producing VR projects
  • Presentations from keynote speakers
  • Final crit of project presentations, with feedback and commentary provided from Daniel Birnbaum and John Slyce
  • Certificates and closing drinks

Disclaimer: The information given is accurate at the time of publication, however, the RCA reserves the right to amend the described course as circumstances dictate.

The short course will be based at the RCA, Battersea Campus with a day held at Acute Art headquarters at 180 The Strand, Temple, London WC2R 1EA. This iconic Brutalist building has been transformed into the preeminent creative cultural hub in London.

Daily site visits during the 2023 course included Outernet, Serpentine Gallery, and the Gilbert and George Foundation. 2024 site visits to be confirmed.

Key contributors for this short course include:

Disclaimer: The list of contributors is subject to change depending on availability.

Participants must be 21 years or over.

English language requirement: Course participants should be proficient in spoken English and feel comfortable participating in group discussions in English.

The RCA’s state-of-the-art research and innovation Battersea campus was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, and includes the RCA's Computer Science Research Centre.

Opened in 2022, the £135 million campus is the largest investment in transformational space in the RCA’s 185 year history. The development marks a critical point in the RCA’s transformation into a dynamic, STEAM-focused postgraduate university.

Acute Art collaborates with the world’s leading contemporary artists, providing access to cutting-edge technologies that allow them to translate their creative vision into NFTs and virtual and augmented realities.

Works produced include those by Marina Abramović, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Olafur Eliasson, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Bjarne Melgaard, Jeff Koons, KAWS and more. The artworks are accessible through our creative collaborations with recent exhibitions in Basel, London, New York and Venice.


About the RCA

Founded in 1837, the RCA is the world’s largest community of postgraduate art & design students. For nine consecutive years, the RCA has been ranked as the world’s number 1 art & design university – attracting artists, designers and communicators from across the globe.

STEAM and AR/VR at the RCA

The RCA champions the value of collaborative and interdisciplinary learning, as the first art and design university in the world to implement a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design and Mathematics) vision. Students and graduates across the RCA are developing groundbreaking ideas that challenge the status quo – from exploring VR environments as new domains for creativity, to making tools to better equip designers and artists for future innovation.


Contact us

Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.

Email us at
[email protected]
Short Courses team photo 2023