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Courtesy Bjarne Melgaard and Acute Art

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


  • Regular fee: £3,200


  • Acute Art headquarters at 180 The Strand and RCA campuses

    Monday 28 August – Friday 1 September 2023

    10.00am – 5pm BST daily


    A limited number of subsidised places are available. If you would like to discuss, please contact us at [email protected]

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 five-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/AI art. Confirmed guest contributors you will interact with in-person or online on the 2023 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 course marks the first 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 five 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.

Example timetable, to be confirmed:

Day 1:

  • Theme: Introduction to VR/AR/AI in an Art Context and Acute/RCA collaboration
  • Guest presentations by Olafur Eliasson and Rodrigo Marques

Day 2:

  • Theme: Intimations of the Virtual
  • Visit the Serpentine Gallery with a talk by Hans Ulrich Obrist

Day 3:

  • Theme: VR/AR and Public and Private Realms–values, experiences, makers and markets

Day 4:

  • Group workshops, producing VR projects

Day 5:

  • Final crit of project presentations, with feedback and commentary provided from Daniel Birnbaum and John Slyce
  • Certificates and closing drinks

The short course will be based 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 include the Outernet, the Serpentine Gallery, and the Gilbert and George Foundation.

The course will also take participants to the new RCA Battersea campus, including 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.

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.

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