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Courtesy Bjarne Melgaard and Acute Art

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

Key details

  • Regular fee: £2,000
  • RCA Battersea and Kensington campuses, 180 The Strand and off-site visits in 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.

Watch John Slyce and Daniel Birnbaum in conversation with Marco Brambilla for IN SESSION: Hollywood to Heaven's Gate.

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 is the curatorial significance of these new visual technologies and their 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 three days in person, participants get taught as a group and work in smaller teams.

The sessions include a mix of:

  • Talks
  • Practical exercises and collaborative workshops
  • VR demonstrations
  • Final reflections with feedback and commentary from Daniel Birnbaum and John Slyce.

Day 1: 9 May 2024

RCA Kensington campus 10am – 5pm BST

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

  • Introduction to VR in an art context: Daniel Birnbaum and John Slyce
  • Presentations/activities from RCA Academics
  • Gallery visit: Serpentine
  • Expert talk: Hans Ulrich Obrist
  • Expert talk: Marco Brambilla

Day 2: 10 May 2024

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

Day 3: 13 May 2024

RCA Battersea campus 10am – 5pm BST

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 and Kensington Campuses 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.

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 course will take place across three key locations, plus gallery and studio visits.

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.

The RCA Kensington campus is next to the Royal Albert Hall and houses programmes in the Schools of Architecture, Design and Arts & Humanities. Opened 50 years ago, it was designed by H T Cadbury Brown, and at its heart is the Modernist Darwin Building, named for post-war Rector Robin Darwin (grandson of Charles Darwin).

Acute Art headquarters at 180 The Strand – an iconic Brutalist building transformed into a creative hub for people and progress, home to The Store X and a mix of creative companies including Dazed Media Group, IMG, The Vinyl Factory, Charcoal Blue, The Spaces and Fact magazine.

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