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Find out what’s been happening in the Creative Informatics Community

The Creative Informatics project employs five full-time post-doctoral researchers, based at the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier. From a diverse range of backgrounds, and with a wide scope of skills and interests, our researchers work alongside the delivery team to help those looking for funding to formulate and articulate ideas, and to conduct research on the current and evolving landscapes of the creative sector in and around Edinburgh.

Engaging university research with both the cultural and festival City of Edinburgh and its growing tech industry, means that we can reflect on, critique, and pass on findings from our many and varied Creative Informatics activities.Professor Melissa Terras, CI co-director and head of research

From baseline mapping and surveys of the cultural landscape, to cutting edge work on innovative new economic, pedagogical and artistic practices, CI researchers are actively engaged in leading critical research across academic disciplines as well as industrial sectors.

As the Creative Informatics project progresses, these pages provide a centralised locus to store and share our growing portfolio of research. Our research blog will provide accessible insights into all of our exciting ongoing projects and achievements. Research is at the heart of the CI project, and it is important for us to grow our research community. We therefore actively encourage fellow researchers and creatives to get involved in the discussions raised in our posts, and welcome guest or collaborative contributions. Please do get in touch with us with any comments, pitches or suggestions! Contact details can be found below.


“We hope to provide guidance and results that will have a positive impact on data-driven innovations within the creative industries, both in Edinburgh, the South-East of Scotland, and beyond.”

CI researcher Chris Elsden
CI Researcher Ingi Helgason

Featured Research

Acting on Feedback

Reflections on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Creative Industries 4

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion efforts require continual observation, appraisal and adjustment if they are to respond to changes in circumstances and attitudes. In this post we look at some of the feedback mechanisms put in place by Creative Informatics (CI), what that feedback said, and how we acted upon it. Creative Informatics Partnership Forums CI […]

Synthetic participants

How to mitigate the impact of bots in qualitative research

On 10 August 2023, Creative Informatics held a workshop via Zoom designed to understand how best to invest resources to support innovation in creative AI / machine learning in Scotland. We were thrilled when registrations started flying in and we quickly hit the maximum number of participants we could accommodate. We were less thrilled when, […]

Red pixels and human silhouette

Diversity Monitoring Data

Reflections on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Creative Industries 3

In this third and final blog post in our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) series we reflect on diversity monitoring as a widespread ED&I strategy in the Creative Industries. We look at methods of data collection and some of the challenges involved. Diversity monitoring For many Creative Industries organisations, their Equality, Diversity & Inclusion strategies […]

three rulers and tape measures

Measuring Success

Reflections on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Creative Industries 2

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) measures have been in place for some time now. But how do we know they are working? In this post we look at two issues related to the efficacy of efforts to improve ED&I. These are: the evidence base for change and attitudes towards issues of equality. Evidence Many ED&I […]

jumble of multicoloured lego bricks


Reflections on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Creative Industries 1

Here at Creative Informatics we have made Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) core aspects of our activities. Some of our efforts have been public-facing, such as our ED&I Statement, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy & Action Plan 2021-23 and discussions at our regular Partnership Forums. Some of them have been behind the scenes. In this […]

Detecting Dark Matter Data

data gaps for innovation and R&D activity in the creative industries.

How can we collect data about the creative industries for processing and analysis in a way which is more useful for data consumers (such as policymakers and funders) and for data producers (such as businesses and individual creatives)? Today we release our white paper Detecting Dark Matter Data: data gaps for innovation and R&D activity […]

People standing around a table in front of a sign reading "There be Dragons."

There be Dragons – Creative Horizon 4

Navigating the uncharted data territories of creative practice.

Creative Informatics was delighted to exhibit the works of five selected artists who responded to an open call over the summer of 2022. The There be Dragons exhibition was curated by New Media Scotland curator Mark Daniels and was exhibited at Inspace Gallery from Friday 30th September to Sunday 2nd October 2022. Chris Scott provided the photos […]

Creative Informatics on the Road: Beyond Conference 2022

Last week the Creative Informatics team visited Beyond Conference in Cardiff with several of our Creative Informatics community to showcase their projects to a broader creative ecosystem of thinkers, makers, investors and researchers from around the UK. This is Beyond’s fifth year exploring the relationship between creative research and business innovation. As one of nine […]

Drawing of Innovation Ecosystems group activity by Elspeth Murray

Policy Hack Day: Data, Data, Everywhere

Creative Horizon 5

Over the past several months, researcher Caitlin McDonald has been working with researchers at the Creative Research and Innovation Centre at University Loughborough London (Jennie Jordan and Graham Hitchen) and with data specialists at The Data City (Fatima Garcia and Harini Nagesh) to explore challenges of data-driven decision making in the creative industries. This is […]

Chart showing how many days it took for popular songs to become hits worldwide.

Meet Our 2022 Small Research Grant Holders

Creative Informatics is delighted to announce recipients of funding for its third round of Small Grants for researchers based at the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University. The grants offer academic researchers support with research costs of £5,000 for original research on the Creative Industries over a six-month period. After a robust selection process […]

Creative Horizon 4: call for creative respondents

There be Dragons: Navigating the uncharted data territories of creative practice

Applications are invited for individuals and organisations who wish to develop creative and artistic responses to the issue of data and creative practice. We will fund at minimum four projects with a budget of £5,000 to cover fees and production costs for the creative work. Additional budget can be made available for travel, exhibition, recording […]

Sticky notes on a design board

Creative Informatics Small Research Grants 2022: Applications open now!

This call for small grants is open to academic staff at University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University.

We invite academic staff at University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University, including PhD students, to apply for grants around £5,000 to support research projects to begin by June 2022 and conclude by December 2022. Applications close on 25 April at 5 PM.

Creative Informatics Small Research Grants 2021-22: open call for academic research staff at UoE and ENU

This call for small grants is open to academic staff at University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University

Is there a research project related to the creative sector you’d love to explore if you only had resources and support? Does it involve some kind of exploration or investigation into data or digital technologies? Creative Informatics is launching an open competition for small research grants of up to £5,000 aimed at academics and researchers at any stage of their career, including PhD students. Project Principal Investigators (who can be PhD students) must be based at either the University of Edinburgh or Edinburgh Napier University. Proposed projects or activities should explore innovative uses or applications of data or digital technologies in the creative and cultural sectors. We aim to fund at least 5 of these projects.

Paid Summer Internship – Developing A Visual Design Vocabulary for Describing Data and Technology

Susan Lechelt
We are looking for an undergraduate or post-graduate student with a background in visual design (e.g., graphic design, illustration, etc.) and an interest in emerging technologies to help us develop an openly-licensed visual vocabulary for these concepts.

An opportunity to work with Creative Informatics researchers over the summer.   Timescale and pay 20 hours/week for 5 weeks, between 21st June and the end of August 2021. The 5 specific weeks within this timescale will be chosen in line with the intern’s availability. £11.64/hour Description Visual metaphors for technologies are abundant in media […]

Creative Informatics Catalogue of Funded Projects

Chris Elsden & Susan Lechelt
Find out what we have we learned about the projects that Creative Informatics has funded so far, from 2018 to 2020.

A key part of our role as researchers on Creative Informatics is to reflect on and respond to the diverse range of projects funded through our programmes. For example, by looking across Creative Informatics as a whole, can we identify shared challenges that data is being used to address, or particular technologies and innovations that […]

String Figures

Bettina Nissen & Ailie Rutherford
A feminist approach to de-centralised networks centred on a principle of mutual care

String Figures is a project developed by artist Ailie Rutherford and design researcher Bettina Nissen with creative technologist Bob Moyler to allow activist, feminist and creative groups working for social justice to support and strengthen each other’s work through de-centralised open-source networks centred on a principle of mutual care. This mapping process can be used with local and translocal collectives looking to further support each other in anti-capitalist work. The mapping process and symbols are the work of artist Ailie Rutherford.

Creatives in Crisis

Holly Patrick
CI small grants holder Dr Holly Patrick reports on her project

This project seeks to understand how creative freelancers were using online occupational communities to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Victoria Evans
CI small grants holder Victoria Evans reports on her practice-based research project (work in progress)

Tidesong.app is an online evolving interactive artwork that allows users to make music with the tidal data from their local coastline, generating time and location specific audience experiences via a website and mobile app. This practice-based research project aims to connect audiences to the natural rhythms present in tidal landscape and asks to what extent an online installation can offer an embodied and situated art experience, especially in a time of social distancing.

Five Things I’ve Learned About Gesture

Josh Hosking
An exploration of Gesture grammars for Human Computer Interactions

In this project I set out to develop a grammar for writing and detecting gestures, on low powered devices. The aim was to allow users to create their own gestures and gesture devices, to be used in a wide range of applications. The main focus of areas were in the creative fields and accessibility solutions.

Flow Ctrl at the Talbot Rice Gallery

CI supports gallery's response to Covid-19

In the summer of 2020, Creative Informatics hired 5 fabulous interns, who were all masters students in Design Informatics at University of Edinburgh, to support our ongoing research. Over the next few weeks we’ll be showcasing the results of these projects, starting with Flow Ctrl, an app for managing the flow of visitors through the […]

Mapping Freelancers in the Creative Industries in the Edinburgh Region

Inge Panneels

Update: To see the new online maps (December 2021) and updates on the project progress, see here. Creative Informatics (CI) serves all of the nine sectors which comprise of the Creative Industries as understood by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (see Fig. 1) who are responsible for the Creative Industries at UK Government […]

Creative Informatics Data Management Plan

Susan Lechelt
managing the data generated from the CI project

Whether as a creative material or as a method of accountancy, the data we generate and work with is vitally important to us as a project to explore incisive research, to further our collaborations across the creative industries, and to assess our impact and reach as an AHRC funded project. With this in mind, and […]

Creative Freelancers Sought for Research Interviews

Holly Patrick
CI small grant holder Holly Patrick needs your help!

An academic research project is looking for creative freelancers to interview. Dr Holly Patrick is investigating the effects of the pandemic on creative freelancers and the role of online groups in providing support. Interviews are being held until the end of this month (September 2020) and will be around 30 minutes each. She is particularly […]

Chris Elsden awarded British Academy Small Research Grant

Reimagining Online Economies for New Creative Transactions in the Performing Arts

News just in! CI researcher Chris Elsden has won a prestigious research grant from the British Academy for his cutting edge work on the future of ticketing in the digital economy. His proposed project, What is a Ticket? Reimagining Online Economies for New Creative Transactions in the Performing Arts, draws together his personal research interests […]


Melissa Terras
Experiments with Practice Based Digital Research

In this post, Creative Informatics Director of Research Prof. Melissa Terras reflects on her involvement in the development of an artificially intelligent improvised Fringe show generator, which has been getting rave reviews locally and around the world. Research undertaken by Creative Informatics is evolving to take various guises. From quantitively mapping the cultural and creative […]

Creative Informatics Guide for Online Events

Chris Elsden

At Creative Informatics we run many events, from meetups and networking, to drop-in sessions and workshops to support applications and funding of various programmes. We don’t do any specific teaching, however many of our sessions are intended to be informative and enable peer collaboration and knowledge exchange.

The guide is written in an informal, and practical style and is initially a way for us to share and think through …

Susceptible, Infectious, Recovering:

Pip Thornton
Tracing responses to the novel coronavirus in the city

Creative Informatics researcher Pip Thornton recently contributed to a Design Informatics seminar led by Chancellor’s Fellow and Director of Data Civics at Edinburgh University Dr. Liz McFall. The seminar, which also featured brand new work from Edinburgh sociology PhD students Kath Bassett, Idil Galip and Addie McGowan was divided into two complimentary sections, each addressing […]

Spaces for skills:

Ingi Helgason
Blending the physical and the virtual

In this blog post, CI researcher Ingi Helgason discusses some of the research and delivery hurdles faced by the CI team in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and how they have been experimenting with innovative ways with which to overcome them. I’m writing this in the summer of 2020 as we are all trying […]

The Trouble with Data

Inge Panneels
Mapping Freelancers in the Creative Industries

In this blog, Creative Informatics researcher Inge Panneels asks: How do we make sure freelancers aren’t overlooked when we gather data on the cultural sector? A question made all the more pertinent by the economic impact of the  COVID-19 pandemic, Inge suggests that compulsory collection of more granular and carefully coded data through HMRC might […]


Suzanne Black

Research Associate

TWITTER: @SuzanneRBlack

Chris Elsden

Chancellor's Fellow

TWITTER: @ElsdenChris
CONTACT: celsden@ed.ac.uk

Susan Lechelt

Research Associate

TWITTER: @susanlechelt

Ingi Helgason

Senior Research Fellow

TWITTER: @ingih

Inge Panneels

Research Fellow

TWITTER: @ingepanneels

Caitlin McDonald

Research Associate

TWITTER: @cmcd_phd

Vikki Jones

Research Associate

TWITTER: jonesvikkijones


If you have any questions about Creative Informatics, please contact us.

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