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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 and archival costs – please note any known additional costs in your application and/or (if your application is successful) discuss and seek agreement from the CI team as early as possible. Applications are due on the 27th of April; successful applicants will be notified by 11 May for projects to commence in June and conclude by mid-September for an exhibition and symposium which we anticipate taking place at the end of September 2022. if you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please join us for our online Creative Horizon Discovery Workshop on 29 March 3-4:30 PM.

Apply using the online form.

Downloadable PDF version of the form here for information.

The Creative and Artistic Brief

Through this open call, we are inviting creatives to respond to the brief outlined below. We will select several practitioners to work with us to develop creative and artistic responses around the issue of data and creative practice, leading to an informative, provocative and engaging exhibition and showcase of the outputs. As an inspirational approach we encourage responders to consider “Design Fiction” and related concepts (see the Wikipedia page for background https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_fiction). By using fiction in a creative research process we gain freedom to examine and explore the topic of data, without getting too bogged down in the practical issues. This approach can reveal insights for further discourse, and create outputs that engage a wider public audience in an accessible way. We want the work created to address what data about creative practice/business might mean, what it reflects, what it might not reflect, what it should capture and not capture, what it could do/or not do…?! The question as to what the data is will be informed by a workshop before the application deadline (see below).

The work produced during this Creative Horizon project will be presented to the public at an exhibition and showcase events in the autumn of 2022. We are open to a range of creative and playful responses to this call, for example; data games, interactive visualizations, videos, stories, installations, comics… Your methods can use technology such as AI, AR or VR, or be completely physical, such as tapestry or sculpture. Our aim is to showcase a varied range of creative responses that encourage discussion and provoke thought. For inspiration see the Zoom Obscura and Ocean ARTic projects.

We will include university academics and researchers in the process, and the creative results of this call will inform further Creative Informatics research activities. As well as demonstrating the creativity of the successful applicants, the aim of the project is to inform further research and to increase knowledge around the impacts of data on the creative industries.

Questions and problems to address

We wish to encourage a critical interrogation of data; its form, function, collection and use for the creative SME, self-employed and freelance sector. We particularly want to explore sensitivities around data privacy, what data creatives are willing to share to encourage accurate reflection of their economic activity, what they feel is important and what they consider is not being reflected in data about them and their work. The other side of the data equation is data that creatives themselves gather and use to inform their own practice and future planning. We would like to explore these issues through a critical but creative, provocative and playful response which will engage the community and support further critique and interrogations.

Questions that we are interested in exploring include the following, and we are open to others that we have not yet considered:

  • How can creatives collect data in a practical, ethical and useful way?
  • How can the data collected on the creative industries properly reflect the freelance creative workforce and small/micro businesses?
  • How can varied and heterogeneous datasets be combined to reveal greater insights?
  • What does the data actually say about the creative industries?
  • How can appropriate data be made accessible, visible and useful to the people that it describes?
  • How can the implications of privacy, security and data ownership be understood and made meaningful?
  • Can ways of visualising and interrogating this data be playful and engaging while also supporting critical interrogation?
  • How can responses to this call encourage reflections from creatives around the data that is gathered and shared about themselves?
  • How much data, and in what form are creative practitioners willing to share, and with whom?
  • What are the stories that data can tell, and what are the stories that are not being told?

Please note that we will be running an online workshop in advance of the closing date (29th March) to help you get a sense of what we mean by ‘data’ in this context.

Furthermore, once the artists are selected, there will be another briefing meeting to explore in more depth the question of data with invitees like Creative Edinburgh, Creative Scotland and others.

Further details below.

Who can apply to this call?

This call is open to individuals or organisations based in, or whose project will have demonstrable impact for, the creative industries within Edinburgh and/or the Edinburgh and South East Scotland Region.


We will be commissioning at least 4 projects.

Each project budget of £5,000 to cover all fees and production costs.

We expect artists to be paid appropriate going rates: see Scottish Artist Union minimum Rates of Pay for guidance on pay: https://www.artistsunion.scot/rates_of_pay

There will also be separate support to cover travel and exhibition costs if required. There will also be a separate budget to cover the recording and archiving of the work: e.g photography and filming costs.

Intellectual Property

The copyright of the work will remain with the artists but Creative Informatics retains the right to use images and references of the work for use in publication and research, reporting and publicity around the project. As per above, Creative Informatics will pay for the costs of recording the work as required and will share copies of the images for the artist to use themselves (with appropriate credits.)

Creative Horizon 4 project timeline:

  • 29th March: DISCOVERY WORKSHOP. Open to anyone interested in applying to the call. Find out more about the context and background, discuss what data is, and how it can be used. Opportunity for questions.
  • 27th April: Application deadline – Midnight
  • 11th May: Announcement of successful applicants.
  • 1st June: PROJECT KICK-OFF  WORKSHOP (10am-1pm) with successful applicants for brainstorming, networking and kicking off ideas. Stakeholders, researchers and academics will be present.
  • 16th September: Final Delivery of Projects.
  • 29th & 30th September (TBC): Exhibition / showcase / symposium event

Apply using the Horizon 4 online application form.

Downloadable PDF version of the form here for information.

For questions about the call contact: Ingi Helgason, Inge Panneels, or Caitlin McDonald.

Further introduction & background

Data can empower creatives and creative businesses and their support organizations to do more and to do it better. Access to good quality, up-to-date information about the economic and business landscape of creative practice can be of enormous benefit to creative practitioners whether they are working in architecture, sound design, film, craft, performance, or indeed any of the wide range of disciplines that make up the creative industries.

Even the smallest creative enterprise can benefit from knowing more about their customers and audiences, and about wider trends that could influence their future planning. Data comes in many forms, whether it is generated from within the creative practice itself or is downloaded from an external source. It’s not just a one-way street either as a lot of data is collected about creative practices and individuals for use by other agencies, for example to inform government policy and to provide evidence for organisations who are working to support creative practice. So data can be used for creative practice, with creative practice, and to tell us about creative practice.

However, coping with data is not a simple or straightforward activity. It has to be collected, analyzed, visualized, understood and communicated, all of which require skills and resources. And then there are ethical and privacy issues to contend with, as well as ensuring that the data is relevant and accurate.

This Creative Horizon project aims to investigate and untangle some of these messy issues in order to build a picture of the role that data plays in the life of the creative practitioner. We want the results of this project to speak to the creative community, and so we wish to harness the creative and artistic skills of the community itself in a collaborative design and exploration process.

Why data matters to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Freelancers

Compared to other industry sectors in the UK, the creative industries have a higher representation of small businesses, freelancers and individual practitioners (see the Creative Industries Federation report on Creative Freelancers, 2017). This workforce contributes to a great deal of the vibrancy and innovation that is so unique and important across all sub-sectors of the creative industries. However, these workers also experience precarious employment conditions, and they can become isolated and disconnected from wider networks, which risks impacting on their work ambitions and personal wellbeing. At Creative Informatics we strive to support the whole of the creative industries within our geographic region and beyond, and we aim to strengthen networks and grassroots connections across and within sectors and sub-sectors. To do this requires knowledge about the industry landscape but there are some well documented barriers to gathering adequate data (for example see here) and reflecting that data back to the industry.