Dr Susie Mitchell, Programme Director at Glasgow City of Science and Innovation, explains how a new series of events is providing a unique forum for entrepreneurs and innovators across the region’s scientific and creative communities to exchange ideas and drive innovation through collaboration and co-creation.

“The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin… or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.”
Mae Jemison, 2002 (Doctor, dancer, and the first African American woman in space)

From the Egyptian pyramids to Leonardo da Vinci there has always been an inextricable link between art and science. And when the fusion points of art, design, engineering, and science come together, we can enable great innovation.

Art and the humanities can amplify social change; it can heal, it can provoke and it can disrupt the way we think. Design is one of the most powerful tools we have for smoothing the journey from research insight to creating better places to live, better products to use and healthier living.

Glasgow, a designated European Entrepreneurial Region, has a world-class research and innovation base – from art and design to engineering and the life sciences.

And innovation is at the heart of our plans for long-term economic growth, and it is crucial to our ability to address urgent and complex societal and health challenges.

There is increasing room for creative interactions that can bring about promising solutions to inspire new products, processes and public services whilst transforming economies and disrupting existing markets.

A report for Nesta, The Fusion Effect suggests the companies that deploy STEM and art and design skills experience faster employment and sales growth than STEM companies. And, other things being equal, they are more innovative.

It concludes that STEM skills are necessary for many types of innovation, as well as productivity and growth, but they are not sufficient on their own. Importantly, other skills such as leadership, creativity, adaptability, and entrepreneurial ability are required to maximise the positive impact of STEM skills on economic performance.

The region’s new revolutions in science and technology including the so-called emerging and enabling technologies – quantum tech, virtual and augmented reality, imaging and satellite technologies – which will be leveraged across a range of sectors (from healthcare to gaming) are providing us with new opportunities to interact, converge and recombine our diverse and distinctive skill base in different ways.

And major investment streams including the UK’s recently announced £4.7 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will drive collaborative innovation to improve lives, boost productivity and create the conditions for businesses to thrive and grow.

The Art of Possible is a new event programme for the Glasgow City region that creates space for innovators, entrepreneurs, investors across the STEM and creative industries as well as policy-makers to engage in Glasgow’s thriving emerging and enabling technology sector and explore the future opportunities for their own businesses and institutions.

Delivered by Glasgow City of Science and Innovation, Technology Scotland, Cultural Enterprise Office Scotland, Glasgow City Council and The Lighthouse, The Art of Possible constitutes an official feeder event series for Venturefest Scotland 2017 – the national innovation summit to be held in Glasgow Science Centre, September 2017.

The time is ripe for Glasgow and the West of Scotland to take action to better harness its distinctive arts, technological and science base.

The Art of Possible will aim to break down disciplinary silos and drive new collaborative opportunities and ideas exchange that will drive innovation with impact for the wider economy and society.

In March, 60 multi-sector innovators from a range of sectors gathered in Glasgow Science Centre’s immersive Planetarium space to explore the potential of quantum technology through live demonstrators and inspirational talks from Dr Graeme Malcolm of the award-winning M Squared Lasers – a Scottish company embracing quantum to create a new generation of electronics – and Prof Miles Padgett of QuantIC, one of the UK’s four Quantum Technology ‘Hubs’ in quantum-enhanced and quantum-inspired imaging.

On 18 July at Scotland’s national centre for design and architecture, The Lighthouse, the next collaborative workshop in the series, ‘AR/VR Trends and Futures‘ will hear from Dr. Paul Chapman, Head of the School of Simulation and Visualisation (SimVis) at Glasgow School of Art – and Peter Dobson, CEO of Eventual VR, who are leading the way in Scotland’s AR/VR capability. Teams will then be tasked with tackling one of three civic challenges and use their cross-sectoral knowledge and expertise to ideate and co-create potential new applications for AR/VR with social impact. Booking is free, but places are limited – so if you are interested in how next generation technologies can help us tackle societal challenges, and live better lives register today!

The above blog post has been made possible through the generous support of Creative Clyde and the named contributors.