Artists are invited to apply  for a commission to create a new work of art using augmented reality (AR) and/or immersive technology (XR) to form part of the Cosmic Titans exhibition. This exhibition will take place at the Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts, the University of Nottingham’s public arts centre from 25 January to 27 April 2025 before touring.   

Cosmic Titans is an innovative art/science exhibition that communicates to the general public the excitement and importance of fundamental research highlighting the synergy between science goals and achievements in quantum technology. This new AR/XR work will be one of the major works in this exhibition and should reflect these values and ambitions.

Background / concept

The central theme of Cosmic Titans revolves around the concept of blind ways of seeing, where the physics of the universe and black holes stand as poignant examples. These subjects share the common characteristic that they are inherently unobservable - either too small, vast, or distant to experience directly. In both science and art, we find avenues to transcend our limited perception envelope. Ingenious inferences and deductions enable us to perceive beyond our immediate senses, allowing us to envision realities that, while invisible to our eyes, bring us closer to understanding the intricacies of the cosmos.

Mathematical and numerical models serve as a blind way of seeing. Our senses haven't evolved to directly perceive the intricacies of time or the curvature of space. However, through mathematical models, we can engage with and create a pale representation of these concepts in our mind's eye. Furthermore, the integration of quantum technology provides scientists with new senses, enabling the transformation of abstract ideas about the universe into tangible physical reality.

Art has played a crucial role in our scientific endeavours, as demonstrated, for example, by the colorization of astronomy images. This artistic approach not only reveals invisible differences in gases but also produces visually stunning imagery that the public readily associates with these scientific representations. By incorporating art into our project we want to captivate the audience’s imagination and enhance understanding of profound scientific and philosophical challenges, exploring the origins of the universe and the evolution of black holes.

In 2023/24 the artist Conrad Shawcross RA was commissioned to create two new major sculptural installations following a residency in the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University. These works will occupy the first two gallery spaces (Galleries 1 and 1A) at the Djanogly and will form the spectacular entrance to the exhibition. We are also commissioning artists, Alistair McClymontMatt WoodhamMonica LoCascio and Daniela Brill Estrada to create new works for Gallery 2. 


The brief

  1. We want to commission an artist, or artists, to create a new work for the exhibition employing augmented reality (AR) and/or immersive technology (XR) working alongside and with the support of researchers in the University of Nottingham’s Virtual and Immersive Production Studio (VIP Studio) as well as in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Nottingham and specifically the community brought together through the ARTlab.
  2. The work should address the theme of the exhibition as stated above - that is, communicate to the general public the excitement and importance of fundamental research highlighting the synergy between science goals and achievements in quantum technology in relation to black holes and the origins of the universe. Specifically, the work will highlight the significance of quantum technology to drive fundamental physics research with the focus on quantum simulations, connecting to the UK QTFP Programme.
  3. The virtual and/or immersive element of the work will form part of an installation created by the artist in Gallery 2 occupying a floor area approximately 6 x 8 metres (see attached gallery plan). The installation could be contained by stud walling or other soft construction but should not adversely affect other art works in the same gallery by whatever means. Any special construction required to contain the installation will be included within the artist’s fee.
  4. The virtual/immersive element of the installation needs to be conceived such that it (or part of it) can be presented as a stand-alone experience (for example via VR headset), at the UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase taking place in London in November 2024. This should be a ‘wow-factor’ foretaste and advertisement for the exhibition in Nottingham in 2025.
  5. The work will be created in such a way that it can be toured after the exhibition closes at Nottingham in 2025. Ownership of the work will remain with the artist, but the University of Nottingham will retain the exclusive right to loan the work as part of the touring exhibition for a three year period after which it will be returned to the artist. The artist will receive no further fee for the loan of the work to the touring exhibition except any travel costs and associated expenses incurred to install the work at tour venues.      

Artist benefits

The successful artist will benefit from:

  • Commission fee:  £27,000
  • Production costs: £9,000
  • Travel costs: £6,000
  • Accommodation costs: £6,000
  • Access to and support from the VIP Studio expertise and resources.

The split between production, travel and accommodation costs is indicative and will be dependent upon the specific needs of the selected artist.    


Artist requirements

Artists applying for the commission should:

  • be established in their practice
  • have a proven interest in science technology and innovation as demonstrated through previous work
  • be interested in learning about or developing their understanding of quantum technologies
  • be motivated to work with experts and partners in scientific, cultural, educational and tech sectors  


How to apply

Apply online

If you would prefer a hard copy of the form, or would like further information contact We welcome applications from all geographical territories.

  • Application deadline: 4pm, 22 March 2024
  • Selected artist will be notified by 5 April 2024