As part of Digital Democracies Artist Development Programme we developed a series of free to access Masterclasses and Tech Talks events, led by highly esteemed artists and creatives working with digital and emerging practice.

The aim of the programme is to connect, share and explore new digital skills and insight that can accelerate interrogation of digital and emerging practice for all.

The series of events has now ended, however recordings of some of the Masterclasses and Tech Talks will be released to watch back in your own time.

Masterclass #1: Creative Coding – A Visual Arts Approach with Ashley James Brown

Image credit: Ashley James Brown

Creative technologist Ashley James Brown will lead you through a step by step introduction to coding – suitable for all levels from the absolute newbie to more experienced coders.

This is a recording of an online masterclass. In the recording, you will see how you can access browser based code to create your own visuals, give you an area to play and develop your skills. This session is designed so that participants can watch and work through the exercise in their own time, with the aim of using coding to build upon existing practice.

About the Speaker

Ashley James Brown is an internationally respected artist and developer based in Coventry UK, creating emotive nostalgic experiences using code, electronics and sound. Within his own practice Ashley explores shared emotive experiences using technology as his medium to create his own digital playgrounds.

Involved with mental health organisations and promoting positive social interactions, all his work uses game psychology and game dynamics to immerse audiences and create a sense of ownership and empathy with the experiences.


Masterclass #2: DIY Light with Thomas Buckley

Image credit: Thomas Buckley

Artist and storyteller Thomas Buckley introduces the basics working with light and projection, exploring themes of scale, surface, and working in a way that’s accessible.

Find out about unexpected solutions that use hardware rather than expensive or prohibitive software, and are available to anyone, in the true DIY spirit. Learn projection jargon, concepts of software used to map, to make, and to interact, and most importantly, routes into technological experimentation that lead to unique processes.

“There’s an invisible boundary to projection, as we associate it with certain styles and high cost. This stops people from engaging with it playfully, gently and recklessly – which are all things I believe spur on innovation” – Thomas Buckley.

This Masterclass was part of Thomas Buckley’s Digital Democracies residency aimed at discovering new ways in which we can use light and specifically projection. It is a summary of his creative experiments challenging the assumptions we make when using projection in creative work.

We invite you to watch the recording if you:

  • are excited by using light, and want to do something different.
  • don’t have huge budgets.
  • enjoy making mistakes.
  • are an early-career artists who works in immersion, photography, sculpture, performance.

About Thomas Buckley

Thomas Buckley works as an artist and storyteller using digital media, often working in projection, immersive technologies (VR, AR, XR) and interactive installations. His work is about using digital or XR outcomes to draw out our humanity – he loves using digital in a way that is playful and revolves around human experiences.

Thomas is a recent alumnus of The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Immersive fellowship, during which he has worked internationally and often collaborated with unconventional creatives such as perfumers and mixologists.


Masterclass #3: The Art of Sound with Thor McIntyre-Burnie

We invited artists and creatives who have some know-how of working with sound but are interested in exploring how they can move their work offstage/ off stream into more immersive, tactile, physical, site-responsive and public space scenarios.

This Masterclass, led by Thor McIntyre-Burnie, offered a mix of discursive deconstruction, demonstrations and some practical exercises that we can do in our own homes using available technology. It provided the participants with tips and a better understanding of this peculiar spatial field, including working creatively with the concept of multi-channel and immersive sound, public space and site-responsive scenarios, and affordable and accessible ways to play with sound technology.

Whilst this was not an AR workshop, the event focused on how sound augments our reality: how it plays and resonates with spaces, places, objects, materials and performers. Auditory experiences are one of the most effective means of augmenting and transforming reality and democratically engaging people with the politics of public free space, proving that digital culture is not limited to visual projects like VR, LX or video mapping.

This Masterclass is not available as a recording.

Masterclass #4: Heritage Hack with Judith Ricketts

When we consider stories, oral history and connection with audiences from a heritage perspective in our public spaces, how can we adapt and consider new platforms and collaborations that allow us to extend the experience and the narrative for audiences?

Judith Ricketts, a Serious Games Developer and a Lecturer in digital media arts, uses the spatial memory of the city’s built environment with archives and technology to tell interactive stories.

Our archives, be they formal documents housed in institutions or oral histories, folk lore, myth, legend, music score, document or other; can often miss their connection points with the people and communities whose voices they represent.

In this context the format for this session was to approach the series of questions posed with an open mind so we can begin to build on what we know, on the journey towards greater representation.

Read Judith Ricketts’ post on our blog.

Find out more about Judith’s work on

This Masterclass is not available as a recording.

Masterclass #5: No Vantage Point with Duncan Speakman

We are all immersed, always. In physical environments, digital networks, in social and political constructs, and yet discussion around ‘immersive media’ is often led by examples of works that cocoon us.

Duncan Speakman is a composer and sound artist who creates narrative sound led experiences that engage audiences in uncontrolled public and private space. 

In this Masterclass Duncan shared his insights about how we can reframe the idea of immersive media as something that exposes and reveals the entangled ecologies we exist in. Focusing on mobile audio and augmented experiences, this Masterclass offered a mixture of provocations, discussion and practical exercises.

This Masterclass was hosted in partnership with Sound Walk September.

This Masterclass is not available as a recording.

Digital Democracies