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Expert Advice

Where to begin?

There are many organisations who can help you on your quest to produce data driven exhibits, or events organisers such as science festivals who might be interested to hear about your proposal.

But what can they offer you and what do they need?

To try and answer this we asked representatives from various organisations to join us at our first live event. This event featured debates, interviews and a panel discussion looking into the Key Points raised in more detail.

Please see below for recordings from each of our experts, as well as the Panel Discussion, which can be viewed as a whole or in smaller sections-

Creative Carbon Scotland

'Creative Carbon Scotland believes in the essential role of the arts, screen, cultural and creative industries in contributing to the transformational change to a more environmentally sustainable Scotland.'


Gemma Lawrence highlights the importance of collaborative working at CCS and artists seeing their role as part of the larger projects, developing their work in response to the needs of the community.

Creative Informatics

'Creative Informatics is an ambitious research and development programme based in Edinburgh, which aims to bring the city’s world-class creative industries and tech sector together. We provide funding and development opportunities'

Nicola Osborne offers some top tips:

-Join every newsletter and network going

-Start conversations early

-Don't be be afraid to seek guidance and help

Edinburgh Science

'As leaders in our field of Science Communication, we work year-round to create and deliver dynamic hands-on workshops and exhibitions and inspirational shows, discussions, debates and performances that continually push the boundaries of public engagement with science.'

Bill Addison recommends that people considering the Edinburgh Science Festival:

-Don't be afraid to get in touch early

-The science festival is looking for solutions, but they don't need to be finished solutions

-Read the guidance - do you fit those criteria? 

-Have you considered all practical considerations, such as how it will be installed, will it be safe, how many people can see it at a time?


'Inspace is a unique events and exhibitions space which is part of the Institute of Design Informatics within the University of Edinburgh.'  

More than just a venue, InSpace is part of Institute for Design Informatics. InSpace offers creative opportunities such as residencies and a very supportive environment to have events and exhibits. This organisation is very open and is happy to be approached by artists still in the early stages of their careers

Jane MacDonald explains that her organisation can offer support for less established artists with projects in their early stages. The focus is on the collaborative elements. Can you explain how it combines science, data and art.

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Panel Discussion

The first of Cognition Arts public event our panel discussion took place at InSpace, featuring our panel of experts- Bill Addison (Edinburgh Science), Gemma Lawrence (Creative Carbon Scotland), Mikey Jarrell (IOP Scotland), Nicola Osborne (Creative Informatics) and our own experienced art/date/science producer Johnathan Elders.

The event was hosted by Susan Morrison, a leading figure with Edinburgh's creative science scene and host to the Cabaret of Dangerous ideas 

The event can be viewed in its entirety here or in 4 sections: 

Part 1 Introduction


 Introduction to our panel discussion featuring representatives from Creative Informatics, Edinburgh Science, Creative Carbon Scotland and Institute of Physics (IOP) Scotland. Hosted by Susan Morrison In this section we look at how best for creatives to reach out to organisations

Apologies for the sound quality issues in parts 1 & 2. Closed captions are available via YouTube

Part 2 - Applications

In the second section of our panel discussion we look at what organisations are looking for in an application submission

Apologies for the sound quality issues in parts 1 & 2. Closed captions are available via YouTube

Part 3 -

In this section we discuss how different organisations use language, can artists adapt their language to help communicate ideas with organisations.


And networking, various organisations have networking events, but do they work?

Part 4 - Open Questions

In the final section we open things up to the audience and answer questions raised, such as what do you do with your art once your exhibit is over?

Panel Discussion complete

The whole panel discussion uninterrupted, ideal if you need something to listen to for an hour

Apologies for the sound quality issues during first sections. Closed captions are available via YouTube

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Key Points

During our debates and discussion there were some points common to nearly all of our speakers:

Making connections-

1.   Talk early - creating relationships with organisations is important. Get to know them, and they get to know you. All the organisations we have approached have said they prefer to start the conversation well in advance of applications as it help ensure that applications are relevant and have what they need.


It also means that they will be looking out for your application when it comes in, which can make all the difference when some opportunities receive a very high number of applications.

2.   Take all the help and guidance you are offered

3.   Some organisations can be slow to respond or don't get back to you, don't be disheartened. Chase them up and budget in time to do so, but also keep looking elsewhere! Please note that all the organisations involved in our panel discussion are excellent at getting back to people!

4.   Early years creatives should not be put off - even if you are starting out, your work might be totally relevant

5.   Stay in touch - make sure you are getting all the newsletters and open call information. Join your networks



6.   Do you fit this? Take a good look at the criteria and the guidance. 

7.   Read the funders aims and objectives and their strategic goals for the coming year (s). Is it climate change, local environmental impact or renewable energy?

8.   Make sure you actually can fit your work into the physical framework being offered. Does your artwork need to be outdoors? Does it need maintenance? Is it suitable for the intended audience?

9.   Get someone else to read over that application with you


10. Does your budget fit the funding call? There is no point in apply for £10k or a £5K call

11. Make sure your budget is clear - and achievable. Seek guidance for day rates and material costs if you unsure

12. Make sure 'in kind' contributions are clearly accounted in

13. Make sure you have a contingency fund in your budget - funders like to see that you've thought ahead.

Any Questions?

 We can be contacted here if there are any point raised in our Expert Advise section that you would like to discuss further. We appreciate there's a lot to take on and are happy to answer questions, or perhaps you are experienced in producing data driven exhibits and would like to share experience from your own journey? 

More Expert Advice

 Please visit our Profile section. We have profiles for people who can offer various skills and advice, from academics with a good knowledge of funding and the other processes involved, to artists with experience of producing content

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