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The Culture of Collisions: Why the Arts and Science Collide

March 23, 2016 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Centre for Creativity in Professional Practice seminar

In July 2012 the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, CERN, located outside Geneva discovered the Higgs Boson with the world’s largest machine, the LHC. The discovery led to Nobel prizes. But there was another experiment being carried out at the Large Hadron Collider – which was working with a dimension even less understood than gravity. That dimension is the human imagination.


Ariane Koek


Today Arts@CERN is a fully established multidisplinary arts programme colliding the imagination and knowledge of artists with those of scientists and engineers. But why should CERN welcome what some would see as a fundamental distraction from its science? And what is the true purpose of such an endeavour? Ariane Koek who initiated, designed and directed the programme for 5 years gives her unique personal insight into how the culture of collisions leads to creativity – and even to the catwalks of the Paris Fashion Week.

The 40 minute talk will be illustrated with visuals from CERN and examples of artists. There will be a Q and A afterwards.

Ariane Koek (UK) is a Clore Fellow, independent international cultural strategy and policy consultant, producer, curator and writer. She is an External Policy advisor to the European Commission on arts, science and technology, and is currently working on a wide variety of international projects across her specialist subjects, multidisciplinary working and the history of ideas.

Recent projects include digital strategy for Europe’s oldest music conservatoire, catalogue commissions for Fondation Prada and the Kuntshaus Zurich exhibitions by Pipilotti Rist and Goshka Macuga opening February 2016, and policy advisor for a US initiative in field sciences. Ariane from March 2016 is also Special Advisor to Baltan Laboratories, Eindhoven – a multidisciplinary laboratory for artists working with technology.

In 2008/9 she was award the Clore Fellowship, and as part of the award, she initiated going on attachment to CERN the world’s largest particle physics laboratory based outside Geneva, in Switzerland. Subsequently she became the first cultural specialist appointed by CERN, in post from 2010 to 2015.

At CERN, she initiated its first Cultural Policy – Great Arts for Great Science – appointing its first cultural board and initiated , designed, fundraised for and directed CERN’s first official major multidisciplinary arts programme. Called Arts@CERN the programme comprises the policy’s flagship programme, the annual Collide@CERN artists residency programme, the Accelerate@CERN artists research programme, and the Visiting Artists programme, which has included such luminaries as William Forsythe, Esa Pekka Salonen and Wolfgang Tillmans. The philosophy behind the programme is creative collisions: that by colliding the ideas of particle physics with the arts, great new ideas and works will emerge.

Prior to CERN, Ariane was CEO of the Arvon Foundation for Creative Writing which runs 120 writers residencies a year in 4 different locations, and she had an extensive award-winning career as a BBC producer and director in both radio and television, working across arts, science and politics. Ariane also works as a writer and has been broadcast on the BBC and international media, and has been published in various international publications from Australia and China to the USA and widely across Europe.

Ariane is on the advisory boards of various organisations which cross boundaries and make things happen in extraordinary ways, including the arts/science festival, Pestival who were winners of the Observer ethical award 2010; HEK (the House of Electronic Arts, Basel) and the CERN Cultural Board.

Ariane is an elected member of the Forum d’Avignon the French think tank on culture, economy and media and a Slazburg Global Fellow. She gives talks internationally on creativity, creative communications, and science/arts interactions.

Ariane’s career and work is dedicated to her fundamental belief in the power of the imagination and self-expression to generate societal and individual change and innovation beyond paradigms. This includes her work coaching and mentoring young poets, dancers, producers, writers and directors to enable them to achieve as fully as possible their creative potential.

For more information and to book a place click here.


March 23, 2016
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


City University London, Cass Business School, Room: 2002
106 Bunhill Row
London , EC1Y 8TZ United Kingdom

Queen Mary - University of London
Arts & Humanities Research Council
European Union
London Fusion

Creativeworks London is one of four Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to develop strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations, to strengthen and diversify their collaborative research activities and increase the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.