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Open Call: SURGE - A collaboration between UCL healthcare technology researchers & UAL Post-Grad Community

Blob of starch (gooey) lit in front of a black background
Blob of starch (gooey) lit in front of a black background

Written by
Post-Grad Community
Published date
24 August 2020

Explore the surgical technology and techniques of the future and what this means for patients and society.

We are inviting UCL healthcare technology researchers and postgraduate artists at UAL to come together through this joint project to consider the role of data in health and public, ethical and societal effects of surgical technologies.

Call for Participation

An expression of interest is sought from UAL postgraduate students to take part in 'Surge’: a funded artist and engineering partnership opportunity from 2020 - 2021 offered by the Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS).

We are interested in projects that will bring together scientists, artists, surgeons, and the public to explore complexity, application, informed consent, understanding and autonomy of technology in surgery, as well as their societal and ethical implications.

The centre brings together engineering, computing and medical staff. This includes research into medical imaging, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, sensors and much more.

We are seeking artists to create meaningful partnerships with academics that explore these techniques and themes in ways that engage relevant public groups, such as patients and members of the Camden community, resulting in new artwork, with support for this throughout the project through regular workshops and project staff time.

We will consider visual artists from any discipline and are especially interested in those with a socially engaged practice. Researchers will be sought across healthcare engineering disciplines, including medical physics, computer science, mechanical engineering and surgery.


We will be recruiting UCL academic researchers concurrently with artists, though it is not yet confirmed what specific research interests they may have.

Artists and researchers will be shortlisted and invited to a matchmaking session as a chance to meet and build relationships, followed by time to discuss and apply for a collaboration grant. WEISS knows the benefits to involving public and patient groups in exploring topics that affect them and so, where appropriate, will also seek chances for you to meet with and involve patient groups.  If this is not possible, we will ask that your practice seeks to explore topics with a more general public too. We hope to cultivate as socially engaged a practice as possible.

After our initial matchmaking event there will be some time for artists to put together a project proposal with their matched scientific collaborator.  We appreciate the level of work required to do this and so all submitted proposals will be granted an £40 honorarium.

The selected resulting partnerships will have 5 months to develop a project, these must involve, exploring topics with the public. ‘Surge’ aims to be a supportive process of collaboration, with regular collaborative workshops.

The final pieces will be displayed at a few places including a UAL gallery and online at


Expressions of interest submitted by


Matchmaking events

Late October

Application deadline (for funding)

Mid November

Projects announced

Late November

First project development workshop

Early December

Project development

January to April

Projects completed by

End of April

Final pieces displayed


The above timeline may be impacted by the ongoing pandemic.  It is likely that, at least the first meetings, shall be conducted online.

Expression of Interest

We are not asking you to spend too long on an application at this stage, the process (outlined above) is designed to select partnerships through a process of meetings, discussion, a joint written application and then funded collaborative research.

In order to be transparent and to help understand if this process is likely to suit you, we will be looking for evidence of your preparedness for becoming an involved artist through this process. It is expected that you will demonstrate one or more of the following attributes:

  • An interest in exploratory practice with healthcare technologies
  • An ability to respond to research in your thinking
  • An ability to collaborate in your art practice
  • An established approach to working with publics, patients and/or communities
  • Where possible, experience of socially engaged practice and connections

An expression of interest is due by 9 September 2020 to

  • Name:
  • Course:
  • College:
  • Specialism:
  • Bio:
  • Link: (website) 
  • Expression of interest: (250 words)

Deadline: Midnight, 9 September 2020

Send your application to:
Any questions you may have, please email: