We celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Computer Arts Society’s Event One 
(held 29-30 March, 1969) with a panel:
History of AI in the Arts
The UK in the 1970s:  The Slade School & Leicester Polytechnic
19:00 GMT, 29 March 2023 via Zoom.  Other timezones here:  
https://www.timeanddate.com <https://www.timeanddate.com/>
When Leicester Polytechnic was formed in 1969, lecturers Ernest Edmonds and 
Stroud Cornock were building a computer-based interactive art system.  Stephen 
Scrivener graduated in Fine Art and the first Invention of Problems event 
followed in 1970. In 1974 the Slade School of Fine Art at University College 
London acquired a dedicated Data General Nova 2 Minicomputer for the 
postgraduate EXPerimental and Computing Dept.  EXP attracted many visitors and 
some were regular contributors to the programme.  They included Harold Cohen 
who was developing his top-down expert system – AARON – and Edward Ihnatowicz 
whose robotic sculptures are now recognised for his pioneering contribution to 
bottom-up AI, Artificial Life and Cognitive Interactionism.  Another regular 
visitor was Ernest Edmonds and several Slade postgraduates went on to work in 
his Human Computer Interface Research Unit (HCIRU) at Leicester Polytechnic 
where they were among the first artists to be awarded doctorates for their 
practice-based research.
Moderator:  the arts historian Catherine Mason has researched this period and 
met many of the pioneers.  She will introduce the session and discuss her work 
contextualising its contribution and the work of participants like the 
electrical engineer turned artist Julian Sullivan.
Ernest Edmonds will describe his pioneering work with Stroud Cornock at 
Leicester Polytechnic, the Invention of Problems events in 1970-71, his 
friendship with Ed Ihnatowicz, the relationship with the Slade and the 
formation of HCIRU.
Stephen Bell was one of the Slade students who continued his research with 
Ernest and he will also talk about Dominic Boreham another student who went on 
to the HCIRU.
Paul Brown was another student in EXP and later a Research Fellow there.  He 
will talk about his friendship with Harold Cohen and Chris Briscoe who ran the 
computing unit at EXP and discuss his own work with AI and A-life.
This event is free but please book your place here:  

Our next talk will be on 26 April 2023 and will feature a panel on Contemporary 
Text-Based Work Using AI

You can see our future programme here:  

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