NEoN Digital Arts Archive

Abstract artwork of a glitched photograph in black and white


Creative workshop with artist Libby Heaney

Sci-fi & fantasy comic-style creative workshop with artist Libby Heaney

Young people aged 12 – 16 were invited to take part in a workshop delivered by artist and quantum physicist Libby Heaney and organised by NEoN Digital Arts.

Libby Heaney delivered a speculative world-building workshop using storyboarding techniques and sci-fi and fantasy speculation. The artist introduced participants to the themes of her art practice and engage them in creative exercises in imagining a quantum computing future.

Quantum computing is an emerging field of technology which strives to apply the laws of quantum mechanics to create very powerful computers which could solve problems too complex for classical computers. The artist describes it as scientists who learned to build computers by using a “weird version of reality.”

Participants got to speculate about the possible applications of quantum computing and consider future scenarios and their impact on society. Thinking about quantum technologies, timescale, plausibility and location, participants responded to various prompts to collectively construct a world by working with techniques like comic-style worksheets, storyboarding, sketching, text and collage. At the end of the workshop, participants' worksheets were assembled to form parallel narratives around the future impact of quantum computing.

Participants did not need to have any prior knowledge of the themes, only curiosity and enthusiasm.

About the Artist

Libby Heaney is an artist and physicist who holds a PhD in Quantum Information Science from the University of Leeds and an MA in Art and Science from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Her practice incorporates quantum computing, AI, VR and 3D modelling to critically examine power hierarchies, pluralities and interdependencies through the lens of new technologies. She often uses humour and satire in her work to subvert common perceptions within society. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally. Heaney is a resident at Somerset House Studios in London.

About the Project

The workshop was part of a new work by Libby Heaney commissioned by NEoN Digital Arts and Bilyana Palankasova as part of a collaborative PhD project at the University of Glasgow.

The workshop was part of Bilyana Palankasova’s PhD research and was documented through audio recordings for the purposes of data collection, which requires consent from all participants. This means that the workshop was audio-recorded. All personal information (names and emails) were anonymised.

This workshop took place on October 3rd 2022, in Keiller Centre