About Cybercage


 Cyber Cage 

Next Generation Knowledge Fusion between Art, Technology and Innovation

During 2020, Creative Fuse North East and CoLab Sunderland worked with Dynamo North East and Breeze Creatives to facilitate a creative response to the complex business challenge of cyber security for #Cyberfest, the North East’s largest cybersecurity festival. A cross-faculty  creative collaboration subsequently emerged between the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries and the Faculty of Technology at University of Sunderland. 

The resulting artworks, animations and interventions, entitled Cyber Cage, exemplifies the value of an arts-led innovation approach to; identifying and addressing complex challenges emerging at the nexus of technology, the economy and society and the visualisation of complex cybersecurity concepts and social network phenomena. 

During the early stages of the UK COVID-19 lockdown, University of Sunderland academics James Hutchinson, Sardar Jaf and Nick Lewis came together (over Microsoft Teams). They considered the impact of escalating risks and detrimental effects associated with cyber security on individuals, the economy and wider society, with a focus on social media, user privacy and security. The resulting interdisciplinary project synthesized tools, methods, knowledge and perspectives drawn from their distinct disciplines (arts, creative industries and computer science) to explore ideas of containment, cloaking and invisibility and the ways in which information is coded and decoded within systems. The final works open up a critical dialogue between the technological vulnerabilities that facilitate cybercrime and the psychological impact of pervasive cybercrime within our digitally driven society. 

By interrogating cybercrime through a cultural, educational and behavioural change perspective rather than a solely technological one, Cyber Cage highlights the multicentric nature of cybercrime. Thus, provides cyber security providers with human centred, socially driven insights that can inform the development of impactful innovations within their growing sector and wider society.

Dr. Sardar Jaf

Dr Sarar Jaf is a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Sunderland. He has expertise in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Cybersecurity and Pedagogical research. Dr. Jaf is a Fellow of the Advanced HE and the Association for Computational Linguistics. His recent research work has focused on cyber security related issues, e.g., detecting; classifying; visualising online hate crime from short text and classifying public opinion/emotion on Covid-19 using social media data.

 James Hutchinson 

James Hutchinson was born in 1968 in London. He graduated in Painting from Chelsea College of Art and Design (1990) and in Fine Art Printmaking from the Royal College of Art (1998). He is a Senior Lecturer and MA Fine Art Programme Leader at the University of Sunderland.

Hutchinson's practice has expanded to embrace a wide variety of media. He runs a studio in Whitley bay, has: painting, sculpture, print, and photographic projects, has worked with architects on regeneration projects and has been a longstanding member of Ars Mathematica Paris. Hutchinson has collaborated on sound and performance works as one half of H+M.


"Cyber Cage is an abstract sculpture exploring ideas of containment, cloaking and invisibility."


"Andreas Slominski, some of his early works where he fabricates cages from everyday objects...the vessels that Damien Hirst uses to contain his sculptures [and] a big influence on my work has been Eric Bainbridge..."

Converting Data to Audio

"We could take the data from Twitter and get the computer to read it out..."

Future Projects

"The next steps would be to do with various augmented realities and verious performative aspects linked to that."

Nick Lewis

Nick Lewis is a Lecturer, Illustration & Design, Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries, University of Sunderland. Nick has worked in the games and animation industry for over 20 years.  He has contributed to a wide range of projects from console games to educational animations, and has been lecturing in Illustration and Animation since 2014.  He has a broad skillset, including 2D and 3D animation, digital illustration and traditional media.

"The idea takes it's name from an ancient type of cipher that mirrors the alphabet, called 'Atbash'."

"The project could be used in schools to show children how a cipher can work without numbers."