Cyber Cage: Next Generation Knowledge Fusion between Art, Technology and Innovation


James Hutchinson, Sardar Jaf and Nick Lewis


Cyber Cage is a series of artworks and interventions that 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 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. This MURAL story shares the outcomes of the practice-led creative collaboration that subsequently emerged between the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries and the Faculty of Technology at the University of Sunderland.

Throughout 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.

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