News: Apollo gets creative with Sci-Art project

Apollo Creative is excited to announce its involvement with the innovative sci-art project Me, Myself and MRI. As a key partner, Apollo Creative is providing technical expertise through the involvement of its Creative Director Mark Hildred.

The project, being lead by the arts partnership Geodesic Arts, has been awarded funding by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England. It has been designed to explore the idea of individuality using contemporary neuroimaging technology, photography and audio-video work.

MRI Scan of Geodesic artist Damian Murphy’s head

Geodesic are working together with Archbishop Holgate CE School, York and York Neuroimaging Centre to realise the project, which will culminate in a touring exhibition of digital portraits in 2009.

Year 8 students from the school have been working on the project since the beginning of 2008 and will choose six people to be the focus of the work. Approaches are currently being made to a range of people suggest by the group, from teachers to celebrities. The foundation for their selection is based on the question “what makes an individual?” and could focus on anything from their career, their background through to their every day lives.

The chosen subjects will be invited to undergo an MRI scan as well as sit for photographic portraits and take part in video and audio interviews. The information and data collected will then be transformed into a series of digital portraits which will provide a unique representation and insight into who they really are.

Mark Hildred, Apollo Creative and Technical Producer on the project, has been involved since the project’s inception and will be responsible for the realisation of the final exhibition. Mark has been actively involved in both the planning and running of the project sessions within the school, together with liaising with the galleries for the final exhibition.

Mark Hildred said – “It is always exciting to work with young people on innovative arts projects such as this. At Apollo Creative we actively seek involvement in this area as it helps us to develop new ideas and technologies. This ethos often provides us with ways for us to expand upon the work we already do within schools; and so develop the potential for future creative and technically skilled employees.

James Evans, Head of Science, explains why the Archbishop Holgate CE School got involved. “It is an exciting, collaborative project that has engaged the pupils, teachers and outside agencies. It is an opportunity to celebrate the exciting developments in science, explore the ethical issues raised and marry them with the creativity and expression of art.

He believes that the project is significant to the pupils as “to experience the ‘wow’ factor of science with inspirational people, to make links with many facets of the curriculum, to be engaged by science and express through art, ICT and media is priceless.”

As well as learning about creative digital technology, the students are also exploring the development of contemporary neuro-imaging techniques such as MRI and MEG and the science behind them. Staff at the York Neuroimaging Centre are acting as scientific advisors to the project, explaining how modern-day techniques have developed, investigating ethical issues surrounding these techniques and carrying out MRI scans on the people selected to take part in the project.

The students are also finding out more about the development of portraiture as an art form and the links between science and the arts, as they are working with an art historian to discover how art and science together can help us make sense of the world around us.

The final exhibition is due to launch at the National Science Learning Centre in January 2009 before touring to York Hospital and Impressions Gallery, Bradford. The project forms part of the community and education programme for SightSonic, York’s International Festival of Digital Arts.

For further information, see the projects blog at: or contact Mark Hildred