Drew Hemment profile picture

Job title:

Professor of Data Arts & Society & Director of Festival Futures, EFI


Drew Hemment is Professor of Data Arts and Society and Director of Festival Futures at Edinburgh Futures Institute and Edinburgh College of Art within University of Edinburgh. He is a Turing Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He leads The New Real (www.newreal.cc) and Experiential AI in partnership with the Alan Turing Institute and Edinburgh's Festivals.

Over thirty years, Drew has played a leading role in the emergence of a digital culture in Europe. He has worked with cities and nations representing culture and research at the highest level, and worked for the Singapore Government on Smart Nation and Singapore’s 50th anniversary. He has a repeat track record of internationally leading and shaping research domains, including Open Data and Human-Centred Smart Cities. In 1995, Drew founded FutureEverything, named by The Guardian one of the top ten ideas festivals in the world. In 2016, he founded the GROW Observatory, the world’s first continental scale citizens’ observatory. He is presently working to develop a transformative research agenda for the coming decade on AI and the Arts, and to build a national capability for the UK in this highly significant area.

Drew is a frequent public speaker and regularly appears in the media, including as expert witness on BBC's Moral Maze, and film critic for Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Scotland. He is a member of the Editorial Board for Leonardo and Alan Turing Institute Steering Group for Arts, Humanities and Heritage. His work has been recognised by 14 international awards including Soil Award 2019 (Winner), STARTS Prize 2018 (Honorary Mention), Lever Prize 2010 (Winner), and Prix Ars Electronica 2008 (Honorary Mention).


Building Near Futures, Course Organiser
Edinburgh Futures Institute, SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)

This course develops students' agency and critical competencies in envisioning, articulating, and questioning ideas about the future. By introducing futuring frameworks, methods and tools, it equips students to investigate future scenarios, challenges and controversies with and for society. It explores how futures methods - including creative and experiential methods - can generate insights that can be implemented in the present to effect real world change. In teams, students create fragments of near future worlds, and work together to display those fragments in an online, near future publication or gallery.


Hemment, D., Currie, M., Bennett, SJ., Elwes, J., Ridler, A., Sinders, C., Vidmar, M., Hill, R., Warner, H. (2023). AI in the Public Eye: Building Public AI Literacy through Critical AI Art. ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT). Chicago.

Hemment, D. (2020). Reordering the assemblages of the digital through art and open prototyping. Leonardo (Vol. 53, No.5). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p.529-536. DOI: 10.1162/leon_a_01861.

Hemment, D., Bletcher, J., & Coulson, S. (2020). Open Prototyping: A framework for Combining Art and Innovation in the IoT and Smart Cities. In Eds. Hjorth, L., de Souza e Silva, A., Lanson, K. The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media Art. London: Routledge. pp,.270-283. ISBN 9780367197162

Hemment, D., Aylett, R., Belle,. V., Murray-Rust, D., Luger, E., Hillston, J., Rovatsos, M., Broz, F. (2019). Experiential AI. AI Matters. 5: 1. ACM New York. https://sigai.acm.org/static/aimatters/5-1/AIMatters-5-1-10-Hemment.pdf

Current PhD students

Bilyana Palankasova

Valuing festivals as incubators of digital creativity – capturing the process of commissioning and presenting digital art