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ICAT NEA Research Lab

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In partnership with Leonardo (an international network of transdisciplinary scholars, artists, scientists, technologists, and thinkers), researchers at the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT) will address three questions:

  • What is the link between artists (including designers) and broad societal innovation, particularly with regard to economic and job growth?
  • In which industries, sectors, or geographies is arts-driven innovation visible and measurable? 
  • What individual, organizational, or regional characteristics can positively affect the arts' relationship to entrepreneurship and innovation?

The lab will use a mixed-methods research approach to collect evidence of historical and current arts-integrated entrepreneurship and innovation activities. This effort will entail three separate phases of inquiry: a systematic literature review, interviews with businesses nationwide that are incorporating arts-integrated practices; and convenings of leading thinkers and practitioners of arts-based innovation within industries. Data gleaned from these methods will be used to create and evaluate a pilot program that will embed creative professionals within various industries to promote cross-disciplinary collaborations.

Planned lab products will include evidence-based publications and best practices for arts-integrated innovation and a compilation of scholarly articles. Additional partners will include Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (A2RU), the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for Study of Invention and Innovation, and corporate entities.