Virginia Tech®home

ICAT NEA Research Lab

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.