Last month, three recent graduates from the BA (Hons) Fine Art: Print & Timed-based Media course at Wimbledon College of Arts and three young people from the Shoreditch Trust Active Citizens Programme visited the CERN laboratory on the Franco-Swiss border for four days to take part in CERN’s Primary Artist Programme. The programme tends to invite more established artists for residencies, whilst Art at CMS (another detector situated in France rather than Switzerland) aims to encourage and inspire emerging artists and thinkers.


BA Fine Art, Print & Time Based Media graduates, Peter Bellamy, Alex Naylor and Rosa Nussbaum were chosen by CERN to explore and further their interest in science and its relationship to their own practice. The exploration was particularly relevant to each of the three graduates as ‘all of their practices can be described as engaging with the world on it’s own terms’. On the basis of the research gathered at CERN, the graduates will be exhibiting new work on 28th November at the Shoreditch Trust.

‘Art is a way of constructing ourselves as humans in the world. Science is the greatest endeavour of our times to narrate the universe, to find underlying structure – what I would think of as an aesthetic of existence. Art is about perception. But in order to understand perception we need to know something independent about what is perceived. Art and science (and religion) used to be one thing (Renaissance). Now they’ve split off into aspects of a whole.’ Rosa Nussbaum

Take a look at the full photo diary here.

Print & Time Based Media Alumna, Rosa Nussbaum, gives us the background of the project and her account of the experience:


Our conCERN is a project centred around a five day research residency at CERN, the European research facility that houses the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.

The project is a collaboration between Art at CMS, UAL, The Shoreditch Trust and Allminds (a Geneva based portfolio preparation course).

Three artists from Wimbledon’s Print & Time Based Media course were invited to go on a five day residency this August to explore and further their interest in science and its relationship to their own practice. Lois approached Alex Naylor, Peter Bellamy and myself and asked if we’d be interested in going.

The Shoreditch Trust is a charity that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Four of the guys who are part of their program to get young people into employment also came along to CERN (Land Miassoni, Lorren Joseph, Kenneth Grinell, Lucca Sokhi).

We went to Geneva and met Michael Hoch who was our primary contact at CERN. Michael runs an initiative called Art at CMS. The largest collider at CERN is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It has a circumference of 27km and multiple detectors. The most well known of these is ATLAS and many previous art projects have centered around that.  CERN’s primary artist program tends to invite more established artists for residencies. But Art at CMS (another detector situated in France rather than Switzerland) aims to bring in emerging artists and thinkers.


The trip

Our trip to CERN was amazing. We met Michael and a bunch of other scientists and were swept out into a sea of information. Staying afloat (barely) in the ocean of acronyms we got introductions to various parts of CERN, from the LHC to the place where the web was developed. We got taken to the place where the colliders are controlled from and to the place that monitors an experiment set up on the International Space Station. We met Nobel Prize Laureate Samuel C.C. Ting. But by far the most awe inspiring was the visit to CMS itself. 100 metres underground – and you know it’s that far because you can look up/down the industrial size lift shaft – past floors of servers and signs warning of lasers and radioactivity, you come to this epic construction. 20m diameters and a marvel of contemporary technology it detects the particles resulting from the collision of two protons. It really is a beautiful thing.

When we were finally exhausted we were dropped off at our accommodation. Monastic cells inhabited by visiting physicists staying for the duration of their experiments. They had a certain ascetic charm.

We spent our days exploring CERN and asking questions, although we did have a little time to have a look around Geneva. By then we had all more or less figured out a starting point from which we would develop our response to the residency.

The first exhibition resulting from this project will take place on 28th of November at the Shoreditch Trust. Further exhibitions at CMS and other venues may follow.

For more information on Wimbledon College of Arts, BA Fine Art, Print & Time Based Media course please follow this link.