Innovators Program 2015

A two-month long program to explore the potential of art-thinking as a useful tool in education.



The Innovators Program is a grant for investigating how thinking and strategies used in the arts can be applied for innovation in other sectors. It brings together a group of 7 ‘innovators’ from different fields to collaborate during an 8 week funded program.

The program aims to research the potential of art practice beyond artworks and exhibition-making, asking the core question: how could art be used as a beneficial tool in education?



In 2015, an invited group of 7 ‘innovators’ from fields of art, education, neuroscience, physics and psychology came together in mid-August for two months to create a learning tool to strengthen ways of thinking divergently.


During the program the innovators collaborated together following an adapted structure of Design Thinking methods alternating between research, ideation, prototyping and testing until a satisfactory outcome is achieved.

We first started with research into whether there are commonalities in the way that artists think. We gave this way of thinking the working title: ‘art thinking’. Following this, we developed out aspects of art thinking that we felt could be useful in education and everyday life.

The final outcome was a first prototype for a learning tool for teachers and group facilitators to boost divergent thinking in non-formal education settings.

It was our intention that the learning tool should be accessible to many contexts with the possibility to further develop in future according to different settings. Read about our process and first prototype on our blog.

Selected participants 2015

We are very pleased to present the Innovators for 2015 who worked together with the Node team in August – September 2015 to investigate how thinking strategies commonly found in art can be used to create a learning tool for non-formal education settings:

Aleksandra Berditchevskaia

Aleksandra copyAleksandra Berditchevskaia is a neuroscientist working in a group that investigates how sensory information is processed by neural circuits. Her own research specifically looks at motivational influences on perceptual processing during simple visual behaviours. Beyond this, Aleks is involved in a number of projects at the crossover between arts and sciences. She is interested in exploring the complementary practices of artists and scientists as creators of content in an educational or visitor experience capacity.

In the past, she has acted as a science consultant during the development of an educational resource pack for primary schools in south London. This project looked to use art methods to teach the science curriculum. Currently she is collaborating with artist Alistair McClymont on a gallery installation “One should never mistake pattern … for meaning”, which considers the gallery space as a platform for both preliminary research and artistic exploration into the nature of subsonic sound perception.

Saumya Bhatt

SaumyaSaumya Bhatt is an Associate Curator, Programming and Exhibitions at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.  Along with exhibitions and programming her area of interest is art education. She has been closely working with young children in programs outside of the museum. She completed her masters in Arts in Arts and Aesthetics from School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University and a post graduate diploma in Film Production from St. Xaviers College, Mumbai. She has previously worked as a researcher and production manager for Wide Angle films, a New Delhi based film production house.

Gabriela Durán

gabi_finalGabriela Durán has an M. A. on Experimental Psychology and a Ph.D. in Social, Cognitive and Neurosciences from the University of Texas at El Paso. She did her postdoctoral studies at the University of Arizona, where she is currently a visiting scholar, with a focus on Scientific Aesthetics. She is also a professor of visual arts at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez since 2006 and is part of the National System of Researchers (SNI) in Mexico.

Gabriela’s recent research has focused on better understand the role of conceptual knowledge in art appreciation as well as the use of new media technologies in the development of community-based art. Her work has been published on the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Journal of Vision, and the international anthology Dialogues Across Diasporas. Currently she is collaborating on two funded community-based projects with artists from Arizona and New Mexico respectively.

Stine Marie Jacobsen

Stine Marie Jacobsen copyStine Marie Jacobsen is a conceptual artist living in Berlin and Copenhagen. Key themes in her work are cinema and film, death and violence, gender archetypes, anonymity, as well as their portrayal and presentation in film and reality.

Stine has a Master of Fine Arts from the Royal Danish Art Academy in Denmark and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from CalArts, California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, USA.

She has had solo shows at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, 2012, Berlin, Koh-i-noor, 2010, Copenhagen, District Kunst- und Kulturförderung, 2014, Berlin, Galway Arts Center, 2014, Galway, Ireland and Overgaden institute of contemporary art, 2015, Copenhagen, Denmark. Selected group shows include Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Momentum Biennale 2013, Moss, Norway, Either Or Nikolaj Kunsthal, 2013, Copenhagen, Idyll Turku Biennale, Turku, Finland, The 10th OPEN International Performance Festival, 2009, Beijing. /

Silke Lange

SilkeLange_node copy

Silke Lange is Associate Dean of Learning, Teaching and Enhancement at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Prior to this, she was Director of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster. Her research focuses on the creative process, collective learning, interdisciplinarity and learning environments. From 2010 – 2015 she was the educational researcher on Broad Vision, an art/science program that offered students across the University of Westminster a range of opportunities for art/science collaborative research and interdisciplinary learning.

Silke’s recent investigations into learning environments have been published in an international anthology on Learning Space Design as a co-authored chapter entitled: Promoting Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Learning via Migration between different Learning Spaces. She has been external examiner at various institutions and works as a consultant for the Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnership at the Open University, and has chaired and participated in a number of validations and institutional reviews.

Irene Lapuente

Irene2Irene Lapuente is the founder and director of La Mandarina de Newton SL. Before creating her own company, Irene accumulated almost ten years of experience in science communication, education, museums, media development and project management. She was the Head of Communications at the Catalan Institute of Paleontology and at the LSI department of the UPC. She also worked at CosmoCaixa Barcelona and as secondary school teacher at Oak House School.

Irene graduated in Physics from the University of Barcelona and has a Postgraduate in Science Communication (UPF) and in Science Documentaries Creation (UPF), and a Teacher Training Postgrad (UPC). She has been involved with classical and contemporary dance from an early age, with a degree in ballet from the Royal Academy of Dance in London.

Her main interest lies in the intersection of learning, science and other forms of knowledge as the learning that derives from a situated body. The main motivation behind the La Mandarina de Newton project is to explore this intersection.

David C. Terry

dterryheadshot copyDavid C. Terry is the Director of Programs and Curator at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) where he oversees the Fellowships, Curatorial, Sponsorship and Professional Development Programs. Prior to coming to NYFA, David was Assistant Director at the Pelham Art Center, where he directed the exhibition, educational and outreach programs.

He earned his BA at the College of William and Mary, and while earning his MFA in Sculpture from the University of Pennsylvania, David began his administrative, curatorial and teaching career at the Philadelphia Arts League.

David is a working artist, curator, juror, and has been a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, Bronx Council on the Arts, Westchester Biennale, the Alexander Rutsch Award in Painting, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Artist in Residence Program, Lumen Arts Festival, and a member of the GIA Support for Individual Artists Group Steering Committee as well as Board Member of the College Art Association and the Fine Arts Federation.

The research will be guided by and developed in collaboration with  Perla Montelongo (Director) and Lauren Reid (Coordinator) of Node Center.

Perla Montelongo

perla_picPerla is Director of Node Center for Curatorial Studies, her main focus is on designing alternative learning strategies from and for contemporary art. In 2010, she co-founded Node Center, establishing it as a place for teaching researching, and experimenting with subjects related to curatorial studies and contemporary art practices. Perla develops and defines Node Center’s structure which has included the Collaborative Curatorial Residencies, Online Educational Platform and now the Innovators Program.

As lecturer, she has worked in Universities in Mexico – Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, UACJ- and in Spain – Escola Superior de Disseny ESDi – until she founded the independent art education program Visions of Art in 2009, dedicated to the professionalization of emerging artists in Iberoamerica.

Lauren Reid

LReid-ProfileLauren Reid is an independent curator based in Berlin. She has been Coordinator at Node Center for Curatorial Studies since 2012 where she also teaches the online course ‘Expanding Exhibitions: Innovative Approaches to Curating’.

Lauren is Co-director of the independent art space insitu (since 2014) and of the Project Space Festival Berlin. Recent curatorial projects include ‘Haunted Thresholds: Spirituality in Contemporary Southeast Asia’ which was realised at the Kunstverein Göttingen in collaboration with the research network ‘Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia’ and the Ethnographic Collection, Georg-August-University.

She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts/Arts (Gender, Sexuality and Culture Studies), Australian National University and Honours in Media Arts, Sydney College of the Arts.


The participation of the Innovators from England, Spain, U.S.A. and India is kindly supported by:


Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

Arts Council EnglandLa mandarina de Newton