Researchers from across Virginia will explore cybersecurity issues through an artistic lens by looking at artificial intelligence, privacy, scams, misinformation, emotional surveillance, and more in the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative 2023 CyberArts Program. 

In June, CCI funded six projects  from five Virginia universities and colleges – Blue Ridge Community College, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech – in the second installment of its signature CyberArts Program. 

“The CCI CyberArts Program makes cybersecurity more accessible, tapping into performances, interactive artworks, and visual arts,” said Luiz DaSilva, CCI executive director. “This program has quickly become a standout by funding inventive projects that also have yielded commercial prospects. I’m especially pleased to have a first-time participant, Blue Ridge Community College, representing Virginia’s vibrant community college network.”

CCI worked in partnership with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) at Virginia Tech and the Da Vinci Center at VCU to create the program. Ben Knapp, founding director of ICAT, and Allison Schumacher, director of academic alchemy at the da Vinci Center, have been instrumental in the program’s success.  

Connecting artists with technology researchers helps spur cross-discipline creativity, giving daily context to complex ideas, Schumacher said. 

"The robust proposals for the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative showcase the unwavering dedication of art and design researchers and cybersecurity experts to revolutionize cybersecurity education,” Schumacher said. “Through their collaborative efforts, they strive to enlighten others about the importance of digital security through innovative and engaging approaches, weaving a tapestry of knowledge that empowers individuals to better navigate digital landscapes."

People will be able to see and experience the results for themselves. CCI plans an exhibit in 2024 with the new crop of projects, building on the successful 2022 CyberArts Exhibit at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Va.

"With last year's profoundly engaging CyberArts exhibition and this year's new set of cutting-edge research projects, we can see the extent to which the arts and design can increase our understanding of cybersecurity and expand the awareness of its importance to a broader community in the commonwealth," Knapp said.

CCI is a statewide initiative focused on research, workforce development, and innovation at the  interaction between security, autonomous systems, and intelligence. More than 350 researchers from 42 Virginia universities and colleges are part of the CCI network. Virginia Tech plays a leadership role in the organization. 

Funded 2023 CyberArts Projects

Cyber Insecurity: Exploring Vulnerabilities of Artificial Intelligence Through Visual Art

Designing the Next-Generation Security Warnings to Mitigate Social Media Misinformation

Hidden Within

SentimentVoice: Integrating emotion AI and VR in Performing Arts

Unveiling Invisible Sight: Exploring AI Perception and Privacy in IoT Devices through Interactive Art

Using Interactive Theatre to Increase Cybersecurity Preparedness and Prevent Scams Against Older Adults


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