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Teaching Robots to Draw

Primary supervisor

Jon McCormack

Research area


We normally think of drawing as an (almost) exclusively human activity. The idea behind this research is to explore the concept of post-anthropocentric creativity. We want to understand what art made by an autonomous, non-human intelligence might look like, and if artificial systems can exhibit what we recognise as creative behaviour. This behaviour and the drawings produced might not be the same as what humans would do.

At SensiLab we have developed mobile robots that can draw. These robots serve as an experimental platform for testing different theories about autonomy, creativity and authenticity in art made by machines. The research involves design and development of software and hardware, along with analysis and evaluation of the drawings produced. The goal is to answer the question: can we teach robots to draw?

This is a practice-based PhD research project. 

For more information on our practice-based PhD program, please see:

Required knowledge

Experience or an interest in art (particularly drawing) and a background in AI or Mechatronics.

URLs and Further Reading

Roudavski, S and McCormack, J (2016). Post-anthropocentric creativity. Digital Creativity 27(1)

McCormack J. (2017) Niche Constructing Drawing Robots. In: Correia J., Ciesielski V., Liapis A. (eds) Computational Intelligence in Music, Sound, Art and Design. EvoMUSART 2017.

Boden, M. Creativity and Art: Three Roads to Surprise, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Moura, Leonel and Henrique Garcia Pereira, Man + Robots | Symbiotic Art, Institute of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne, France, 2014.

Project funding

Project based scholarship

Learn more about minimum entry requirements.