Carson Center's Twomey organizes workshop for ISEA 2020

Carson Center's Twomey organizes workshop for ISEA 2020

calendar icon12 Oct 2020    

Robert Twomey
Robert Twomey

Lincoln, Neb.—Robert Twomey, assistant professor of emerging media arts in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, is one of three organizers for a workshop at ISEA 2020, one of the most significant electronics arts conferences in the world.

The 26thInternational Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) will be held virtually Oct. 13-18 with a theme of “Why Sentience.” ISEA is a long-running international non-profit with a yearly conference that includes arts, scientists and technology.

The workshop Twomey has co-organized, titled “Collaboratively Designing Metrics to Evaluate Creative Machines,” will be held Sunday, Oct. 18 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. CDT. It features nine invited speakers/panelists and 28 participants from all over the world.

This half-day workshop extends empirical methods and engages a broader arts and machine learning community to collaboratively define quantitative metrics assessing the creativity of algorithms and machines. This workshop is a first attempt to establish evaluation metrics for the area of creative AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Twomey has co-organized the workshop with Eunsu Kang, an artist, researcher and educator who is currently a visiting professor of art and machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science; and Jean Oh, a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

“We had an open call for artists, designers and engineers to participate in our workshop,” Twomey said. “The key criteria for participation was an interest in thinking through what creativity means, in relation to these new AI [Artificial Intelligence] and ML [Machine Learning] tools, and how we can evaluate it. We have a range of participants from around the world: undergraduate and graduate students in Data Science, the arts, and engineering; faculty from a number of international universities; as well as independent artists, writers, and musicians. This is just the kind of diverse mix of voices we were hoping for and will provide a well-rounded perspective to the task of measuring creative AI.”

Twomey is excited about the participating speakers they have lined up for the workshop.

“We have invited key researchers from technical/scientific fields (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning), as well as arts practitioners who are working with these AI and ML tools,” he said. “This allows us to approach the questions of measuring computational creativity from complementary perspective. The engineers who are creating the tools and the artists who are using them will each have distinct insight into their creative qualities: both their capabilities and their shortcomings.”

Machine learning, Generative AI and Computational Creativity are all essential areas for research and production in emerging media arts.

“The discussions and work we do at this conference on evaluating these creative systems will help inform my own teaching and research at the Carson Center,” Twomey said. “Organizing this workshop has been a tremendous chance for me to grow my network with others working in these fields, and provides a basis to plan future, related activities and scholarship. We have already grown our organizing committee in planning future events in the series! Support from the Carson Center has helped us to broaden our outreach and involve a broader range of participants who may not have afforded the ISEA conference registration.”

Twomey is an artist and engineer exploring the poetic intersection of human and machine perception. He has presented his work at SIGGRAPH, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and his research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Amazon, and NVIDIA. Recently a postdoc with the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UC San Diego, he joined the faculty of the Carson Center this fall.

For more information on the workshop, including a list of participants, visit

Information on conference registration is available at