Joe McAlister

Staff details

Position Lecturer
Department Computing
Email j.mcalister (
Joe McAlister

Joe is a computational artist and privacy advocate. His work focuses on themes encompassing artificial intelligence, metadata and embodied interaction, taking a particular interest in how technology can be used to aid progressive discussion. Approaching these subjects using a variety of mediums, he creates coherent pieces that seamlessly blend technology with art described as "relentlessly innovative" by The New York Times.

He has directed and collaborated on works backed by leading artistic studios and institutions across Europe, including Arts Council England, Goethe-Institut, European Commission, Research Councils UK, Museum of London and The Cabinet Office.

A strong advocate for transparency within digital art, Joe has sat on panels discussing ethics and artistic practice in regards to artificial intelligence, including those held at IBM. He's an artistic laureate of The European commission's S+T+ARTS EU, and in 2020 he was named one of Aesthetica's 100 international artists

Media engagements

2021: Events horizon: the films, music, art and more to get excited about in 2021 - The Guardian
Lockdown has led to a boom in interactive digital experiences. The Big Tiny, Exit Productions, Swamp Motel, Coney and Fast Familiar are all making participatory stories that feel distinctly theatrical

2020: In These Immersive Shows, the Jury Is In (Your Home) - The New York Times
Empaneled as an online jury, participants in any given performance sift through evidence and weigh recorded witness testimony as they consider guilt or acquittal in a murder case.

2019: Everyone is biased, including you: the play designed by neuroscientists - The Observer
We all cling to beliefs despite the evidence. Immersive theatre experience The Justice Syndicate aims to show why.

2018: The Justice Syndicate Review (5 stars) - The Stage
“Enthralling courtroom simulation”

Conferences and talks

2020: Data stories conference
University of Southampton's data stories department's annual conference. Presenting a talk on Smoking Gun, our new show at Fast Familiar.

Grants and awards

2020: Aesthetica 100 contemporary artists of 2020
Aesthetica magazine's yearly award, celebrating 100 top international artists