Joe McAlister

Staff details

Joe McAlister






j.mcalister (

Joe is an artist and privacy advocate. His work focuses on how technology can be used to aid progressive discussion.

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

Grants and awards

2022: Activist Museum Award - The Acquisitions Panel, Fast Familiar
The Acquisitions Panel is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

A project leading to the development of 'smoking gun'. VERTIGO is funded under the Horizon 2020 European STARTS initiative.

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

Publications and research outputs


Doran, Heather; Barnard, Daniel; McAlister, Joe; Briscoe, Rachel; Hackman, Lucina and Nic Daeid, Niamh. 2021. The Evidence Chamber: Playful Science Communication and Research Through Digital Storytelling. Frontiers in Communication, 6, 786891. ISSN 2297-900X

Media engagements

2021: COP26: Do What You Must - An immersive scenario session
Do What You Must uses immersive narrative and interactivity to introduce participants to climate risk considerations in an engaging way.

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

2022: D6: Culture in Transit, Cyprus
An overview of the development of carbon reduction techniques, used to deliver carbon neutral digital artworks at digital studio Fast Familiar

2021: ZIP-SCENE 2021, Budapest
Analysing Player Behaviour in Anonymised Online Durational Performance: a case study of Fast Familiar’s Smoking Gun

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