The Bureau of Silly Ideas is where art
and academia collide.

September 2023 Update

Arts organisations have difficulty assessing their impact. In the numbers game created by the most powerful forces of the 21st Century, the arts sector is falling behind.

Until now.

After two years of research and development, we are very excited to announce our work on AI-generated technology to create a new metric for measuring the success of public-realm arts activities: SMILES.

The device to count them? The SMILE-O-METER

This revolutionary device is set to change the conversation about the impact of arts activities in the Treasury's Green Book, shifting the focus from financial return to social return on investment.

The project is being conducted in partnership with Goldsmiths University, the New Economics Foundation, Warwick Medical School, BOP Consulting, and Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust.

If you're interested in getting involved in this project, and/or in finding out more, please click here.

Our core team is made up of experienced artists and academics who are skilled at gathering insightful data through artistic intervention, and interpreting complex research through public engagement programs.

We work with a wide range of partners, including technologists, heritage societies, universities, and institutions, to create art that investigates and explores a variety of research topics and permeates the public realm. We are expert at inventing artistic frameworks for research and engagement, and we love a challenge.

If you have a research project that you'd like to explore through art, we'd love to chat. Email our Artistic Director, Roger Hartley, at to start the conversation.

Recent partners include Bloomsbury Festival's Artists Meet Academics, Goldsmiths, UCL, and Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust.