Ross Cairns creates digital experiences especially in collaboration with other disciplines. 

In 2014 Ross received Tate Britain’s IK Prize along with Tommaso Lanza and David Di Duca for After Dark, a project which had a global media reach figure of one billion. Their robots, controlled through the Internet by members of the public at  home, roamed the Tate Gallery to view the masterpieces.  He has become a frequent collaborator with Jason Bruges Studio, Gabby Shawcross, BAT Studio, Helicar&Lewis, Biblotheque Design, A Practise For Everyday Life and many others.

Ross, from Dundee, Scotland works frequently with Tommaso Lanza. In 2011 they established their company, The Workers, to create seriously playful digital products. The Workers’ approach of ‘getting digital collaborators in early’  fosters meaningful digital intervention. They seize  opportunities offered by the latest accessible and open source technology and then expose these opportunities to collaborators from other creative disciplines. 

He is an adept computer programmer and technologist, skilled in variety programming languages both high level (C#, JavaScript, Cg, Clojure, XSLT) and low level (C, C++, Objective-C, GLSL). Ross is self-taught in this area and explores how digital creations can communicate meaning or feeling effectively by action. By doing it.  

Ross believes that programming is not just the domain of the developer or the computer programmer, and possessing a  playful attitude to computer code is vital for any practitioner in the creative sector.

To engage traditional creative practises in code Ross created a series of themed workshops using Unity 3D technology. He has delivered these workshops to both Architecture and Interior Design students at Canterbury University of the Arts, University of Westminster and soon at UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture. His goal is to encourage students to use digital tools as part of the creative process for projects where interactivity or digital technology is the vehicle for creation and not the final outcome.

Ross studied on the notable Design Interactions course at the Royal Collage of Art in London during 2007 to 2009. He was also a creative designer for the graphic design studio Atalanta in Glasgow, Scotland from 2006 to 2007. Prior to this he studied Interactive Media Design at the University of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design from 2002 to 2006.

He regularly speaks about his work, collaboration ethos and the potential of digital technologies at conferences and festivals both nationally and internationally such as Design Indaba in Cape Town and Resonate in Serbia.

Code Experience


C#, JavaScript, C++, GLSL, Cg, Objective-C, Bash, XSLT, PHP


Unity 3D (Shaders, ShaderLab, Native API Plugin Development), OpenFrameworks, Three.js, Video (GStreamer, WebRTC, OpenCV), Node.js, Databases (Redis, MySQL, Postgres, Carto), Web based technologies (Pug, Less/Sass, WebSockets, WebRTC, HTTP), Protocols (Midi, OSC, UDP/TCP, RSTP)

Active Interests

Virtual Reality (6 degree VR, Augmented Reality, 360), Graphic Pipelines, Functional Programming (Reactive Programming, Clojure, Emacs Lisp)



  • Listening Room, Guy’s Hospital – BAT Studio
  • ProjectLab, Old Market Theatre, Brighton
  • Bare Conductive, Freelance Creative Technologist
  • Visiting Lecturer, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury
  • Kavital for Bene, Clerkenwell Design Week
  • Highcross Lantern’s with SOCA, Leicester
  • Remix Summit London, Panel Disscusion Member


  • Belgrade, Presentation, 
  • Design Indaba Cape Town Presentation
  • Allude, Berlin Fashion Week
  • Studio Blackburn / Special Normal
  • Where Did The Selfies Take Us, UK Touring Exhibit – with BAT Studio & Eleanor Meredith
  • Baby Bundle Launch Concepts
  • HTC Straylight – BAT Studio
  • Ravensbourne, Presentation/Workshop
  • Royal College of Art, Presentation


  • Reset for Bibliothèque Design
  • Tate Britons’s IK Prize
  • WildFlower
  • Hackney Swinger Club at Hackney Wicked
  • Music To Move To – Fuel Theatre


  • Nike Feel TV – Hellicar&Lewis
  • Where You Are – Visual Editions / Google Creative Lab
  • Bloomberg Connect – Tate Modern
  • Design With Heritage – V&A / UCL / The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
  • 0/0/0/0 for Haroon Mirza with APFEL
  • Converse #GetWinterized – Anna Lomax


  • CocaCola’s Pavillion’s Ariel Dynamics, London Olympics – JBS
  • Kinect Workshop – Southbank Centre
  • 21st Century Light Modulator – JBS
  • ListeningNYC iPhone App – COSM
  • iOS Community Libraries – Xively


  • Awesomecross, BF Goodrich, Orange County, LA – JBS
  • Freelance creative coder for Jason Bruges Studio (2011-2014)
  • Feathered Flight – Museum für Naturkunde Berlin with TheGreenEyl
  • Big Art Mob – Art Public / Channel 4
  • StatRace – Tech City Launchpad Award
  • Ollo – Bibliothèque Desgin

2010 and before

  • 2010: Co-Founded The Workers with Tommaso Lanza
  • 2009: Dundee Contemporary Arts, iPhone App
  • 2007/09: Interaction Design, Royal College of Art
  • 2007: – Freelance Designer and Creative Coder
  • 2006/07: Designer, Atalanta Advertising and Design
  • 2002/04: Interactive Media Design, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee