The Future of Documents Project: Documenting Performance (DocPerform)

cropped-docperform3_banner_alexanderbell.jpgThe questions relating to the nature of documents and the processes of documentation are of core interest to researchers in the Department of Library & Information Science, (CityLIS), at City, University of London. Our DocPerform project considers the documentation of performance and the extent to which performance may itself be considered as a document, from a multidisciplinary perspective. The project is part of the wider consideration of the future of documents undertaken by members of CityLIS.

The DocPerform project held an initial symposium on October 31st 2016, which brought together over 70 participants from the fields of performing arts, performance art, dance, digital arts, music, library & information science, archives and related disciplines.

Our aim was to initiate a conversation around the ways in which different, previously unconnected, disciplines define documents, and the ways in which they understand, explore and develop the theory and practice of collecting, indexing, preserving, accessing and using records of performance.

The day examined the scope of current thinking and practice, showcasing projects from traditional library and archive practitioners through to work undertaken by artists and performers. The event incorporated sessions on the description, recording, archiving, and preservation of performance, including: dance, music, theatre, and performance art.

Following the enthusiasm, ideas and inspiration generated by our first symposium, we held DocPerform 2 over  6th and 7th November 2017. A selection of the proceedings from this event were published in a special issue of Proceedings from the Document Academy.

Our third symposium DocPerform 3, was held on 16th May 2019, at City, University of London.

Once again, we brought together a multidisciplinary group of people, with a shared interested in understanding and developing the ways in which performance, as part of our cultural heritage, can be created, recorded, preserved, re-experienced and reused.

DocPerform 4 took place on September 8th 2020, as part of the wider DHRA 2020 Conference.

The DocPerform symposium series continues to define and collate a representative body of work in this area, to foster new partnerships and collaborations, and to support the dissemination and implementation of ideas generated.

We are planning DocPerform 5 for 2021, alongside a new series of webinars, the first of which takes place on February 16th 202118.30-20.30. All welcome!

Follow @DocPerform on Twitter for updates!