The Future of Documents: documenting performance


The 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 (DLIS) at City, University of London. The symposium described below was an initial, exploratory, collaborative event for what we hope will become an ongoing  project, DocPerform, to consider the documenation 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 nature/future of documents undertaken by members of DLIS at City.


The Future of Documents: documenting performance

Monday 31st October 2016

Northampton Suite, at City, University of London

This one day interdisciplinary symposium brought together scholars, researchers, artists and practitioners from the disciplines of library & information science and theatre & performance, to share and consider respective conceptual views of documents, and the processes and procedures associated with documentation. The day focused on the description, recording, archiving and preservation of performance, including: dance, music, theatre, performance and performance art.


The aim of this event, the first of its kind, was to provide a forum to initiate a conversation between two previously unconnected groups of people: practitioners and researchers from library & information science, and those from theatre and performance studies.

The conversation was to raise awareness of how the question of what is a document, and the theory and practice of collecting, indexing, preserving and accessing the records of performance, are understood, explored and developed by different disciplines.

This greater, shared understanding of the nature and documentation of performance should in turn lead to improvements in current documentation practice, ideas for new/best practice, new ideas for teaching and research, and innovative ways to enhance understanding of performance as a document.


The material shared, discussed and developed at this symposium (and throughout the project) will be of interest and beneft to: library & information professionals; library & information science teachers, scholars and researchers; artists, performers, creators, researchers, archivists and curators within the field of theatre and performance; professionals working within cultural heritage institutions; arts policy developers.


A blog relating to performance as a document, and the documentation of performance has been established:

If you would like to contribute to the blog, please send your ideas, or text to Lyn Robinson or Joseph Dunne.

New teaching concepts and materials have been developed for the masters courses in Library Science and Information Science at City.

A special journal issue is planned (tba), based on the papers and ideas presented.

Organisers: Lyn Robinson & Joseph Dunne

Background: Original Call for Papers


Storify of #docperform:

Hashtag: #docperform

Timings: Registration from 10.30, Main Sessions 11.00 – 17.00, Drinks Reception 17.00-18.00

Venue: Northampton Suite, University Building, City, University of London, Northampton Square, EC1V 0HB

Programme: Please note timings and speakers may be subject to change

Booking a place: LInk to the Eventbrite booking site for historic purpose. The event *SOLD OUT*. Attendance free, but registration required. Anyone with an interest in the documentation of performance welcome!

Sponsors: Our drinks reception sponsored by #citylis and Midsea Books.

Speakers: List of all of the speakers. Individual speaker pages with biographies and abstracts can also be found from the respective links in the Programme.

Thankyou: To Joe, Ludi, Tia, TomA and DB.