DocPerform 2: New Technologies 6-7th Nov 2017

Just over a year ago, I penned the first entry for this website’s blog. My aim was to detail the backstory to my idea for the DocPerform project, as we planned our first, exploratory symposium. I wrote that we hoped ‘our initial event will spark further interest to form a longer term project’. I also hoped for participants.

I am pleased then, to now write, that today, CityLIS will host our second symposium DocPerform 2: New Technologies. Our 2017 gathering will run for two days, to allow for more presentations and ideas, discussion, reflection and planning.

Since the previous event, we have thought much about the concepts of documents and the processes of documentation, and the central place of these activities within the discipline of library & information science. In respect of new/future documents, we have focused on performance, and the likely impact of immersive technologies and behaviours. Over the course of 12 months, we have seen many developments in the technologies and social-cultural behaviours which first inspired our thoughts on immersive documents, and the processes which could support their amalgamation into mainstream library and information services. All of this has enriched our curriculum here at CityLIS, not least as a result of the new colleagues we have introduced as contributors to our master’s course modules.

Further, we are delighted to have appointed Dr Joseph Dunne as part-time lecturer in Library Science, to explore further the concept of performance as a document, and the documentary processes associated with the recording and archiving of the performing arts. Joe will also bring an external perspective to LIS, encountering and commenting on our work from the perspective of theatre and performance, and considering how we can communicate our work in recording humankind’s endeavours beyond the classroom and the profession, into the wider community.

Our first symposium collected together existing documentation projects from both the LIS and the theatre and performance disciplines. In our second event, we have elected to focus on theatre and dance, looking at how new technologies have changed the way in which we understand, create and experience performance, and consequently how we record, archive and preserve it as part of our cultural heritage.

Interestingly, despite significant developments in technologies and participatory behaviour, the documentation of performance appears to be somewhat reticent to move beyond record keeping as already understood. Maybe our work within the DocPerform project can change that, as we have drawn out some exciting conceptual ideas and prototypes for innovative use of technology for our Programme.

And finally, massive thanks to the DocPerform Team for making this happen, Joe Dunne, David Bawden, Sarah Rubidge, Ramone Riedzewski, and Ludi Price (admin magician). Thank also to Tom Ash for tech support and blogging, and to artist James Hobbs for our lovely logo!

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