Call for Proposals

DRHA 2020 “Digital Curation: Locating Creative Practice and Research between Digital Humanities and the Arts”

We are delighted that DocPerform 4 will be held in conjunction with DRHA 2020, 6 – 9 September 2020 at MediaCityUK. (Conference was held online due to the pandemic).

DocPerform 4: Curating immersive performance

Call for papers – now closed

Dr Joseph Dunne-Howrie and Dr Lyn Robinson November 2019.

DocPerform is a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary project, which explores the processes associated with the creation, documentation, preservation, and archiving of performance.

The project is based within the Department of Library and Information Science, CityLIS, at City, University of London, and has its roots in document theory.

The project aims to encourage connections and conversations around the ways in which previously unrelated disciplines understand performance as a document, and the ways in which the theories and practice of performance documentation are developing.

DocPerform has a particular interest in emerging document formats, which can employ technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. These have led to both new forms of performance, and new ways via which performance may be documented. Such emerging document formats offer multisensory, interactive experiences, which can enhance reader/audience perception of presence, agency and temporality.

The term ‘immersive’ is often associated with this type of document, although the exact definition of an immersive document, or performance, especially in relation to semi-immersive, or complex documents, remains open.

Leaving aside the lack of absolute definition, immersive documents prove challenging for memory institutions engaged with traditional collection, access, archiving and preservation practice. A key point of departure from the curation of traditional documents, is the extent to which we curate the immersive experiences per se, in contrast to curating the individual or group experiences of engaging with the immersive narrative. The perspective and potential role within the narrative for the reader/audience is an important component of immersive experiences, and this adds extra dimensions to the processes of curation.

We need to consider for example, what these immersive performances might tell us about social and cultural issues, and how the desire for the interconnectedness of immersive experiences might allow us to re-imagine what it means to be human in the twenty-first century.

In the context of the digital humanities, these technological and artistic developments compel us to reappraise how we define authorship when the reader becomes a collaborator in the experience of the information instantiated and transmitted by the immersive document. Has the humanist perspective of the author as a singular creator of a work of art become outdated when the internet makes all forms of knowledge open to alteration and adaptation through convergent media?

Criticisms of participation in the context of neoliberalism have been the subject of diverse research over the past decade by scholars such as Jen Harvie (2012) and Adam Alston (2016), whilst scholars such as Jenn Stephenson (2019) and Royona Mitra (2016) have shifted the emphasis of immersion away from questions of spatial dimensions to focus on how immersion denotes an imaginative reflexivity in the hive mind of an audience.  In what ways does the humanist definition of individualism inhibit collaborative models of participation? What models of participation can be designed or indeed already exist that re based on the digital’s affordances of networked thinking?

For this, our fourth Symposium, we invite proposals for 20 min presentations for the following two panels:

Documenting Immersive Performance (broad understanding of immersive)

Papers that consider how museums and libraries are working to curate and manage access to past temporalities, and the possibilities performance practice presents for conserving digitally mediated experiences through performative embodiment.

  • Conceptual work on the definition and nature of immersive performance and how it may be considered as a document
  • Work on issues around collecting immersive performance and making the collection available to readers
  • Indexing, cataloguing and metadata for performance documentation
  • Preservation of performance and associated documentation
  • Individual, local, national or international projects on curation of performance and associated documentation

Accommodating the Audience

Papers that consider how immersive performance is becoming an analogue for how we imagine the documents of the future to evolve, where the reader/audience/participant becomes part of the communication interface. What can immersive performance tell us about humankind’s hopes and dreams of our post digital future?

  • Conceptual work on understanding the concept and nature of the audience or reader in the context of immersive performance
  • Experience of presence, agency and temporality
  • Audience motivations and changing expectations
  • What does the audience or reader expect from the collection?
  • Issues of power and exclusion – how can curation be fair and inclusive?

Submissions for papers to be presented at DocPerform 4 should take the form of a 500 word abstract, to be sent to Dr Joseph Dunne-Howrie [].

We also welcome proposals for multimedia demonstrations relating to any of the panel items.

Submissions will be assessed by the DocPerform team, for relevance to the call, originality and clarity. Successful applicants will be notified.