iConference 2018


Conference Website

Location: The Diamond conference building, University of Sheffield Campus, Sheffield, UK
Hosts: The Information School at Sheffield and The iSchool at Northumbria University
Submission and Registration website: Click here
Browse Conference Agenda: Click here


I am looking forward to attending the iConference this year, at which I will take part in an interactive panel, Chaired by David Bawden.

‘Curators of the Infosphere: What’s the good of the philosophy of information for library & information science (and vice versa)?

Tuesday 27th March, 15.30-17.00

Panel Members:

Luciano Floridi (Oxford Internet Institute)

Jonathan Furner (UCLA)

Ken Herold (Adelphi University, New York)

Betsy van der Veer Martens (Oklahoma) (contributing remotely)

Lyn Robinson (City, University of London)

The panel will follow Luciano Floridi’s keynote presentation, and we will discuss the value and potential of Floridi’s Philosophy of Information as a foundation for library & information science.

See: Bawden D and Robinson L (2018). Curating the inforsphere: Luciano Floridi’s Philosophy of Information as the foundation for Library & Information Science. Journal of Documentation vol 74 (1), 2-17. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-07-2017-0096



DocPerform 2: New Technologies

I have a longstanding interest in documents and documentation, and so I am very happy that our DocPerform project will host a second Symposium over Nov 6th – 7th 2017. We are keen to hear from anyone thinking outside the box with regard to the documentation of performance; what could we do with new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, with the multisensory internet, and with new human computer interfaces?

We are looking for ideas for a range of papers and other activities.

Call for Papers

DocPerform Logo 2

DocPerform 2: New Technologies
Call for papers 2017


Instead of focusing on the impermanence of live, embodied acts, it is far more useful to think of the live and the recorded as mediums that facilitate communication between spectators and performers; both of these groups oscillate between the roles of receivers and transmitters of information over the duration of a performance.

Joseph Dunne, Regenerating the Live: The Archive as the Genesis of a Performance Practice, 2015

Our second Symposium considers how new technologies enhance our understanding of performance as a document, and the documentation of performance.

Following our successful launch last year, the DocPerform team are delighted to announce our second symposium that will take place over 6th and 7th November at City, University of London.

DocPerform is an interdisciplinary research project led by scholars and practitioners from the fields of performing arts and library & information science. The project concerns conceptual, methodological and technological innovations in the documentation of performance, and the extent to which performance may itself be considered to be a document.

Provoking audiences or even just trying to reach them one-to-one clashes with what has become a signature of the digital, the ideal of a networked, collective intelligence

Patrick Longeran, Theatre & the Digital, 2014

Advances in technology including 360° recording, binaural sound, virtual reality, augmented reality, multisensory internet, pervasive computing and the internet of things, have revolutionised the way we interact with the digital world. These technologies have brought about a convergence of eBooks, interactive narratives, video games, television programming, video and films, so that previous boundaries of document categories are no longer meaningful.

As our understanding of, and interaction with documents is evolving, so are the ways in which we can experience, record and remember performance. Technology is the means by which we create new documents, and also the means by which we can record, preserve, access and replay them.

A participatory story or experience (fiction or fact-based) is one in which the ‘reader’ moves beyond a passive experience of the text and becomes an active participant.

Lyn Robinson, Multisensory, Pervasive, Immersive: Towards a New Generation of Documents, 2015

Technology allows us not only to create, experience and re-experience new types of digital documents, but also to record and re-experience analogue events which are demanding of temporal and locational parameters, from our children’s birthday parties, through rock concerts, to dance and theatre.

Two key elements are participation and immersion; the former implies the degree of agency experienced, whilst the latter is the extent to which unreality is perceived as reality. These elements are facilitated by technologies such as transmedia and pervasive computing, VR and AR, wherein readers/observers or audience members experience a high level of ‘presence’, and can readily switch between the role of observer, participant or creator.

These developments compel us to investigate how performance documentation will evolve in terms of changing audience and readership behaviours. Moreover, the means by which theatre and dance are produced will inevitably have to respond to the burgeoning demands of online participatory culture beyond existing documentation techniques.

DocPerform 2 invites submissions for papers, performative papers, subjects for plenaries, workshop activities, or “provocations” from scholars and artists working in the areas of performance documentation, digital arts, library & information science, social media technologists, internet archaeology, audience participation, immersive theatre, and archives. We are especially interested in works relating to dance and theatre.

We anticipate that formal papers will last for 20 mins, including questions, but we are open to suggestions for the timing of other activities. By extending the symposium to 2 days, we are allowing more time for discussion, networking and planning.

Topics for activities may include but are not limited to:

Theme 1: Technological Concepts

  • Why do we document performance? Who are we documenting for?
  • Performance as a document, documents as performance
  • What is missing in our current documentation, the records and archives of performance?

Theme 2: Technologies for Creation

  • Innovative use of technology to create performance
  • Distributed or diffuse performance systems using transmedia technologies
  • Performance created using social media
  • Online performances

Theme 3: Technologies for Documentation

  • Innovative use of technology in recording, preserving and re-experiencing performance
  • The potential functions of performance documentation beyond creating a record of evidence (new works, remixing)
  • Approaches to exceeding the document as a record of evidence
  • Models of documenting using interactive interfaces
  • Documentation systems that incorporate user-generated interfaces
  • Potential role of archivists, documentalists and information professionals in theatre and dance production processes

Theme 4: Technologies for the Audience

  • Changing readership/audience behaviours in the context of digital culture
  • Models of audience participation online platforms
  • Elisions between spectator/performer, author/reader

Theme 5: Technologies of the Imagination

  • Offline/online/onlife…what next?

Please send suggestions/abstracts, plus 100 word biography, to both Lyn and Joe [lyn@city.ac.uk, jjd201@gmail.com] by Friday September 15th. Submissions should be no longer than a single page of A4. Authors of successful submissions will be notified in early October 2017. The selection panel will comprise members of the DocPerform Team.

Abstracts for accepted presentations will be published on our website around the time of the Symposium. Full papers of accepted presentations will be considered for publication after the event. We are interested to hear from open access publications interested in working with us.

The Future of the Document: documenting performance – Interdisciplinary Symposium 31/10/16

This post about our exploratory, interdisciplinary symposium, first appeared on  http://documentingperformance.com, on 25/07/16. The event is intended to start a conversation between practitioners, professionals, researchers, scholars and teachers from different disciplines, who are interested in documents and documentation. Please visit this main site for further information and registration details.


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The Future of the Document: documenting performance

Symposium: Monday 31st October 2016, City University London

Organisers: Lyn Robinson & Joseph Dunne

Call for papers

One of the major concerns of library and information science (LIS) is preservation of the record of humankind. In order to preserve something for future access we need to understand what it is we are saving. LIS considers preservation and access from the viewpoint of the document. This has prompted the question: ‘what is a document?’ The answer is far from straightforward, and has been debated since the end of the 19th century, when Otlet suggested that images, works of art and sculptures could be regarded in the same way as books, journals and papers, and later, in the 1950s, Briet suggested that even an animal might be considered as a document.

It would seem the question might be ‘what is not a document?’

Technological advances have given us digitization, which has added more complexity to the issue. Physical/analogue documents can be rendered in digital format, and the digital surrogates regarded as documents in their own right.

The rapidly expanding and evolving trend towards digitization has led to a convergence of GLAM sector institutions, so that the work of libraries, galleries, archives and museums has overlapped for some years now.

This interdisciplinary symposium goes beyond coalescence within the GLAM sector, to consider documentation and preservation of performance.

Today all types of performance can simply be broadcast and made accessible to millions of people through their mediatization – be it theatre and performance art; rock concerts; political performances such as party conventions or the inauguration of the U.S. president; ritual performances such as funerals (e.g. Princess Diana’s) or papal blessings urbi et orbi; or sporting events such as the Olympic Games. A new dichotomy has emerged between live performance constituted by the bodily co-presence of actors and spectators and the autopoietic feedback loop and mediatized performance which sever the co-existence of production and reception. Mediatized performance invalidates the feedback loop.

Erika Fischer-Lichte, 2008

At some level, the event simply happens; at the same time, it cannot be defined merely as what occurs

Jill Bennett, 2012

Much work in this area has been undertaken, but often outside the LIS domain and in separate strands of the performing arts. Work in defining and documenting dance, performance, performance art and theatre has progressed in parallel, yet disparate projects, although the goals of documentation appear consistent.

This cross-disciplinary, one-day event will bring together scholars, practitioners, artists and other professionals from the fields of Library & Information Science and Theatre & Performing Arts to start a conversation, and to share ideas and theories around documentation, preservation and access for complex-documents.

Abstracts of up to 250 words are invited for 20 min presentations.

Subjects for discussion may include, but are not limited to:

  • Definitions of the document / not a document.
  • What are the definitive characteristics of performance? Can these be recorded?
  • Does the process of documentation represent the performance, or it is a surrogate/new document
  • Who owns the document, the artist or the documenter?
  • Body memory
  • Projects documenting performing arts
  • Use of technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality or mixed reality to embody the essence of performance as a document
  • Online performance platforms – What opportunities does the Web afford artists wishing to reach new audiences? How can performing arts and LIS professionals collaborate?
  • Experiments with documenting and archiving strategies has lead many artists and scholars to see these practices as creative activities in their own right. What new art forms might arise out of them? Conversely, do LIS professionals consider their practice as artistic?
  • Lexicon of practices – Is there a language barrier between the performing arts and the LIS fields? How can this be overcome? What forums can be initiated to build dialogues between the two fields? What opportunities might arise out of this collaborative effort?

Please send your abstract (along with up to a 100 word biography) to lyn@city.ac.uk, and joseph.dunne@bruford.ac.uk by 1st September 2016. Notification of acceptance will be emailed by or before 30th September 2016. When you submit your abstract, please also register for the event (free). The symposium will take place on Monday October 31st 2016. Please contact either of us if you have any questions about the symposium.


Lyn Robinson is head of Library & Information Science at City University London. She is well known as course director for the library school #citylis. She has a longstanding interest in documents and the processes of documentation.

Joseph Dunne is Research Associate at Rose Bruford College. His PhD research investigated how archiving and documentation strategies can become the genesis of site-based performance practice. Joseph’s specialisms include audience participation, performance re-enactments, cultural memory, and theatre legacies.

Venue: The symposium will take place on 31st October 2016, at City University London, Northampton Square, EC1V0HB. We regret that we are unable to pay travel expenses to speakers or participants.

Booking a place: Attendance is free, but registration is required. Anyone with an interest in understanding performance as a document, and the documentation of performance is welcome!

Programme: May be subject to change.

Sponsors: We are seeking sponsorship for our event. If you are able to contribute to costs for a sandwich lunch or drinks reception, please contact Lyn Robinson, lyn@city.ac.uk