Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Performance and Cultural Industries

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Professor Sita Popat secures AHRC Network funding for The Error Network Project

September 8th, 2015

Professor Sita Popat, Chair in Performance and Technology in the School, has successfully secured funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council for The Error Network project. The Co-Investigator is Sarah Whatley at Coventry University. Dr Nicholas Salazar Sutil, Academic Fellow in Digital Performance in the school is also a named participant. Other participants are based at the universities of Coventry, Leeds, Southampton and Plymouth, and at Malmö University in Sweden.

The Error Network brings together a multi-disciplinary team to explore how dance and human-computer interaction (HCI) design can inform and interrogate each other through positive engagement with the generative possibilities of ambiguity and error. The project includes researchers from dance and HCI, alongside those from archaeological computing, psychology, prosthetics, cultural theory, digital media sociology and mathematics, each bringing other disciplinary understandings of human/computer interfaces to the critical debate. This Network is needed because HCI’s recent engagement with embodiment is still in its relative infancy, acknowledging the benefits of including discourses and practices from performance and dance but yet to realise their full potential. Body-based methods like bodystorming (physically enacting the experience of using imagined interfaces in order to envisage solutions) are now commonly used to create effective design to ‘make things work better’ for human engagement. Yet these creative approaches are focused heavily on solution-finding that prioritises the body over technology, rather than problem-seeking that explores the experiences and possibilities of body-technology interactions. In contrast, dance methods are valued for allowing contingency, the unexpected and the unplanned to develop new creative outcomes. The dialogue between the disciplines will explore how the embodied knowledge of the dancer and the methods that dancers employ within their creative processes illuminate relationships between human and machine, leading to potentially new insights about embodied knowledge in HCI. Similarly, investigation of concepts of error, ‘noise’ and glitches in digital code offers new possibilities for creative processes in dance choreography. The Network will run for 18 months from October 2015, with workshops in the UK and Sweden, culminating in a symposium for academics and industry professionals at the University of Leeds.

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