Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Performance and Cultural Industries

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Professor Sita Popat

Chair in Performance and Technology, Deputy Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute

0113 343 8716

Clothworkers South Building, Room 2.02

PhD, BA

As Professor of Performance and Technology, Sita’s research is concerned with embodied experiences of new media and digital technologies. She is currently leading two projects: the Error Network (AHRC-funded) and Identity and Governance of Bodily Extensions: The Case of Prosthetics and Avatars (Wellcome Trust-funded). She is co-editor of Digital Movement: Essays in Motion Technology and Performance with Nicolas Salazar Sutil (Palgrave 2015) and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (Taylor & Francis).

Biography

Sita trained as a dancer before studying for her PhD in dance-making on the Internet in the late 1990s (when it took over 10 minutes to load a 2MB movie). Since then she has lectured at the University of Leeds, becoming Chair in Performance and Technology in 2011. Her interests in embodied experience and new media technologies have led to collaborations with digital artists, computer scientists, robotics engineers, and more recently rehabilitative medicine specialists. Currently she is leading an investigation into digital avatars and medical prosthetics as forms of bodily extension, and an interdisciplinary academic network on the productivity of error. She is also writing about experiences of embodiment and touch in virtual reality. Previous projects include collaboration on the design of robotic motion and interaction using dance movement analysis. Her research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the Wellcome Trust. She is a member of the AHRC’s Advisory Board.

Research Interests

Performance and new technologies

Digital bodies and avatars

The productivity of error

Embodied experiences and social identities of avatar users and prosthetics users

Teaching

Currently on research sabbatical

Responsibilities

Deputy Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute

Publications

Books

  • Salazar Sutil N; Popat S (eds.) (2015) Digital Movement: Essays in Motion Technology and Performance. Palgrave Studies in Performance and Technology. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/102219/

  • Popat S (2013) Invisible connections: Dance, choreography and internet communities.
    DOI: 10.4324/9780203824092

  • Pitches J, Popat S (2011) Performance Perspectives: A Critical Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Popat SH (2006) Invisible connections: dance, choreography and internet communities. Routledge.

Journal articles

  • Popat S (2016) “Missing in action: Embodied experience and virtual reality”, Theatre Journal. 68.3: 357-378.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/103480/

  • Popat SH (2012) “Keeping it Real: Encountering Mixed Reality in igloo’s SwanQuake: House”, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. 18.1: 11-26.
    DOI: 10.1177/1354856511419913, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/76890/

  • Wallis M, Popat SH, McKinney J, Bryden J, Hogg D (2010) “Embodied conversations: performance and the design of a robotic dancing partner”, Design Studies. 31.2: 99-117.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.destud.2009.09.001, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/79780/

  • Bailey H, Buckingham Shum S, LeBlanc A, Popat S, Rowley A, Turner M (2009) “Dancing on the Grid: Using e-Science tools to extend choreographic research”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. 367.1898: 2793-2806.
    DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2009.0048, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/76893/

  • Palmer SD, Popat SH (2008) “Dancing in the Streets - a design case study”, Interactions (New York). XV.3: 55-59.
    DOI: 10.1145/1353782.1353797, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/74745/

  • Palmer S, Popat S (2008) “Dancing in the streets”, Interactions. 15.3: 55-59.
    DOI: 10.1145/1353782.1353797

  • Popat S, Palmer S (2008) “Embodied interfaces: dancing with digital sprites”, DIGIT CREAT. 19.2: 125-137.
    DOI: 10.1080/14626260802037478, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81199/

  • Palmer SD, Popat SH (2007) “Dancing in the Streets: The sensuous manifold as a concept for designing experience”, International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media. 2.3: 297-314.
    DOI: 10.1386/padm.2.3.297_1, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/76894/

  • Popat SH, Bayliss A, McKinney JE, Wallis M (2007) “Emergent Objects: Designing through Performance”, International Journal of Performance Arts & Digital Media. 3.2+3: 269-279.

  • Popat S (2006) “Ways of thinking, ways of doing: Review of the second international conference for digital technologies and performance arts”, International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. 2.2: 209-214.
    DOI: 10.1386/padm.2.2.209_4

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2005) “Creating common ground: dialogues between performance and digital technologies”, International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media. 1.1: 47-65.
    DOI: 10.1386/padm.1.1.47/1, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/76895/

  • Butterworth J, Popat SH (2004) “The Eurodans Project: A European Collaboration through Choreography and Technology”, European Journal of Higher Arts Education.

  • Popat SH (2003) “The online devising process: creating theatre through Internet collaboration”, Studies in Theatre and Performance. 23.2: 87-105.
    DOI: 10.1386/stap.23.2.87/0

  • Popat SH (2002) “The TRIAD Project: using Internet communications to challenge students' understandings of choreography”, Research in Dance Education. 3.1: 21-34.
    DOI: 10.1080/14647890220129096

  • Popat SH, Smith-Autard J (2002) “Dance-Making on the Internet: Can On-Line Choreographic Projects Foster Creativity in the User-Participant?”, Leonardo. 35.1: 31-36.
    DOI: 10.1162/002409402753689281, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/1435/

  • Popat SH (2001) “Interactive dance-making: online creative collaborations”, Digital Creativity. 12.4: 205-214.
    DOI: 10.1076/digc.12.4.205.3218

Chapters

  • Popat SH (2017) “Gesture and Movement: Indices of Presence”, In: Banks J (eds.) Avatars Assembled: The Social and Technical Anatomy of Digital Bodies. Digital Formations. New York, NY, USA: Peter Lang. (Accepted)
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/113961/

  • Popat SH (2017) “Virtually Touching: Embodied engagement in telematic and virtual reality performance”, In: Butterworth J; Wildschut L (eds.) Contemporary Choreography: A Critical Reader (second edition). Routledge. (Accepted)

  • Popat SH (2016) “Transcending dimensions: physical and virtual dancing bodies”, In: Rosenberg D (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies. Oxford University Press. 657-676
    DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199981601.013.31, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81423/

  • Salazar Sutil N, Popat S (2015) “Introduction”, In: Popat S; Salazar Sutil N (eds.) Digital Movement: Essays in Motion Technology and Performance. Palgrave Studies in Performance and Technology. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. 1-17
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/102206/

  • Popat SH (2015) “Placing the body in mixed reality”, In: Hunter V (eds.) Moving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performance. Routledge. 162-177
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81422/

  • Popat S, Preece KL (2012) “Pluralistic Presence: Practising embodiment with my avatar”, In: Broadhurst S; Machon J (eds.) Identity, Performance and Technology: Practices of Empowerment, Embodiment and Technicity. Performance and Technology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 160-174
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/76891/

  • Popat SH (2011) “Technology”, In: Pitches J; Popat S (eds.) Performance Perspectives: A Critical Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan. 114-145

  • Palmer SD, Popat SH (2009) “Dancing in the Streets”, In: Collins J; Nisbet A (eds.) Design for Performance. Routledge.

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2009) “Dancing with sprites and robots: new approaches to collaboration between dance and digital technologies”, In: Butterworth J; Wildschut L (eds.) Contemporary Choreography: A Critical Reader. Routledge. 416-430
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80619/

  • McKinney J, Bayliss A, Popat SH, Wallis M (2009) “Emergent Objects: Performance and interdisciplinary design at the human / technological Interface”, In: Inns T (eds.) Designing for the 21st Century: Interdisciplinary Methods & Findings. Farnham, UK: Gower Ashgate. 116-131

  • Popat SH (2002) “Interactive Dance-Making: Online Creative Collaborations”, In: Beardon C; Malmborg L (eds.) Digital Creativity: A Reader. Swets & Zeitlinger.

Conference papers

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2013) The Embodied Interface: Experiencing the digital in performance. Proceedings: Digital Representations of Performance Digital Representations of Performance. (Accepted)

  • Popat SH (2013) Cartesian Bodies and Euclidean Spaces. Becoming Nomad: Hybrid Spaces, Liquid Architectures and Online Domains

  • Popat SH, Palmer S (2011) Against Ghosts: Mixed Reality and Embodied Presence. Performance Studies international (PSi) #17 - Camillo 2.0 Technology, Memory, Performance

  • Popat SH (2011) Digital Bodies and Dancing Partners. Turing Edinburgh International Technology Festival

  • Wallis M, Popat S, McKinney J, Bryden J, Hogg DC (2010) Embodied conversations: performance and the design of a robotic dancing partner. Proceedings: DESIGN STUD 31.2: 99-117.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.destud.2009.09.001, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/74695/

  • Palmer S, Popat SH (2010) A Stage Beyond: Cultural Impact, Performance and Knowledge Exchange beyond the University Campus. On the University - [The Third] World Universities Forum

  • Popat SH, Palmer S (2010) Extending and Disappearing Bodies: Performance in a Mixed Reality Paradigm. Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts Sensual technologies: Collaborative Practices of Interdisciplinarity

  • Palmer S, Popat SH (2009) Projecting Presence in mixed-reality performance. Performing Presence

  • Bailey H, Buckingham Shum S, LeBlanc A, Popat S, Rowley A, Turner M (2009) Dancing on the Grid: Using eScience tools to extend choreographic research. UK eScience All Hands Meeting 2008 "Crossing Boundaries" Proceedings: Theme Issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Crossing Boundaries: Computational Science, E-Science and Global E-Infrastructure

  • Popat SH (2009) Play and embodiment in interactive urban installation art. International Conference on Arts and Society

  • Bailey H, Buckingham-Shum S, Popat SH, Turner M (2009) e-Dance: Digital topographies and knowledge cartography in networked performance. 15th International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA)

  • Bailey H, Buckingham Shum S, Popat S, Turner M (2008) e-Dance: Relocating Choreographic Practice a New Modality for Performance and Documentation. International Symposium on Electronic Art Proceedings: Yes

  • Bryden J, Hogg DC, Popat S, Wallis M (2008) Building artificial personalities: expressive communication channels based on an interlingua for a human-robot dance. International Conference on Artificial Life (ALIFE XI) Proceedings: Artificial Life XI MIT Press.: 80-87.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/4336/

  • Bryden J, Hogg DC, Popat S, Wallis M (2008) Building artificial personalities: expressive communication channels based on an interlingua for a human-robot dance. International Conference on Artificial Life (ALIFE XI) Proceedings: Artificial Life XI Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.: 80-87.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/74696/

  • Bailey H, Buckingham-Shum S, Daw M, Popat S, Turner M (2008) e-Dance: Relocating Choreographic Process. New Paradigms in Performance International Symposium

  • Wallis M, Popat S, Bayliss A, McKinney J, Bryden J, Hogg D, Godden M, Walker R (2007) SpiderCrab and the Emergent Object: Designing for the Twenty-first Century. dux08

  • Palmer SD, Popat SH (2007) Dancing in the Streets. Proceedings: DUX07 3rd International Conference on Designing for User Experience, Chicago November 5th-7th 2007 DUX07 3rd International Conference on Designing for User Experience, Chicago November 5th-7th 2007.
    DOI: 10.1386/padm.2.3.297_1

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2007) A Full Innocence: The Paradox of Stillness in Movement. Proceedings: Computers in Art and Design Education (CADE) 2007 Computers in Art and Design Education (CADE) 2007.: 171-178.

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2007) Revealing the Wizard of Oz: Interrelationships between performer-dancer, performer-operator and digital sprite. Proceedings: International Symposium: Re-thinking Theory and Practice: International Symposium: Re-thinking Theory and Practice:.

  • Palmer SD, Popat SH (2007) Projecting Performance @ Universal Voices. Proceedings: Universal Voices International Symposium Universal Voices International Symposium.

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2007) Projecting Performance: Embodied technologies for operator and performer. PSi #13 Proceedings: Performance Studies international #13 Performance Studies international #13.

  • Bailey H, Buckingham-Shum S, Daw M, Popat S, Turner, M (2007) e-Dancing: The Impact of VREs on Defining New Research Methodologies for Embodied Practice-led research in Choreography and Performance. UK e-Science All-Hands Meeting Conference

  • Bailey H, Buckingham-Shum S, Daw M, Popat S, Turner M (2007) Relocating Choreographic Practice: The impact of collaborative memory and Grid technologies on Practice-led Research in Dance - A preliminary report. Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2006) Projecting Performance HCI. Proceedings: Engage HCI: The 1st International Symposium on Culture, Creativity and Interaction Design Engage HCI: The 1st International Symposium on Culture, Creativity and Interaction Design.

  • Palmer SD, Popat SH (2006) Dancing in the Streets: Interactive play and digital performance. Proceedings: (re)Actor: 1st International Conference on Digital Live Art, Queen Mary's University, London 11/9/06 (re)Actor: 1st International Conference on Digital Live Art, Queen Mary's University, London 11/9/06.

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2006) Dancing Sprites and Digitised Spaces: A collaborative project in digital performance. Proceedings: 2nd International Conference for Digital Technologies & Performance Arts, University Centre, Doncaster, UK 26-28th June 2006 2nd International Conference for Digital Technologies & Performance Arts, University Centre, Doncaster, UK 26-28th June 2006.

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD (2005) Collaborative Research Between Performers and Technologists. Proceedings: TaPRA Inaugural Conference, University of Manchester, September 8-10 2005 TaPRA Inaugural Conference, University of Manchester, September 8-10 2005.

  • Popat SH, Trimingham MF, Wallis M (2004) Robotics and Performance: A Phenomenological Dialogue. Proceedings: Pixelraiders 2 Conference Sheffield Hallam University.

  • Popat SH (2003) Digital Facilitation, Traditional Choreography?. Proceedings: Conference for Research in Dance and Drama (conference for the Standing Conference on Dance in Higher Education) Conference for Research in Dance and Drama (conference for the Standing Conference on Dance in Higher Education).

  • Popat SH (2002) Eurodans with Snugfit: Web-based community software for online choreography. Proceedings: International Conference on Information and Communication Technology in Education International Conference on Information and Communication Technology in Education.: 610-614.

  • Popat SH (2001) Hands-on Dance Project: Creative Dance Collaborations Online. Proceedings: Computers in Art and Design Education Glasgow School of Art Press.: 306-310.

  • Popat SH, Smith-Autard J, Ng KC (2000) Interactive Composition: Sharing the Creative Process on the Internet. Proceedings: International Computer Music Conference International Computer Music Conference.

  • Popat SH (2000) Interactive Awakening: Heightening Consciousness of the Artwork for Artist and Audience. Proceedings: Consciousness Reframed – Art, Technology and Consciousness, 3rd CAiiA-STAR International Research Conference Consciousness Reframed – Art, Technology and Consciousness, 3rd CAiiA-STAR International Research Conference.

  • Popat SH (2000) Online Choreography: The Hands-On Dance Project. Proceedings: Shifts '00: Shifts in Choreography Shifts '00: Shifts in Choreography.

Performances

  • Popat SH No Fixed Plans. 30 Nov. 2000

  • Popat SH TouchDown. Internet 30 Nov. 2000

  • Popat SH, Ng KC Music Via Motion Demonstration. 30 Nov. 2000

  • Popat SH Pax Excelsis. Internet 1 Dec. 2000

  • Popat SH, Stefani EJ, Ng KC The Coat of Invisible Notes. 30 Nov. 2000

  • Popat SH The TRIAD Project. 1 Dec. 2000

  • Popat SH, Butterworth J Eurodans. 2 Dec. 2000

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD Dancing in the Streets (Installation). DVD 5 Dec. 2010

Others

  • Popat SH, Palmer SD AHRC Grant - Projecting Performance: dialogues between performer-dancer and performer-operator.

Research Projects & Grants

2016-7 Identity and Governance of Bodily Extensions: The Case of Prosthetics and Avatars (Wellcome Trust-funded) with Professor Rory O’Connor (University of Leeds), Professor Sarah Whatley (Coventry University), Dr Shawn Harmon (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Abbe Brown (University of Aberdeen).

2015-7 The Error Network (AHRC-funded) with Professor Sarah Whatley (Coventry University), Ruth Gibson (Coventry University, Gibson/Martelli) and Professor Susan Kozel (Malmö University, Sweden).


2013-5 RESPOND: Digital Research & Development in the Arts (NESTA/AHRC/ACE-funded) with Dr Ben Walmsley (University of Leeds), Yorkshire Dance and Breakfast Creatives.


2007-9 Relocating Choreographic Process: The impact of Grid technologies and collaborative memory on the documentation of practice-led research in dance (AHRC/EPSRC/JISC-funded) with Ms Helen Bailey (University of Bedfordshire), Dr Simon Buckingham Shum (Open University), Mr Michael Daw (University of Manchester).


2006-8 Projecting Performance: Interrelationships between performance and technology, dancer and operator (AHRC-funded) with Mr Scott Palmer and KMA Creative Technologies Ltd.


2007-8 Emergent Objects: Designing the Technological Interface through Performance (AHRC/EPSRC-funded) with Professor Mick Wallis, and co-investigators from University of Leeds, Nottingham Trent University, University of Huddersfield, and Shadow Robot Company (London).


2005-6 Emergent Objects: Performance and Design Research (EPSRC/AHRC Designing for the 21st Century) with Professor Calvin Taylor, Professor Mick Wallis and Dr Joslin McKinney.

Research Centres & Groups

Digital Performance Research Group

External Appointments

Advisory Board member, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Associate Editor and co-founder, International Journal of Performance Arts & Digital Media (Routledge)

Advisory Board member, In-visible Difference: Dance, Disability and Law (AHRC-funded, PI Professor Sarah Whatley)

International Board member (Scientific Commission), Post-Screen: International Festival of Art, New Media and Cybercultures 2016, Lisbon University, Portugal

International Program Committee member, International Symposium on Electronic Arts 2017, University of Caldas, Colombia.

Standing Committee member, Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts (DRHA)

Editorial Board, Journal of Choreographic Practices (Intellect)

Advisory Board, Palgrave Macmillan’s Performance and Technology Series

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Sita is available to supervise PhD and Postdoctoral research in the following areas and related topics:
– Digital performance
– Dance and technology
– Avatars and prosthetics
Please email her to enquire further.

Completed PhDs:

  • Dr Laura Griffiths – Phoenix Dance Theatre: Re-constructing the Past, Re-informing the Present (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with Phoenix Dance Theatre, graduated 2015)
  • Dr Louise McDowall – Dance improvisation and habit (graduated 2014)
  • Dr Parmis Mozafari – The Condition of Women Musicians in Iran (graduated 2011)
  • Dr Victoria Hunter – Site-Specific Dance Performance: Relationship Between Site and Creative Process (graduated 2009)
  • Dr Dan Bye – Clowning and Brechtian Theatre (graduated 2008)
  • Dr Stuart Pickford – Dialogue between the Discourses of Ecocriticism and Poetry (graduated 2008)        
  • Dr Clare Johnson – The Role of Lucid Dreaming in the Process of Creative Writing (graduated 2007)
  • Dr Oliver Mallett – Re-Writing The City: The Value Of Psychoanalytic Perspectives To The Creative Writer (graduated 2007)

Examined 16 PhD candidatures at University of Leeds, Middlesex University, University of Exeter, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Chichester, De Montfort University, Simon Fraser University (Canada) and Queensland University of Technology (Australia).

Links

Click here to see a movie of my presentation at the Coporeal Computing conference, University of Surrey, 2013. My paper discusses igloo performance company’s Vermilion Lake. (There is no sound for the first minute of the movie.)
Click here to see a podcast of Scott Palmer and me giving a presentation about our research at Coventry University in 2010.
The movie below is from the Turing Edinburgh International Technology Festival in 2011, where I spoke about research with performance and robots in our Emergent Objects project:

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