Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Performance and Cultural Industries


Identity and Governance of Bodily Extensions: The Case of Prosthetics and Avatars

Prosthetics and avatars can both be defined as forms of bodily extension – one mechanical, the other digital. Both are used widely in everyday life, yet research into their impact upon users’ lived experiences has been approached with different emphases. Medical research into prosthetic limbs has tended to focus on functionality, while research into avatar usage has been more active in embracing embodiment, social identity and interaction, legal ownership and rights. Our project investigates what we can learn about bodily extensions by examining these two different forms alongside each other.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, this project brings together researchers from rehabilitation medicine, law, digital performance and media with people who use prosthetics or avatars regularly. We apply multiple perspectives to these types of bodily extension, considering embodied experience, social engagement, and legal rights. Our questions include:

If you would like more information, please contact Sita Popat at s.popat@leeds.ac.uk

Project team:

Sita Popat (Professor of Performance and Technology, University of Leeds)

Rory O’Connor (Charterhouse Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Leeds)

Shawn Harmon (Reader in Law, University of Edinburgh)

Abbe Brown (Reader in Law, University of Aberdeen)

Sarah Whatley (Professor of Dance, Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University)

Philip Sheridan-Country Walk_web

Image © Philip Sheridan

Minolta DSC

Image © Philip Sheridan






© Copyright Leeds 2018