Wed 3 Sep || This Roundtable brings together speakers from a range of sectors, all involved in overviewing methodologies and processes within digital research in the arts.

When: Wednesday 3 September 2014
: QA080, Queen Anne Court, Lecture theatre
Duration: 1 hour 15 mins
Time: 13.45am – 15.00
Panel Chair: 
Ghislaine Boddington
Panel  membersAndrew Prescott, Susan Broadhurst, Janis Jefferies, Gregory Sporton, Bronac Ferran, Hasan Bakhshi, Lucy Solit


The taxonomy of digital arts research is still in extending, it ranges across many years (since the first computational artworks and critical debates of the 50s and 60s) and it includes a huge variety of practise globally. This sector is a rapidly growing continent of ideas and people, migrating across and influencing each other, exchanging knowledge and creating visionary variations, linked to the topical uses of emerging technologies and to sophisticated users needs.

In recent months in the UK we have seen some complex contradictions in the digital arts sector. Activities came to the forefront with the presentation of a range of art works in The Digital Revolution exhibition at the Barbican, the relaunch of the Arts Council of England/BBC online digital art project The Space, the Google Dev Art competition, the final results of the Nesta/ACE/AHRC Digi R&D fund, the Philips Digital Art Auction amongst others. Simultaneously we have seen the re-emergence of critical debates and archiving discussions in the international mailing lists, juxtaposing some of the UK press announcements of digital art as a “new art form”. The international signatory petition “The Liverpool Declaration” has been circulating globally, requesting museums, collections and archives to fully document the long term history of experimentation in this sector through strategic acquisitions policies.

This DRHA (Digital Research in Humanities and the Arts) conference, over 11 years old and this year hosted by the Department of Creative Professions and Digital Arts at the University of Greenwich, marks the beginning of a new era where, as reflected in the chosen keynotes, the convergence of the arts, education and creative industries makes for new moves into digital creativity. This “creative economy” is recognised and valued by the UK politicians from all major parties as an extremely important part of ongoing economical growth and the future world of work.

– what are the precedents for digital arts research, historically and for the future, through artists practise, universities and within industry ?

– are the intangibility of outputs inherent in emerging innovative digital creative practise ? or are quantitative evidence and fixed methodologies required for this sector to be taken seriously ?

– what difference does the Impact Agenda for universities for the new REF make to the definition of, activity in and outputs enabled for public engagement, dissemination etc ?

– how have the creative industries impacted on this research ? has digital arts research effected the evolutions within digital creative industries ?

– the word “research” seen as off putting for VCs, SME funders and banks so what is the role of research in enterprise and product development today ?

– how do we enable sustainability for digital arts innovation beyond the research support through universities and public funding sources ?

– how does the convergence between education, arts and creative industries shift and change the research culture onwards ? what new pathways can be seen to be shaping this research as we look towards 2020 and onwards ?

– as the wider public themselves become increasingly active in digital creativity, how do we fulfil their high expectations for scalability, sophisticated usage and crowd sourced experiences ?

– how does digital arts approach the needs for social purpose and entrepreneurship in today’s world ?

– what space, if any, is there still for pure innovation and raw experimentation ?