Posted Tuesday 23 August 2022
The future of digital sustainability will be placed in the spotlight at an international conference hosted and curated by academics from Kingston School of Art. The Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts 2022 conference (DRHA 2022) will bring together artists, scholars, educators, curators and digital researchers from around the world for an examination of the way digital technology intersects with culture and society.
Over four days of keynote addresses, panel discussions, musical concerts, workshops and performance pieces, attendees will explore the theme of Digital Sustainability: From Resilience to Transformation in light of the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic and the longer-term shadow of climate catastrophe. Taking place from Sunday 4 to Wednesday 7 September, events will be hosted at venues across Kingston including the University's multi award-winning Town House building, Knights Park campus, the Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House museum.
While Covid-19 has changed how the world works in many ways, artists, writers and performers have had to adapt to this new cultural landscape in order to survive. DRHA 2022 will look at positive changes that emerged from the pandemic and how digital technologies have reshaped and transformed creative practices to make them more resilient to medium and long-term challenges projected for the sector and for society at large.
Professor Maria Chatzichristodoulou said the conference will look at new models of operating, connect audiences, distribute content and engage communities with, and through, digital technologies. "We have created an event not only for scholars, researchers and artists, but which speaks to everyone," she explained. "DRHA 2022 examines the role digital technologies can play in mitigating climate catastrophe while also acknowledging that technology is part of the problem, as digital technologies have a significant environmental impact."Chair of the organising committee
During Covid-19 lockdowns around the globe, digital technology applications captured people's imagination through their potential to support those in enduring isolation, alongside their role in helping the cultural and creative sector survive closures and restrictions. Prof. Chatzichristodoulou said: "Innovations in emerging technologies such as immersive environments and Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as established technologies such as live streaming, social media, and online social platforms, provided the means of connecting people, distributing content, and moving social and cultural experiences online."
The first day of the conference is open to all, with free tickets available to anyone interested in the themes and topics. Opening with a keynote address from Turner Prize-winning artist and Kingston University Professor Elizabeth Price, the day will feature a panel on sustainability ("Deep Green") chaired by the Royal Borough of Kingston's Green Economic Recovery Lead, Ioanna Rossi. The panel is followed by an open source audio-visual performance of electronic music before concluding with the launch of an exhibition, at the Stanley Picker Gallery, on the wider theme of digital sustainability.
Launched more than 25 years ago, Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts (DRHA) is an annual conference bringing together creators, users, distributors, and custodians of digital research and resources in the arts, design and humanities to explore the capture, archiving and communication of complex and creative research processes.
Keynote speakers at this year's event include Professor Elizabeth Price of Kingston University, Dr Michael Nitsche from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, Dr Patrick Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects and Professor Joost Fontein from University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Professor Price’s talk, entitled Machine for a Virtual Garden, reflects upon a current visual art project informed by research in Glasgow University Archives, specifically the Stoddard/Templeton collection, concerning the design and manufacture of carpets in Scotland.
Dr Michael Nitsche's keynote address, The Needs of Media, will argue that a sustainable future requires a re-thinking of how tools are crafted to construct arguments. "Connecting vital media to performance and craft, presents examples for a balance between self-expression and material evolution," he said. "Its main goal is to steer the conversation toward design approaches that recognize that the living body and its dependencies on the world around it are at the heart of what media are about."
Prof. Chatzichristodoulou said she hoped DRHA 2022 would generate rich discussion and debate among not only scholars and practitioners, but also local communities and the wider public across Kingston and South London. "Sustainability and digital technologies will have a huge role in creating a viable future for our society," she said. "We hope the conference will lead to further collaborative projects on the theme of digital sustainability that have both international scope as well as local relevance, generating discussions around digital sustainability with academics, policy makers and practitioners.