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Call for Papers Touching Past Lives: Immersive Heritage Performance

Friday 14 September, 2018

Senate House, London, WC1 7HU

Sensorial interactions and reactions to heritage is opening a new field of interrogations into how immersive experience of heritage shapes our understanding of the modern world. This symposium will bring together academics and heritage industry professionals, from museum curators and archivists, to immersive experience and heritage practitioners, to investigate the growing importance of immersive techniques in the heritage industry.

Affective and immersive experiences are part of individual and communal acts of remembering, engaging, emulating, re-visioning, and refuting the past. Heritage England in 2017 identified heritage as a key part of the UK 'brand' and central to the UK economy. In the current political climate there is an increasing importance in investigating how local, national, and international heritage affects wellbeing, identity, community regeneration and social cohesion. With increasing innovations to both virtual and live immersive experience design, it is important to examine the role of the senses in public response to heritage sites. How are immersive and interactive experiences embodying, engaging and mediating new narratives in cultural heritage performances, spaces and installations? What are the perceived social and personal benefits (or detriments) experienced by members of the public through their involvement in participatory heritage performance? How can technological advances in immersive experience design attract wider audiences to heritage sites?

We invite 20 minute papers and/or participatory workshops covering, but not limited to the following topics on the use of immersive and sensorial experience in the cultural heritage industry including:

  • constructions and mediations of sensory historical narratives
  • methods of immersive experience and participatory practice
  • how to evaluate audience’s immersive experiences and responses
  • long term impact
  • immersive experiences of cultural landscapes, such as heritage sites and built forms, as well as institutional repositories of cultural heritage such as museums, libraries, and festivals.
  • benefits and challenges of theoretical and practitioner collaborations
  • how does an embodied sense of place support, or detract, from the development of shared values and community amongst spectators in heritage performance? 

Proposals of no more than 300 words, accompanied by a 100-word biography, should be submitted to Holly.Maples@brunel.ac.uk Thursday 28 July 2018. The symposium program will be confirmed by early August, when registration opens.

We are currently negotiating the possibility that following on from this symposium, a selection of presentations will be published in an edited collection.

The symposium is hosted by Brunel University London’s Global Lives Research Cluster, Eastern Arc, and the Heritage Lottery Funded Paston Footprints 600.

Symposium organisers:

Dr Holly Maples, Brunel University London
Dr Karen Smyth, University of East Anglia

Any personal data exchanged as part of this conference call will be processed by the Universities in accordance with current UK data protection law and in line with the relevant UEA and Brunel University London Privacy Notices.