The Centre for Creative Technologies have organised a two-day conference which explores queer methodologies used by artists and researchers interested in creative technologies. We caught up with Katy Dadacz and Dr Francesco Bentivegna, from the Centre, to find out more.
What is the conference?
This two-day conference on the 29-30 June will be an opportunity for methodological reflection and collaboration around queer practices in creative technologies. We will be asking; what methods do queer researchers and artists use when they engage with creative technologies such as virtual reality, creative computing, and animation? What identities are privileged when technologies are imagined, narrated, designed, and used? How can practices be queered (using methods and processes that resist binary and hierarchy, and subvert heteronormative structures)?
Participants will re-think and recalibrate research methods to not only understand the complexity of queer approaches but to imagine alternative creative technology practices. The two-day conference will consist of a workshop and micro-talks. On the first day, MELT, (Ren Loren Britton & Iz Paeh), will run an online workshop. Their work focuses on arts-design research to generate material and infrastructural transformations that intersect Trans* feminism and Disability Justice. On the second day, speakers including queer artists, creative technologists and University of Bristol and University of the West of England researchers will give micro-talks, sharing their own practices and methods. This will range from reflecting on queer phenomenology as a potential way to critique dominant narratives of the Metaverse, to a project on inclusive design processes prioritising older queer people and their experiences. Over the course of the two days, we encourage imaginative, open, curious, and messy ways of working with creative technologies.
What inspired this project?
This project blossomed from a long-standing interest in creative collaboration between humans and technologies which has been explored at the Future Speculations Reading Group run by us at the Pervasive Media Studio. Beginning in October 2022, academics, artists and creative technologists from the University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Pervasive Media Studio, Control Shift Network and Queer Tech Meet Up discuss texts exploring themes such as artificial intelligence, algorithmic creativity, machine learning and feminist hacking. We critically engage with artist practices, as well as film and literary responses.
The reading group has challenged and envisioned just and equitable futures for human and machine collaboration, centred around trans feminism, disability justice and queer transformations. The discussions inspired us to think about the value of knowledge-exchange between artists, creative technologists, and researchers (whose identities often crossover) and how we can explore and build queer resilience within the emerging practices of creative technologies.
Why is this research important?
Our project will be a response to the marginalisation and erasure of trans and queer folx in conversations and speculations surrounding the future of creative technology. We will re-think what resilience means with different contexts of creative technologies and emphasise the importance of collaboration between artists and researchers. It will be an opportunity to experiment and envision alternative ways for these connections to have different impacts with and for the queer community, in Bristol and beyond.
How will you go about researching, including partners involved?
We are working with artists-in-residency at the Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio and creative technologists at Ctrl Shift Network and Queer Tech Meet Up. The interactive workshop will explore queer metaphors and materials that can help to expand creative technologies, as well as teaching low-tech solutions such as DIY servers. The symposium invites creative technologists at the Pervasive Media Studio and researchers at UoB and UWE from a range of disciplines to share their work, and a ‘thought experiment’ or question set. After each presentation, the participants, in small groups, will have time to engage with what has been proposed.
What impact do you expect this research to have?
We aim to see a network of queer researchers, artists and creative technologies grow, creating new relationships with which projects inspired by sustainable and equitable queer methodologies for resilience will begin. This project will also be an opportunity for public education around queer identities within creative technologies.
What are the next steps for the project?
Building from this pilot project, we aim to kickstart a standing series of workshops and meetings framed around Queer Resilience through Arts and Creative Technologies. Our idea is to develop regular, affordable, playful, and critical workshop-based meetups and a standing hub to share ideas, trajectories, and strategies for resilience.
The Centre for Creative Technologies launched in 2022 with the aim of facilitating collaborative research on creative technologies between disciplines within the Faculty of Arts and across the University. To find out more about the Centre’s activities, research and to join the mailing list, please contact email@example.com.