DCDC23 - call for papers
11 – 13 July 2023, Durham University and EventsAir
Radical reimagining: interplays of physical and virtual
In 2023, DCDC will take place both in person and online, following two years of online-only conferences. The British Library has joined The National Archives and Jisc in the delivery and organisation of the conference. We invite delegates to reflect on the possibilities and challenges of navigating the interplay between the physical and the virtual, the ‘materiality’ of physical collections and digital interventions.
Across our research, engagement and practice, materiality is inherent and ever-present but rarely brought into relief. For collections-holding institutions, material encounters with objects, spaces, and the communities who engage with them constitute business as usual. They are at the heart of what these institutions do and a defining feature of their institutional identities. Yet, the pandemic has catalysed a radical reimagining of how we work in the GLAMA sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Academia). With digital at the forefront, how we collaborate, interact with the physical properties of cultural artefacts, activate our collections, use our resources, engage our communities, and what skills, tools, and infrastructures we rely on to do all that has changed substantially.
This transformation is visible across spaces and practices. At a local level, institutional efforts to enable remote collections access, remote programming, and remote volunteering opportunities have increased. The immersive reality market has grown apace and there has been a marked increase in the use of emerging technologies such as 3D printing for reconstruction, restoration, engagement and inclusion. Crowdsourcing and citizen research have demonstrated how collaboration in the virtual space can foster the creation and sharing of knowledge. AI has enabled large-scale material analysis in heritage science and, for example through visual search platforms, has fostered new interactions with national collections.
At the same time, global cultural heritage emergencies have demanded we explore the ethics of reconstruction, of digital replicas, and digital restitution. Digital preservation is, of course, dependent on material infrastructure, and digital records and artefacts prompt questions around inherent and attributed value, offering new areas of materiality to explore. In this context, questions of the ethics and politics of digitisation, while not new, have become more evident and more urgent. This increased need for remote access and intensified demand for new modes of delivery and engagement have brought into sharp relief resourcing challenges (human, infrastructural) and related imbalances across the sector.
The challenges of material encounter today are more complex than perhaps ever before with working practices and technologies creating a constant need to adapt. DCDC23 aims to address, but is not limited to, some of the following questions:
How do we understand materiality in the wake of the pandemic and its continued complexity?
Has the cultural and technological context transformed our understanding of the material encounter?
How does a digitally mediated encounter transform our understanding of materiality?
How is working across the physical and virtual space influencing how we collaborate and engage with communities?
How has it shaped cultures of work in the sector (and related provisions for training, education, skills development as well as institutional approaches to equality, diversity and inclusion)?
How are we using our infrastructure to enable these collaborations, and what infrastructures do we envision going forward?
How do we navigate and interrogate our perceptions of value for the material and the virtual?
How might the absence of the physical encounter - lack of touch, lack of access to collections, and prevalence of our technologically mediated realities - transform the ways in which we think about archives, libraries, museums - their roles, their practices, their collections and the communities they support and engage?
What does it mean to prioritise the material encounter - such as the in-person access to collection items vs. their digital manifestations - over a digital experience today?
What new opportunities and challenges does a new hybrid material reality pose within and across the GLAMA sector?
What might the hybrid material GLAMA futures look like?
DCDC23 offers an opportunity to explore some of these questions as they relate to our research and practice. It is also an invitation to collectively imagine the sector's new hybrid material futures and the future of DCDC as vehicle for a coming together of the GLAMA community.
We welcome proposals for contributions to DCDC23 in the formats below. When submitting your proposal, please tell us whether you would prefer to present in person or online. Please note, in-person proposals are the preferred option but a select number of online proposals will also be included.
Papers will be 15 minute presentations, with or without accompanying slides. Proposals may have multiple authors, but should have a maximum of one speaker. Papers may also take the form of a case study that explores a concrete project or initiative that relates to the DCDC23 conference theme.
Workshops are practical sessions of up to two hours. Workshops aim to bring people together to creatively problem solve a particular topic or issue, with or without a technological focus. All proposals should clearly demonstrate a high level of interactivity and audience participation. Proposals should articulate clear objectives for the session, including an idea of desirable solutions or outcomes.
Speed presentations are short, fast paced presentations with speakers restricted to 20 slides at exactly 20 seconds per slide (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total).
The long table is an experimental open public forum designed to facilitate free-flowing dialogue by gathering together people with common interests. Any attendee can participate by getting up and joining the long table. This format works best for discussions that may be provocative, challenging and that will benefit from a wide range of perspectives. The organisers are flexible on timings for this format.
Please submit proposals by 31 March 2023. We will be in touch to discuss your proposal in more detail. Please note, we will not be accepting any sales or commercial speakers through this call for papers.