Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia) hosted the second international Body of Knowledge: Art and Embodied Cognition Conference, focusing on the intersections of art and science, to foster conversations that increase the potential for knowledge transfer and celebrate diverse forms of embodied expertise. The conference thematics were expanded to include cultures of practice and communities of practitioners that offer a range of perspectives on inclusion, diversity / neurodiversity and disability. The aim was to encourage the discussion of art as a process of social cognition and address the gap between descriptions of embodied cognition and the co-construction of lived experience.
BoK2019 aimed to generate questions that explore the dynamic between an organism and its surroundings, by asking: How does art shift the way knowledge and thinking processes are acquired, extended and distributed? How do cognitive theories offer ways to enact and change individual and collective ways of thinking? The aims of the first Body of Knowledge Art and Embodied Cognition Conference, which was held at UC IRVINE in 2016 were to “bring together an interdisciplinary group including cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, philosophers of mind, physiologists, psychologists, philosophers, anthropologists, computer scientists, artists and designers to explore emerging cognitive neuroscience and theories of embodied cognition.”
The expanded and inclusive approach to BoK2019 emphasized lived-experience of research. This was reflected in the structure of the conference—designed as a series of activated conversations. Keynote presentations were designed as conversations, pairing researchers and practitioners that have art and/or science expertise into one session. This allowed diverse perspectives to interact and promote discussion across the delegation. Keynote Conversations included prominent researchers and practitioners in the sciences, arts, design, social sciences and humanities. [*]
The concept of interdisciplinary exchange permeated the event in other ways, including an ‘audit traces’ team who tracked, recorded and reported on interactions as well as speculated on the way disciplinary perspectives adapt and transform. The conference attracted scientists, scholars, designers and creative practitioners and cultural producers (art educators, arts administrators, art-health practitioners).
The conference, hosted by Deakin University, was co-sponsored by the School of Communication and Creative Arts, the Science and Society Network (Alfred Deakin Institute), School of Health and Social Development, the Disability, Inclusion & Advocacy at Deakin and the Senselab (Concordia University, Montreal).
Conference presenter abstracts:
Convenor of BoK2019 / Jondi Keane is an arts practitioner, critical thinker and Associate Professor of Art and Performance at Deakin University. Over the last three decades he has exhibited, performed and published in the USA, UK, Europe and Australia. and has published in range of interdisciplinary journals exploring contemporary art, embodied cognition and experimental architectural environments. His research interests include contemporary art practices, particularly performance-installation and collaboration as well as art and cultural theory, theories of cognition and the philosophy of perception, experimental architecture, and the way in which the arts contribute to common concerns. http://www.jondikeane.com
Co-organizer BoK2019 /Rea Dennis is a performance practitioner and scholar based in Melbourne, Victoria who makes works ranging from site-based social engagement, to intense black box physical performance works. She also has a multimedia practice exploring perception and affect. She lecturer in Art and Performance at Deakin University and writes critical papers addressing experiences of thinking through making, embodied cognition and performance. Her work has toured to UK, New York, Taiwan, Germany, Brazil and Japan.
Co-organizer Bok2019 / Scott deLahunta has worked as writer, researcher and organiser on a range of international projects bringing performing arts with a focus on choreography into conjunction with other disciplines and practices. He is currently Professor of Dance, Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University (UK) and Senior Research Fellow, Deakin Motion.Lab, Deakin University (AUS). He is co-directing (with Florian Jenett) Motion Bank at the Hochschule Mainz University of Applied Sciences. http://www.sdela.dds.nl
Co-organizer Bok2019 / Emma Whatman is a sessional academic and research assistant in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University. Emma finished her PhD in March 2019 and her research focuses on fairy-tale media, postfeminism and adaptation. She teaches undergraduate and masters courses in digital media, children’s literature and gender and sexuality studies. Her most recent publications can be found in The Routledge Companion to Fairy-Tale Media Cultures (2018) and The Evolution and Social Impact of Video Game Economics (2017). Emma was a co-convener of the recent conference, ‘Queer Legacies, New Solidarities’ and can be found on Twitter at @emmawhatman.
- Patrick Pound – Art and Performance, SCCA Deakin
- Cam Bishop – Art and Performance, SCCA, Deakin
- Shelley Hannigan – School of Education Deakin
- Sean Redmond – Screen and Design, SCCA, Deakin
- Rosemary Woodcock – Screen and Design, SCCA, Deakin
- Stefan Greuter – Screen and Design, SCCA, Deakin
- Eben Kirksey – Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin
- Emma Kowal, Director SSN, Alfred Deakin Institute
- Russell Tytler – School of Education, Deakin
- Susan Baladin – School of Health, Deakin
- Charles Anderson – Landscape architecture. RMIT
- Jules Maloney – School of Design, RMIT
- Andrew Goodman – Visual Art and Art Theory, Latrobe,
- David Turnbull – University of Melbourne
- Chris Cottrell, MADA, Monash
- Juliana Keller – University of Melbourne
- Ian Gibson – University of Twente, the Netherlands
- Scott Andrew Elliot- artist, Helsinki
- Pia Ednie-Brown- School of Architecture, University of Newcastle
- Jelle van Dijk – Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, Netherlands
- Claire French – University of Chichester
- Sally Jane Norman, Victoria University of Wellington
- Tony Chemero Univ of Cincinnati (next BoK organiser)
- Simon Penny UC Irvine (BoK2016 organizer)