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MUTUAL INCOMPREHENSION
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an open seminar on interdisciplinary research methods

speakers: Guido Bugmann, Peter Fend, Steve Grand, Katy Macleod, Malcolm
Miles, Tracey Warr.

Thursday 13th November, 2.30pm ->

Stonehouse Lecture Theatre
Portland Square
University of Plymouth
UK

webcast http://www.digital-futures.net/

organised by i-DAT (Institute of Digital Arts and Technology) for its
postgraduate community and guests

"Literary intellectuals at one pole - at the other scientists=8A between
the two a gulf of mutual incomprehension - sometimes hostility and
dislike, but most of all a lack of understanding. They have a curious
distorted image of each other. Their attitudes are so different that, even
on the level of emotion, they can't find much common ground." (C.P. Snow,
The Two Cultures, 1959:11-13)

In the last few years, it has become fashionable to try to bridge this
divide.  Rather than try to resolve these separations, this seminar aims
to investigate the contradictions inherent in practice-based research that
presents itself as interdisciplinary and that attempts to work across, or
between, the apparent (cultural) split between the arts and sciences?
Might the contradictions themselves be productive?

It is generally assumed that through research methods, new knowledge and
further understanding will emerge. What if these research methods employ
conflicting models or frameworks of 'knowing'?

schedule:
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14.30
short introduction (synthesis)
Geoff Cox (Science Technology Art Research, i-DAT, UoP)

14.40

interdisciplinary research from a science perspective:
Guido Bugmann (Reader in Intelligent Systems, UoP)
Steve Grand (Cyberlife Research Ltd)

15.10

interdisciplinary research from an arts perspective:
Katy Macleod (Critical Studies in Fine Art, UoP)
Malcolm Miles (Reader in Cultural Theory, UoP)

15.40
coffee break
16.00

interdisciplinary research in arts|science:
Peter Fend (Ocean Earth Development Corporation)
Tracey Warr (Arts & Cultural Management, Dartington College of Arts)

open discussion facilitated by Mike Phillips (Science Technology Art
Research, i-DAT, UoP)

ends approx. 17.30
--

BIOGRAPHIES:

Guido Bugmann is Reader in Intelligent Systems in the School of Computing,
Communications and Electronics, at UoP. He studied Physics at the
University of Geneva in Switzerland, and later joined the Fundamental
Research Laboratories of NEC in Japan, and King's College, London. Most
recently he was holder of an EPSRC grant for investigating
"Instruction-Based Learning for Mobile Robots" (with the University of
Edinburgh).

Peter Fend is currently an AHRB/ACE Research Fellow at i-DAT, UoP. He is
the Director of established the New York-based artists group, Ocean Earth
Development Corporation in 1980. Essential to Ocean Earth's working
practice is a collaborative and interdisciplinary process, working with
shifting collectives of artists, architects, engineers, and scientists to
develop projects that connect ecological imperatives with experimental new
technologies.

Steve Grand is an independent scientist/engineer, working on artificial
life and artificial intelligence. He is presently director of Cyberlife
Research Ltd., a small UK research consultancy. A committed autodidact and
interdisciplinary thinker, he has specific interests in computer science,
computational neuroscience, artificial life, electronics and robotics. He
is currently a NESTA Fellow and has honorary fellowships in psychology at
Cardiff University and biomimetics at Bath.

Katy Macleod coordinates the Critical Studies programme for the Fine Art
Course at UoP. She has 5 postgraduate students and has been researching in
the area of doctorates in Fine Art since 1996. A pilot study guide, 'The
Doctorate in Fine Art' (AHRB funded) and a book 'Thought Through Art' are
forthcoming publications.