The Library of Processes: a digital venue for the collection and dissemination of artist processes

Lead Research Organisation: Coventry University
Department Name: Art and Design


The 'Library of Processes' will investigate the various ways in which artists document reflections and experiences of working within an artist venue; Siobhan Davies Studios, and how those reflections can translate to contribute to the creation of a digital venue. Siobhan Davies Studios opened in South London in 2006 and is the home of Siobhan Davies Dance, Independent Dance and Performing Arts Lab alongside several other arts organisations. Designed by award winning architect Sarah Wigglesworth, the Studios host a full schedule of artist-led events including performances, exhibitions, artist debates and conversations, films, installations and a comprehensive range of participatory events (classes, workshops and labs) for performing artists. Since opening, Siobhan Davies has been keen to explore different methods for recording the different experiences of artists who work within the Studios, and a number of those records form part of the Relay site on the Siobhan Davies Dance website. The aim of this project is to extend the work on Relay further by developing a collection of different processes that are devised by artists in order to make their work, and their reflections upon those processes, and to create a virtual venue for the public dissemination of this collection. This body of processes will reveal the foundations of different works. The objectives of the project are to:

* establish a broad theoretical framework to facilitate a critical engagement with the existing artist reflections, to inform the structure and design of the library of processes;
* produce an overview of artist-led artists' buildings and the relationship between artists and buildings; and the archival records that they generate;
devise a schedule of work which provides opportunities for a close collaboration between the student, those who manage the building and the artists who work within it;
* provide an analysis of different modes of documentation as devised by artists who have contributed to Siobhan Davies Relay, to inform the future collection of artist processes;
* and establish an effective method for the collection and dissemination of artist reflections and documentation in relation to their art making processes.

The student will spend time working with the project partner, Siobhan Davies Dance, and in close collaboration with the artists working in the Studios. The project will offer the student a rare opportunity to work with leading practitioners to generate a significant range of unique primary materials. The project will also offer contributing artists a valuable opportunity to be supported in how they reflect on their work. It is anticipated that this will enhance collaborative opportunities and encourage a community of practice, spanning a range of arts practices and practitioners, including performing and visual artists, architects, writers, film-makers and composers. By providing an archival record of artist processes it will offer a significant resource for students, teachers, researchers and other artists, offering insight to an otherwise largely hidden process of knowledge generation.

Planned Impact

The project emerges from a longstanding relationship with the partner company, Siobhan Davies Dance, and its particular strength is that it builds on a successful earlier collaboration: the development of the Siobhan Davies Replay digital archive, which was led by the chief supervisor of this proposed studentship, Sarah Whatley. Like Replay 'The Library of Processes' project is based on the creation and management of a virtual space containing unique cultural content, and its development will derive great benefit from the earlier project. The project will have economic, social, cultural and educational impact, and the Library's existence in the digital realm will ensure its reach beyond the UK. It will include:

* enhancement of cultural and educational organisations' own public engagement and learning activities (education; cultural industries sectors);
* development of new knowledge about how physical spaces are used in the creation of artworks will provide valuable evidence for those involved in designing and building new arts venues (as above; also design, architecture; construction sectors);
* development of new knowledge about how work (of any sort) made in physical spaces can be transferred and extended to the digital domain (archives, libraries, museums; broadcast; cultural industries; education/training sectors);
* new understanding of how this work can be curated, collected and preserved in digital formats which are adaptable and open to continued audience and artist engagement (as above);
* wider relevance to other professional, industrial and business sectors, for which understanding of the interactions of human beings with their physical surroundings is critical to internal and external performance - and also to engendering innovation.

The project's cultural, social and educational impact will be delivered through events, within the partner institutions and more widely. With the support of Coventry University's academic community and in close collaboration with Siobhan Davies Dance, the student will engage with individuals and organisations who will exhibit/show work in progress and completed work: these, the chief stakeholders in the Library project, all have a strong interest in ensuring wide take-up and use of the collections by the HE, library/archive and dance/arts sectors.

Wider public impact will be delivered via the Relay website, and via associated outreach events, planned with Siobhan Davies Dance. These will include talks, demonstrations and workshops giving audiences and users 'hands on' access to and experiences of the collection. The workshops at the Studios, in particular, will attract audiences interested in digital technologies who will also be invited to offer valuable feedback about their engagement with the technologies and the artistic processes they support.

The Library will hold detailed knowledge about the processes of creation and innovation which will be of value to public agencies with an interest in these processes: e.g. the UK Research Councils, Arts Council, Technology Strategy Board, EU science/culture programmes.

Further technological, scientific and economic project impact will be through knowledge exchange with Siobhan Davies Dance and its associated artists and technological/scientific collaborators, who have committed resources (digital content, expert advice, equipment) to the research programme. Via seminars, workshops, conferences and publications the project team will disseminate outputs to academic researchers across disciplines including engineering, design, architecture, biosciences, psychology and ergonomics. The content of the Library of Processes is also likely to be of considerable interest to training providers, in both the formal education and the commercial sectors, which use animation, performance, programming and 3D immersive technolo


10 25 50