The Unbearable Lightness of Digital Art

Published on January 20th, 2022

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Preserving and Sharing Born Digital and Hybrid Objects
V&A, 20 January 2022
2pm – 4.30pm, with comfort breaks


Preserving and Sharing Born Digital and Hybrid Objects from and across the National Collection part of the AHRC-funded Towards a National Collection programme, is a research project exploring the challenges of developing born-digital collections and responding to the preservation and access requirements of complex artifacts of digital culture. For this project, the team addressed a variety of object types such as immersive media, mobile apps, interface and digital product design, digital platforms, software and videogames which may be brought into museum collections now and into the future.

A partnership between the V&A, Birkbeck University of London and the British Film Institute, the project gathered knowledge, concerns and perspectives from experts from several institutions across Europe and beyond.  Preserving and Sharing Born Digital and Hybrid Objects aims at identifying the next avenues for research in this area, by generating new questions and developing new understandings of born-digital objects and their contextualisation within the collecting institution.

Please join us to present findings and recommendations for the museum sector to build capacity and confidence towards the more effective preservation, collecting and sharing of complex born-digital objects. We will share our report, case studies and preview our data model, as well as open a discussion with attendees for what this means for the future of digital design collection.

We are also pleased to welcome scholar and curator Annet Dekker to present a keynote intervention; and Corinna Gardner, Senior Curator of Design and Digital at the V&A, to respond to the research findings.

Everyone is welcome but the event is especially aimed at museum, conservation, collection and curatorial professionals, students and researchers.

Please note, this event will be recorded and shared online through the V&A’s research channels. For the public discussion in the latter half of the event, you will be able to turn your microphone and camera on or off at your discretion.

This free event will have BSL interpreters and Zoom closed captioning which can be enabled in-event. Please email the organisers will any other accessibility requirements you may have, and we will aim to meet them.

Annet Dekker is a curator and researcher. Currently she is Assistant Professor Cultural Analysis and Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor and co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University. She has published numerous essays and edited several volumes, among others, Documentation as Art (co-edited with Gabriella Giannachi, Routledge 2022) and Curating Digital Art. From Presenting and Collecting Digital Art to Networked Co-Curating (Valiz 2021). Her monograph, Collecting and Conserving Net Art (Routledge 2018) is a seminal work in the field of digital art conservation.

Speakers from the project team:
Natalie Kane (Curator of Digital Design V&A)
Gabi Arrigoni (Research Fellow, V&A)
Joel McKim (Senior Lecturer, Birkbeck University)
Stephen McConnachie (Head of Data and Digital Preservation, British Film Institute)

This event and its organisers is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form and participants asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately. Anyone who violates this code of conduct will be expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the moderators.

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