15th February 2010


Academics Call for Wired Approach to Traditional Arts Research

A conference at Swansea University on 9th March 2010, called The Computational Turn, will highlight the need for academic investigation in arts subjects to inject digital technology into the very heart of research analysis.

Professor Lev Manovich, of the University of California, will present his theory of 'Cultural Analytics' which finds patterns using algorithmic techniques, whilst Professor N.Katherine Hayles, from Duke University, North Carolina will discuss ideas from her work in progress: ‘How We Think: The Transforming Power of Digital Technologies’. Some of the most startling approaches transform understandings of arts and media by using network analysis and database/XML encodings to reinterpret media materials visually, aurally or via a touch-based approach.

Says conference organizer, Dr David M. Berry of Swansea University: “The application of new computational techniques and visualisation technologies in the academic study of Arts and Humanities is resulting in new approaches and methodologies which are revolutionizing our understanding of literature and media texts. This new 'computational turn' takes the methods and techniques from computer science to create new ways of distant and close readings of media material. It might, for example, provide us with a completely new way of looking at and understanding core study texts such as Shakespeare, or new techniques for interpreting how customers read and respond to marketing materials.

“The new digital techniques are also opening up opportunities for collaborating in an interdisciplinary way with other subject areas such as computer science, and could potentially provide new analytical tools for business use,” concludes Dr Berry.

Information for researchers interested in submitting papers for workshops is available at


Notes for Editors: Swansea University is a world-class, research-led university situated in

stunning parkland overlooking Swansea Bay on the edge of the Gower peninsula, the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Founded in 1920, the University now offers around 500 undergraduate courses and 150 postgraduate courses to more than 13,800 students.

N. Katherine Hayles is Professor in the Literature Program at Duke University, North Carolina. Her focus is the relationship between science, literature and technology. Her interests include Literature and science in the 20th and 21st century; 20th and 21st century American fiction; electronic textuality, hypertext fiction and theory; science fiction; literary theory, and media theory. Hayles is the author of numerous books, including How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics (1999), in which she puts forward a proposition for the posthuman condition, exploring the relationship between changing modes of representation in contemporary literature and electronic writing.

• Lev Manovich's books include Software Takes Command (released under CC license, 2008), Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database (The MIT Press, 2005), and The Language of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001) which is hailed as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." Manovich is a Professor in Visual Arts Department, University of California -San Diego, and a Director of the Software Studies Initiative at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a professor at European Graduate School. and a Visiting Research Professor at De Montfort University (UK). For more info on cultural analytics, visit

For more information please contact Sian Rees, Swansea University Public Relations Office,  email

For media inquiries please contact the workshop co-ordinator:

Sian Rees,
Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe
Singleton Park / Parc Singeton
Swansea / Abertawe
07802 761638

David Berry,
Feb 15, 2010, 1:07 PM