Research Workshop

14–16 January 2019

University of Cambridge

transmediale 2019 is a critical inquiry into new technologies of feeling, recognizing that digital culture has become instrumental for capturing and managing what Raymond Williams’ would once have called “structures of feeling”—referring to lived experiences and cultural expressions, distinct from supposedly fixed social products and institutions. Inspired by the festival theme, this research workshop focuses specifically on the domain of machine learning and on the ability of technologies to capture and structure feelings and experiences that are active, in flux, and in the present.

The term “structures of feeling” points to a material analysis of aesthetics and culture, including its technical and social forms, and in the way that this concept was originally employed as an acknowledgment of the importance of the hard to capture dimensions of everyday life. Styles, expressions, and sentiments are always in flux, yet Williams, and others after him, have with this term argued that they are grounded in cultural history and specific everyday situations. In developing a critical and analytic understanding we should therefore turn our attention to changes in language, style, aesthetics, and those social forms which are active in the present, but not yet fully formed or captured by a conceptual or scientific knowledge framework.

In this workshop we would like to further explore this line of thinking within the field of machine learning. For example, in the ways that automated experiences of seeing, hearing, and reading begin to produce knowledge through the capture of everyday styles, expressions, preferences, sentiments, and so forth—the very means that Williams alludes to.

If, in general, machine learning appears to lack an affective dimension, then in what ways are we to understand its resolute and concerted pursuit of this? What old registers of processing culture and organizing time, space and power does it build on? What potential new sensibilities and structures of feeling may arise in such normalized registers of our habits? What new cultural and social forms and practices emerge in the coming together of machine learning and structures of feeling?

Organized by

– APRJA_, A Peer-Reviewed Journal About_

– Aarhus University (Geoff Cox & Christian Ulrik Andersen)

– transmediale – festival for art and digital culture (Kristoffer Gansing & Daphne Dragona)

– Cambridge Digital Humanities Learning Programme, University of Cambridge (Anne Alexander)

For the workshop, we will be joined by other invited guests (TBC).

Important Dates

– Deadline for abstracts: 31 Oct 2018

– Notification of acceptance: 5 Nov 2018

– Submission of draft paper (2000 words): 10 Dec 2018

– Online activity: 10 Dec 2018 – 7 Jan 2019

– Workshop in Cambridge: 14–16 Jan 2019

– transmediale: 30 January – 2 Feb 2019

– Final submission of full paper to APRJA_: 4 Mar 2019

Workshop Venues

University of Cambridge & Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Workshop Details

– Prior to the workshop participants are asked to produce a 2000 word position paper, and respond online to other participants.

– The workshop itself will unfold over three days in Cambridge with presentations, discussions, and practical exercises. A further day at transmediale will prepare materials for public dissemination.

– After the workshop in Cambridge and as a consequence of peer feedback, participants will be asked to reduce their texts from 2000 words towards a shorter version for publication at the festival, alongside a further public presentation.

– In addition, participants will be invited to contribute longer academic papers (of 4000 words) to the associated peer-reviewed open access online journal APRJA_.

The workshop aims to provide a forum for emerging researchers to enter into speculation, critique, exchange, and dialog about their research topic. The primary focus is on the participants’ individual research projects, as well fostering networks, knowledge exchange and widening dissemination. Although it is primarily aimed at international PhD researchers, the workshop is also open to artists, curators, and programmers who are pursuing research outside an academic context.

The workshop is free but we cannot cover travel or other costs, which are expected to be met by participants or their institutions.

Workload and Credits

Expected workloads include the production of a short text prior to the workshop, the presentation of research, response and dialog with other participants, the creation of content for a publication, and the writing of a lengthier research article invited for submission to APRJA_. PhD students can be awarded 5 ECTS for their full participation.


We are seeking proposals consisting of a biography (500 characters), a statement on current research/description of PhD project (1000 characters), and a short description of how this research relates to the workshop theme (500 characters).

– Deadline: 31 Oct 2018

– Notification of acceptance: 5 Nov 2018

Supported by

The Graduate School, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University; Cambridge Digital Humanities Learning Programme, University of Cambridge; and transmediale.

  • Posted 10 Oct 2018

Cambridge Digital Humanities

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