WORKSHOP 5: Presentation, Documentation and Mediation

13-14 March 2008

Venue and times

Meeting Room 2-3 Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster
2pm 13 March – 4pm 14 March 2008


Safe living is intimately connected with the ‘presentation of safety’ (i.e., making protection present through techniques and strategies of aestheticisation in ways that appear to render living safe). The presentation of safety involves the material, ideational, and temporal portrayal of a subject, object, image or idea as ‘safe’. Two typical strategies of presentation are documentation and mediation. Experienced as either evidence (the ID Card, the passport, the insurance policy) or event (the film, the blog, the video diary), documentation performatively makes something present (evidencing existence as such) as well as situating something temporally (present as in present-tense and/or as an eternal presence). Techniques of mediation often support these aspects of documentation. As communication technologies are designed to be increasingly user friendly, questions arise as to how the proliferation of documenters and mediators of messages not only transform subjects, objects, images, and ideas but also about what these transformations do to ‘safe living’.
This two day workshop explores the complexities and paradoxes that arise when one considers presentation, documentation, and mediation in relation to technologies of protection and to safe living.

Its central question is: ‘How do technologies of presentation, documentation and mediation themselves become new sciences of protection in their attempts to design safe living and safe life?’

Auxiliary questions include:

  1. How do presentation, documentation and mediation inform and configure protection and safe living?
  2. What is the historical relationship between presentation, documentation, mediation, and protection and safety?
  3. What ideas/images/imaginaries/desires of protection and safe living do documents and mediations attempt to make present?
  4. How safe are presentation, documentation, and mediation?
  5. Who presents, who documents, who mediations, and why does this matter for ‘safe living’?
  6. What might ‘safe’ presentation, documentation and mediation look like in contemporary global life?
  7. What are the risks of presentation, documentation and mediation? Are they always inherently unsafe? And what are the dangers of creating ‘safe presentation’?
  8. How do new forms of presentation, documentation and mediation disrupt traditional interpretations of safe presentation, documentation and mediation?

Confirmed Speakers

Robert Ransick (Media Artist and Professor of Digital Arts, Bennington College)

Susana Soares (Royal College of Art Design Interactions Graduate)

Michiko Nitta (Royal College of Art Design Interactions Graduate)

Annette Davison (Music, Edinburgh University)

Andrew Clement (Information Studies, University of Toronto and IAS Visiting Scholar, Lancaster University)

Imogen Tyler (Sociology, Lancaster University)


Thursday, 13 March 2008
13.30-14.15 Registration & coffee
14.15-14.30 Welcome and Introduction
Cynthia Weber (Director, IAS Annual Research Programme and Politics and IR, Lancaster University)
14.30-16.00 Robert Ransick (Media Artist and Professor of Digital Arts, Bennington College) ‘Casa Segura/Safe House’
16.00-16.15 Break
16.15-17.00 Imogen Tyler (Sociology, Lancaster University)
‘Home Front: Immigrant Protest in Carceral Britain ’
17.00-17.30 Reception for Professor José Zalaquett
17:30-19:00 Professor José Zalaquett (Professor of Human Rights and Co-Director, Human Rights Center, School of Law, University of Chile)Introduced by Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Robert McKinlay

The Iredell Lecture in Law and History – co-sponsored by the Centre for Law and Society and the IAS New Sciences of Protection: Designing Safe Living Programme

Friday, 14 March 2008
10.30-11.00 Morning Coffee
11.00-12.00 Two projects from Design Interactions, Royal College of Art: Susana Soares ‘New Organs of Perception’ and Michiko Nitta ‘Extreme Green Guerrillas’
12.00-12.45 Annette Davison (Music, University of Edinburgh)
‘Ear Defenders: Designing film sound for safe living’
12.45-13.45 Lunch
13.45-14.30 Andrew Clement (Information Studies, University of Toronto and Visiting Scholar, IAS New Sciences of Protection Programme)
‘Borderline Security Theatre: Performing asymmetric risk with no-fly lists and biometric Identification’
14.30-15.00 Closing discussion, main themes, and further questions


Registration is free by emailing Anne-Marie Mumford. Please indicate if you have any dietary requirements.


Cynthia Weber – Director, IAS Annual Research Programme 2007-08, Lancaster University

2 Responses

  1. Link to a new search

    I have set up this Swicki ahead of the Workshop. I work on other ones but this could be of interest to people attending.


    I work on quality systems and see documentation as an essential element that may also contribute to learning in organisations.

    Previously I presented a paper on quality assurance and the idea of a learning organisation for the conference on the knowledge economy. I would like to stay in touch with the discussion and this seems the most relevant topic. Before that I have tried to connect quality and networked learning but I find resistance to quality ideas is a major block. At the moment I seem to have lost track of where the networked learning discussion connects with what is actually happening online with social networks. Quality ideas are part of the online discussion and there may be some forms of quality management that people in universities could relate to.

    My impression so far is that language is of interest for the current project, not anything regarded as real. So documentation is just another source of danger although danger itself never happens. The script idea is an attempt to get past this by presenting danger as real and present.

    The section on words continues a section on search engines at the end of the previous paper. There are now several ways to manage the presentation of search options, including change based on feedback. This is effectively documentation at an early stage in a process.

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