Open call for the workshop Synergy: Interdisciplinary Practice and Theory

Overview of workshop
Interdisciplinarity and interdisciplinary research are widely acclaimed as being loci of innovation and new knowledge, and ways of solving difficult diverse problems with the capacity to bridge epistemological and ontological divides. Such practices involve many challenges, precisely because they necessarily cross disciplinary boundaries. These challenges are variously technical, methodological, philosophical, financial, institutional and interpersonal. Yet few who engage in such enterprise are prepared for such challenges. As a result, many projects become enmired and participants become disillusioned. Through a combination of presentations, working sessions and discussion/critique sessions, this workshop will equip artists, scientists, cultural operators, activists and theorists with skills and knowledge that will enhance success of such projects.

The theme of interdisciplinary synergy will structure the workshop itself, which will have two complementary and concurrent aspects, one practical and one theoretical  –
1. the development of several interdisciplinary project proposals, including formation of working teams, establishment of key resources and an ongoing development plan.
2. the development of a draft “interdisciplinary research protocol” document. This document is intended for international circulation as a guide for policy makers, government agencies and funding bodies.

These aspects will develop in parallel during and after the workshop. The theoretical deliberations will draw on the process of project development for examples etc, and those involved in project development will profit from input of theorists. Workshop participants may elect to concentrate on either or both aspects.

This interaction will be ongoing after the workshop is over. Projects and protocol will be hosted on the Grid Spinoza website. Development and cooperation will continue on this platform. Release of a first protocol document is planned for december 2013.

Simon Penny is director of the workshop and of ongoing theoretical development. He is an artist, theorist and professor in media art, interactive installation and robotic art with a long history in interdisciplinary research and teaching internationally. Previously professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon, currently professor of Art at University of California Irvine and visiting professor in the Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media master at UPF.

Roc Parés is an artist and researcher in interactive communication. Currently Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra and codirector of the University Master in Digital Arts, Idec/UPF.

Mara Balestrini has a background in Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Intel Collaborative Research Institute on Sustainable Connected Cities, University College London. Her work lies at the intersection of urban informatics and behavior change, an interdisciplinary approach blending cognitive sciences, technology and arts.

Who should apply
Artists, scientists, cultural operators, activists and others with an interest in the area and individuals and teams who have been involved in interdisciplinarity research projects or who are currently involved in interdisciplinary projects. Applications are particularly encouraged from applicants who intend to launch interdisciplinary work(s) in the near future, and from curators, coordinators, theorists and academics, managers and foundation and government funders with interests in the area.

Framework of the workshop: Hangar/Softcontrol/Grid Spinoza
Hangar is a centre for art research and production, offering support to artists.
Hangar’s mission is to support the visual artists and creators during the different phases of their art production processes as well as to contribute to the best development of their projects. For doing so, Hangar facilitates them equipments, facilities, production assistance and a suitable context for experimentation and free knowledge transfer.

Hangar is one of the partner of Soft Control, a multi-annual cultural project aimed at actualising culture phenomena which is emergent when art, science and public awareness are interconnected.Soft Control (SC) opens scientific labs and theory to artists and different educational entities to a wider audience. Soft Control is a multi-annual cultural performance, a European showcase where artists/cultural workers/others willing to learn what researchers are doing and thinking, and researchers, willing to share and experience creative forms of artistic experimentation and construction, come together in European locations to explore, work, discuss, listen and share ideas and findings.

Grid Spinoza is a project promoted by the research and art production center Hangar and the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park. The project explores the processes, methodologies and dynamics of artistic and scientific research, paying attention to spaces of confluence and ways of transferring knowledge from one field to the other. The project is based on an online platform ( that contains an open archive of articles and audiovisual interviews with artist and scientists.

English is official language of workshop.

28, 29 and 30 June 2013
Friday 28 form 17h to 21h
Saturda 29 de 12h a 20h
Diumenge 30 de 12h a 20h

Full programme

List of attendees

Sala Ricson
Passatge Marquès de Sta. Isabel 40
08018 – Barcelona
Poblenou L4, Bac de Roda L2; Bus 7; Tram stop Diagonal – Pere IV

25 euros. The price includes the meals and the coffe breaks for Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 and the dinner for Friday 28.

Applications, Acceptance and preparation
Application deadline 9 June, midnight.
Submit application to
Applicants will be notified by June 14th
All participants should review workshop website resources at They should prepare biographical pecha kucha and project presentation, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary approach and methodology.

The application must be in  pdf format (sent by e-mail) and must include:
Field of work
Reason for taking part (project proposal or theoretical interest) (100 words)
Images and attachments

For further information and submitting the applications, please contact
Marta Gracia
Telf: 933084041 ext. 23

With the support of:


Thanks to:


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