Date: 11-12 October 2011

Duration: 2 days

Venue: The Lighthouse, Glasgow, Scotland


Videos of the presentations are available here



Software art is an active and growing genre of artistic development that has attracted significant interest from both the art world and cultural institutions. Software artworks have been commissioned and displayed in major museums across the globe, therefore emphasising on the need to curate, manage and preserve such material. Preservation of software-based art presents challenges in many fronts, including complex interdependencies between objects; time-based and interactive properties; and diversity in the technologies and practices used for development.

The two-day symposium on Software Art provided a forum for participants to discuss these challenges, review and debate the latest developments in the field, witness real-life case studies, and engage in networking activities. The symposium promoted discussion of the following key topics:


The symposium was organised by the Humanities Advanced Technology & Information Institute (HATII) based at the University of Glasgow. For more information about HATII, visit the official website.

Venue and Dates

The symposium took place on 11-12 October 2011 at:
The Lighthouse
11 Mitchell Lane,
Glasgow, G1 3NU
Lanarkshire, UK


Registration for this Symposium is now closed.

Programme Outline


Day 1 - 11th October
09:00-09:30 Registration and coffee
09:30-09:40 Welcome and opening remarks
Ann Gow (Director, HATII), POCOS Team
09:40-10:00 Welcome Address:
Mark O'Neill
Policy, Research & Development Cultural and Sport, Glasgow Life, UK

Social and Economic Regenration in Glasgow: Past, Present and Future
10:00-10:45 Keynote Address:
Richard Rinehart
Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University, USA

Artworks as Variability Machines
10:45-11:15 Coffee Break and Networking
11:15-12:00 Vicky Isley and Paul Smith
boredomresearch / NCCA, Bournemouth University, UK

Best before… software artworks may be seen after this date; however their quality may be affected by improper storage
12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00-13:15 Introduction to break-out sessions

Break-out session

Choose one of the following subject groups:

A    The role of the artist in curating and preserving software art

B    The role of cultural institutions: Storage media, file formats (archiving)

C    The role of cultural institutions: Interpretation and Documentation (metadata)

D    Legal implications:collecting, curating and preserving software art

E    Ethical issues: collecting, curating and preserving software art

14:30-15:00 Coffee Break and Networking

Break-out session (continued)

16:00-16:45 Reporting from break-out sessions and discussion

Summary of Day 1

Day 2 - 12th October
09:00-09:15 Coffee and Networking
09:15-09:45 Michael Takeo Magruder
King's Visualisation Lab, King's College London, UK

Between code and space:
the challenges of preserving complex digital creativity in contemporary arts practice

Perla Innocenti
History of Art, University of Glasgow, UK

Bridging the gap:
interdisciplinary reflections and potential collaborations for preserving computer-based artworks

10:15-10:45 Coffee Break and Networking
10:45-11:15 Michael Fourman
School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, UK

On Digital Scotland and its influence on digital creativity (draft title, final tbc)
11:15-12:30 Break-out session

Subject (all groups):
Developing a Strategy for Preserving Software Art
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:30 Break-out session (continued)
14:30-15:15 Reporting from break-out sessions and discussion
15:15-15:45 Coffee Break and Networking

Plenary Address:
Simon Biggs
Edinburgh College of Art, UK

Make or break? Concerning the value of redundancy as a creative strategy

16:30-17:00 Leo Konstantelos
HATII, University of Glasgow, UK

Wrap-up and thank you
17:00 End of Symposium