Case Studies

The project investigates 6 ethnographic case studies: 3 in the arts (digital performance, digital fashion, experience design) and 3 in the social sciences (digital education, psychology virtual learning, digital social interaction). The focus is on the observation of practices and research methods. The project objectives are to: i) describe the methods, concepts, practices and processes used to research embodiment in digitally assisted arts and social sciences; ii) identify methodological connection and synergy across the digital arts and the social sciences; iii) experiment how to integrate and exploit these methodological synergies and approaches to evaluate their applicability to embodiment research across the digital arts and social sciences; and iv) design training and capacity-building resources to support methodological innovation across the boundaries of the digital arts and social sciences.

A full description of the case studies used can be found here:

A description of the methodology used can be found here:

Summary Case Studies

A brief description of each case study site (3 in the arts and 3 in the social sciences) is described next:


Digital Performance

The Centre for Contemporary and Digital Performance (CCDP), Brunel University, has an inter-disciplinary vision that combines artistic performance, theatre, live art, and new media technologies. Its research explores body-centered research at these disciplinary boundaries to create innovative and experimental performance work using new technologies. The centre provides access to a range of digital performance technologies that are embedded in a tradition of physical theatre including tele-matic performance, interactive wearable designs, bio-art and bio-technologies, and real-time audio-visual performance/installations, among others. The centre includes the MA in Contemporary Performance Making, with Digital performance as a strand, and training at all levels combines practice-based work, and a strong grounding in performance theory.

Key participants included: 2 MA Digital Performance students, a Lecturer, and a Professor in Performance.


Digital Fashion

The Fashion Digital Studio (FDS), at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, is a multi-disciplinary center for technology and innovation in fashion. The studio has a history of experimentation and critique of fashion, innovative use of digital technologies, and a variety of work that engages with the body. Students from a range of LCF courses who are motivated to work with digital technologies for a range of reasons engage with FDS. Student work is guided by project briefs combined with ideas generated by the students themselves. The studio provides access to a range of digital tools that link physical and digital interaction, facilitated by specialist technicians/tutors to support student exploration of the body, materiality and garments.

Key case study participants included: an MA student, two Lecturers, and a studio associate/alumni.


Experience Design

The Information Experience Design Programme (herein: Experience Design), at the Royal College of Art, investigates how people construct, access and interpret information in physical, augmented and digital environments.

Key participants included an MA student, two PhD students and a Senior Lecturer.



Digital Education

The embodied learning team (herein: Education) is based at the London Knowledge Lab (LKL), Institute of Education. It conducts social research on concepts of embodiment and embodied interaction in contemporary digital learning environments, including school and museum contexts. The emphasis is on how digital technologies enable embodied interaction and support new ways of learning. The project team is interdisciplinary bringing together methods from sociology, psychology and embodied cognition. The team has conducted a range of studies using different digital technologies examine their role in shaping embodied forms of interaction. It is focused on both empirical work, and methodological and theoretical development. The team contributes to research methods training at LKL, including the MA in Education and Technology at LKL, Doctoral and Postdoctoral training.

Key case study participants include: a Professor, a Reader, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.


Psychology Virtual Learning

The Cognition, Genes and Developmental Variability Lab is a research group within the Psychology and Human Development Department at the Institute of Education. Their work is focused on cognitive development in neurodevelopmental disorder groups, and visuo-spatial cognition. The group has a history of using virtual learning technologies to support their research studies. The group leader, a Reader in Developmental Psychology leads the MSc in Child Development, which aims to deepen knowledge of child development and developmental psychology; take an informed, critical approach to developmental psychology; and provide high-quality education in the main theories, methods, and findings of psychological research. There is a strong focus on understanding shared key psychological theories within the group. The group facilitates a series of discussion and reading groups for postgraduate students.

Key case study participants included: a Reader in Developmental Psychology, a post-doctoral fellow, and a PhD student.


Digital Social Interaction

Digital Social Interaction (herein: Social interaction) is a small research group within the London Knowledge Lab (LKL), at the Institute of Education. Its’ focus is on interaction and communication in surgical operating theatres and the development of scenarios for simulation-based training. It conducts empirical research in surgical operating theatres and develops training interventions with surgical nurses using simulation techniques including re-enactment. It is also engaged in theoretical and methodological development, notably with respect to video based research. The team brings draws on a range of social interaction approaches with a focus on work-based learning. The team contributes to research methods training at LKL, including data workshops and events for Doctoral and Postdoctoral training and medical training at a London clinical teaching hospital.

Key case study participants included: a Post-doctoral Fellow, and a Reader in Social Interaction.