Symposium & Summer School

Archiving Intangible Cultural Heritage & Performing Arts: A Symposium and Summer School for Living Traditions

Motion capture and display of kung fu

6-7 August 2018

EPFL campus, Lausanne, Switzerland

Practical Information


The documentation, reproduction and presentation of immaterial cultural forms (ICH) pose significant theoretical and technological challenges. Ephemeral traditions (e.g. performances or rituals) require cultural scholars, technologists, artists and scientists to work together with communities to develop new methods for sustaining and enlivening ICH. The symposium examines strategies for encoding, retrieving and re-enacting intangible heritage in ways that allow these archives to be ‘alive’ in the present, bringing together historical materials with creative visualizations derived from advanced documentation processes including motion capture, motion-over-time analytics, 3D reconstruction, and panoramic and high-speed video. Exposing the potential to revivify cultural heritage, these digital archival materials also form the basis for new curatorial opportunities and public engagement strategies. These ‘living archives’ may be re-interpreted and re-performed through the mediums of augmented and virtual reality and interactive media art, utilizing new immersive and interactive display paradigms to perpetuate the performances for future generations.

This Symposium and Summer School is stimulated by a growing worldwide interest in Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and performance studies. The gathering brings together world leaders in the research, documentation, preservation and public engagement with ICH through digital means. It intends to stimulate interest and advance discussion through more than a dozen seminal speakers, all leaders in the field of performing arts and ICH.

The aims are to:

  • explore new models for data curation of intangible cultural heritage and tools for its dissemination

  • engage with new strategies for the ‘re-enactment’ of living archives for public audiences

  • create innovative tools and opportunities for technology transfer

  • stimulate the network of digital intangible heritage practitioners across Switzerland and the world.


The gathering is co-located with a new major exhibition at EPFL’s ArtLab, Kung Fu Motion: The Living Archive (27.04-26.08.2018). This exhibition focuses on the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage of Hakka Kung Fu, bringing together archival materials re-interpreted and re-performed through the mediums of augmented virtual reality and interactive media art.


Followed by a partner event:

International Council of Museums (ICOM),  International Committee for Documentation (CIDOC)
Training and Practical Workshop 
on new digitization methods aimed at cultural institutions
8-10 August 2018
Separate registration here.

Chaired by:
Prof. Sarah Kenderdine, Professor of Digital Museology, Director of the ArtLab, EPFL.
Dr. Nicholas Crofts, International Olympic Committee, ICOM-CIDOC.

Dr. Lisandra (Lia) Costiner in collaboration with the eM+, ArtLab team.