Dancing with Data: Dr. Kerry Francksen’s Exploration of Art and Technology

What is the relationship between the body and technology? Dancer and choreographer Dr. Kerry Francksen has long asked how we can integrate the artistic knowledge and practice of performers with rapidly changing technological tools. As a Daphne Jackson Fellow funded by the AHRC and hosted by Coventry University, Kerry’s Daphne Jackson Fellowship highlights how re-training in technical skills can transform research outputs in arts and humanities.

“Creative practitioners have a great deal to offer in terms of their embodied and perceptual understanding of the translation of data, and how we might appreciate human-machine relationships in an increasingly technologized world.”

Woman with short blonde hair wearing a blue polka-dot top smiling at the camera
Dr Kerry Francksen

Kerry designed interactive environments for performance, which she developed through her Master of Arts, and taught for two decades across undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the digital performing arts, bridging the gap between disciplines. As a senior lecturer, she performed and screened her work, published and completed her PhD at De Montfort University.

But with two young sons to care for, Kerry chose to take voluntary redundancy and focus on her family. After eight years out of the workforce, Kerry was ready to return. Though she continued to publish, she found it impossible to return to research.

“Being an independent researcher without access to an established research centre meant that I was unable to apply for funding to continue my research.”

When she learned that the Daphne Jackson Trust had opened to Arts and Humanities Fellows, Kerry seized the opportunity to apply, excited both by the retraining opportunities and the chance to re-join a research institution.

“The Trust gave me both the confidence and the ability to return to my career in a research center within my field.”

Kerry’s Daphne Jackson Fellowship, entitled “Advanced creative practices in virtual reality performance and artificial intelligence applications,” seeks to understand, “the transmission of a moving, breathing dancer’s bodily movements into streams of data for technological processing.”

As a key part of Daphne Jackson Arts and Humanities Fellowships, Kerry is undertaking extensive retraining in artificial intelligence and virtual reality technologies, allowing her to integrate art and technology and produce original outputs, including new performance protocols and digital artwork.

“My research aims to advocate for the important knowledge and role performers have in the development of these new environments,” and explores, “the implications and impact computer science can have on creative practice and process.”

Just three months into her Fellowship, Kerry has already published an article in the International Journal of Performing Arts and Digital Media and traveled to work with colleagues in Vienna, Austria. She is embracing new collaborative opportunities in law and theatre at C-DARE, the Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University.

Kerry believes that a career break doesn’t have to mean the end of a research career. “You still have so much knowledge and expertise to offer and a wealth of additional life-experience, too. This is invaluable for making a difference in all areas of research and beyond.”

Do you know someone on a career break from research? Please share what the Daphne Jackson Trust do, and our current opportunities with them. Thank you.

Related posts

12 January 2015 Link Image

Are you looking for an opportunity to return ...

Have you had a career break for family, caring or health reasons? Would you like to return to your research ...

12 January 2015 Link Image

Daphne Jackson Trust training courses are key to ...

A key element of the Daphne Jackson Fellowship is to help rebuild individuals' self-confidence, which can be lacking following a ...

12 January 2015 Link Image

Support the Daphne Jackson Trust in 2015

We rely on the generosity of sponsors and donors to support STEM professionals wishing to return to their careers with ...

12 February 2015 Link Image

Research carried out by Daphne Jackson Fellow identifies ...

Dr Frances Pearl, a Daphne Jackson Fellow 2011-2013, has analysed genetic data from 5000 cancerous tumours to identify potential new ...

12 March 2015 Link Image

Teresa Anderson MBE, to chair Daphne Jackson Trust’s ...

The Daphne Jackson Trust is delighted to announce that Dr Teresa Anderson, Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, University ...

12 April 2015 Link Image

Interview with Daphne Jackson Fellow in The Biochemist ...

Dr Marjorie Gibbons is returning to research at the University of Bath with a Daphne Jackson Fellowship sponsored by the ...