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ColLaboratoire 2016 : ColLaboratoire Interdisciplinary Summer School


When Aug 15, 2016 - Aug 20, 2016
Where Plymouth, UK
Submission Deadline May 15, 2016
Categories    cognition   HCI   media arts   psychology

Call For Papers

ColLaboratoire is a week-long summer school for early-stage PhD and Master’s students from the sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts, to explore collaborative practices. This is an excellent opportunity for early stage researchers to work together within inventive and state-of-the-art interdisciplinary projects.

Projects on offer:

1. Playin’ Plymouth
2. Do you hear what I see?
3. Are networks conscious?
4. ‘Nao’ that’s what I’m talking about
5. Beauty Quest
6. Let’s improv it!
7. Remapping the sensorium

Find out more about each project at

Cost: Registration for the summer school is free of charge. Lunches, coffee breaks, a reception and a dinner will be provided, plus an exciting range of social activities (please see programme on our website for details). Participants are responsible for their travel and accommodation in Plymouth. We might be able to offer bursaries to successful applicants to help cover their travel and accommodation expenses, but information about these will be available in due course.

Registration opens: 1st April 2016
Deadline for registration: 15th May 2016
Register here:
Please note that places in the summer school are limited; as such all applications will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Summer School Committee
Follow us on Twitter: @CogNovians #colLaboratoire


Playin' Plymouth

Project summary
Play is a common, yet elusive phenomenon in humans, animals and possibly other entities as well. Despite many attempts at definitions, explanations and justifications, sciences, humanities and the arts have yet to achieve a truly transdisciplinary perspective on the issue. Our summer school strives to contribute to the understanding of play by discussing cognitive, social and philosophical aspects with representatives from psychology, AI research, human-computer interaction, and game studies. We will not only theorize about play, but also practice it by playing and offering sessions in play design through workshops and exercises during the week.

This is an attempt at wide range interdisciplinarity, engaging representatives from different faculties and backgrounds.

Michael Straeubig
Do you hear what I see?

Sonifying the biometrics of the cinematographic experience

Project summary
We are interested in exploring complex and unstructured data through sonification and visualisation. Based on the idea of collective spectatorship [Han14] we intend to collect data from a range of physiology measures (heart rate, EEG, motion capture etc...) of a number of people watching the same movie. Applying machine learning techniques on these time synchronised data sets we will look for patterns in physiology as predictors of the experience of film [SES13]. These predictions can be related to quantitative variables (e.g. luminance and sound intensity) and qualitative variables (e.g. narrative structure) of the original material. We anticipate sonifying the data to explore new presentations and hidden meanings in the collected data set. As a results we aim at feeding back our results into understanding the impact of film on spectators physiology and their experience as a group.

[Han14] Hanich, J. (2014), 'Watching a film with others: towards a theory of collective spectatorship', Screen 55.
[SES13] Silveira, F.; Eriksson, B.; Sheth, A. & Sheppard, A. (2013), 'Predicting Audience Responses to Movie Content from Electro-Dermal Activity Signals'

David Bridges Frank Loesche Michael Sonne Kristensen
Are Networks Conscious?

Project summary
Some theories of cognition suggest that consciousness emerges out of any highly networked system—such as the Internet—might constitute some kind of (emerging) consciousness (Koch, 2014; Stibel, 2014). Critics counter that connectedness is not sufficient for consciousness. For instance, a conscious agent must be situated within and in relationship to some kind of environment. Furthermore, according to situated, enactive, and embodied accounts of cognition (Clark & Chalmers, 1998a; Wilson, 2002), intelligence is not possible without a physical body. The mind, after all, is not (just) situated in the brain, and the sensorimotor dimensions of the body are essential components of consciousness. It has been suggested, for instance, that the reason why we have a nervous system in the first place was to make navigation and interaction with the physical world safer for the organism (move away from danger, move towards things that reinforce survival).The networked consciousness hypothesis might be more plausible if we expand what we mean by “environment” (cf. the extended mind hypothesis by Clark & Chalmers, 1998b) and if we try to imagine what might constitute the “body” of the network: the body, the group mind, the environment.
The goal of this project would be to compose a compelling (and potentially fundable) research proposal including research questions, initial literature review, discussion on methodologies, and proofs-of-concepts.

Clark, A., & Chalmers, D. (1998a). Embodied, situated, and distributed cognition. A Companion to Cognitive Science, 506–517.
Clark, A., & Chalmers, D. (1998b). The extended mind. Analysis, 7–19
Koch, C. (2014). In which I argue that consciousness is a fundamental property of complex things…: A BIT of Consciousness. MIT Press.
Stibel, J. M. (2014). Breakpoint: why the web will implode, search will be obsolete, and everything else you need to know about technology is in your brain.
Wilson, M. (2002). Six views of embodied cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9(4), 625–636.

Diego S. Maranan Jack McKay Fletcher Mihaela Taranu Michael Straeubig
“Nao” that’s what I’m talking about

Project summary
The idea we have of humanoid robots comes mostly from science fiction films. Even though we have a clear conception of what robots are, we rarely have an opportunity to interact with one that mimics human interaction.
NAO’s design is humanlike: it has the overall shape of a human body with a trunk, two legs, two arms and a head; however, it does not imitate human biological forms in its 58 cm height.
NAO is usually described as a social robot. What makes us perceive the NAO as it is? How can we exploit the emotions that the appearance of the NAO elicits in us? What makes it a social robot? Is it a translation from being a social human? What makes us social humans?
The project will start with a transdisciplinary discussion taking into account the above questions (and more). From what comes out of this discussion, the students are encouraged to design, stage and programme a performance including one or more NAO robots. This could be a piece of comedy, magic tricks, dance, theatre… or something else that our creative students come up with. Roboticists, performers, artists, philosophers and programmers are welcome to apply: true to the spirit of CogNovo, we want this project to be a fulfilling experience for all its students, who will receive stimulating inputs from experts in the fields that this project spans.
At the end, participants with no previous experience in robot programming will have learned to programme the NAO using the Choregraphe software, which creates behaviour, monitors and controls NAO. Participants with previous experience in robot programming will have the opportunity to add a piece of performing art to their portfolio.

Ilaria Torre Joana Galvão
Beauty Quest

Virtual World Aesthetic Enhancer

Project summary
The original idea is to develop a virtual world that would be generated in real time and would be explored with the Oculus Rift. World generation will be following aesthetic rules (low level rules: symmetry, curvature, line orientation, colors... or anything the students wish to use for aesthetic evaluation) instead of exploiting basic genetic algorithms with pre-defined elements such as Minecraft biomes.
For example, the landscape shape will be attributed a specific line orientation distribution, or the branches of a tree will respect certain angles and curvatures. Those characteristics will be variable depending on the different areas around the observer. We could then imagine an experimental game where the player would have to go towards areas aesthetically more appealing. In other words, the player's direction will be used as a fitness function to estimate the player's preferences. The tricky part is that aesthetic measures have mostly been used on 2D images and not in 3D.

Francois Lemarchand
Let’s improv it

Project summary
We are a very social species, and we are experts in collaboration. However, the understanding of ‘social glue’ that allows us to coordinate complex actions is still limited. This project aims to explore psychological theories on shared experience and its physiological basis (changes in heart rate, breathing, and movement). Using playful, dance and movement improvisational tasks, we will study the notion of social entrainment, synchronization of actions, hypothesis of empathic projection and theory of shared flow experience. During the first hands-on session we will understand the various ways of tracking physiological data and build the necessary equipment. Moving to the studio, we will explore different ways to relate to each other using improvising scores. We will trace the physiology of such processes, extending it into visual and sound feedback. As a result, we will prepare an improvised performance in which we share the results of our practice research.

Klara Łucznik Teoma Naccarato John MacCallum
Remapping the sensorium

Sonification and visualisation of hidden bio-data

Project summary
In this project we will develop real-time systems that expose hidden brain and bodily processes in playful and engaging ways which also provide insights into perception, action and social engagement. Project outputs are intended to stimulate public interest and will be used in workshops and exhibits in CogNovo’s Off the Lip event in October 2016. The project is fairly open-ended as it is intended to give you the opportunity to come up with imaginative solutions to three basic scenarios: 1) sonification of saccadic eye movements while viewing pictures, manipulating timbre, pitch, loudness and spatial location as some function of the foveated image; 2) visualisation of electrical brain activity in ways which expose group (de-) synchronisation; 3) sonification (and/or visual amplification) of micro movements including ideomotor movements, pupil dilations, heart rate, breathing, etc. All solutions are required to run in (near) real-time and therefore require insightful technical ideas to be feasible.

Sue Denham Thomas Wennekers

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