The rise of social media: what's next for the world?

Students on a computer at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China campus
31 Aug 2011 15:58:46.687
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Social networking has integrated into almost every aspect of our global society, with the lines between the virtual and physical world becoming increasingly blurred. Now experts are to gather in China for an international conference on the evolution of new media and what the future holds.

The Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts Conference, taking place over four days in September at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), will bring together top international artists with leading authorities from a variety of disciplines to examine new connectivities in societies and cultures.

Digital media experts will kick off proceedings, filling in delegates on the latest advances and emerging trends.
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Highlights will include opportunities to view unique digital art installations that will be on display at the University and to share in the joys of high-tech virtual artistic performances, such as an ethernet orchestra improvisation across several continents.

Practical sessions at the conference will cover a wide range of topics, from how artists can include audiences in their creative processes through internet-based technologies to how tourism companies can further harness mobile digital applications to develop their businesses.

News media and marketing experts will explore and debate strategies essential for success as audiences turn increasingly towards the digital media. New technologies will be examined and likely future trends identified.

It’s the first time the annual conference, now in its 16th year, has been held outside the UK. Dr Andrew White, Associate Professor of Creative Industries and Digital Media at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, said this year’s venue was chosen partly in acknowledgement of the growing importance of digital resources in China, as well as its growing might in the digital world.

“For the artists, this conference represents an opportunity to share their unusual and fascinating art forms with new audiences in Asia and, in particular, China. Academics are looking forward to deepening their research connections with their peers at other universities here and in China and from elsewhere,” he said.

The University of Nottingham, the first UK university to establish a Sino-foreign collaborative university in mainland China in 2004, was the logical choice to host the conference, said Dr White.

The University of Nottingham Ningbo China has about 5,000 students, with about one-third studying for arts and humanities degrees and the remainder opting mostly for science, engineering and business studies.

It has strong media and communications studies programmes, with modules taught by research-focused lecturers who enjoyed successful careers in the international media before moving into academia.

Its film courses, which have a strong emphasis on the practical, are also proving popular among aspiring film producers and television stars.

The University is developing a reputation for producing world-changing research at its campus in Ningbo, an attractive city on China’s prosperous east coast about two and a half hours from Shanghai by car or train.

The conference is being co-hosted by The University of Nottingham’s Centre for Advanced Studies, which facilitates high-impact interdisciplinary research projects with an emphasis on the arts and social sciences.

Centre head Professor Judith Still said: “The University of Nottingham was invited to host the long-standing Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts Conference in 2011. It was decided that The University of Nottingham Ningbo China would be the best venue for the conference.

“The conference organisers are excited by the prospect of convening its annual gathering outside the UK for the first time in its history.

“Holding a major international conference at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China will not only raise the profile of the Division of International Communications but also the campus and the city of Ningbo as a whole,” she added.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:
• Masaki Fujihata, Director of the Graduate School of Film and New Media at Tokyo University of the Arts
• Aphra Kerr of the Department of Sociology at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth
• Feng Mengbo, an independent artist based in Beijing
• Stephen Robertson of the Department of History, University of Sydney, Australia

Confirmed artists and performers include:

• Roger Mills, an international composer, sound artist and writer
• Julian Maynard Smith, performance artist and world expert in telematic theatre
• Lothar Spree, Davide Quadrio and Xiao Wen Zhu, all multi-media artists
• Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould, pioneers in telematic art and performance
• Pedro Rebelo, a composer and digital artist working in electro-acoustic music and digital media
Conference co-chair Ghislaine Boddington — an artist, international director and curator whose research focuses on the performing arts in a high-tech context — will deliver a paper looking at changes in performing arts’ creation processes.

A fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and a Research Associate at RecCen, Middlesex University, Boddington’s passion for 15 years has been the exploration of tele-kinetics, tele-presence and tele-intuition.

More information about the event, which runs from September 4 to 7, is available on the Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts Conference in 2011 website.

— Ends —

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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Story credits

More information is available from Dr Andrew White, Associate Professor of Creative Industries and Digital Media, The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, on +86 (0)574 8818 9258,

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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