On June 15th, 2017, we will be holding a one-day symposium on the theme of ‘serendipity’. This will be the first attempt to gather the world’s leading ‘serendiptologists’ in one room. Our aim is for this event to bring together researchers in computing, the arts, sciences, and other fields of cultural endeavor. To mark the historic nature of this occasion we plan to meet in the Waldegrave Drawing Room at St Mary’s University, adjacent to Strawberry Hill House, the gothic castle in Twickenham built by Horace Walpole, who invented the concept of ‘serendipity’ in 1754. A tour of Strawberry Hill House will be included in the programme.
As sociologists Merton and Barber noted, Walpole’s term was only mentioned in print 135 times prior to 1957. Since then it has seen explosive uptake — in the arts, in technology, and especially in their intersection. 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the 1968 exhibit on ‘Cybernetic Serendipity’ curated by Jasia Reichardt at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), which brought together some of the leading minds in simulation and synthesis, left a lasting impact on fields ranging from electronic music to interactive sculpture, and helped bring about the formation of the British Computer Arts Society. Recently, ‘serendipity’ has informed the design of research programmes and recommendation systems.
We are honoured to welcome Jasia Reichardt and Pek van Andel as our keynote speakers, two leading figures who have substantially contributed to the public perception and to research on serendipity in the arts and sciences. Pek van Andel is joint recipient of the 2000 Ig Nobel prize in Medicine. His most recent book "C'est quoi la sérendipité? 80 décovertes due au hasard qui ont bouleversé le course de l'histoire" was published by Le Courrier du Livre in April.
To round out the programme, we invite 20-minute talks on the theme of serendipity from across the disciplines. Along with eight short talks and two keynotes, our schedule for the day includes a morning Writers Workshop, in which we invite participants into an in-depth discussion of our preprint “Modelling Serendipity in a Computational Context”. Talk abstracts of up to 250 words are requested (key dates below).
This symposium is part of the AISB Member Symposium series, and registration is free for AISB members.
To submit a talk abstract of up to 250 words, please email the symposium organisers at serendipity.symposium[at]gmail.com.
All submissions will be reviewed for their potential to spark discussion, and can describe work or ideas at any stage of development. Each accepted submission will be allocated 20 minutes of time in the programme, which should incorporate time for Q&A. The schedule will also include sessions devoted to brainstorming and reflection.
Registration is restricted to AISB members, and the symposium registration form will ask for your AISB member number. Registrants are kindly asked to:
AISB ordinary member rates are 40 Pounds for the year. There is a discounted student rate, and the student membership is free for the first year if you choose direct debit.