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Digital Tools for Performance

The focus of this paper is to take a very selective look at some of the ways that practitioners have used digital tools in the course of planning, designing, ‘doing’, communicating and documenting performancerelated works, a term that covers an enormous amount of territory and is intrinsically cross-disciplinary, connecting activities as diverse as design, music, drama, electrical engineering, human movement studies, communications theory, literary studies, and so forth. Perhaps the most straightforward method of defining what ‘performance’ involves is to consider the disciplinary areas which feature it as an activity. AHDS (Arts and Humanities Data Service) Performing Arts define those categories as:

  • Music
  • Dance
  • Theatre
  • Radio
  • Film
  • Television
  • Performance (Live Art)

In order to comply with the general aim of this series of working papers, which is targeted more towards individual academics or research groups who are looking to increase their knowledge of the types of tools that will complement and enhance their research, the focus will be geared towards identifying selected techniques and specific software solutions that could potentially empower individuals to broaden, add value and enrich their (practice-based) research. The technological complexity that underpins the capture and delivery of performance footage in the realm of radio, film and television often requires an institutional or commercial infrastructure and is therefore largely beyond the scope of this paper and will not be specifically addressed.

Read the full Working Paper : (pdf)

Image: Paul Sermon, illustration of the technique used for ‘Telematic Vision’.

AHDS Methods Taxonomy Terms

This item has been catalogued using a discipline and methods taxonomy. Learn more here.


  • Music
  • Dance
  • Drama and Theatre
  • Media and Film Studies


  • Communication and collaboration - Video-based interaction - synchronous
  • Communication and collaboration - Audio interaction - synchronous
  • Data Capture - Digital motion capture
  • Data Capture - Digital moving image capture
  • Practice-led Research - Virtual world modelling
  • Practice-led Research - 2d animation
  • Practice-led Research - 3d modelling - vector
  • Practice-led Research - Sound editing
  • Practice-led Research - Video editing
  • Practice-led Research - Music composition
  • Data Structuring and enhancement - Sound encoding - MIDI
  • Strategy and project management - Backing - up