2020 Theme


The digital is implicated in various forms of hybridity or hybrid scenarios. Presently, hybridity has been amplified during COVID-19 in many ways and will likely extend as we move into a hybridity of face-to-face and online in various complex mixes.

In its most rudimentary form, hybridity refers to any instance when two or more entities mix, producing a distinct new identity of integrated character that however still retains recognisable features of its origins. From its roots as a biological term, the concept of cultural hybridity emerged at the centre of academic debate in the context of post-colonial discourse in the 1980s and 1990s, before being remapped as the “cultural logic of globalisation” (Kraidy, 2005) or the “rhizome of [globalised] culture” (Nederveen Pieterse, 2004), thus becoming a positive and resistive form of cultural translation.

Today, hybridisation is the inertly accepted though often un-reflected norm: office meetings with staff joining online are common practice as are interdisciplinary research groups who have never (physically) met; hybrid diesel-electric buses and augmented reality permeate our daily lives; fusion cuisine casually mixes regional food cultures from around the world, while the hybrid artificiality of K-pop continues resonating with teenagers around the world; hybrid learning is commonly used in online education to refer to that experience which is part virtual and part in real life (IRL).

Creative disciplines, both as instigators and as critics, have been a driving force in developing practices of hybridization that seamlessly appropriate, remix, and synthesize new formations of found elements from a wide range of contexts. In return, (tertiary) education as a mediator of cultures is expected to reflect, frame, respond and utilise this continuous stream of ideas.

DEL 2020 invites contributions for Unconference or Flipped sessions that celebrate, question, and/or explore the multiplicity of hybridity in teaching and learning, and across (creative) disciplines along the following tracks:

Track 1: Transcultural Practices

Transcultural practices are aware of how distinct cultures vicariously address their meaning to/through an Other by means of iterations and translations that ultimately result in hybrid identities. Traces of the origins retained beyond hybridisation offer transcultural wedges for forging affective links between stakeholders, thus creating bases for exchange and mutual understanding. Successful living and working under the conditions of globalisation require not only (disciplinary) expertise, but the ability to read cultural hybrids and to negotiate their diversities such as traditions, identity, genealogy of the present, values, ethics, and different forms of being.

Contributions for this track will have notions of cultures at their centre, and feature scholarship and/or teaching and learning practices that cross borders and shift boundaries across disciplines and modalities to drive social and cultural sensitivity.

Track 2: Decolonising Knowledge Systems

All knowledge systems are hybrid to varying degrees. Since the dawn of time, communities borrowed knowledge from each other for commercial, aesthetic, ideological and technological purposes with trade and colonisation as the main vehicles of such hybridisation. Knowledge systems have been informed, established, extended and passed on between and within distinct communities, cultures, and/or contexts by means of e.g. language, systems of classification, resource use practices, social interactions, rituals and spirituality. Commonly, during those processes all stakeholders would reciprocally tap into the others’ knowledge base, but more recently greater attention has been paid to the power imbalances inherent in those exchanges.

Contributions for this track will have a focus on scholarship and/or teaching and learning practices in the creative disciplines that centre on non-dominant approaches and methodologies: from diversifying the sources from which a course is designed, to consideration of alternative course materials and resources, to teaching through indigenous ways of working, to leaving (traditional) academia all together.

Track 3: Digitised Collectives

Digitized collectives explore the shift from object to information and from the unambiguous to the ambiguous influences on society, values and cultures. Especially, knowledges and cultures encountered in the flux of the digital network tend to be (perceived as) hybrid, potentially triggering reflexive falling back into well-worn – and therefore more comfortable – identifications. In particular for creative practitioners working with and responding to new technologies, the hybridisation of physical and digital elements has become a reflective reaction to the strange dichotomy of a thoroughly mixed reality.

Contributions for this track will have a focus on how do concurrent tools and technologies respond to and expand the notion of hybridity. What opportunities and challenges do scholars and educators face as large parts of our societies know no other mode than the hybrid? What digital collectives are formed in our explorations of the meaning and methods of creative practices as transformed in the digital age?

Contact us

For any information regarding the Digitally Engaged Learning conference, please contact Hannah at delconference@arts.ac.uk