2011 ICRA Workshop on Robots and Art

Frontiers in Human-Centered Robotics as Seen by the Arts


Artists have been fascinated with robot capabilities, such as manipulation and locomotion, because of their precision and speed. Industrial robot arms have been programmed to draw, or to perform with dancers. There is also a growing interest in human-like robots and insect-like robots. In recent years this interest has heightened with robotics and associated technology being represented in many contemporary works of art. An indication that the technology is maturing and becoming an integral part of everyday life. Reciprocally, robotic art is pushing the frontiers of robotic research in many new directions and in the process, it is narrowing the socio- cultural gulf between the technologies and its end users, the society at large.


This full day multidisciplinary workshop will explore the intricacies and issues in robot-art collaborations through a series of invited talks, short paper presentations, videos and illustrative performances. The workshop will provide a point of reference for the practicing roboticists to appreciate and understand art from the artist's perspective and for the artists to derive new inspirations from the research by the robotics community. Overall, the workshop will strengthen the mutual understanding and respect between the diverse fields of interest leading to future discussions and developments enabling better human-centered robotic systems.


In a reversal of common belief and expectation, the boundaries of technological applications appear to be pushed not so much by relevant science or engineering but artists. One example is certainly the social virtual reality of Second Life which was explicitly created to mimic the Metaverse described in Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash. A leading role for art is also evident in human- centred robotics. When it comes to fathoming the depths and shallows of our future dealing with our new companion, the robot, artists have jumped the queue ahead of technical and commercial realisation and have introduced robots into our lives. While there is an abundance of fiction literature and movies with robots as protagonists, here we refer to the performance art that have integrated robots in some way or another in their performances or even made the robot the work of art itself, e.g., the enduring reappearing robot- human symbiosis in the work of Australian performance artist, Stelarc*. In such manners artists ask questions about the future directions of robotics before the field itself might have become aware of them and have also envisioned robots that are yet to come.


Related Workshops

HRI 2010 WORKSHOP: What do collaborations with the arts have to say about HRI?


The workshop is part of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), to be held at the Shanghai International Convention Center, Shanghai, China.

Date & Time

Friday, 13. May 2011, full-day workshop (9.00~17.00).



*Images on this web page are from the Articulated Head - Stelarc 2010


Submissions (Closed)

 It is the appropriate time to trace these artistic visions and discuss their importance and implications for the fields of robotics. Could new paradigms in robotic research be inspired from robotic art? Which role does art, on the one hand, and robotic engineering, on the other hand, play in shaping the perception of robots in the society? What benefits for both sides are gained through collaborations? Where is contemporary robotic art heading? The workshop will bring together artists, scientists and engineers to answer these questions and highlight new developments at the  intersection of art and robotics.
We invite full papers, extended abstracts  and video submissions on above themes:


Call for Papers

We welcome both full papers (6 pages max) and 2-page extended abstracts. Paper submissions can be accompanied by a video (<10MB & <3min).  Please format your papers according to IEEE Conference style guidelines (ICRA paper format).


Call for  Videos

We also solicit high quality videos (e.g. short documentaries) that highlight aspects of Robot-Art collaborations. Videos should not exceed 10 minutes including titles and credits and must be accompanied by a short abstract. Please contact us prior to the submission deadline for details on how to upload your video.


Email submissions to : RobotsAndArts@gmail.com


Papers and videos will be peer-reviewed and published on the workshop DVD.

We intend to  document the outcomes of the workshop and expand the discussion through the publication of a book with a renowned publishing house.


Registration (Closed)

Please register for the workshop through the ICRA registration webisite. You could register for the whole conference or just for the workshop. Please select WS-F-11 under 'Option(s) for Conference Workshop Friday' when asked during registration..

Direct link to PaperPlaza registration site from here...


Workshop Registration Fee

Category Till Mar. 31 After Mar. 31
IEEE Member RMB700   ($106) RMB1,050 ($158)
Nonmember RMB1,050($158) RMB1,200 ($181)
IEEE Student Member RMB100   ($15)  RMB120    ($18)
Student Nonmember RMB150   ($23) RMB180    ($27) 
IEEE Life member $0 $0





Important Dates

28. February 2011: Paper and video submissions due
14. March 2011: Notification of acceptance

16. March 2011: Final version ready for workshop DVD

13. May 2011: Workshop




Dr. Damith C. Herath - Thinking Head Project

MARCS Auditory Laboratories , University of Western Sydney

Dr. Christian Kroos - Thinking Head Project

MARCS Auditory Laboratories , University of Western Sydney

Professor Kate Stevens - Associate Director: Music, Sound & Action ,

MARCS Auditory Laboratories , University of Western Sydney

Professor Denis Burnham - Director - MARCS Auditory Laboratories

University of Western Sydney