ISEA International

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ISEA International
FounderTheodor Hesper and Wim van der Plas
Founded atNetherlands
TypeInternational non-profit
Purpose"To foster interdisciplinary academic discourse and exchange among culturally diverse organisations and individuals working with art, science and technology."
HeadquartersBrighton, United Kingdom
Peter Anders, Wim van der Plas, Bonnie Mitchell, Paul Catanese, Ian Clothier
Formerly called
Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts

ISEA International (pronounced /ˈz.ə/ eye-ZAY, like "Isaiah"[1]) is an international non-profit organization which encourages "interdisciplinary academic discourse" and exposure for "culturally diverse organizations and individuals working with art, science and technology."[2] ISEA International is best known for sponsoring the annual International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), an annual gathering of the international art, science and technology community.[2] The symposium includes an academic conference, exhibitions, performances and workshops. It is a nomadic event and is held in a different location every year. ISEA allows individuals and organizations from around the world to come together annually, share and experience the intersection of emerging technologies and art.[3] ISEA includes both visual and performing art that intersect with various types of technology in its symposia.[4] ISEA is managed by the ISEA International Foundation Board who organize and ensure the quality of content for each symposia.[4]

In an important move for ISEA, an agreement with University of Brighton to establish an ISEA Headquarters was signed in July 2009. ISEA HQ provides an administrative, academic and creative base for ISEA and develops a fruitful partnership with a leading research University. Sue Gollifer, Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Art and Course Leader of the Digital Media Arts MA is the ISEA International Headquarters Director at the University of Brighton.[5]


ISEA has its roots in the symposia begun in 1988 in the Netherlands,[3] this series of symposia known as the International Symposium on Electronic Art was initiated in 1988 in order to support the founding and maintenance of an international network of organisations and individuals active in the field of the electronic arts. The idea behind its creation was to create a network for those who are active and interested in electronic arts.[4] The organization was later founded in 1990 in The Netherland, as an international membership association called the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts.[6] The Board and membership of ISEA has always been international, bringing together individuals and organisations from around the world. From the founding of ISEA until 1996 the organisation was based in the Netherlands. From 1996 to 2001, ISEA headquarters was based in Montréal, Canada. After a period of a provisional HQ again in the Netherlands, in 2008 a new Headquarters was established at the University of Brighton, United Kingdom. The Inter-Society existed for over 15 years as a membership organisation and in 2009 ISEA was changed from the association to a foundation called “ISEA International” and the headquarters moved to the UK.[4][7]

The organisation is now managed by the ISEA International foundation board, whose main role is to select the host city of each symposium. The foundation board works closely with the host to ensure that the goals of ISEA are achieved. Historically the symposia were held as both a biennial and annual event. As of 2009, the symposium has been held annually again.[7]

Nowadays, ISEA is one of the most prominent international events on art and technology around the world, bringing together scholarly, artistic, and scientific domains in an interdisciplinary discussion and showcase of creative productions applying new technologies in electronic art, interactivity and digital media.[8]

The Board[edit]

The ISEA International foundation board of directors is the governing body of ISEA. The primary role of the Board is to oversee the continuation of the annual symposia, and to build and maintain a comprehensive symposium archive. The Board meets via Skype and holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at each symposium, where it updates the public on its activities and invites organisations bidding for future symposia to present their proposals.[9]

The current board of directors, elected to serve since January 2017, is composed of Ernest Edmonds (Chair), Mike Phillips (Secretary), Anne Nigten (Treasurer), and sub-committee chairs Pat Badani, Ricardo Dal Farra, Rob La Frenais, and Roger Malina.

Over the coming year the new Board will review ISEA’s mission and strategy. It will set a way forward that, building on its strong history, provides a sustainable and exciting future.


The ISEA International Headquarters (HQ) is hosted at the University of Brighton in the UK.

Sue Gollifer is currently the Director of the ISEA International Headquarters. She is an artist, a Principal Lecturer in Fine Art and the Course Leader for Digital Media Arts MA and a researcher at the University of Brighton, UK. Her art work is held in both national and international public and private collections.

She is on a number of National and International Committees, including (CAS) the Computer Arts Society, (DAM), Digital Art Museum, (DACs) the ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community, and Co-Chair of Phoenix Brighton, and Trustee of Lighthouse, UK.

She has been a curator of a number of International Digital Art Exhibitions including, ArCade, the UK Open International Biennale Exhibition, of Digital Fine Art Prints 1995 – 2007 and the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery Exhibition’04: Synaesthesia and the “Intuition and Ingenuity” art exhibition to celebrate the Alan Turing Centenary 2012 and the William Latham Exhibition Mutator 1 & 2 at Phoenix as part of Brighton Digital Festival 2013.

In 2006 she was awarded an iDMAa Award, The International Digital Media Arts Award for her ‘Exceptional Services to the International New Media Community’. She is currently the ACM Chair of ‘The Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art’.

International Advisory Committee[edit]

The Isea International Advisory Committee is composed of international experts from the fields of art, science and technology. Their role is to advise ISEA International Foundation Board and ISEA Headquarters Director.[11]

ISEA Symposium Archives[edit]


Since the fall of 2013, Wim van der Plas and Bonnie Mitchell have been working on version 2.0 of the archive, updating it to the present day. What is online now is a work-in-progress.

They are currently in the process of building an even newer site (version 3.0) with advanced capabilities such as automated data relationships, access to artworks and much more. When finished, this new archive will contain the publication of profiles (‘bios’) of speakers and contributing artists, as well as photos, videos, press clippings, and related materials like posters. The original ISEA archive site was initiated in 2008 and funded by the Mondriaan Foundation and VSB Fund (both in the Netherlands). The current archive is supported by Bowling Green State University, in the United States and the Wim van der Plas’ archival collection.

In the meantime, the existing archive (2.0) is constantly being updated with the primary ISEA Symposium materials:

  • The full set of available Proceedings and Catalogues
  • Abstracts and statements for all available papers, panel sessions, workshops and tutorials, art events, concerts & performances

International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA)[edit]

Previous and future symposia have included:


  1. ^ a b c Fischer, Jack (4 June 2006). "Celebrating 'Art on the Edge'". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 27 May 2015 – via Newspaper Source.
  2. ^ a b "ISEA International Website". ISEA International Website. Retrieved 2015-05-27.
  3. ^ a b Anders, Peter (June 2004). "ISEA 2002 Orai: At the Crossroads of Meaning". Leonardo. 37 (3). doi:10.1162/0024094041139481. Retrieved 27 May 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  4. ^ a b c d Salem, Nancy (4 November 2011). "Where Art & Science Meet" (PDF). Sandia Lab News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2015 – via Agnes Chavez.
  5. ^ "About". ISEA International Website. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  6. ^ "Wim van der Plas, co-founder of the ISEA Symposia recounts the history of ISEA in an interview" (PDF). ISEA. Retrieved 2015-05-27.
  7. ^ a b "History". ISEA International Website. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  8. ^ "ISEA2017 – ISEA 2017 / BIO-CREACIÓN Y PAZ". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  9. ^ "The Board". ISEA International Website. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  10. ^ "Headquarters". ISEA International Website. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  11. ^ "International Advisory Committee". ISEA International Website. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  12. ^ "ISEA Symposium Archives | Published by ISEA International". Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  13. ^ "Eighth International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA '97)". Computer Music Journal. 21 (2). 1997. Retrieved 28 May 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  14. ^ a b Salem, Nancy (July 2012). "Albuquerque in the Global Spotlight" (PDF). Art Ltd. Magazine: 22–23. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  15. ^ "ISEA and MUME-WE". Computer Music Journal. 37 (4): 8–9. 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2015. (Subscription required (help)).

External links[edit]