Likeness and Facial Recognition
Interdisciplinary research project

What does 'likeness' actually mean? How do new technologies shape innovation in the arts and humanities?

UCL Museums and Collections was awarded a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in 2010 to develop a series of three interdisciplinary research workshops to investigate Likeness and Facial Recognition. The representation and interpretation of facial appearance is an important area for research in both the humanities and the biomedical and life sciences. These workshops brought researchers in the arts, humanities, social sciences and life sciences from UCL and other HE institutions together with museum professionals and contemporary artists to investigate the historical context for our understanding of ‘likeness’ in portraiture and medical images of the face, and the potential of new research on facial recognition to inform work in the arts and humanities. The research network investigated the ways in which digital and surgical techniques are creating new models of ‘likeness’ for the 21st-century, the synergies and dissonances of these models with the historical definitions of ‘likeness’ in portraiture, and the ways that contemporary artists are engaging with these ideas and technologies. In addition to these themes, the workshops were also used to explore models of communication between researchers from the fine arts, the humanities and the sciences.

This projected enabled the creation of 100 Faces teaching pack. To learn more about get in touch at museums@ucl.ac.uk


Principal investigator: Dr Emma Chambers, UCL Art Museum
Research project assistant: Krisztina Lackoi, UCL Art Museum

Advisory Board:
Dr Suzannah Biernoff, Department of History of Art and Screen Media, 
Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Joe Cain, Department of Science and Technology Studies, 
University College London
Dr Simon Chaplin, Wellcome Library
Dr Peter Funnell, National Portrait Gallery

Funded by the AHRC through a Research Networking grant. 

For more information on this project please contact college.art@ucl.ac.uk To find out more about the research project please follow our blog posts on UCL Museums and Collections blog

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