AISB 2019 Symposium on Movement that Shapes Behaviour Rethinking how we can form relationships with non-humanlike embodied agents

As part of the AISB 2019 Convention (16th-18th April 2019, Falmouth, UK) this symposium is a transdisciplinary forum for exploring the potential of movement for shaping the expressive and relational capacities of non-humanlike robots and how we perceive them as social agents. Social robots are expected to affect every aspect of our lives in the near future. Currently, the design of social robots in research labs often mimic humanlike or animal-like features, both in terms of how they look and how they behave. We believe, however, that movement and its expressive, relation-making qualities hold the key to widening the spectrum of how we can interact with robots, without relying on a human- or animal-like veneer.

The importance of movement in the simulation of behaviour can be traced back to early cybernetic experiments and artworks, such as, Grey Walter's tortoises and Gordon Pask's conversational systems. Similarly, Heider and Simmel's classic cognitive psychology experiments using simple animated geometric figures, demonstrated the potential of movement to generate social meaning. This symposium emphasises the importance of methods and practices from the fields of animation, choreography, dance, design, puppetry and theatre. Grounded in embodied knowledge, they offer valuable insights for embodied AI, e.g., working with movement as a material, embodying 'bodies', relation-making through movement dynamics, embodied perception, and kinesthetic empathy.

This symposium will bring together researchers and practitioners to explore how movement qualities can enable an embodied agent to communicate non-verbally, take on a social presence, make connections or enact an identity without mimicking living creatures. The topic opens up a number of important questions and challenges for embodied AI: how can we access, apply or learn from the embodied, often tacit knowledge of movement experts? How can we effectively study people's subjective experiences and ability to connect or interact with such machine-like agents? How does a robot's movement abilities integrate with its perceptual and cognitive processes, to make sense of other agents and its environment? How could this embodied emphasis lead to an integrated enactive approach to human-robot interaction?

We particularly invite contributions from researchers and practitioners developing interdisciplinary theories, concepts and/or approaches that can inform or directly tackle embodied, interactive experiences with machine-like (non-humanlike) agents.

The symposium welcomes submissions addressing, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Conceptual/methodological innovations focusing on motion design and/or non-verbal behaviour for non-humanlike embodied, analogue or digital agents
  • Studies and practices involving concepts or methods from dance, puppetry, and theatre
  • Social agency, expectations and empathy in relation to embodied agents, e.g., movement versus appearance
  • Embodied insights from practitioners in art, dance, performance, theatre, in particular with regards to embodying other 'bodies', relation-making through movement dynamics, and/or kinesthetic empathy
  • Social role/potential of movement and behaviours in human-robot interaction
  • Movement design and machine learning
  • Interdependence of motion capacity and a robot's perceptual experience
  • Studies involving cognitive psychology or social psychology, relating to the movement or behaviour of abstract robots/objects
  • Participant/audience studies focusing on movement and/or non-verbal behaviour
  • Motion design for collaborative robots in the workplace
  • Robot theatre; physical theatre involving embodied agents; theatrical HRI
  • Human-robot interaction and social implications
  • Studies, in the world and in the 'wild', looking at the social potential of machinelike embodied agents


We welcome contributions of different lengths including extended abstracts of up to two pages; short papers up to four pages; or, long papers up to eight pages. All page counts include figures, notes and references. Contributions should be submitted for peer review using easychair. All contributions will be peer reviewed.

Please use the AISB template, available for download at:

For more information, please contact Petra Gemeinboeck:

Important Dates

UPDATE: The deadline for submissions has been extended to 3 February 2019 and the deadline for the submission of camera-ready versions has also been extended 1 April 2019.

Submission deadline: 21 January 2019 3 February 2019
Notification of acceptance: 11 March 2019
Camera-ready submission: 25 March 2019 1 April 2019
AISB 2019 Convention: 16-18 April 2019
Movement That Shapes Behaviour Symposium: 18 April 2019

PLEASE NOTE: Early Bird registration closes 15 March 2019.


The symposium will take place as part of the AISB 2019 Convention (16th-18th April 2019) at Falmouth University, Cornwall, UK. More information can be found on the convention website about the venue, accomodation, travel, and registration. The convention website also lists other symposia and workshops being hosted as part of the convention.

Organising Committee

Petra Gemeinboeck
The MetaMakers Institute, Games Academy, Falmouth University; and
Creative Robotics Lab, Faculty of Art and Design, University of NSW;

Rob Saunders
The MetaMakers Institute, Games Academy, Falmouth University; and
Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney;

Elizabeth Jochum
Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University