the 21st

century research group presents



a colloquium on Drone Culture


University of Lincoln

Saturday 24th May 2014


featuring keynote speakers

Derek GregoryBenjamin Noys


and Myth-Drone

a performance by

Plastique Fantastique

Join us at the University of Lincoln for this international colloquium, featuring talks, provocations, speculations and performances.

The military use of aerial drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, has in recent years instigated huge controversy, dispute and protest. There continues to be much debate over the social and political implications of drone warfare, not least here in Lincoln, where, for the past year, the county has been home to the RAF’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Squadron. As wartime base to the Lancaster bomber, Lincolnshire is, to many, still ‘Bomber County’, and today the UK’s provision of armed Reaper drones, which operate in Afghanistan on surveillance and combat missions, are controlled remotely from a base less than five miles from our university campus. The issues raised are, then, strikingly clear: the ethics of extrajudicial killing, the relation between ‘surgical’ strikes and ‘collateral’ civilian deaths, the diffusion of the conventional ‘battlefield’, the implications of the commercial use of drones in civilian airspace, the psychological effects of exerting power from a distance.

Though motivated by these issues, this one-day colloquium has been convened in order to examine the broader questions relating to the drone as a cultural concept and, in its virtual potentials, as a more complex set of transformations which extend beyond the actuality of the unmanned aerial vehicle. Specifically, drone culture is understood here as a symptom of what McKenzie Wark has called ‘vectoral’ power, a power that, constituted by flows of information, operates in abstract communicational space so as to exploit perception at a distance. In this sense, the cultural significance of the drone is inseparable from the newly complex processes of mediation unique to the 21st century. This event will map the immanent forces of drone culture across a variety of disciplines and phenomena, and in doing so disclose its various political and ethico-aesthetic expressions.

Schedule & Speakers

Event schedule & full list of speakers

Directions & Campus Map

The colloquium will take place in the East Midlands Media and Technology (EMMTEC) building. This is marked as building 3 on the University of Lincoln campus map (also available as pdf). 

If you travelling to Lincoln by car, pay and display parking is available on campus, shown as P8 on the city map (entrance from Ropewalk). If you are arriving by train or bus, the city railway station and bus station are both 15 minutes walk from the EMMTEC. Follow the signs for Brayford Pool or University of Lincoln. 

Further information is available at Visit Lincoln.