In this talk we present the study of canonical gravity in finite regions for which we introduce a generalisation of the Gibbons-Hawking boundary term including the Immirzi parameter. We study the canonical formulation on a spacelike hypersuface with a boundary sphere and show how the presence of this term leads to a new type of degrees of freedom coming from the restoration of the gauge and diffeomorphism symmetry at the boundary. In the presence of a loop quantum gravity state, these boundary degrees of freedom localize along a set of punctures on the boundary sphere. We demonstrate that these degrees of freedom are effectively described by auxiliary strings with a 3-dimensional internal target space attached to each puncture. We show that the string currents represent the local frame field, that the string angular momenta represent the area flux and that the string stress tensor represents the two dimensional metric on the boundary of the region of interest. Finally, we show that the commutators of these broken diffeomorphisms charges of quantum geometry satisfy at each puncture a Virasoro algebra with central charge c = 3. This leads to a description of the boundary degrees of freedom in terms of a CFT structure with central charge proportional to the number of loop punctures. The boundary SU(2) gauge symmetry is recovered via the action of the U(1) 3 Kac-Moody generators (associated with the string current) in a way that is the exact analog of an infinite dimensional generalization of the Schwinger spin-representation.
(Based on the joint work with Laurent Freidel and Alejandro Perez arXiv:1611.03668)