Word, Image, Digital: Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for our Word, Image, Digital, Symposium on November 1st. You can register here: https://word-image-digital.eventbrite.co.uk

And click on the following link to download the programme for the day:word-image-digital-1

 

Play for Today: Digital Archive as Theatre

In her book, Computers as Theatre, Brenda Laurel attempts, though a ‘poetics of human-computer activity’, to provide designers of websites (and other interactive media), with ‘a conceptual framework and a vocabulary that are strongly focused on human experience.’[1] According to Laurel:

Buried within us in our deepest playful instincts, and surrounding us in the cultural conventions of theatre, film and narrative are the most profound and intimate sources of knowledge about interactive representations. A central task is to bring those resources to the fore and to begin to use them in the design of interactive systems.[2]

In her focus on human experience in relation to digital design, Laurel echoes Jaron Lanier when he writes about the importance of the human-centred approach to computer science. Laurel’s central thesis is that computers and interactive design are, fundamentally, theatrical, performative and the latest instance of a medium where audiences can engage meaningfully with representations. Just as, for example, the theatre of Shakespeare (which allowed far more interaction between actors and audience members in the Early Modern period than it does today), provides us with characters and a space (a playhouse) for thinking through complex ideas, so computers, in the twenty-first century, are providing us with that space for thought.[3]

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CFP: Gender and Digital Cultures

Cardiff University’s Gender and Sexuality in Policy and Practice (GASP) research group and Digital Cultures Network, with the support of the Doctoral Academy, invites abstracts to a one-day postgraduate conference on ‘Gender and digital cultures’.

Thursday 17th November, 9.30am – 4pm, Cardiff University

How do digital technologies shape, and become shaped by, the production of gender? How do we use digital technologies in our gendered self-expression and identity negotiation? The answers to these questions become increasingly complex as the role of digital technologies grows in our lives. Digital technologies including the internet, mobile communication devices and social media are gaining increasing attention from academics, policy-makers, practitioners and the media.

This one-day conference on ‘gender and digital cultures’ is an opportunity for postgraduate students from all institutions to explore the intersections of gender(s) and digital cultures with workshops, talks and poster presentations; to build interdisciplinary peer networks; and to make contact with researchers from other departments and institutions.

Abstracts are invited for workshops (30 mins), presentations (15 mins) and posters. We welcome sessions exploring empirical, theoretical or methodological aspects of digital gender(s). Topics could include:

  • Gender, sexualities and gaming
  • Social media and sexism
  • Feminist activism online
  • Gender based violence and cyberbullying
  • Gender based violence and hate crime
  • Streaming platforms and representation
  • Gender equality and the digital industries
  • Digital and networked identity performance
  • Digital research methodologies, methods and ethics

We welcome presentations of alternative/innovative formats such as pecha kucha and performance. Abstracts may be written (<300 words), audio or video.

Please email all submissions to TurneyC@cardiff.ac.uk by Friday 30th September, including the following: name(s) of presenter(s), title, type of session, institutional affiliation, and contact email. We will respond to all submissions by 14th October.

Registration for the conference will open in October. Attendance is free and open to all postgraduate students, and includes lunch and light refreshments. A small fund is available to support travel costs for students who would not otherwise be able to attend the conference. To apply for one of these, please email TurneyC@cardiff.ac.uk by 30th September, specifying:

1) where and to you are travelling from

2) a quote for the cost of your travel

3) a few lines about how the event is relevant to your work/research

4) why the bursary is necessary.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Ways of Seeing

Last week we launched the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive. Since then the archive has had a very positive response, with the popular educational website Open Culture writing a very engaging article that has currently received over 11,500 shares on social media and the Shakespeare Blog also writing another flattering piece. The past few days have been a real insight into the way social media works from the ‘other side’ – as a creator rather than passive participant – and I will be writing more about this in the future. For now, however, I would like to suggest that what accounts for this reaction is not just the content of the archive (although, certainly, Shakespeare illustration was always going to gain some attention), but rather it is the way the archive has been curated and designed to provide users with new ways of experiencing historical artefacts.

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Shakespeare, Remediation and the Digital Archive

‘As an historian I find what you are doing horrifying’. This remark, directed at the paper I just gave at the Sheffield Digital Humanities Congress in 2012, is, on the face of it, not particularly encouraging. My paper, entitled ‘Art to Enchant: The Creation of a Digital Archive’ explored in detail my process and methodology in the creation of the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive (VISA). What particularly angered this member of the audience was my in-depth demonstration of the procedures I use to ‘clean up’ the images that make up the archive   and my subsequent assertion that when we digitise an historical artefact it becomes translated – adapted – into a different medium, thus creating an entirely new and original artefact. The audience member took great exception to this because it called into question his deeply held belief that we can know history as an objective fact; that the books, documents, and images we find in libraries and archives are transparent texts, that they reveal to us truths and give us direct access to their own historical eras.

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The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media (2014)

Edited by Marie-Laure Ryan, Lori Emerson, and Benjamin J. Robertson. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. JHG

It is appropriate to begin our book review section with The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media for a couple of reasons. First, in light of our recent blog post about digital pedagogy, the book provides an excellent starting point for students and teachers wishing to learn more about what is loosely called ‘New Media’. Second, the very form of the book, an encyclopaedic A-Z of key terms from the field (it begins with ‘Algorithm’ and ends with ‘Writing under Constraint’) is analogous to that of the web itself. Written in fragments and concluding with a further reading section, each entry reminds us that such reference guides are hypertextual by their very nature.

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Things We Did in the Summer Part III

Higher Ground: Reflections on the AHRC Common Ground Event 
‘People, keep on learnin’, sang Stevie Wonder on his 1973 single ‘Higher Ground’ – a song that deals with themes of reincarnation and spirituality. As the opening line of the song, the words have a special relevance: they encapsulate the idea that it is through learning that we can reach the ‘higher ground’, the metaphoric space where we can become enlightened individuals, at one with both ourselves and the universe. ‘I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then / Gonna keep on tryin’ / Till I reach my highest ground’, the first chorus concludes before, pertinently enough, going into a verse that begins with the line ‘teachers, keep on teachin’.

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Things We Did in the Summer Part II

Creative Cardiff Pop-Up Hub: Making a Difference

There is a scene early on in the Richard Attenborough-recreates-Alton-Towers-but-with-dinosaurs documentary, Jurassic Park, where, on learning that the eponymous park contains a T-Rex, the palaeontologist Alan Grant collapses to the ground overcome by excitement.  It is a scene re-enacted by myself in the Wales Millennium Centre when I learnt that Rhys Jones, a fellow participant in Creative Cardiff’s Pop-Up Hub had brought into our work environment an Oculus Rift. The Rift (as it is also known – the definitive article implying a kind of break with the past) has, as long-term readers of our Twitter feed, @cardiffdiginet, will be aware, been on our ‘thing’s to have a go on’ list for quite some time now. ‘You’ve got a Rift?’, I spluttered, my mouth full of Rainbow Drops (more of which shortly), ‘Yes’, Rhys said. ‘Come and give it a go’. Oh go on then.

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Things We Did in the Summer Part I

Digital Pedagogies: The Shock of the (K)New

As summer is drawing to a (rainy) end and August is traditionally a quiet month within the University, it is a good moment to use this island of time in the ocean of conferences, meetings, symposiums and events that has characterised the Digital Cultures Network thus far, to update you with our recent activities over the summer. To paraphrase Mungo Jerry’s classic ‘In the Summertime’, have a drink, have a read…

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