Archive for May, 2015

Symposium: Amateur Creativity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

May 29, 2015

A two-day symposium on Amateur Creativity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives is to be held at the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies, Millburn House, University of Warwick, UK on Thursday 17th – Friday 18th September 2015. 

Amateur creativity is enjoying renewed vitality in the twenty-first century, reflecting deep cultural changes. Amateur performers, critics, authors and musicians can reach global audiences through blogs, youtube, ebooks and many other forms of social media, a cultural practice set to increase as digital technology becomes increasingly accessible. There is a revival of interest in folk art and craft, with some amateur bakers, knitters and gardeners becoming TV celebrities and others turning their skills to guerrilla performance, slow art or political activism. Organisations that have long supported amateur creativity, such as the Women’s Institute, The National Allotment Society, The Embroiders Guild and National Operatic and Dramatic Society are thriving, with many gaining new and younger members. Diasporic communities often maintain links with the cultural traditions and heritage of ‘home’ through craft and different forms of performance, many of which exist outside the boundaries associated with professional activity in the West. Amateur creativity in the twenty-first century is redefining what it means to be a professional, with profound cultural consequences. 

In the academy there is a resurgence of interest in amateur creativity, regarded as a vital alternative to the commodified creative industries and to forms of cultural practice that reflect only the tastes of the metropolitan élite.  At the same time, the parameters of professional researcher are becoming porous, as amateur researchers are encouraged to gather data, shape research agendas and become co-producers of knowledge. The twenty-first century is set to loosen the idea of amateurism from its association with the ‘unprofessional’, and to reassert the significance of amateur creativity to communities, individuals and the wider ecologies of cultural participation. 

This inter-disciplinary symposium aims to challenge perceptions of amateur creativity and contribute to debates about the cultural significance of the amateur through a consideration of key themes including: the boundaries between the amateur and professional, everyday creativity, methodological issues, amateur creativity and craft, amateur creativity and subjectivity, making spaces for creativity and the histories and heritage of amateur creativity. The symposium will include research presentations from a number of fields including cultural geography, film, media, cultural policy, dance, theatre and visual culture from a range of historical and international perspectives. 

There is no registration fee for this symposium and lunches/refreshments will be provided, however, delegates need to register for the event and will be asked to arrange and cover their own travel and accommodation. Please note that the nearest train station to the campus is in Coventry. 

To register for the symposium please visit: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/theatre_s/staff/nadine_holdsworth/amateur_creativity/
 
This event has been organised as part of the AHRC-funded project Amateur Dramatics: Crafting Communities in Time and Space (http://amateurdramaresearch.com/)

CFP: The Comic Electric: A Digital Comics Symposium

May 29, 2015

Led by renowned comic writers Leah and Alan Moore, The Electricomics project launched in May 2014 with funding from The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. Now, as the project nears the conclusion of its initial research and development stage, we seek to establish a new academic symposium through which to share our findings and expand discussion and debate around the field of digital comics research.

The Comic Electric: A Digital Comics Symposium will be held at The University of Hertfordshire on Wednesday 14th October 2015. As part of this symposium participants are sought to present papers across a wide range of topics that relate to comics scholarship and digital media. Appropriate subject areas include:

·         New and emergent digital comic forms and technologies.

·         Changes to the underlying structures of the form as a result of digital mediation.

·         Crossovers, adaptation and hybridisation between comics and other digital media.

·         Acts of reading and the impact of digital mediation.

·         Aesthetic and literary analysis of digital comic narratives.

·         Digital distribution, changes in the industry and the threat of piracy.

·         Webcomics, widening readerships, minority voices and fan cultures.

·         Multimodality and comics relationship with larger transmedia narratives.

Other areas relevant to the study of digital comics will also be considered. Abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers of 20 minutes in length should be submitted via e-mail to Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Alison Gazzard at electric@e-merl.com by Monday 27th July 2015. If you have any questions about the symposium or need clarification on any aspect of this call for participation, please also contact us via the above e-mail address.

About Electricomics

The focus of the Electricomics project has been the creation of a new digital comic anthology app and an open source toolkit for the creation of digital comics. Towards this goal, the project has examined how the language, tropes and production processes of traditional comics are impacted by digital technologies.  Our research has also explored how an easy to use and openly available toolset might facilitate content creation both in the comics sector and amongst a wider arts community.

Electricomics is collaborative project between arts, technology and research partners. Arts partner Orphans of The Storm was founded by comic writer Alan Moore and film director and producer Mitch Jenkins. Technology partner Ocasta studios are responsible for the creation of the Electricomics app and comic creation toolset. The research partners on the project are Alison Gazzard from the London Knowledge Lab at the UCL Institute of Education and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey from the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Creative Arts.

The Comic Electric is a joint symposium between three of the School of Creative Art’s research groups; TVAD (Theorising Visual Arts and Design), G+VERL (Games and Visual Effects Research Lab) and The Media Research Group. It is held in conjunction with the DARE (Digital Arts Research Education) research centre at the UCL Institute of Education.

About the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts

The Digital R&D fund for the Arts is a £7 million fund to support collaboration between organisations with arts projects, technology providers, and researchers. It is a partnership between Arts Council England (www.artscouncil.org.uk), Arts and Humanities Research Council (www.ahrc.ac.uk) and Nesta (www.nesta.org.uk).

We want to see projects that use digital technology to enhance audience reach and/or develop new business models for the arts sector. With a dedicated researcher or research team as part of the three-way collaboration, learning from the project can be captured and disseminated to the wider arts sector. Every project needs to identify a particular question or problem that can be tested. Importantly this question needs to generate knowledge for other arts organisations that they can apply to their own digital strategies.

CFP: Fan Phenomena: The Twilight Saga

May 19, 2015

The UK publisher Intellect is now seeking chapters for Fan Phenomena: The Twilight Saga, the next edition in its Fan Phenomena book series.

Fan Phenomena: The Twilight Saga will be an edited collection of essays about the forces that contributed to the global popularity and commercial success of the books, films and graphic novels of The Twilight Saga. Chapters will explore Twilight’s unique appeal to fans as well as its impact on people, literature, film, music, television and social issues. Suggested topics include but are not limited to the following areas:

Creative Legacy:
– The Twilight series reignited the popularity of vampire and werewolf lore worldwide, prompting numerous books, television shows and movies. Explore Twilight’s creative and commercial impact on these industries.
– Explore the role of music in both Twilight’s appeal and success, considering the groups and songs that inspired the author or were commissioned for the movies. What lasting impact did Twilight have on its musicians and the world of music?
– Was there something unique about Twilight or its fandom that enabled the massive success of its fan fiction (i.e. Fifty Shades of Grey) plus the follow-on Storytellers project? What is Twilight’s artistic legacy?

Social Impact:
– Why did Twilight’s appeal cross generations, unexpectedly embracing “Twilight Moms” as well as teens? What was the impact of this disparate fandom on Twilight’s commercial success and social acceptance? Was Twilight’s demographic diversity unique among fandoms?
– Several conservative family values, such as the soul, redemption, abstinence, marriage, family and preserving life, laced the Twilight series. How did the books’ messages influence the development of young readers’ moral principles and the popularity of the story?
– Explore Stephenie Meyer’s presentation of the strong female and its contribution to Twilight’s uniqueness, popularity, success and social impact.

Media and Marketing Explosion:
– Explore the factors that sparked Twilight’s explosive fame and pervasive media presence around the world.
– Explore Twilight fans’ stratification of Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. What was its impact on the fandom, the franchise’s success and commercial merchandising?
– Was the Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson off-screen romance a genuinely serendipitous coincidence or a carefully crafted pairing? What was its impact on the fandom, including the fans’ romantic dedication to the story during the movies’ releases and post-production dissolution of fan conventions?

The Fan Phenomena series explores the greatest popular culture stories of our time. The collection already includes 16 iconic titles, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes, Batman, Lord of the Rings, Dr. Who, James Bond, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Supernatural. The Twilight Saga is a perfect addition to this collection. Since the release of the first Twilight novel in 2005, The Twilight Saga has generated billions of dollars in book and franchise sales1. Ten years later, the fandom’s loyal devotion to the story led to the launch of the Twilight Storytellers project, a contest in which spin-off films based on Twilight fan fiction will ultimately be judged by Twilight fans. The Twilight Saga’s enduring popularity is truly a unique and global phenomenon that demands attention, examination and celebration within the Fan Phenomena series.

This targeted anthology is intended to be an enlightening and fun addition to Twilight fans’ collections, as well as a resource for universities. As such, papers should be written for a broad audience of academics and fans. Final chapters will be 3000 – 3500 words. Questions, abstracts (maximum 400 words) and author biographies should be directed to Laurena Aker at LSAker@att.net by June 15, 2015. Final paper submissions will be due Oct. 1, 2015. Scheduled publication date is 4th quarter 2016.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FanPhenomenaTwilight
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/fanphenomenathetwilightsaga/home

Call for Papers – Going Viral: The Changing Faces of (Inter)Media Culture

May 18, 2015

Call for Papers: Frames Cinema Journal 

Going Viral: The Changing Faces of (Inter)Media Culture

Guest Editor: Dr William Brown (University of Roehampton)

In the age of social media, signs of an ever-growing online culture permeate contemporary media aesthetics, discourses and practices in a way that re-shapes understandings of representation and communication, thereby breaking frames and challenging traditional definitions of cinema. Developments in the production, distribution and reception of moving images range from video-sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo to the growing presence of crowd-funded works within the festival circuit (i.e. Iron Sky) to the emergence of specific mobile (phone) festivals. As we are increasingly consuming moving images on digital devices and mobile screens, we have entered what Nanna Verhoeff calls a “visual regime of navigation”—a guiding principle which defines our creative interaction with screen interfaces, and which, according to Francesco Casetti, provokes the “relocation” of cinema itself.

Within this vast participatory network, not only “users” but also various media forms aesthetically influence and interact with each other, thereby creating a complex referential system that allows for the instant propagation of information. This encourages fan based culture, stimulates discussion and even allows for ways to avoid censorship, as seen with Leslee Udwin’s controversial documentary India’s Daughter (2015). Digital forms and practices have also affected the shape academic reflections take, promoting  new forms of analysis such as the video essay and the increased call for more creative and interactive forms of presentation. As the practice of sharing texts, images and videos online provokes and multiplies reactions on a global scale, it can be defined as contagious—enabling any possible content to “go viral.”

 In the 2015 fall issue of Frames we would like to explore the palpable effects of this ‘contagiousness’ on media culture. Topics may include but are not limited to:

–       The influence of New Media on low budget / no budget filmmaking and studio advertising strategies

–       Piracy and copyright issues

–       Online film reception and its influence on fan culture

–       Changes in film and media studies through online scholarship, digital humanities and social media

–       Modifications in cultural participation (festival blogs, online polls, the creation of specific online communities)

The issue will be guest-edited by Dr William Brown (University of Roehampton), author of Supercinema: Film-Philosophy for the Digital Age (Berghahn 2013) and a zero-budget filmmaker, whose films include En Attendant Godard (2009), Selfie (2014) and The New Hope (2015).

We seek full article submissions for our features section (5,000-7,000 words) and our POV section (1,000-3,000 words) as well as video contributions enquiring the proposed topics. Video submissions may be sent to the editors in the form of a link using an online streaming source (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.).

 All submissions (including a brief biographical note) should be sent by 14 September, 2015, to:

 

Eileen Rositzka and Amber Shields (editors-in-chief)

E-mail: framesjournal@gmail.com

 Notification will follow by 14 October, 2015.

 About Frames

Frames Cinema Journal, based at the University of St Andrews, is an online biannual publication offering a space for cutting edge research and ongoing discussions among media scholars and those interested in intellectual discussions about the ever changing frames of the field.

http://framescinemajournal.com/

CFP: Exploring Imaginary Worlds: Audiences, Fan Cultures and Geographies of the Imagination

May 1, 2015

Editors: William Proctor (Bournemouth University) & Richard McCulloch (Regent’s University London)

Foreword by Mark J.P. Wolf

Writing for the New York Times, A.O. Scott states that ‘today there are hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions of people whose grasp of the history, politics and mythological traditions of entirely imaginative places could surely qualify them for an advanced degree’ (2002).

However, as Mark J.P. Wolf remarks, such ‘imaginary worlds, which rank among the most elaborate mediated entities, have been largely overlooked in Media Studies despite a history spanning three millennia’ (2012: 2). Wolf’s Building Imaginary Worlds and Michael Saler’s As If (2012) are certainly illustrative of a turning point in the study of world-building across media platforms, but research to date has tended to restrict itself to understanding how ‘geographies of the imagination’ (Saler, 2012: 4) function at the level of text. The relationship between these worlds and those who engage with them – the knowledgeable people to whom Scott refers – has yet to be explored in significant detail.

Accordingly, this special section of Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies invites contributions that focus on the various ways in which audiences explore, interpret and respond to imaginary worlds.

What are the most significant features of these fictional spaces and places for the world-explorers themselves? How do audiences navigate and negotiate concepts of canon and continuity, and to what extent these impact on engagement and enjoyment? Do audiences ‘rummage for micro-data,’ as Bordwell puts it, and, if so, through what methods and means is this achieved? How do audiences feel about reboots, retcons, and other narratives that may contradict, disregard or alter pre-established continuities?

We are interested in articles that engage with audiences as opposed to speculative accounts or textual analyses – research that maps specific communities and their rich relationships with world-building. Materials in circulation, as in web forums and the like, can be utilized, as can audience research conducted by the researcher. If building an argument about how audiences might respond, researchers should consider how to test and verify their claims. We would also welcome proposals for methodological articles that address the practical and/or ethical challenges raised by this kind of research.

Subjects may vary considerably – this list is not exhaustive and the editors welcome proposals that fit within the widest possible purview of this project. Similarly, this should not indicate any single medium but any medium (or combination of media) that engages with story-worlds and world-building: examples include prose fiction, comic books, TV, film, theme parks, and any other that meets the requirements of this special section.

Examples of imaginary worlds may include (but are certainly not limited to):

Lego; Coronation Street; Fifty Shades of Grey; Star Wars; Star Trek; Eastenders; Game of Thrones; Tolkien; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Comic Book Multiverses/Universes; China Mieville; the Alien universe; The Simpsons; Twin Peaks; Jurassic Park; Discworld; the Marvel (Cinematic) Universe; Grey’s Anatomy; Ghostbusters.

The deadline for abstracts of 300 words is 26th June 2015, and notifications of acceptance will be sent out the week commencing 6th July.

First drafts will be due by November 1st 2015, with publication scheduled for May 2016. Following peer-review, final draft deadline will be April 1st 2016. Email abstracts to both editors: William Proctor (bproctor@bournemouth.ac.uk), and Richard McCulloch (mccullochr@regents.ac.uk>)