Posts By / bthomas

Narrative Research Group Seminar on Transmedia Historiography as Educational Practice 13 March

The next NRG seminar will take place at 5pm on Wednesday 13th March in F108, where Dr Matthew Freeman (Bath Spa) will be speaking on ‘Transmedia Historiography as Educational Practice: Narrativising Colombian Cultural Memory Across Media’. Abstract and biography are attached below. All welcome. To find out more about NRG please visit https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/centre/journalism-culture-and-community/

Biography

Dr Matthew Freeman is Reader in Multiplatform Media at Bath Spa University. He is Deputy Director of the University-wide Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries, Co-Director of the Centre for Media Research, and leads the University’s Communication, Cultural and Media Studies submission to REF2021. His research examines cultures of production across the borders of media and history, and he is the author/editor of seven books: The World of The Walking Dead (2019), Transmedia Archaeology in Latin America(2018), The Routledge Companion to Transmedia Storytelling(2018), Global Convergence Cultures(2018) Historicising Transmedia Storytelling (2016),Industrial Approaches to Media (2016), and Transmedia Archaeology (2014). He has also published over 30 journal articles and book chapters, is Series Editor for the Routledge Advances in Transmedia Studies book series, and sits on the editorial board of the journal Convergence. He is the co-founder and co-editor of the International Journal of Creative Media Research, a new journal which aims to push forward the potentials for publishing creative and practice-based research.

Abstract 

People now engage with media content across multiple platforms, following stories, characters, worlds, brands and other information across a spectrum of media channels.Yet both the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity for understanding transmediality – itself the use of multiple media technologies to tell stories and communicate information – is the sheer breadth of its interpretation. Though primarily still seen as a commercial practice, this talk explores the application of transmedia practices to the communication of history across multiple media platforms, questioning what this approach means to our understandings of transmediality. More specifically, the talk furthers discussions of the contribution that transmedia storytellingcan make to educational practices, identifying new strategies for how transmediastorytelling is now being used to capture and narrativize historical memories, as media-based educational resources. To do so, the talk focuses on the Colombian armed conflict and the Desarmados project, for which I served as a member of the project team, and for which in this context to theorise how transmediality can work as socially progressive and emotionally supportive form of historiography. Desarmados is an internationally-funded research project which aims to harness commercial ideas about digital platforms and transmedia storytelling as tools for documenting the Colombian citizens of Medellín and for narrativizing their memories of the Colombian armed conflict as an educational resource. A transmedia project supported by the Colombian Ministry of Culture and the Colombia Government, Desarmados seeks to reconstruct the cultural memory of the Colombian armed conflict, and develop workshops with secondary schools in Medellin to help test out new transmedia materials as modes of social enterprise between survivors and civil society.

As such, this talk will interrogate not the history of transmedia storytelling, but rather how the working practices of transmedia storytelling can deal with history, creatively and socially. Desarmados, I argue, exemplifies not only a new way of experiencing and remembering Colombian history, but as that which reshapes said Colombian history for the better.

FMC Associate Professor delivers plenary at Style and Response Conference

It was my great pleasure to take part last week in a conference organised by the Stylistics Research Group at Sheffield Hallam Style and Response. My paper reported on the activities of our two BU based AHRC funded projects, and on the ethical and methodological challenges of researching readers and reading online.  The conference was an important opportunity to disseminate the work of the existing projects and to further extend our network of scholars researching reading in the digital age. It was also an opportunity to discuss what will hopefully be the next stage of this research, as our application for Follow on Funding to the AHRC is currently being finalised….

 

The first day included a fascinating panel on Digital Fiction, particularly focusing on immersion and showcasing different methodologies including the Think Aloud protocol and participant interviews. The case studies discussed in this session included Dreaming Methods’ Wallpaper (Alice Bell), videogame Zero Time Dilemma (Jess Norledge and Richard Finn) and The Princess Murderer (Isabelle Van der Bom). After lunch, I switched between panels to catch Sam Browse’s entertaining paper presenting an ethnographic study of a group of local Labour party activists, followed by Lyle Skains’ paper reporting on how her creative writing students responded to reading digital or ‘ergodic’ fiction, and how they felt this influenced their own creative practice.

 

It was great to see diversity throughout the programme both in terms of methods and case studies.  One of the takeaways from day one was a strong preference for mixed methods, and there was a very lively discussion following the closing plenary (presented in absentia by Ranjana Das) about the extent to which exploring new approaches and methods from different disciplines can be managed without diluting or compromising the skills and expertise that we have as researchers primarily trained in critical analysis and close reading.

 

I delivered the opening plenary on day 2, followed by a fascinating panel on Attention, with an insightful paper on cognitive approaches to re-reading from Chloe Harrison and Louise Nuttall, and a very informative and interesting paper on eyetracking and onomatopoeia in manga from Olivia Dohan.

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The afternoon sessions provided further innovative approaches to media and new media texts and cultures.  Isabelle van der Bom and Laura Paterson reported on a corpus linguistic study of live tweeting of Benefits Street, which provided depressing but fascinating evidence of the ways in which the ‘echo chamber’ of social media is nevertheless shaped in interaction with other media (tv, the tabloid press).  It also raised questions about the extent to which empirical and particularly quantitative approaches can tell the ‘whole story’ when it comes to a discourse where there may be just as many silent witnesses as participants.

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Alison Gibbons’ paper on JJ Abrams’ S offered a fascinating account of the novel as part of a transmedia universe, and reported on her attempts to get ‘real readers’ to create and insert their own marginalia alongside that provided by the novel’s creators.  The closing plenary was an energetic and engaging discussion of persuasion and transportation by Melanie Green.  As well as transporting us to another world by reading us a story, Melanie’s paper left us with some important insights into the power of stories to change minds for good and ill.

Many congratulations to the organisers of this event for producing such a stimulating couple of days. It was wonderful to see that the study of readers and reading is attracting some innovative work from within the field of stylistics, drawing on a long tradition of focusing on the empirical, but also demonstrating breadth of engagement with terms and methods from multiple disciplines.

Reading Communities: Past and Present – AHRC conference, Senate House, London

Simon Frost and I recently took part in this event organised by an AHRC project based at The Open University which follows on from previous research leading to the establishment of The Reading Experience Database (RED). The event brought together book historians, literary scholars and researchers working on the borders between literature and media and cultural studies to explore a variety of examples of reading communities from Quaker reading groups and records of readers in the borrowing records of national libraries, to online book clubs and LARPs (Live Action Role Playing events). img_0020

 

This was a good opportunity for us to promote the work of the BU based Digital Reading Network, and CsJCC, based in the Faculty of Media and Communication. Simon’s paper reported on the findings of his BU Fusion funded project looking at contemporary book retailing, which was conducted in collaboration with the university bookseller John Smith’s.  Simon’s paper provided a fascinating comparison of the retail landscape using past and present photographs of the same Southampton street where Gilbert’s bookshop is based.  He boldly proposed replacing the term literary work with ‘Net Work’ to capture the idea of the work as an event which consists of people, places and bibliographic objects. The proposal plays into wider global HE strategies to study English for its social impact.

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My paper provided a comparison of two online reading communities.  The first, a Jane Austen community called The Republic of Pemberley, brings together devotees of the writer who engage in scheduled Group Reads of her work, using the website to report back and share their reading with other community members.  I also discussed how readers use social media platforms such as Twitter to share their reading, for example using the hashtag #mytolstory as they embarked on reading Tolstoy’s epic novel inspired by the recent BBC adaptation.  My paper drew on an article Julia Round and I recently published in the journal Language and Literature on online moderators, which was one of the outputs from our AHRC funded projects, Researching Readers Online and the Digital Reading Network.

 

The day provided an excellent opportunity for us to expand our networks, and establish new contacts. In particular, we were very excited to connect with researchers from the University of Malmo in Sweden whose research and philosophy for teaching English in a media context is closely aligned to our work here at BU.

CsJCC book launch

On Wednesday 9 December, the Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community held a book launch to celebrate the work of colleagues who have published monographs or edited collections over recent months.  In total we had around 9 books to browse and discuss and it was great to hear of further book projects in development.  Books on display included Gothic in Comics and Graphic Novels by Julia Round, British Spy Fiction and the End of Empire by Sam Goodman,  The Play of Political Culture, Emotion and Identity by Candida Yates and Narrative: the Basics, by Bronwen Thomas. Edited volumes included Shaun Kimber’s, Snuff: Real Death and Screen Media and Nael Jebril’s Political Journalism in Comparative Perspective. Soon to be published is Chris Pullen’s Straight Girls and Queer Guys, his ninth book so far!
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Pictured below are Candida Yates, Sam Goodman and Peri Bradley talking about their books.

 

 

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Peri Bradley’s book on Food, Media and Contemporary Culture features contributions from several colleagues in the Faculty of Media and Communication, while Media, Margins and Popular Culture edited by Einar Thorsen, Jenny Alexander, Heather Savigny and Dan Jackson is a collaboration between CsJCC and the Centre for Politics and Media in the Faculty.

Colleagues attending the event were keen to start reading the volumes on display. All books will soon be available from the library.

 

 

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CsJCC Book Launch

The Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community will be holding a book launch on Wednesday 9 December between 5 and 7 in the Global Hub room (DG68) to celebrate the work of colleagues who have recently had books published.  Refreshments will be on offer and all are welcome to drop by.

 

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Religion, Digital Reading and the Future of the Book

The final talk hosted by the Narrative Research Group this semester will take place tomorrow at 4p.m. in PG10. Our speaker is Dr Tim Hutchings from Durham University. Dr Hutchings is a sociologist and ethnographer of digital religion. His PhD (Durham University, 2010) examined the relationship between online and local activity in five online Christian churches, looking at emerging patterns of ritual, community and authority. His subsequent research has included studies of online Christian proselytism and storytelling (HUMlab, Umea University, Sweden), digital Bible reading (CRESC, The Open University) and contemporary pilgrimage (CODEC, Durham University). A list of his publications can be found here: https://durham.academia.edu/TimHutchings. Dr Hutchings is the Editor of the Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture and Conference and Events Officer for the British Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Study Group.

His talk will focus on Bible apps and the impact of digital reading on religious authority. All welcome.

AHRC funded Digital Reading Symposium at the EBC on 19 June

The AHRC-funded Digital Reading Network will be hosting its first symposium on 19 June.  The event will take place in the Executive Business Centre at Bournemouth University.  All are welcome to attend this free event but please note that places are limited.

 

Bob Stein, a pioneer of electronic publishing and founder of the Institute for the Future of the Book, will be our keynote speaker.  Bob will be discussing his latest venture, SocialBook, a new digital publishing platform which promises to take the idea of social reading to a new level.

 

The day will feature contributions from international scholars and practitioners drawing on a wide range of approaches and methods in an attempt to understand the momentous changes affecting readers and reading in the digital age.

 

Topics discussed will include

  • Ebooks and ereaders
  • Online book clubs and discussion forums
  • Reading and social media
  • Digital well being
  • Artists’ books
  • Digital comics

 

As well as scholarly papers, the day will include workshops, roundtable discussions, exhibitions and poster presentations.

 

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Further details of the programme and travel and accommodation information are available on the DRN website (www.digitalreadingnetwork.com).

 

To register your place, please contact srose@bournemouth.ac.uk.

 

NRG talk on the Novelization of Comics in the 1970s

The next in the series of Narrative Research Group talks will take place on Wednesday 26 February at 4 p.m in CAG06. Paul Williams, Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Exeter, will examine the ways in which ‘the novel’ was used in the 1970s to conceptualise ambitious comic projects. Although Will Eisner’s A Contract with God (1978) is frequently hailed as the threshold text popularising the ‘graphic novel’, it was one of several projects whereby comics were published in book form for adult readers in the 1970s. The talk will establish the different modes of production open to creators aiming for long, complete narratives. By outlining the main publication routes available at the time, we can start to explain why 1978 saw an exponential growth in book-bound comics for adult readers, before numbers dropped in 1979 and 1980.

Paul Williams is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Exeter, where he has been working since 2008. He has written on a wide range of genres, texts and media, including Cold War literature, Vietnam War films, hip-hop music and 1970s psychotherapy; his main publications are The Rise of the American Comics Artist (2010; co-edited with James Lyons), Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War (2011) and Paul Gilroy (2012).

NRG talk on Victorian narratives of motherhood

We are delighted to announce that Professor Emma Griffin from the University of East Anglia will be presenting a paper to the Media School’s Narrative Research Group as part of this semester’s series of talks.  The title of Emma’s paper is ‘Victorian Mothers: perspectives from working-class autobiography’, and the full abstract for Emma’s talk appears below.  The event will take place at 4p.m on 5 Feb in the Casterbridge suite. All welcome.

Abstract:
Historians like to imagine that emotions such as maternal love are largely constant across time and space.  They argue that mothers in earlier times loved their children in much the same way as we do today, though they accept that love was often expressed in different ways.  This paper turns to working-class autobiography to consider these claims.  It asks how the emotional ties of family life were expressed and sustained in households where space and resources were scarce.  It concludes that material deprivation had the power to undermine family relationships in ways that historians have usually been reluctant to admit.

Real Lives, Celebrity Stories Book Launch 29 January

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate the publication of  Real Lives, Celebrity Stories, edited by Bronwen Thomas and Julia Round, the Media School’s Narrative Research Group will host a book launch at 3 p.m on 29 January in the Casterbridge suite.  Featuring contributions by several colleagues from the Media School, including Shaun Kimber, Peri Bradley, Darren Lilleker and Sue Thomas, the book was inspired by the first symposium organised by NRG back in 2010 and explores narratives of ordinary and extraordinary people in television, film, fan cultures, comics, politics and cyberspace.  At the launch, the editors and contributors will provide a brief introduction to each of their chapters, and light refreshments and wine will be provided. All welcome.