What’s Happening?!


Well, it has been a long time between posts and so you’re all probably wondering what is going on. As you know, I’ve been working on getting my PhD finished. I’ve had a few things delay its completion and so it isn’t done yet. But since I’ve been a hermit for so long, and have missed out on so many events, birthdays, launches, going-away parties and so on, I thought it best I crawl out of my cave and engage with the world again anyway.

I’m back to working too. I’m consulting with a few clients at the moment and am booking presentations. I’ve promised to keep people posted on where I’ll be when, so here is a run down of what I’ve been doing and trips I’ve confirmed:

  • I did a talk a couple of days ago for the Historic Houses Trust for an event run by dLux Media Arts on ‘Mobile Histories’. Richard Fox presented on his serious game ‘Razorhurst’, a locative mobile game that uses photos and footage from the Justice and Police Museum. David Cranswick presented on the work dLux does with mobile gaming and what technologies they use (such as mscape). I presented on ‘ACTUAL WORLD FICTION’ – how the actual world is integrated into a fictional world in pervasive, ubiquitous and alternate reality games etc.
  • Next public event I’ll be at is Power to the Pixel, London Film Festival. Wohoo! I gave the keynote last year so I’m thrilled to be asked back again to be a part of the conference and workshops. This year I’ll be doing a follow-up to my intro talk last year. I’ll give a quick run down ‘LESSONS LEARNED’ in Cross-Media. I’ll also be chairing a panel on ‘EXTENDING THE EXPERIENCE’ with three great cross-media folks (in alphabetical order): David Varela of nDreams, Steve Peters of No Mimes Media and Martin Elriccson of The company P. I’ll also be running a workshop of ‘CREATING CROSS-MEDIA NATIVE’ projects. I won’t have much time before and after the event so I hope you can make there and I hope you come up and say hi!
  • The next confirmed public presentation after that is the Modern Language Association Convention in Philadelphia on December 29th. The panel is run by Marc Ruppel and will include Burcu BakioÄŸlu (aka ‘Pale Fire’). The panel is called ‘(Re)Framing Transmedial Narratives’ and I’ll be talking about ‘TRANSMODAL’ theory. It will should be a rip-roaring academic discussion about the area so I really hope to see familiar faces there to join in! I’ll be staying on the East coast of the US from late December until sometime in January. There are plenty of folks I’d love to catch up with while I’m there! So, please do ping me if you’re keen.
  • The next confirmed public event will be at Cartoons on the Bay – the International Television Animation Festival held in Italy in April 2010. I’m excited about this too! Not only is animation in my heart (my first professional job in the ‘industry’ was working as a Producer in a fully-digital production studio managing 2D & 3D animation), but it really is on my radar in terms of my own projects in the future, and in terms of cross-media aesthetics in general. Indeed, Cartoons has a cross-media award in their Pulcinella Awards. I really look foward to being at this event, meeting Max Giovagnoli finally, and of course…hanging out in Italy! Let me know if you’ll be around then. 🙂

There are other events, but they are unconfirmed or not for the public. I’m just letting you know about these international gigs so we can arrange to meet! It helps me know ahead of time so flight bookings etc can be made accordingly.

As for why I’m still working on the PhD. Well, it is a few things.

  1. Since I started my research the area has become well-known. However, despite its pervasiveness, there still hasn’t been lengthy work done to distinguish the area from existing research areas. So, rather than talk about the stuff I find an issue for me now, I had to go back and argue just what I think this phenomenon is and how it differs from existing theories.
  2. I’m encompassing a range of practices in mass entertainment and independent arts. That means I need to apply a range of different methodologies as you can’t apply research questions from one to the other easily.
  3. Related to the previous point is my multi-disciplinary approach. I’m utilising media, narrative, game studies and semiotics to help illuminate the nature of the phenomenon. Each of these disciplines have their own research questions. I started by writing a thesis that put the phenomenon first, but that doesn’t work. In order to write a PhD that will be examined, I have to design the argument according to certain research questions.
  4. Because I’m referring to a range of theories from different disciplines I cannot assume any shared knowledge at all. This means I need to preface every theorist, explain the context of every theory, and I cannot employ allusion at all.
  5. My mother passed away unexpectedly just before Xmas. This means feeling a lot of grief and loss (I loved her very much, she was my best friend and my only parent growing up). But it also means I feel my own mortality. How does this relate to the thesis? Well, what if my thesis is the last big thing I contribute to this world? What if I die suddenly? I had to let go of these ideas and not try to communicate all that I want to say now. Instead, I had to write with the assumption that I will have time to develop my ideas…

I’m not sure if these points illuminate my process at all, but it is true for me. I must say I’m very close. I’m currently finishing my conclusion, refining my chapters and going through my references with a fine-tooth comb. But since I’m working again it’ll be another few weeks. Nearly, nearly there. 🙂

Anyway, just thought I’d touch base with you all. I look forward to seeing some of you at events and will continue chatting with you online.

2 Replies

  • You’re material has been part of a class I’m taking out of UCLA, and I have become a fan. I especially enjoyed your Lance Weiler interview and Power to the Pixel keynote and class. I would like to keep following your progress in establishing this as a viable discipline – and I’d like to keep learning from you. I do have a question. Is there a graduate degree available online in creative writing/storytelling for New Media? I am primarily a writer, not a game designer or programmer and am excited about the potential of Cross Platform storytelling.

    Thanks so much!
    Sandy Brownlee

  • Hello Sandy,

    Thanks for your comments! Great to hear my talks have been helpful and have inspired a new cross-platform storyteller!

    As for online new media writing courses that I would recommend? De Montfort University’s Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media was an excellent course, but they are only taking on PhDs now. http://www.creativewritingandnewmedia.com/. If I think of a course I’ll let you know.

    Keep me posted on your explorations! Yay!

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