Creative Writing & New Media and Transliteracy @ De Montfort Uni

TRGlogoA few years ago I was fotunate to be invited to participate in De Montfort University’s online Masters in Creative Writing and New Media programme. It was created by Sue Thomas and Kate Pullinger, and had wonderful aims:

The degree was designed for writers interested in experimenting with new formats and was informed by contemporary thinking on transliteracy, meaning the ability to read, write and interpret across a range of media from orality through print and film to networked environments. Creative Writing, indeed the very nature of text itself, is changing. No longer bound by print, there are many opportunities for writers to experiment with new kinds of media, different voices and experimental platforms, both independently and in collaboration with other writers or other fields and disciplines. Not only is writing evolving, but writers themselves are developing broader expectations and aspirations. Novelists are learning about the potential of hypertext and multimedia to change the ways in which a story can be told. Journalists are finding that blogs and wikis are radically affecting their relationships with their readers. Community artists are discovering powerful collaborative narratives. And the commercial world is finding new and creative ways to interact with its employees and customers in the fast-growing attention economy of the internet.

While digital media have altered the way we disseminate and gather information, readers – both online and offline – still hunger for compelling narratives. As readers, we want to be told stories; we want complex and interesting ideas and characters; we want vivid pictures in our heads. As writers we want to communicate. We need good stories well-told, whatever our choice of delivery platform. The MA in Creative Writing and New Media gave students an opportunity to focus on developing work at the cutting edge of the new technologies and provided new ways of thinking about narrative.

The course enabled postgraduate students to study and practice with a rich range of theorists and practitioners from around the world. What I loved about this course is that it focused on practice — how is new media and cross/transmedia writing different — and how they invited lecturers and mentors from around the globe to assist their students. Because the guests were from all around the globe, the guests did not fly in (that would of been a prohibitive budget for any course). Instead, we participated from wherever we were in the planet, by providing online resources for the students, and using Skype and forums to discuss. Look at the guests who participated:

Randy Adams, Paul Beasley, Ronni Bennett, Alan Bigelow, Will Buckingham, Andy Campbell, J.R. Carpenter, John Cayley, Suw Charman, Christy Dena, Jeanie Finlay, Caitlin Fisher, Carolyn Handler Miller, Chris Joseph, Jess Laccetti, Marjorie Luesebrink, Bruce Mason, Nick Montfort, Meg Pickard, Rita Raley, Alan Sondheim, Maurice Suckling, Jonathan Taylor, Christine Wilks

The course has finished now, but what is wonderful is that an archive of all the Guest Lectures given during the four years of the online MA in Creative Writing and New Media are now online for all! It was put together by CWNM graduate and digital artist Christine Wilks, and the “resource will be of value to practitioners, students and academics with an interest in transliteracy, digital fiction, digital art, e-poetry, and cross-media”. Yes!

Wohoo! Enjoy!

Now, the team are also continuing their work on ‘Transliteracy’. The Transliteracy Research Group (TRG), is a research-focussed think-tank and creative laboratory.

Transliteracy is currently defined as the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. The Transliteracy Research Group coordinates theoretical and practice-based research into transliterate materials and behaviours.

They have a new blog at, community site at and have a CFP out:

The first Transliteracy Conference will take place at Leicester’s new Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre on Tuesday 9 February 2010.  This one-day event offers an opportunity for academics, artists, business people and practitioners to share discoveries, ideas, and creative works that amplify and augment transliteracy research. Themes to be explored include:

  • transliteracy and libraries
  • transliteracy and the arts 
  • transliteracy in education 
  • transliteracy in communications 
  • transliteracy in the workplace 
  • transliteracy and transdisciplinarity
  • transliteracy in action – examples of transliterate works, like digital fiction, networked arts projects, or library resources.

The Call for Presentations invites 250 word abstracts. Presentations should be 10-15 minutes in duration, and can be used to show work or deliver a short paper. Deadline for Abstracts:  1 December 2009

Enjoy all of this!

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