Update!: PhD submitted & now in the US for MLA and Microsoft SCS

MLAWhew!! I did it!!!!! I finally submitted my PhD!!!!!! It has been a crazy few years finishing that thesis writing up and doing all the travel and work stuff at the same time. I’ll share more about the content of my thesis, the research and writing process and lessons learned soon. I’ll also be sharing details about my thesis, and most likely post a PDF of it online once I’ve received my examiner feedback (about March). But for now, I’ll share how the last two weeks have capped off the craziness of the last few years with a massive series of events: returned home from Canada (I was at the awesome Whistler Film Festival); packed house for pick up by removalists on Monday; submitted PhD on Tuesday; did last minute packing and quiet time to acknowledge one year since my mother’s passing on Wednesday; drove to Melbourne from Sydney on Thursday; moved in on Friday; second lot of removalists on Monday; then flew to the US on Wednesday. Do not try this at home kids.

I’m now in the USA to celebrate Xmas with family in Philly, then have two conferences I’m participating in, as well as lots of catch-ups with awesome people.

On Tuesday 29th December I’m on a panel at the Modern Language Association Convention being held at the Philadelphia Marriot. For those unfamiliar with the event, it is BIG in the traditional academic world. The panel is put together by Marc Ruppel, a theorist who has been researching what is now known as ‘transmedia storytelling’ but which Marc (like me) studied long before it was well-known. I’m really looking forward to meeting Marc and Burcu in person for the first time.

Re)Framing Transmedial Narratives (7:15–8:30 p.m., Congress A, Loews, Presiding: Marc Ruppel, Univ. of Maryland, College Park)

  1. “From Narrative, Game, and Media Studies to Transmodiology,” Christy Dena, Univ. of Sydney
  2. “To See a Universe in the Spaces In Between: Migratory Cues and New Narrative Ontologies,” Marc Ruppel
  3. “Works as Sites of Struggle: Negotiating Narrative in Cross-Media Artifacts,” Burcu S. Bakioglu, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

Our submission abstracts are:

Marc Ruppel, University of Maryland College Park
To See a Universe in the Spaces In-Between: Migratory Cues and New Narrative Ontologies

As narrative continues to move beyond mono-medial storyworlds and into massive, multiply-mediated, multiply-authored fictional universes, literary structures have begun to form which attempt to link together these disparate clusters of media when their material properties do not allow for such networked operations.  Drawing upon narratology, network theory, cognitive science and user-interface design, this paper will examine what I call migratory cues, signs present in universes that work to connect the content of one media channel with that of another. Functioning much like a hyperlink metaphorized through different media, migratory cues can take the form of virtually anything, from objects to events to shared locations, or as external markers such as logos and website URLs. By locating and investigating the properties of migratory cues, we can not only witness the means through which new networks of narrative information are rapidly coalescing, but also the remarkable flexibility of narrative itself as a technology of media convergence.

Burcu S. Bakioglu, University of Indiana
Works as Sites of Struggle: Negotiating Narrative in Cross Media Works

This paper interrogates the divergent ways the materiality of the medium of cross media works affect the process of meaning-making and investigates how it influences the production of works. Works become sites of struggle because the stories that they narrate are in a state of constant negotiation between its producers/creators, the medium of the work, and the communities that these works mobilize. In a work born in media convergence, I argue, story-telling becomes a collaborative, and more important, a participatory process. Using Art of the H3ist, an Alternate Reality Game, this paper investigates the nature of performativity and collaboration in works that extend across various media and develops the model of performative narratives to refer to works that encourage and rely on such activities for the formation of its texts. 

Christy Dena, University of Sydney
From Narrative, Game & Media Studies to Transmodiology

A recognition of the multimodal nature of communication has reinvigorated narrative studies of late. This paper interrogates the methodological ramifications of a multimodal awareness: when observing the role and effects of different modes in a creative work, how can the understandings and insights of game, media and art theory be invoked? How can the understanding of non-narrative and narrative phenomena be recognised and reconfigured in a mode-agnostic approach? This paper presents some methodological frameworks for exploring this approach.

There are lots of great sessions at this event, so I look foward to hearing some interesting talks on gaming, new media narratives and meta discussions on academia in general, and also catching up and meeting colleagues.

I’ll also be at the Microsoft Research Social Computing Symposium.

For the past four years, Microsoft Research (MSR) has sponsored a symposium on social computing that has brought together academic and industry researchers, developers, writers, and influential commentators in order to open new lines of communication among previously disconnected groups. The 2010 symposium will focus on “city as platform”. We will have brief (5-10 minutes) talks by a handful of speakers on each of the topics, followed by related breakout sessions, and lots of time to interact with other attendees.

I was lucky to be flown to the event last year and this year I was invited back because I was on the team that won one of the games last year! Yep, that’s right. I’m not really invited back, just offered a place as a winner. Hehe. Luckily I’m in New York at the time so I’m attending again! It really is a great event that has such a great selection of people attend. I hold this event up as one of my favourites I’ve ever been to and so I’m really looking forward to it.

Other than that I’ll be catching up with many awesome people in Philly and New York. Can’t wait.

Hope you’re all having a great holidays. More soon.

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