[amplified individuals // amplified leicester]

Sue Thomas is leading a project - Amplified Leicester - a city-wide experiment in social media, and there'll be an opportunity to participate on the 11th of September:

We're looking for people who are open-minded, enthusiastic and curious.

Amplified Leicester is a city-wide experiment to
- explore diversity and innovation
- build a network across diverse communities
- create, share and develop new ideas
- use social media like Facebook and Twitter as an amplifier

This is an opportunity to work with people you might otherwise never meet and learn how to:
- benefit from Leicester's huge diversity of people and cultures
- generate lots of new ideas quickly
- think like a futurist and see the bigger picture
- organise and collaborate better
- be persuasive in different social situations
- share and develop creative ideas
- manage the stream of information which bombards us every day
- choose the best people to collaborate with
- make the most of different kinds of resources - social, economic, creative

Participation is free of charge but places are limited. Deadline for applications Friday 11th September 2009.

Find out more and download an application form from http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.amplifiedleicester.com

For an informal chat, please contact Sue Thomas or Thilo Boeck:
Sue Thomas t: 0116 207 8266 e: sue.thomas@dmu.ac.uk
Thilo Boeck t: 0116 2577879 e: tgboeck@dmu.ac.uk

Amplified Leicester is managed by the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University in partnership with the DMU Centre for Social Action and Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre. The project is commissioned and supported by NESTA, an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative.

“A group that thinks in diverse ways will address a problem from many angles.” Charles Leadbeater, The Difference Dividend

Note: Also of interest, a talk by Andrea Saveri on amplified individuals or this presentation which Andrea did for last year's NLab Social Networks conference.

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[employment: ioct digital research fellow]

An amazing position just advertised now. Work for the IOCT and Phoenix Square.

This post is designed to initiate, supervise and promote IOCT-related digital work and research in Leicester's Phoenix Square. The postholder will advise on an annual programme of activities in the ‘cube’ and elsewhere in Phoenix Square that allows for a wide range of user experiences and reflects the best in digital work in the IOCT as well as in a national and international context. The postholder will have knowledge of venue programming and exhibiting digital art in the public realm, and will show an awareness of the latest developments and significant work in the field of digital media. He/she will undertake original transdisciplinary research in this area and will show an appreciation of the wider objectives of the development of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter.

For more info have a look here.

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[ioct now accepting master's applications for next academic year]

The IOCT is now accepting applications for master's in Creative Technologies (both MA and MSc) for the upcoming academic year, 2009-2010.

Are you:
  • a technologist with a creative dimension?
  • an artist working with technologies?
  • a designer with programming skills?
or someone with other cross/transdisciplinary interests?

The IOCT Masters in Creative Technologies is unique, groundbreaking and
innovative. Delivered by the Institute of Creative Technologies, the course is run in partnership with the Faculties of Art & Design, Humanities and Technology.

The programme crosses traditional disciplines and boundaries and is designed
to support students in developing and strengthening their individual creative technologies research and practice, enable them to work at the convergence of the e-sciences, arts and humanities subjects.

Students taking the MA/MSc Creative Technologies will be from a wide range of backgrounds and interested in developing multidisciplinary knowledge and skills in the production of digital media and products.

See the programme site for further details: www.ioct.dmu.ac.uk/masters.html

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[the future of creative technologies conference]

xposted from the ioct blog:

Yesterday saw the Campus Centre filled with over 100 delegates participating in workshops and discussions on the Future of Creative Technologies. After the morning workshop sessions there were talks by Jim Hendler, Lev Manovich and Howard Rheingold. We concluded the conference with a lively discussion session.

Have a look at what people were saying about the conference

Twitter - http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23foct08

Jerry Fishenden has a text version the twitter stream: http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dg9qx8bc_3hpxpkhd5

Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=foct08





My photos on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesslaccetti/sets/72157609610632533/

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[creative writing and new media campus week]

This week, four weeks into the Online Masters in New Media and Creative Writing, is an opportunity for all the students to get together and meet each other in real life. Yesterday was their first day, a chance for all to catch an English breath and today they're all hard at work giving presentations. I've had the lucky chance to participate as a second marker on the presentations which have been incredible. As we break for lunch, I'm able to grab a moment of thought to ruminate on the presentations and then after lunch we'll finish with the final two presentations.

This morning I've learned about writers. Not writers in general, but writers, dreams and creators who are very specific entities. Thinking about the presentations is making me reconsider my previous thinking that I might be able to group "writers" and "readers" and individual groups (though of course some may blend between both groups). Based on the the writers/creators this morning, there is no such thing as "writers" but rather "a writer" in a singular and sense unique to each creator. Everyone today has been influenced by different people, occasions, thoughts and feelings. Poignant, for Barrington Salmon, is the role his mother (mother, worker, creator, chef, inspiration) in his poetry and stories. Leo, instead, finds creativity in the work of Rollo May, Daniel Pink, Banksy, Ken Robinson and more.

Melodie Daniels spoke about not liking The Old Man and the Sea, but interestingly she doesn't like it precisely because of Hemingway's gift with language. She, like me, doesn't want to be stuck out on the boat with the old man who was "thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck" (http://www.scribd.com/doc/21616/The-Old-Man-and-the-Sea). Even though Hemingway's language, at least in this story, is "spare and compact," everything is so vivid. Hemingway's language makes the reader feel there, in the boat with Santiago.

"The Old Man and the Sea could have been over a thousand pages long and had every character in the village in it and all the processes of the way they made their living, were born, educated, bore children etc. ...I have tried to do something else....I have tried to eliminate everything necessary to conveying the experience to the reader so that after he or she has read something it will become part of his or her experience and seem actually to have happened."

nb. the image on the right of this post is a scanned in version of Melodie's first poem.

Sukai Bojang is also interested in language but she's focusing more on the oracular version. Recovering folk talks and translating them into English, Sukai is hoping to not only reach a different set of readers, but also to pass on cultural artifacts and help literacy rates in The Gambia. One of her inspirations is Chinua Achebe.

Still to present are Tia Azulay and Jaka Železnikar. I'm looking forward to hearing how and if South Africa has had an impact on Tia and her writing. I'm thinking of Andre Brink, J.M. Coetzee, Breyten Breytenbach, Nadine Gordimer, Mongane Wally Serote and and and...

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[new media writing and publishing, 22 Oct 2008, ioct]

Every autumn, First Year CWNM students spend a week on campus at DMU. This year Campus Week includes a day of discussion open to DMU students, staff, and the general public. It takes place on Wednesday 22 October 2008 at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester. Admission is free and booking not required, but space is limited so arrive early to secure a seat.

10.00-11.00 Meet your Reader Dr Jess Laccetti presents a reader’s eye view of new media writing.

11.00-11.30 Break

11.30-12.30 African Writing and New Media
Chair: Professor Sue Thomas
IOCT PhD student and novelist Anietie Isong introduces his research into African Writers and the Internet, and Nur Yaryare of the Somali Afro European Media Project presents his plan for a new media African heritage project in Leicester.

12.30-13.30 Lunch break

13.30-15.00 Writing and Publishing New Media
Chair: Kate Pullinger
Sara Lloyd and Michael Bhaskar, digital editors at Pan Macmillan, discuss Sara’s Book Publisher’s Manifesto for the 21st century, and Chris Meade, former CWNM student and Director of if:book London, presents Digital Livings, a report commissioned by CWNM to assess the potential of new media as a career path for writers.
Preparatory Reading for this session:
Book Publisher's Manifesto for the 21st century by Sara Lloyd
Digital Livings by Chris Meade

15.00-15.30 Break

15.30-16.30 E-Poetry
This year CWNM offers an E-Poetry workshop for the first time. Tutor Peter Howard presents an introduction to E-Poetry including a selection of his own work.

16.30-17.00 Plenary

17.00 End

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[technology and improving literacy]

A topic I'm always interested in and am examining during my research fellowship at the IOCT and through pedagogical work on multimodal story Inanimate Alice. With this in mind, the recent article by James Paul Gee and Michael H. Levine on "Innovation Strategies for Learning in a Global Age" seems particularly relevant.

As Katie Ash notes, the article by Gee and Levine "using new, innovative technology can help students who are struggling with language to increase their vocabulary and form associations between what they're learning with the real world." Also, being au fait with 21st century technology means that the digital divide is closing and students won't be left out of the "global economy."

Some key points:

  • According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, most low-income children in this country [U.S.A.] are below grade level in reading by 4th grade [known as the fourth-grade slump]
  • What gives students a good head start toward comprehension is a wide-ranging, sturdy vocabulary of complex words in the early years, before the age of 5
  • Video games, simulations, modeling tools, hand-held devices, and media production tools can allow students to see how complex language and other symbol systems attach to the world
  • Mastery of digital media for the production of knowledge constitutes a new family of “digital literacies,” since such media, like print before them, are tools for the production of meaning
  • Digital media offer other advantages. They naturally elicit problem-solving behavior and attitudes in students, and have the potential to create different modes of assessment
  • [Digital media] can also be used to track how learners learn, moment by moment, allowing constant feedback based on our knowledge of various trajectories of learning.
Read the entire article here.

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[how to write fiction]

This morning's Guardian has arrived. After briefly skimming the front page and a lengthy read of the Money section (100 questions about the current *financial* climate answered!) I happily found Kate Pullinger's tutorial on "How to Write Fiction." Working with Sue Thomas, Kate runs DMU's Online Masters in Creative Writing and New Media (and is author of Inanimate Alice with Chris Joseph) and thus is the perfect person to write this user-friendly guide. I'm definitely going to memorise these tips including the suggestion to "turn off your word count."

This guide book doesn't tell you where to buy your ideas: "Asda for chick-lite, perhaps, Waitrose for literary fiction," but it certainly includes loads of opportunities for laughter (not something I would expect from any guide). Kate tells us that writing is about "graft" rather than just a great ideas and that the act of writing is the important thing:

"But really, the best way to start writing is to start writing. Get the words down onto the page. For many writers the most productive technique is to push on, regardless of what crap they are spewing. Bad writing can be imprved upon, can be polished and cut and shaped and revices. A blank page is just that, and the only thing it is good for is driving you crazy."

Besides the instructions concerning genre, character, setting etc and the wide reference to other writers, there is a checklist:

  1. Is the beginning too slow?
  2. Have I "killed my darlings"?
  3. Have I checked my grammar and punctuation?
  4. Have I laid out my dialogue properly?
  5. After my compelling beginning, amd I keeping my reader interested?
  6. Is it finished?

If you don't have the Guardian hardcopy, each of the eight steps included in the guide are available as separate articles on the Guardian site.

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[postdoctoral research fellowships at the ioct]

Two fantastic opportunities to work at the IOCT:

Jobs at De Montfort University

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (two posts)

Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT)

Three years fixed term

£29,138 - £31, 840 pa

You will work on ‘DMU Creative', a project which aims to provide a commercial showcase for the best creative work in the East Midlands by establishing a quality threshold and an advanced content management system. This project is funded by the HEIF (Higher Education Innovation Fund), which is an HEFCE funding stream designed to encourage and facilitate knowledge transfer, collaboration and outreach, in support of the development of innovative goods, services and policies. The undertaking or possession of a PhD is essential.

The two Research Fellows will work closely together to ensure a co-ordinated project. Responsibilities will include literature research, experimental work, software development, field trials, project documentation, seminar/workshop, technical/academic papers and laboratory support. The work will involve travelling within the UK.

Post 1 (ref. 5062): You will, in the first instance, establish a record label and associated internet radio station to connect with a large number of SMEs and micro-businesses working in music production across the region. This will be followed by similar endeavours in other fields of creative production. You will be based in the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre, which is a partner of the IOCT.

Post 2 (ref. 5063): You will undertake the creation of an advanced content management system that utilises broadband to bring the creative resources of the region together, to create a portal which promotes the regional creative works nationally and internationally, to establish by making them commercially available over a variety of connected devices, including TVs. You will be based in the Mechatronics Research Centre, which is also a partner of the IOCT.

Please quote relevant reference number.

Closing date: 7 October 2008.

Application forms and further details are available from our website: www.jobs-dmu.co.uk.

Alternatively telephone 0116 250 6433 (24 hour answerphone).

Or write to:
The Human Resources Team, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH.

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[dmu on telly]

On September 1st a new ad. for DMU will go live on Channel 4, E4, ITC2 and Dave. I've just seen it on the DMU website and it's pretty good! And, best of all, it's created by students and shot on campus (check out the bridge over the canal and the lovely cobblestone path)! The scene with the motion-capture suit is quite exciting too. I'm all for uni-patriotism but perhaps that's just reflective of my Canadian background where we all collect everything from mugs, jogging pants, backpacks, pens and jackets embossed with our uni logos...

Now...where's my IOCT jumper?

Annoyingly there's no embed link on the dmu ad. so you'll have to click here if you'd like to watch it. The mini-documentary on the making of the ad. is a fun viewing too.

Edit on 12 Sept. 2008 (thanks Kate): the link doesn't seem to work unless you're on the dmu intranet. Try here instead: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/applicants/ug/television-advertisement/

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[ioct honorary phd - howard rheingold]

Howard Rheingold received his honorary phd during the afternoon ceremony at DMU on the 16th of July...I received mine during the morning so we didn't managed to cross paths but here is a token from the day: Howard with Professor of New Media, Sue Thomas and Director of the IOCT, Professor Andrew Hugill:

Now...I just need to photoshop myself between my supervisor and advisor! (me jealous of the kodak moment...no........)

Note Howard's advice given during his acceptance address: "
Pay attention to irrelevant details and follow intriguing but useless connections."

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[Future of Creative Technologies - new IOCT journal]

The Future of Creative Technologies is a new journal just launched by the IOCT at DMU. In the first 18 months of the IOCT's lifespan (yup, it's only been 18 months) the IOCT has benefited from a wide range of significant and fruitful partnerships. This first issue of the journal reflects on those relationships and includes "thought pieces" and articles from each of the keynote speakers. Authors include Howard Rheingold, Claudia Eckert, Bruce Mason and Sue Thomas, Wendy Keay-Bright, Pauline Oliveros and Martin Rieser. All the pieces are extremely interesting and as they've been pulled together into this publication you can really see how transdisciplinary the IOCT is.

In the opening editorial director of the IOCT, Prof. Andrew Hugill says:
"The diversity of the content is deliberate, and is intended to stimulate readers not only from the range of disciplines represented herein, but also as a way of exploring further a discussion which lies at the heart of the IOCT: what does it mean to be transdisciplinary? how can we foster good practice in transdisciplinary research? and, what outcomes might we expect from such research?"

These are similar questions which will be taken up in an academic context in the conference I'll be organising (provisionally slated for 2010) and out of which will grow an academic publication.

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[machinima festival at dmu]

woo hoo! tomorrow I'm heading over to the machinima festival at dmu.

Check out the small print...guess who was one of the judges:

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[collaborative book]

I've just been reading the Marketing Profs blog again (I highly recommend it) and one of the top five reads of this week is Christina Kerley's post on "The Age of Conversation--a precedent-setting collaborative book by 103 authors hailing from every U.S. time zone, Canada, Australia, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, India and Oman."

"In what began as a half dare, the editors, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan challenged bloggers around the world to contribute one page — 400 words — on the topic of “conversation”. The resulting book, The Age of Conversation, brings together over 100 of the world’s leading marketers, writers, thinkers and creative innovators in a ground-breaking and unusual publication. And in the spirit of conversation, you can follow-up and extend your interest in the topics covered in the book at the Age of Conversation blog — http://www.ageofconversation.com/."

This collaborative novel is reminscent of DMU's online MA in Creative Writing and New Media's One Million Penguins project. I wonder how it might have evolved if the idea was to produce a printable book rather than a wiki-novel? Perhaps a future project for Penguin and the Master's group...
This also raises questions for the concept of transliteracy and collaboration. Is transliteracy analogous to collaboration and community? To be transliterate must one also approve of the spirit of community and collaboration? How might the individual feature in transliteracy (or is there an "individual"?) I suppose we'll need a way of negotiating the wisdom of crowds and independent thinking.

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