[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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[twitter and future of creative technologies]

On Thursday at The Future of Creative Technologies Conference it was bandied around that twitter, though used, isn't really worth (financially) much. In fact, when someone suggested that twitter and business model don't go hand in hand there were quite a few appreciative guffaws. A recent post by Steve Clayton also touches on the subject: "Wow…quite a story from Kara Swisher today that Facebook was interested in buying Twitter

for $500m. Okay, I love Twitter as much as anyone but $500m is a big chunk of cash for something that isn’t making money at the moment. That’s not to say that it couldn’t and I think the only way Twitter is going is up but in the current climate, that’s a big wedge.

Personally I think Twitter is right to hold out but hope it’s all a big game of Russian roulette."

Photo by John Wardell (Netinho) on flickr.

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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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[reading flabuert's a simple heart]

A little while ago I mentioned that Andy had let me raid his office library (such fun!) and one of the many books that I nabbed was Flaubert's Three Tales.

"A Simple Heart" focuses on Félicité, a "maidservant" who "did all the cooking and the housework, the sewing, the washing, and the ironing. She could bridle a horse, fatten poultry, and churn butter, and she remained faithful toher mistress, who was by no means an easy person to get on with." I am immediately sad for
Félicité. On the third page we learn that her father dies when she was young and then her mother died leaving her sisters to look after her. When they followed their own paths (suggesting none of them were concerned or even really aware of Félicité), they left a farmer to take Félicité in. This new life meant perpetual cold - physical and emotional. After this awful experience, Félicité finds a job at a different farm where her new employers are kind to her even if the other help aren't. At this time she meets a man, falls in love, and then has her heart broken. Needing a change, Félicité finds a position with Madame Aubain where she gets "installed" like furniture in the house and also finds herself taking care of Paul and Virginie. When those around her leave or die, Félicité turns to religion (or rather, her interpretation of religion) as a panacea for her pain. The narrative begins by suggesting an unfolding future: "for half a century the women of Pont-l'Évêque envided Mme Aubain her maidservant Félicité." This is interesting because the way that Félicité is described, she is not "becoming," she is a woman already "installed" and "fixed." So dedicated and loyal, she seems complete in the same way that she ensures all her tasks are. Throughout the story there seem to be opportunities where we might begin to see a blossoming Félicité. She would "keep on kissing" the two children (present continuous) until Madame told her to stop. Emotion also seems to be a barrier to becoming, Félicité is "eaten up inside" and that prevents her from taking up hobbies or work that might otherwise involve her thoughts. Emotion is also detrimental to Virginie who originally becomes quite ill because of a fright. Later on she must refrain from playing the pain because "the slightest emotion upset her." At the end of the narrative, Félicité, who we have come to know as a loyal, selfless and hard working but "wooden" and who on her death bed remains finicky about tidiness, nonetheless experiences a deeply multimodal passing. Dying of pneumonia, Félicité smells the "mystical" scent of incense. We see her closer her eyes, we hear her slowing heart, we feel the fountain drying. Finally in death she can be loyal to herself and immerse herself in sensory perception.

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[future of creative technologies conference]

14 days until The Future of Creative Technologies Conference - 20th of November at the IOCT, De Montfort University in Leicester.

The conference has an excellent line-up with three of the IOCT's visiting professors sharing their views in the afternoon (
Dr Jim Hendler, Professor Howard Rheingold, Dr Lev Manovich) while the morning session lets delegates choose which of three workshops they'd like to participate in.

Places are almost fully booked .

If you'd like to come (it's free!) register

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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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[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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[ioct homework]

As Research Fellow at the IOCT not only do I get awesome office supplies to *borrow* (wii, eee pc, aibo), but Andrew Hugill let me pilfer his newly ordered library (alphabetic and by genre thank you very much) in search of some classic print books to read for homework. I'm especially loving the lined and well-read copy of Sentimental Education. I'm also secretly hoping to find some funny doodles...check out the one Whitney found in her professor's book.

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[transliteracy & transdisciplinarity in new highcross, leicester]

Today marks the opening of the new Highcross area in Leicester. It boasts some great new shops (including a flagship and absolutely enormous John Lewis) and loads of fabulous eateries (business meetings right Sue?!) Sue and I headed down today for the opening and ended up beginning and finishing our first collaborative research project of the new academic year. We used clay (how transdisciplinary) to create a transliteracy/ioct island complete with people (well, one person), a tree and two flowers. Though this is difficult to tell in the photo below as it's a bit blurry.... After that hard work we enjoyed a very tasty hot chocolate (I had a white one) at a All Things Chocolate and then saw the silk parade complete with clowns on stilts and marching band. A bit from the Highcross site:
"The river of Silk will, flow through the city to the hub of Highcross Leicester. Made up of a flowing river of 24 silk banners, which signify Leicester’s rich textile heritage, community groups from across the county will start the procession at the Clock Tower with participants making their way down High Street, along Shires Lane and through the lower level of the new mall."

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[all work and no play]

All work and no play is definitely something IOCTinis don't subscribe to! In between all the work and new technologies I have been able to pass on my transliteracy tiara (last used at the transliteracy workshop to make a transliterate object) to Lisa...princess of the IOCT.

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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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[first day of work]

Welcome to me...to the life of a *real* person and not a student (even if it was doctoral!).

Today is my first day of work and I've already found the stationary closet and have piled my desk with a myriad of fluorescent highlighters, coloured pens, pink and yellow post-its and even, yes, a pencil! I've located the coffee maker and the fridge and have settled in nicely. Now that those important first-day things are out of the way, I'm diving into the minefield of scholarly publishing - issues about open access, electronic or not or both, impact factors, citations and the like. Through my browsing I've come across The Scholarly Kitchen, an excellent blog on, well, all things scholarly and publishing. Today's blog post at the Kitchen hits a major question in academia today: what to watch. Should academics (publishers, researchers, writers) keep an eye on issues like those I mentioned above or should the focus move to the reader, funding bodies, "author talent" and the like?

Kent Anderson, author of this post at Scholarly Kitchen, mentions an article I read recently in Science on the nature of electronic publishing. That Science article noted that readers *use* (key word here) online resources rather differently from print ones:

"Online journals promise to serve more information to more dispersed audiences and are more efficiently searched and recalled. But because they are used differently than print—scientists and scholars tend to search electronically and follow hyperlinks rather than browse or peruse—electronically available journals may portend an ironic change for science. Using a database of 34 million articles, their citations (1945 to 2005), and online availability (1998 to 2005), I show that as more journal issues came online, the articles referenced tended to be more recent, fewer journals and articles were cited, and more of those citations were to fewer journals and articles. The forced browsing of print archives may have stretched scientists and scholars to anchor findings deeply into past and present scholarship. Searching online is more efficient and following hyperlinks quickly puts researchers in touch with prevailing opinion, but this may accelerate consensus and narrow the range of findings and ideas built upon."
Anderson has picked out some responses to the Science article and it's interesting to see the high value readers/users are putting on notions of accessibility, usability and personalisation:

"I]f a paper isn’t on G[oogle] S[cholar], and I haven’t seen it in another publication, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist. . . .

Basically, if I can’t download a “free” pdf, the paper doesn’t get referenced. I do go from time to time to the library for mission critical papers, but the time it takes to get a paper is on the order of 30 min to an hour. A massive waste of time.

[O]ften older papers aren’t worth referencing, the 80’s and 90’s probably saw more invalidation of old research than the entire preceding century in total (in the biological sciences anyway). And this decade will probably be more than the 80’s and 90’s combined, the pace of research is just that much faster, and that many more people doing it. You don’t reference a 1970’s paper that is half wrong, you reference the 1998 paper that examined the 70’s one and refined the concepts."

I wonder how these kinds of comments affect impact factors/"mono-metrics" and what this means for the new generation RAE which is supposed to be more fair.

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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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[my phd graduation day - july 16 2008]

It feels like grad actually arrived quite quickly. I submitted the thesis the first day back after Christmas hols in Jan.'08, had the viva in Feb. and then the graduation ceromony the same year! I was the last graduand to be awarded a degree during the ceremony and had time to admire the surroundings. De Montfort Hall was filled with smiling graduates, the organ player who leant an air of tradition to the proceedings and numerous proud and loud friends and family. I can't believe it's all happened and now I can look back and it's already the past and I got to wear that bonnet!

I had an amazing supervisor - a great teacher and supporter (check out the lovely post she wrote) - Prof. Sue Thomas who was there at grad. dressed up in her finery. Thanks Sue! My thesis advisor, Prof. Andrew Hugill also helped me immensely though sadly I missed him at my grad. ceremony (I think he was busy with honourary PhD recipient Howard Rheingold who received his own degree that same Wednesday afternoon!). Thanks too to my external examiner Dr. Ruth Page who helped me be the first ever IOCT phd graduate!


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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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[nlab social networks conference - roland harwood]

Roland Harwood: "Are Online Social Networks the New Cities?"

social networks are starting to fulfill some of the interactions upon which cities are traditionally based

two books that have inspired Roland:
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs and Emergence by Steven Johnson

Manchester - first formed as a settlement in 76 and 1301 there was a town charter and in 1700-1850 because of industrial revolution it grew ten-fold though not formally recognised as a city until 1853.

People who study urban growth talk about the role of technology (field rotation etc...) on the development of cities. "I think the internet is going to have as profound effect on cities but we're only at the beginning."

See Richard Florida Flight of the Creative Class.

Jane Jacobs talks about the essence of cities, especially cites in which you can walk. In a car you are isolated but on foot you overhead conversations, have encounters and even change your behaviour based on those encounters. The characteristics of good cities:

random encounters, information storage and exchange, communities, space to play, economies of scale, trade/sharing, organised complexity, anonymity.

Diversity drives innovation. We need to create more space to cross-fertilise our ideas (this can feed into my IOCT research on transdisciplinarity).

Roland's just mentioned a really interesting idea of "bothies": random shelters that people can use for free?! See here for more info: http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/

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[Creative Writing and New Media MA Showcase]

Another event - 2 in 1 day! - at the IOCT. Following Andrea Saveri's talk on Amplified Individuals we have the Online MA's showcase of the first two years that the course has been running.

Along with the presentations is a pamphlet giving a bit of a context of the first two years of work as well as bios of all the students. Disclosure: I wrote the essay. Tomorrow this will be downloadable from the course website: http://www.creativewritingandnewmedia.com/

From the IOCT Salon blurb:
"The Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University is designed for writers interested in experimenting with new formats and exploring the potential of new technologies in their writing. This first annual CWNM Salon is a unique opportunity to enjoy the best work from the first two years of the course with installations and talks from some of the students."
Note: Check out Chris Meade's "Digital Livings" booklet which takes a look at how to make money as a writer in the new media world. There is a downloadable version which will be available soon.
First Up
Chris Meade - "Drumming Becoming: The Role of Percussion"

Chris's presentation with drumming is here.

An excerpt:
"In the 90s in Birmingham libraries we ran a project about Silence.
A brilliant young percussionist
whose name now escapes me
played in the Central Library, built up more and more sound
around the ambient hum
of escalators, footfall,murmurings, phone bells.
How much could he enhance the sounds of a place that's thought of as silent
without rupturing the hush?"

After the presentation on drumming Chris "reads" his song on the future of the book. Although he knows the words by heart and the rhythm is his own, still while reading live and aloud the rhythm is slightly different from the recorded version. So at times we can hear the live version slightly before the recorded one. It's like a long-distance telephone call.


Toni Le Busque on "Miffy Johnston's Toenails and Other Stories - a combination of fiction and non fiction 100 word stories using Sophie ( http://www.sophieproject.org ), an open-source platform for writing and reading rich media documents in a networked environment, created by The Institute for the Future of the Book."

Early on in the MA Toni decided to start writing stories of 100 words. Enough to get her points across but still easily digestible for the web.

Toni's "America" video used free archive.org images. The music is also copyright-free. Check out lebusqe.com for links to all of Toni's work.

Interestingly with Toni's work with flash page-turning software (Sophie from the Future of the Book) a lot of people "had a go at her." Some suggested she was a proponent for the death of the book. Interesting. If anything this kind of tie to print books suggests a respect/awareness of tradition? As a defense to this Toni says she has to pay a lot of attention to design. She is not the "poor man's" novelist.

Kirsty McGill - Discussing her ongoing project to develop a next-generation rich-media tour for the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath.

Realised that existing virtual tours are pretty bland, mostly text and hardly any narrative, just read the wikipedia definition:
A virtual tour (or panaramic tour) is a simulation of an actually existing location, usually composed of panoramic images, a sequence of hyperlinked still or video images, and/or virtual models of the real location. They also may use other multimedia elements such as sound effects, music, narration, and text. As opposed to actual tourism, a virtual tour is typically accessed on a personal computer or an interactive kiosk.

Rather different from a *real* tour guide is the inability to ask the guide questions. Kirsty has been creating a question-and-answer facility with a chatterbot with pandora: http://www.pandorabots.com/botmaster/en/home.

Read Kirsty's blog for updates on her project: Custard Ether.

Claudia Cragg
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/ccragg/ "If you build it, they will come". To what extent does this apply to Facebook and MySpace sites and, if no one comes, just exactly what can you do about it? Claudia will discuss this and other questions in relation to her Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma) Lab research Participatory Media project: http://108presentsforsuu.googlepages.com/home .

Been a journalist since last '70s and asked to help collect signatures and raise awareness for Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi. How to raise awareness? Well the world is suffering from "charity fatigue" so a new media way might be the "sexiest" way to get the word out. First do a vast amount of reading! Second: how do you actually crowd source, how do you get to the crowd?

Note: web 2.0 basically makes the printed word and journalism more "dynamic." Interesting.

If the message isn't enough, need to generate and maintain interest - keep people there more than 10 seconds.

Following Howard Rheingold, it's not enough to just have a website, need to have other ways of sharing info such as Facebook , Twitter and a blog. (link frontline sms as used by Obama).

Background findings - older people won't join Facebook to add their signatures to the petition.
Learnt a number of lessons - thought enthusiasm and demonstrable results would be enough to convince old media journalists - nope, they just don't get it. A blog is absolutely essential. Twitter has been successful but not as successful as Claudia thinks...despite coverage in the Wall Tweet Journal. So telephony based communication is essential for the future of any collaborative projects. Claudia says most of what she has learnt isn't exactly technical but human - she needs a team to create the project.

Christine Wilks

Fitting the Pattern: or being a dressmaker's daughter -
a memoir in pieces (embroidered)

Cutting through the memories, stitching up the fabrications, pinning down the facts, unpicking the past... An interactive memoir, created in Flash, exploring aspects of my relationship with my dressmaking mother.

Christine reads out exerpts but there's a bit where she talks about being bullied for her "softly tailoured outfits" and does this fantastic "northern" accent.

"How we were turned out was more important than how we turned out."

"In her outfits I didn't fit in I stuck out and felt stuck up."


Alison Norrington
http://www.alisonnorrington.com Showcasing Staying Single, Alison's first cross-media work of fictional blogging which gave readers a variety of ways to engage, participate with and receive the story, including fragmented chapters emailed to subscribers, SMS alerts through Twitter, mini documentaries of real-life stories, meet-ups in Second Life and Machinima films. She will also offer a sneak-preview of her plans for her second cross-media fiction I love NY.

For Alison's dissertation project she wanted to give her readers ways of interacting with the story (if they wanted to) and "be more immersed."

Realised that although she had 15 chapters ready (for Staying Single) but it wasn't current or "punchy" enough. By writing it every day instead of uploading before hand she was able to pull from current events (Jordan and Peter Andre) and create more bite-size bits.


Daily posts on blogger, e-mail to subscribers, podcast chapters, sophiedilemma.com, youtube documentaries, social networking (bebo, myspace, facebook), twitter, second life, forum, micropoll - with hindsight this was way too much to run.

On MySpace was a bit seedy - the people who approached Alison (as Sophie) were all about not staying single...While Facebook attracted more of the mid 30s-40s crowd.

When Alison went on holiday she wasn't sure how that would work with the story. So decided that Sophie would go on holiday too. Alison then asked if readers would like a postcard from her holiday, 85 real people responded so Alison spent a good part of her day sending out real cards.

Participation: asked readers to send in their best and worst chat-up lines which then appeared online. Some hilarious ones that I'm not blogging here....

Three most popular ways to get to the story: youbtube, second life meet ups and e-mails from sophie

New Story: I Love NY

long distance relationship between and American stoke-broker who is quite laddish and society-like and the fiance who is based in London and is more Bohemian. Right now there is a Facebook profile and youtube. But wants to add an interactive sticker project/game, wedding inviations and justin (product launch of "just in case" special bag with sleep-over necessities like toothbrush etc...). Interestingly for Alison, what all these other outlets provide is more of the "background" story.

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[andrea saveri at the ioct]

nb: live-blogged

Andrea Saveri at the IOCT on The Future of Work: Amplified Individuals, Jobs & Organizations

Institute for the Future - founded in 1968
  • How to forecast the future, applied to business, government and non-profits
Think about the future though aware of the present

In terms of business there are 6 key themes that are changing/shaping the future. Accordingly there is a set of new jobs that are going to be important in the future

Collective intelligence officer - oversee the improvisation human resources for the company
Amplification Engineer - improve organization innovation by creating more flexible work styles
Chief Visualization Officer - of Data Whisperer, to devise new ways of visualizing our business
Data Ecologist - design and manage both private and public data clouds
Affinity Agent to build shared values and vision among highly divers collaborates
Junior Catalyst - spark new and experimental collaboration that emphasize diversity as source of innovation
Chief Wellness Officer - implement and oversee a culture of health
Biocitizen Liason - to serves as the primary point of contact between the senior management and individual members of the company's various social health networks
Senior Green Strategist - minimize organizations resource usage while maximising productivity and profit
Ecotect - for a complete and custom sustainability make-over of our work environment
Cognitive Resource Manager - coordinate and augment mental efforts at the workplace
Neurological Training Officer - improve cognitive fitness among employees

But what about the people?

Amplified Individuals - through their access to social media and their practises they are expanding the reach and effect of businesses - amplifying and challenging processes of business

How are they doing it?
Highly social - providing social filters to help process massive amounts of information (flickr - the photo becomes an artifact around which people comment, tag etc...)
classic fm, digg, delicious etc...

Amplified individuals are highly collective, they can tap into knowledge of a group and use it - wikis, twitter, prediction markets etc...

they are into crowd sourcing (see crowdspirit.com, innocentive)

lifehacker - software downloads that help keep you focused (see the anti-procrastination alert!)

cognitive interfaces - think ADHA drug provigil, tested in the military to enhance "alertness" and memory...uni students have been using it around exam time.
Raises the issue - what is "normal" performance
So here you might see the Amplification Engineer and the Chief Performance Officer come together to develop the intelligence of the organisation

Diversity Redefined - instead of diversity as something politically correct now something that is a core initiative, instead of thinking about it as race, income, age, ethinicity...now cognitive diversity, disciplinary styles that appear and add to the workforce. The whole way we describe and characterise people is expanding.

Surowiecki popularised idea of crowd intelligence and it's actually better when the group is diverse, spanning hierarchies etc...HP has used this kind of info when they do their sales forecasts, going across hierarchies in the organization, leverged the diversity of perspective on their question

What IOCT and Transliteracy is - disciplinary, multidisciplinary interdisciplinary to transdisciplinarity - a biologist who can speak math and the language of art. Can create a different perception and different frame of thinking. The is the key to innovation.

Idea - knitting dna and proteins so that scientists get a spatial perception of information

mChek - mobile payments
dispersed innovation networks start to become embedded in urban centres instead of a cloistered innovation park. Idea that innovation and diversity and urbanism combine = future. Here affinity agents and junior catalysts will come into play.

Visible World is changing - sensory perception, bio metric RFID, pedometres - people, places, things and processes are surrounded by this new layer of visible information

Every object and every interaction is really a data point - as we contribute to wikipedia and leave a trace of where we've been, using a thumbprint scanner at disneyworld...we're leaving trails of ourselves all over the place - see Kevin Kelly

What is important is the need for a new kind of literacy - how do we decode/translate all these different kinds and sources of information?!

Check out Intel Mash Maker which suggests kinds of mashups based on your web browsing (see also swivel)

Science at work - fMRI that scans people while tasks are undertaken (that's what I'll be exploring for part of my research fellowship at the IOCT)

biocitizen - people are designing ways to become the originators of good health so wellness programmes on the rise in the workplace, new media ecologies (see Daily Strength), biotechnology, risk society (Who is sick) - we are going to want to navigate a personal health geography

Andrea asked us which of these future jobs we'd each like to take on.
Talked about discrepancy between language, same words don't necessarily share the same values. A "pattern" for a scientist is very different to an artist.

Question of metrics and evaluating performance is a real challenge, especially for universities and hierarchical organisations.

Visualisation is is key - think of the prius which shows drivers exactly how fuel efficiency is going - also has a ludic quality. But in a general context what kind of data streams would you want to visualise?

My question: who is going to be the person to translate these very North American-sounding job titles into more culturally specific ones?
Also - these futuristic jobs might be important for us (UK, North America) but what about other countries? How will Ethiopia or Afganastan benefit from this...how will they even begin to implement it and is it right for them?

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[creative writing & new media MA]

To celebrate the first two years of the Online Masters in Creative Writing and New Media there is going to be a salon event organised by digital writer in residence at the IOCT: Chris Joseph.

Works to be presented by:

Claudia Cragg,
Terry Gibson,
Joanna Howard, http://dissertation.joannahoward.net/
Toni Le Busque, http://www.lebusque.com/
Kirsty McGill, http://www.manvers-street.com/
Chris Meade,
Alison Norrington,
Keredy Stott,
Michael Taylor.
Mags Treanor, http://www.deadcoolfunerals.blogspot.com/
Christine Wilks,

To go along with the event I'm writing a curatorial essay explaining the context and giving an overview of the work created by the students...so far.

As part of my thinking about what the students have been crafting, I invited them to respond to a few questions. There have been some rather interesting responses like these from
Renee Turner:

Jess: what are some main differences (pros and/or cons) of creating a work to be read/navigated online to one which is contained within physical borders and print? - this is very much a question to you as a *creator*

Renee: The book is an object ‘par excellence’. It’s an amazing medium in which the virtual has always resided; analogue stories have the capacity to expose us to previously unknown worlds and scenarios. While the book may have set perimeters, it is far from an exhausted medium. Its surface is rich, layered and as vast as the imagination. Just think of the likes of Borges or Coleridge whose writings illustrate that hypertext existed well before a digital era. Their work transports us to uncharted territories, illuminates new forms of articulation and exposes us to nonlinear modes of thinking. They test the limits of writing and language.

That said I love writing in digital environments. Gone are the days of publish and perish, now we can publish, learn and revise. Wow, what a revolution to be able to think out loud through writing. We can now dare to make mistakes and then re-write. Bloggers do this all of the time.

I also love the materiality of digital writing. To me, code, computational machines and screens are very physical. Unlike a blank page that can be empty and intimidating, there is something fascinating about sculpting narrative out of a set of technical restraints or through a set of filters. Whether it is php, CSS, javascript or html, writing is mediated, if not translated, and that means authors are forced to be writers and makers. I find the combination seductive. It is where writing meets dramaturgy.


Jess: How would you define a literate reader (someone who can easily navigate your NM creations)?

Renee: That is a very tough question to answer. Readers come with different levels of literacy. Some people are more sensually driven, moving their cursor from here to there for hotspots or links, while others look for legible text and clear-cut navigation. As a writer of or in digital environments, there is a balance to be struck between pushing the medium, testing interface conventions and being user/reader friendly.

To read more of my questions and Renee's insightful answers head over to her post.

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[exploring a million penguins - order and chaos in a wiki novel]

@ the IOCT on 23 April 2008

presenter: Bruce Mason

In February 2007, DMU and Penguin Publishing collaborated to host the world’s first wiki novel - “A Million Penguins” - using the same software that runs Wikipedia. Over a five week period nearly 1,500 people signed up to edit the novel, over 11,000 edits were made and it was viewed over 500,000 times leading the CEO over Penguin Publishing to muse that it was maybe the “most written novel in history.”

In this seminar, Bruce Mason will outline the results of a research project held at the Institute Of Creative Technologies (IOCT) which investigated the social behaviour that unfolded during the writing of “A Million Penguins.” What kinds of collaboration, conflict and compromise occurred and what did it tell us about future online writing possibilities? Did a sense of community arise or did we see nothing but chaos and vandalism?

The seminar will not require any particular knowledge of wikis or online writing.

About the presenter
Bruce Mason is an IOCT Post-Doctoral Research Fellow specialising in social research and web2.0 activities. He previously worked at DMU with Professor Sue Thomas on an Arts and Humanities Research Council Funded Project (http://www.ioct.dmu.ac.uk/tnn/) that investigated the potential for folksonomy in academic research.

About A Million Penguins
A Million Penguins is a collaborative online novel, a wiki which was open to anyone in the world to write and edit. The project ran from 1st Feb to 7th March 2007, was organised by Kate Pullinger (http://www.katepullinger.com) of De Montfort University and Jeremy Ettinghausen of Penguin, with Sue Thomas, Professor of New Media at De Montfort and an editorial team of students enrolled on De Montfort’s Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media.

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[google: sounds like a dream job]

I've just been reading (Analytics Evangelist) Avinash Kaushik's latest *introspective* post on why it rocks to work for google.

Wow. Besides the amazing looking food and collaborative spirit there are "zen" rooms, happy and helpful tech-support and green initiatives.

(image from
Avinash Kaushik)

I wonder if the
IOCT will consider creating a zen room....hrm....

nb. I'm sure Kaushik's post is a personal reflection but I bet that post is doing some (positive) marketing wonders (it worked on me anyway!).

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[Manolis Kelaidis at the ioct salon]

(nb live blogged so just snippets of notes)

Kelaidis, after doing years of engineering work decided he'd like to be more creative and so came to the Royal College of Art.

Says "he's not the biggest reader" but has fallen in love with the physciality of the book - the pages, the spine, it's a *functional* device.

Decided that books are nice but just not handy for linking information. So, his project would be a way to connect the analogue and the digital worlds.

Kelaidis has created an amazing book that can be connected to a computer. Then the reader's touch elicits information as the page reacts to a slight electrical current. Also, the idea is when someone is reading something, say about book binding, they can link, via the physical book, to a video on book binding.

Idea: to have books in the library light up with colours so that students know which books are relevant to their research.

"If people could use a book to control music on their computers, not only would it present an exciting marketing opportuinity but also a far more convenient way of accessing the story behind the music. Imagine a book where every song mentioned could be played by tougchig the title of the track."

- is working on a "volume bar" that the reader can adjust be sliding finger on the page.

How it works:
He prints his page with conductive ink (ink mixed with conductive particles, silver, copper etc...)
When we touch open circuit we close the cicruit and through the book spin (wireless) the book communicates to the internet.
All links are programmed but can be reprogrammed by individual readers.

Connectivity" book connected to computer which then opens MP3 or video etc. For today's presentation Kelaidis is using blue tooth.

Some images of the amazing book:

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[creativity conversation]

Following my presentation on "Reader 2.0" for the Creative Writing and New Media Masters run by Sue Thomas and Kate Pullinger, the creativity Conversation held it's 8th session.

Speakers: Andrew Hugill (Composer, writer, and Director of the Institute of Creative Technologies)
Mohammad Ibrahim (Technology fusion, artificial life, and design methodologies)

Some notes (live-blogged)

"Why do we abandon or switch ideas, methods and views whilst being creative?"

Mohammad Ibrahim:

Strategies for Switching (intuitive or naturalistic)
Naturalistic/Action based
Process Oriented
Evolving Design Space

Current Research:
There is some work on switching between strategies
Lots of work and debate on identifying and switching between stages/phases
Very relevant for rational approach
Personal view - waste of time for the intuitive approach

Apart from "initial scan brief" no real pattern
Hence naturalistic approach in the dominant one
No clear clusters of activities into phases/stages - the second scale
Clustered activities into phases - but no real agreement on order of activities in each phase (here are some activities, can you give us the order in which you do these activities? - they couldn't)
SO: Different intuitive approaches to evaluating a design space (trying to understand what the project is about rather than figuring out what they have to do)

Question on strategy: need to teach both strategies to students but the "experts" will develop their own strategies

Can we make a safe place where students can be creative, where engineering students can work with art and design students?

Andrew Hugill

Sees creativity as a process
Can you not change your mind in the process of creation? Why do we change our minds or rather, why don't we.
Rimbaud wrote the best poetry and then radically changed his views and became a banker - interesting exacmple of someone rejecting creativity

Three key words:
clinamen - from Epicurus, every so often an atom makes a slight swerve in its course and collides with another atom thus creating matter so clinamen is that swerve or bias
syzygy - from astronomy, when suddenly you get three bodies (unexpectedly) in alignment - things fall into place (eclipse)
anomaly - when something appears that doesn't fit

"The Act of Creation", A ha, Ah, and the Ha-ha (Arthur Koestler - adjusted, thanks Andy)

Andrew's own experiment into creativity with a musical composition, created a process and followed it through rigorously (though this process is not audible in the final musical product). However, when copying some music he made an error but this ended up adding to the creative aspect of this piece.

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