I’ve recently been working on the development of a new BA (Hons) Degree in Digital Media at Coventry School of Art and Design. It’s a brand new degree exploring media design, storytelling, digital arts and digital culture.
We’ll be working on convergent media projects in content production, storytelling, speculative design and a number of related areas across the digital arts. Designed for students who want to be hybrid-media artists, creative professionals and entrepreneurs in the increasing pervasive digital realm.
First year modules will explore digital culture, convergent multimedia production, digital publishing, storytelling and creative technology. The year will culminate in an intensive ‘creative hack lab’ project where students put their problem solving, innovation and design skills to the test with a live brief.
The second year will explore the creative and critical side of the digital arts, along with modules in digital advertising, transmedia storytelling and opportunities to undertake professional experience. There will also be options to develop skills in other areas of media production, including photography, experimental media and short film as well as opportunities to undertake international visits with our partner organisations.
The final year will focus on critical digital research methods, exploring how we can use creative technologies for research and the creation of new forms of knowledge, products and artistic expression. Students will then use their skills to develop a final research project, aimed at creating cutting-edge experiences and speculative possibilities for the future.
The degree is underpinned by an interdisciplinary approach to the design and analysis of digital culture and media, drawing on a range of methodologies from the digital and media arts, sciences, business and creative computing subject areas. We will be addressing the implications, challenges and possibilities of living in a world of disruptive innovation, connected devices, augmentation, pervasive storytelling, automation and big data and exploring this through projects that challenge and critique it.
Students will be involved in live projects, real industry and cultural briefs and working simulations that are informed by problem-based, activity led and project-based learning methodologies. This will be supported by technology-enhanced learning approaches in a department that is internationally recognised for its innovative approach to learning design.
To find out more about the digital media research work in the Department of Media please visit the Centre for Disruptive Media website.
Culture Machine Live is a podcast series dedicated to discussions of culture and theory.
and many more
Editors: Janneke Adema, Clare Birchall, Gary Hall and Pete Woodbridge.
For more information about the online, open access journal Culture Machine, visit www.culturemachine.net
Following on from our Open Class in Creative Activism, we’ve decided to think about how we can use some of the working practices we developed to explore other areas on our curriculum.
So this October we are launching the ‘Cine Collective‘- which is an Open Undergraduate Class exploring and experimenting with Digital Cinematography.
Over the course of 10 weeks we will be looking at a variety of approaches to studying, practicing and interrogating cinematography. Alongside this, the participants on the course will work on a series of cinematic responses to weekly creative briefs- that will contribute to form a showreel of work by the end of the class. Students are asked to openly post their response to each task to our community.
It’s an exciting time for ‘Open Teaching’ in Film, with a number of organisations and universities opening up their doors and helping to change the way that education is structured in the 21st Century. Surely it won’t be long until there is a very real prospect of undertaking a truly ‘distributed’ degree- choosing the best and most appropriate courses from around the world, to create some kind of educational playlist. There’s a lot of potential here for something truly digital, and radical, to emerge. It’s really exciting to see projects such as the Peer 2 Peer University, Coursera, OERU and Mozilla’s Open Badges gaining momentum in this area- each taking a different approach and model to rethinking education.
In the meantime here are a few other open classes that you might want to explore next academic year….
“Open Source Culture” taught by Mark Tribe (@marktribe on Twitter) Brown University
“Digital Storytelling -DS106″ taught by Alan Levine et al (@cogdog on Twitter) University of Mary Washington
“Guerilla Film Marketing” taught by Randy Finch (@randyfinch on Twitter) Florida State Uni
“Building StoryWorlds: the art, craft and biz of storytelling in 21c” taught by Lance Weiler (@lanceweiler on Twitter) Columbia University
“Digital Media and Participatory Culture” taught by Melanie E.S. Kohnen, Ph.D (@_mesk on Twitter) Georgia Tech
“The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound and Color” taught by Scott Higgins at Wesleyan University
“The Camera Never Lies ” taught by Emmett Sullivan at Royal Holloway, London University
(List originally published by Sheri Candler on The Film Collaborative)
A few glimpses of some of the work we have shot so far for a satirical film about technology. It is a teaching project to develop a micro-budget transmedia feature film working with undergraduate students from Coventry University:
‘Latitude’ is a satire about two technology fanatics whose lives are about to change, a tiny little bit, as they descend into a bizarre reality in their geeky hunt to find the world’s ultimate technology, which they believe is hidden in a game called Geocaching. The aim is that people can follow the journey and uncover the mystery of the film using geocaching
It is currently in production in the UK and USA, so this is an early look just to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to on this ultra-micro budget feature film (about £4000) that deals with issues around technology, reality and sanity. Students at Coventry University are leading on the development and production of the project.
Stay tuned for updates as the film progresses. We will also do another trailer once we get closer to releasing the movie, alongside a ‘Making of…’. And as ‘The Medium is the Message’
Starring – Jonathan Leinmuller, Andy McGillan, Christopher Dunne, Rachel Adams and Josh Ubaldi.
Production – Mick Le Mare, Rebecca Pittam, Richard Neal, Jake Humbles, Ross Varney, Adam Davies, Sam Soane, Alex Hacking, James Colley, Suzi Globe and many many more marvellous people who have helped us along the way.
Music used – ‘Reversed Reality – Igor Dvorkin, ‘City Streets’ – David Michael, ‘Wilderness’ – Philip Guyler available at audionetwork.com/
Was checking out the camp and taking some shots yesterday outside St Pauls Cathedral and was fortunate enough to catch this inspiring speech by retired labour politician Tony Benn at #OccupyLSX during my break.
Rushed an edit together last night, let me know your thoughts, i didnt have a tripod so its a bit shaky. Song is called Mercury Fingerprint by Dan Skinner (from Audio Networks)
This was featured on Adbusters TV
Living Books About Life is a series of curated, open access books about life — with life understood both philosophically and biologically — which provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. Produced by a globally-distributed network of writers and editors, the books in the series repackage existing open access science research by clustering it around selected topics whose unifying theme is life such as air, agriculture, bioethics, cosmetic surgery, electronic waste, energy, neurology and pharmacology.
By creating twenty one ‘living books about life’ in just seven months, the series represents an exciting new model for publishing, in a sustainable, low-cost manner, many more such books in the future. These books can be freely shared with other academic and non-academic institutions and individuals. Taken together, they constitute an engaging interdisciplinary resource for researching and teaching relevant science issues across the humanities, a resource that is capable of enhancing the intellectual and pedagogic experience of working with open access materials.
All the books in the series are themselves ‘living’, in the sense that they are open to ongoing collaborative processes of writing, editing, updating, remixing and commenting by readers. As well as repackaging open access science research — along with interactive maps, visualisations, podcasts and audio-visual material — into a series of books, Living Books About Life is thus engaged in rethinking ‘the book’ itself as a living, collaborative endeavour in the age of open science, open education, open data and e-book readers such as Kindle and the iPad. The book that I worked on, along with Janneke Adema, explored the way that concepts and ideas around the theme of Symbiosis can be applied to a number of areas within the (digital/networked) humanities.
Living Books About Life is a collaboration between Open Humanities Press and three academic institutions: Coventry University, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the University of Kent. Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and published by Open Humanities Press (OHP) (http://openhumanitiespress.org). The Editors of the series are Clare Birchall (University of Kent), Gary Hall (Coventry University), Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths, University of London). Other members of the project team include Sigi Jőttkandt (Open Humanities Press), David Ottina (Open Humanities Press) and myself (Coventry University).
In January 2012 we launched our Free and Open Undergraduate class exploring Creative Activism- opening up the class, as much as we can, so others can participate, join the discussions and follow our lectures and podcasts.
The class explores the potentials of creative media activism through encouraging the creation of ‘live’ creative interventions and participation in cultural, political and social debates. Looking at how media activists and campaigners have used their media knowledge, connections and skills to ask difficult questions, provoke debate and raise awareness of important issues and problems in their local, national and international communities.
The class is supported by a range of collaborators and guest speakers who are changing the world. So far our participants include:
and many more.
If you’d like to get involved, or just stay up to date with the work of this class, please join us here. You can also download the Creative Activism Podcasts in iTunes U – all are free to share, rip and remix
Filmed as part of the Migration Aware project I have been working on in the City of Ibadan in Nigeria, Africa. More to follow soon.
Over the past few months I have been working with Jonathan Worth and the Photography Team at Coventry University to develop an iPhone App for a free and open undergraduate course called ‘Picturing the Body’.
The ‘trendsetting’ app has been mentioned by the British Journal of Photography, PDN Pulse, Times Higher Education and Professional Photographer Magazine. It has been described by one of our collaborators as ‘an innovation in photography education’ and by Wired’s Rawfile team as ‘Blowing minds & shifting paradigms in photo education’.
The beta App allows people to engage with the community of practitioners and students who are taking part in the course. Pulling in photographs from Flickr, content from the blog, comments from Twitter as well as a range of photography podcasts from our iTunes U Project.
The intention is to see whether mobile applications can enhance the experience of being involved in the course and to help us to think about future developments in this area as part of our mantra for Open Media at Coventry University. Since the launch of this app, we have been involved in developing a number of innovations for mobile based learning, including the launch of the MediaPRO – Media Production Course App
(The image at the top and on my homepage – Crash Courtesy of Jonathan Shaw)
The Picbod App was developed as a part of my Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. You can find the poster presentation of the PICBOD App here. Thanks to all the colleagues, students and other people who were involved in its development.
Large parts of the UK are currently being licensed for Hydraulic Fracturing, Underground Coal Gasification and Coal Bed Methane Extraction. A growing base of evidence is showing that these technologies could have a massive impact on the environment, as well as on the health of people and wildlife. Despite this, it seems that planning applications are being allowed to go ahead with very little debate, and consent, from the people who it will directly impact upon.
The Liverpool, Wirral and Merseyside campaign to raise awareness has received considerable community support so far. It even managed to get a mention by Yoko One, who is an eminent campaigner against the tide of fracking across the globe. A number of other merseyside bands are also supporting the campaign.
— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) April 7, 2014
As part of the efforts, I’ve helped to make a film to raise awareness of the impacts of extreme energy extraction in the area.You can watch it here: A number of organisations have helped to get this out there, many thanks for helping to share this issue and for helping the campaign to raise signatures for the petition to put this on the agenda.
— Margaret Greenwood (@MGreenwoodWW) July 11, 2014
— Wirral Green Party (@WirralGreens) July 5, 2014
Hyper-Cinema is a technology project that is exploring the potential of inserting fluid and manipulable layers into the visual imagery of film in the cinema. This technology will effectively enable cinema audiences to become part of the narrative imagery of the ‘mass-distributed’ film itself. Enabling filmmakers and distributors to develop new kinds of narrative experiences and database driven hyper-localisation for their stories and back-catalogues. It is an attempt at creating a participatory cinema, one that is open to audience and contextual engagement in a number of fluid and dynamic ways. It builds on the practical and theoretical work in the broad area of the study, and practice, of transmedia storytelling.
It’s aim is to apply it to the creation of new narrative experiences, as well as enabling cinematic archives and back-catalogues to be reconceived and remediated to varying degrees, and potentially resold as new versions. On top of this there will also be potential to integrate the hyper-localisation of advertising and product placement content in the background of film itself.
Here are some of the illustrations from the thinking behind the project so far (created by Illustrator Catherine Askew)….
Here’s a quick list of quotes that speaks to me right now….
“Changing how we see images is clearly one way to change the world……critically intervene in a way that challenges and changes.” – bell hooks
“I didn’t start making films until I was 34. But that wasted youth was probably the most valuable asset for what I’m doing now. You see the world, you end up in jail three or four times, you accumulate experience. And it gives you something to say. If you don’t have anything to say then you shouldn’t be making films. It’s nothing to do with what lens you’re using.” - Christopher Doyle
“A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection — not an invitation for hypnosis.” - Umberto Eco
“All I’ve ever wanted to do is take stills of people, or take documentaries about people, and try to express to an audience how somebody lives next door. You know what I mean? Just how similar we all are as individuals.” – Roger Deakins
“A writer needs a pen, an artist needs a brush, but a filmmaker needs an army.”- Orson Wells
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”- Socrates
“The first draft of anything is shit.”- Ernest Hemingway
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”” - Jim Jarmusch
“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.” – Robert Bresson
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand” – Confucious
If you have any more good ones please add them in the comments below…..
‘The Post-Secret State: Openness and Transparency in the Era of Gov 2.0’ (co-authored with Clare Birchall and Gary Hall) is published in a new journal called Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, alongside an essay, ‘How to Do Justice to Media Specificity: or, Should This Video Be Left to Speak for Itself?’.
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