Friday, March 30, 2007

Workshop wiki

I am feeling a small (well, maybe a little bigger than small) sense of satisfaction in having built the wiki for the Teaching Narrative Workshop at the forthcoming symposium. As a techno-novice, it turned out to be easier than I thought. The next step is sending it out to the conference delegates and letting them (getting them to? - oh me of little faith) use it.

I have also been working on the analysis of my cancer blog corpus. It has taken me much much longer to do the linguistic analysis than I thought. I am now planning two papers from this, and need the discipline to sit down and get started on the actual writing, which is probably the bit I enjoy the most. I've worked on the women's blogs first, and at a first glance, the research that suggests that women write longer blog posts than men seems to be true so far. I'm really glad about that, because hopefully that means it won't take so long to work through the men's entries. No doubt there will be more on that later.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SSNL conference

I am just back from attending the SSNL conference out in Washington DC. It was an excellent event with lots and lots of interesting papers and a great opportunity to meet with old friends and make some new ones. Although the conference has a really strong literary emphasis, there were several panels that dealt with narratives in digital media.

I was struck once again by the multiple ways we can approach narrative analysis. The papers I went to were really about the changing relationship(s) between text creators and their readers, but my challenge was to reconsider how these changing relationships change the shape of the texts themselves. As a linguist, I am interested in the language that gets used - for example, how this is the same as or different to offline communication (written, oral), but I have also been thinking that for my blog project that this is not enough. So I am starting to think about how linking is both an intertextual and interpersonal phenomenon and how this in turn might alter narrative shapes.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Workshop preparation

I'm starting to prepare for a workshop I am running as part of the Narrative Symposium at UCE later this Spring. I spent some time yesterday with Sue Thomas and Bruce Mason over at DMU talking through possibilities, and picking their brains for formats, approaches and sample texts. The aims of the workshop are:
  • to increase awareness of the diverse range of narrative forms being exploited in new media
  • to think about how these challenge ideas of what narrative is and can do
  • to develop ideas for using this in pedagogic contexts.
The workshop will have a pre-symposium element, where delegates can collaborate beforehand on these topics, then have the face-to-face meeting, then have a post-symposium 'write-up'. I am now venturing into the world of wiki as a platform for the pre and post symposium collaborations. Part of me is really excited about what possibilities this holds for shaping new developments between colleauges, changing the way we in the humanities often teach paper/text oriented subjects, and breaking down academic barriers of all kinds. Another part of me is scared that it is not going to work!

The challenges are many: not least, seeing the extent to which the delegates will be willing to be transliterate, to explore territory which is perhaps not their own, to find time to do something 'extra' as well as the research, teaching, administration and administration and oh, did I forget to mention it, administration? Maybe I am being a little pessimistic here. Maybe everyone will come on board swimmingly. I am determined to have great fun and learn a lot in the process anyway.