Friday, December 28, 2007

Collaborative storytelling - Twitter

The Darkness Inside is a twittory - a collaborative narrative told in twitter. Angela Thomas's blog is (as always) an interesting read, and her post about this text is a good place to start.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Storytelling in Facebook - Why Some Dolls are Bad

A while back I spotted an interesting looking lead on Jill Walker's blog, about a graphic narrative in Facebook: Why Some Dolls are Bad. So I've finally got around to signing up for the application. I need some more time to play around with how the narrative works - but it makes for an interesting comparison for the new forms of collaborative storytelling that are emerging. Apparently someone is even trying to write a story using I'm just guessing, but I reckon that's going to stretch even the broadest definition of what makes a story!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Genre stretching (II) - Pantomime

Last night we went for our annual pantomime trip to see Aladdin at Birmingham Hippodrome. It was absolutely excellent - I highly recommend it as a high quality pantomime show. I really liked the ways that the director, Paul Elliott had really stretched the pantomime genre. The drag element was carried off in conventional fashion by Don Maclean as Widow Twankey, but the role of Aladdin was not a woman but the dashing (and slightly full of himself) John Barrowman. A funny twist was the inclusion of a scene where one of The Grumbleweeds appeared as Cher - drag performativity but not so radical that audiences would struggle with it (judging by the roars of laughter). Certainly a case of the Bakhtinian carnivalesque allowing space for touches of subversion contained in humour!

What I liked more than anything else, was the 3D Genie, provided by Bogglevision, which, my programme tells me 'is all about creating theatre sets that come to life during the show'. It was an amazing experience which crossed theatre, cinema, adventure rides and computer games. Audience interactivity was opened up to a whole range of possibilities and illusions. It really was imaginative, innovative, genre-stretching and thoroughly well done. The show runs until 27 January, so my advice is to get along and see it if you can!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Genre stretching - post (I) - Enchanted

Last weekend we took our kids to see Enchanted, the latest Disney film, which claims to take Disney films to a whole new level with the ending that it creates. For those of you who don't know, the story of Enchanted follows a cartoon Disney princess (Giselle) who is transported into present-day New York, courtesy of the wicked stepmother, and the adventures she undertakes whilst attempting to get back to 'Disney cartoonland Andulasia'. Of course, there is nothing really new about mixing cartoon style disney with more conventional film presentation (remember Pete and the Dragon? And later on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?). But Enchanted tranforms the cartoon figures into human actresses (and vice versa at the end), and (spoiler ahead) switches the 'human' and 'disney' characters in the end. But I have to confess that the feminist in me was somewhat disappointed in all of this. Probably for the same reason that I was never that into my daughter playing with Barbie dolls. There is some attempt to break with genre and have the disney princess take on the evil stepmother, saving her NY hero so that he fell into her arms in the climactic rescue scene. But there was a whole lot more that endorsed disney stereotypes in idealised, and (from my perspective) in sadly non-ironic terms. Was this film transliterate in its genre mixing? Well, maybe a little. But it definitely made me think that novelty soon disappears when we move across modes of representation. Was that genre mixing creative? Well, maybe in some ways, but also firmly supportive of the existing conventions of representing femininity.


DMU slides on Transliterate Discussions

Following up on my presentation at DMU, Heather Conby wrote a blog post about it, and very kindly uploaded the PPT into slideshare.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Wiki project phase one completed

We have finally reached the end of the teaching sessions for our first semester, and I have been evaluating the success of using wikis in my narrative analysis class. Am I glad I tried this? Yes, definitely. Are the students glad we used it? Yes, definitely. Of course, the evaluation is a little more fine-grained than that. I presented a summary when I talked at De Montfort in the humanities faculty earlier this week. When I work out how to put the PPT slides up here, I'll do it (yes, still learning techie-stuff all the time). I'm also presenting a report on the project at my own faculty learning conference next Friday. The poster presentation that will be part of the lunch time displays is at the top of this post. I'm really grateful to the LHDS faculty at BCU which funded the curriculum innovation bursary that made purchasing the laptops possible. But I'm even more grateful to the students who put so much of their work on the wiki and got so much out of it.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Speaker's Corner

Last night I went to the newly refurbished Town Hall in Birmingham City Centre with some of our MA English Literary Studies students. We went to an event called Speaker's Corner which was really great - very powerful, funny, painful, engaging. A mixture of music, poetry, story set against an urban backdrop, which in the town hall was juxtaposed with the pipes of the organ and classical architecture, the collision of styles was eclectic and though provoking. I found myself thinking, 'Is this transliterate'? Or is it better described as montage? Bricolage? At any rate, the movement between and across styles and mode (music, image, rap, reggae) was creative and packed a punch being mono-literate would not have achieved.