Category Archives: Symposium

November Symposium

Monday saw Charles Brown deliver a well researched and constructed lecture titled Platforms, Convergence & Transmedia Content on the Network Society and the media module. It outlined the current issues concerning media industries, the constantly changing technological landscape along with the desire for large media companies to acquire content.

Friday I gave my symposium presentation at UoW Marylebone campus. This was the second symposium I’d presented therefore I wanted to show that I’d progressed considerably since last March. I’d spent quite while developing my 15 minute talk over the last week. However on arriving in the room was told that all the presentations would have to cut to 10 minutes. This severely diminished the flow, message and understanding of my proposal and although I managed to skip parts without to much confusion it was far from ideal. The full presentation is viewable below.

The feedback was pretty good but I was not happy at having to lose a third content. That’s  life, I suppose and I’ll need to get used to this happening.

Mustn’t forget to mention that I had my regular fix of The Fall, my favourite band, at the Electric Ballroom in Camden on Tuesday. What a wonderful and frightening racket!

Here’s my symposium presentation.


Multi-tasking and Testing My Phone at The Coronet

I’ve been very much multi-tasking this week. Earlier on this term I agreed to be seminar tutor for UoW’s Network Society and the Media module which is every Monday morning. It’s been a great experience. The first hour I listen to really knowledgeable and experienced speakers deliver lecturers to about 200 students. Then I take two 1 hour seminar groups and discuss the subjects in more depth. This week’s lecture was on Campaigning and Digital Activism. The difficult part comes in a couple of weeks when they hand in their first assignment and I have to mark and give feedback on 55 essays of 2000 words.

I’m still doing some teaching at Ravensbourne College. The college has moved to a new building next to the Millennium Dome and is experiencing the inevitable teething problems. On Tuesday I give some Flash and WordPress training on the BA Multiplatform & Video for the Web course. Some of the rooms still don’t have internet connections which makes teaching difficult as database driven websites like WordPress need one to be accessed.

On Wednesday I visited a friend who works at TNS Research International, a commercial research and marketing company. I wanted some advice and an understanding of how commercial companies conduct research to see the similarities and differences in sourcing and collecting data from participants.

The rest of the week was spent preparing for my imminent symposium presentation next Friday so by Friday I felt I deserved a night out. A friend had bought tickets months back to see Four Tet, Caribou, James Holden,  Nathan Fake, Rocketnumbernine at The Coronet in Elephant and Castle and the event was now totally sold out. I love all the electronic artists on the bill and it is rare to see a such a strong line-up all in one night. I’d never seen Caribou or Four Tet live before so this was a great opportunity.

This was also a good opportunity to give my new HTC Desire a thorough work-out to see what it could cope with from a social networking, photo and video uploading, sound recording perspective. Luckily the venue had a good phone signal and during Nathan Fake’s set I was able to post a photo to my Facebook account. More or less immediately my friend, Dene, posted a rely saying “get closer mate!”. This was a rather revelatory moment.

So I then tried recording some sound and uploading that to my ipadio account and then some sound recording and video of Caribou to my posterous account. The phone sent all the files successfully. The sound was was very distorted but it was loud in there. This activity left my phone very warm to the touch and considerably depleted the battery. I had just enough power to take and upload some photos of Four Tet’s fabulous set (above).

My HTC Desire passed all the tests with ease. The only minor issues were the battery power life and the audio recording quality. What a great way to end a varied week. A very enjoyable night was had by all and I arrived home at a nostalgic 5am via the night bus.

Symposium at Marylebone Campus

Yesterday was interesting if a little stressful due to the nature of presenting my research proposal to a group of academics from a number of other Universities. The students are separated into groups of three and two groups present simultaneously in two different rooms. My presentation was in the afternoon and third on the list. The room was like a boardroom and about 15 people sat round it.

I presented fairly well although I felt it sounded a little simplistic when delivered in an academic environment. I had made a point of wanting it to be clear and direct and not get bogged down in over emphasising the theory. That could come later. I wanted to outline the idea and try and tell the logical thought processes behind my idea.

My feedback was quite tough. The first and I suppose not unexpected observation was that defining creativity is very hard to do as there are so many different forms and that it may not be possible to do it successfully. There was also suggested that it would not be credible to merely leave the definition of creativity to participants in my research as I had proposed. An issue was also raised as to why collaboration, sharing and creativity was so different on the web. I thought I’d explained that in my presentation! There was a general theme emerging through the feedback that Goldsmiths has an emphasis towards philosophically theoretical outcomes whereas Westminster are inclined towards more empirical field based research. One thing was clear though – I needed a procedure for defining creativity.

I must admit to feeling a little disappointed that I couldn’t answer the criticism robustly. It was pointed out to me afterwards that this is what will happen all the way through the research process and is necessary to keep one constantly questioning and re-evaluating. I ended the day going down to a local pub and sharing stories from the day.

Symposium rehearsal

Over the last week I’ve been trying to organise my presentation for the Symposium on Friday. University of Westminster host this event twice a year, which includes students from Goldsmiths, LSE and City University. It’s an opportunity for first year students to hone their presentation skills and outline their research.

The majority of students, including myself it must be said, plan to use PowerPoint to present which I believe to be a very bland software presentation program. It’s got lots of awful pre-installed transition effects. Any program, in my view, that defaults to Times New Roman font shows a lack of style and sophistication. I’m going to have to see If I can come up with something different over the next couple of years.

In the last few days I’ve had meetings with both my supervisors individually to discuss my strategy and give them an outline of my content. Yesterday I gave a rehearsal in front of the other Westminster students. I was surprisingly calm and it was well received. There is a recurring question though. How will I define creativity? I think this may take along time to resolve.

The other presentations were good although a couple were oblivious to their timings and were nowhere near finished by their the 15 minute were up.

Autumn Symposium

Twice a year four London Universities with programmes in Media put forward PhD students in their second and third year to present their papers at symposium hosted by Westminster. I thought it was fairly essential to attend as we first years do ours in March. What a better way to prepare than watch others do theirs.

Firstly, I was struck at how unfamiliar most people were with using PowerPoint and many did not plan the changing of sides to match to amount of time available. With everyone having 15 minutes to present surely the best way is to be concise. There was also a very wide variation in presentation approaches from the conference style to the reading from a script type. This made meant that there were many who made their presentations quite difficult to understand. One of the problems facing PhD students is that being so deeply engrossed in their subject means that they sometimes can’t find the best ways to express this verbally. Anyway let’s hope I don’t live to regret these remarks when I do mine.

In the early morning presentations I flip from one session to another and listen to three presentations. By far the best is entitled “The political battle for online content in the European Union”. This was clearly presented and covers, amongst other issues, the initiatives in Europe to stop illegal piracy and retain intellectual property. There presentations I found interesting concerned British Community Radio and Geotagging.

Following this I met with my supervisors to discuss my impending Application to Register, which includes my Plan of Work. This is a document that concisely summarises my research subject. As I’d already developed this considerably during my application process and submission for my AHRC award this has just been a matter of elaboration.