Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Grad Prog talks 6/3: Information Wars / The Aesthetics of Disappearance

Wednesday 6 March:
Internal Speaker: Carole O’Reilly (University of Salford; Journalism division)
MediaCity, 3.10-4pm, Room 3.32.
‘Resistance is Victory’: Occupy Bilderberg, Journalism and the Information Wars
This paper examines the tactics of this small and tightly-focussed Occupy movement as they protest the annual meeting of the Bilderberg group and their subsequent attempts to influence the reporting of that event.
The Bilderberg group consists of an alliance of politicians, academics, bankers and economists. The group has been the focus of numerous conspiracy theories centring on the alleged establishment of a ‘new world order’ and a shadow world government.
Members of Occupy Bilderberg are comprised of individuals of very diverse and divergent political views but their main focus is to protest and disrupt the annual Bilderberg meeting and to gain mainstream media coverage. This study examines the strategies deployed by the group in 2011 and 2012 to publicise their activities through websites, livestreaming, Youtube and Twitter and their interactions with the mainstream media.
This paper demonstrates how this interaction can help us to understand the relationship between mainstream journalism and citizen journalism – many Occupy Bilderberg members define themselves and act as citizen journalists. While some writers have celebrated citizen journalism as a democratic liberation from the restrictions of an increasingly corporate mainstream journalism, this paper demonstrates that, in practice, the boundaries between the 2 have resulted in a fractious and confrontational relationship that has resulted in a new information war.

Guest Speaker: John Armitage (Northumbria University)
MediaCity, 4.10-5.00pm; Room 3.32.
The Aesthetics of Disappearance

Media theorists generally associate Paul Virilio with his conception of the “aesthetics of disappearance.” This illustrated lecture examines his contribution to the debates over contemporary aesthetics by considering one of his most powerful texts, The Aesthetics of Disappearance (2009). It explains the importance of the argument of this book to afford an entry point into it for uninitiated English-speaking readers. The lecture then surveys the ramifications of Virilio’s study for theorizing and practicing media in the present period.

The theme of the book is the development and modern-day condition of human perception in the world’s advanced cultures. Virilio’s text is therefore about how diverse ways of perceiving and coping with the realms of photography and technology, science, and cinema are appreciated and incorporated into postmodern culture.

Perhaps the principal claim of the text is its description of the aesthetics of disappearance as an “irresistible project and projection toward a technical beyond” (Virilio 2009: 103). Before presenting an explanation of what Virilio means when he employs concepts such as “aesthetics” or the “technical beyond,” it is vital to grasp how this assertion stems from The Aesthetics of Disappearance in its entirety. Consequently, the purpose of this lecture is to offer a foundation for an appreciation of what he means by defining the aesthetics of disappearance in this way.

John Armitage is Professor of Media Arts at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. He specializes in the cultural and media theory of Paul Virilio, the French contemporary philosopher and ‘critic of the art of technology’. Professor Armitage is the founder and co-editor, with Ryan Bishop and Douglas Kellner, of the Duke University Press journal Cultural Politics and the author or editor of seven books on Paul Virilio including, most recently, Virilio and the Media (Polity, 2012) and Virilio and Visual Culture (EUP, 2013).

‘Zombies’ to descend on MediaCityUK for TV preview

Organisers from the BBC’s new writing department Writersroom and the University of Salford are hoping the public will enter into the spirit of the occasion and come dressed as the undead for the screening of episode one of In the Flesh, a new BBC Three series starring new acting talent alongside famous names including The Royle Family’s Ricky Tomlinson and Kenneth Cranham (Shine on Harvey Moon and Hot Fuzz).

At the preview, being held at the University’s MediaCity Building on Thursday 7 March, the audience will also get the opportunity to quiz the show’s writer, Dominic Mitchell, and director Jonny Campbell, whose credits include Doctor Who, Ashes to Ashes and television film Eric & Ernie, along with Kate Rowland, Creative Director of New Writing at the BBC.

The event is the first in a series of MediaCity Masterclasses offering aspiring writers the chance to learn from BBC professionals working in genres including soap, sitcom, children’s TV, and television and audio drama.
Set in the fictional village of Roarton soon after thousands of the dead were reanimated in one night, In The Flesh is the story of teenage zombie Kieren Walker and his reintegration into the local community and the heart of his family. With its central themes of redemption, forgiveness, acceptance, denial and what it means to be alive or dead, In The Flesh is a complex look at what happens when families get a second chance at mending their past and working together towards an unpredictable future.

Jennifer Tuckett, University of Salford lecturer in Creative Writing and co-organiser of the Masterclass series, said: “It’s fantastic to build on our partnership with BBC Writersroom and we look forward to working closely with them to bring in some of the most exciting writers working for the BBC over the next few months.”

The MediaCity Masterclass In The Flesh screening and Q&A will take place at the Digital Performance Lab, University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2HE on Thursday 7 March from 6.30-8.30pm. The masterclass is open to the public and admission is free – for further information and to book a place, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunities/in-the-flesh-screening.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Call for Papers: Early Career Researchers and PGRs


Digital Transformers Symposium, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, England, Thursday 23rd May 2013

The AHRC funded Digital Transformers Symposium (http://www.digitaltransformersnetwork.com) is a one day event aimed at postgraduate students and early career researchers in the Humanities on the methodological and conceptual approaches and techniques required for the study of digital data and digitally mediated environments. The event will combine presentations and workshops, giving participants hands on experience of new techniques for working with digital data and space for discussion about the methodological, conceptual and disciplinary challenges these emerging techniques and practices are generating.

Ways of understanding and analysing digital data and digitally mediated environments are varied and complex. The skills required are increasingly specialised and do not necessarily conform to any particular theoretical or epistemological perspective. At the same time, an expanding set of broadly applicable concepts, techniques and methods are emerging that can be used across, and tailored to, the needs of multiple disciplines in the Humanities. Examples include data visualisation techniques, text and data mining, and network analysis, and theories and concepts around the socio-cultural, socio-political and cognitive processes that affect the use and interpretation of digital data and digitally mediated environments.

Key symposium themes to be explored therefore include:
* Concepts and theories that inform the study of digital data and digitally mediated environments.
* The wider socio-political, philosophical and cultural concepts/issues surrounding these.
* Methodological approaches to the study of digital data and digitally mediated environments.
* Particular techniques and tools that can be used to study, analyse, and represent digital data and digitally mediated environments.

The symposium organisers invite papers from research students and early career researchers in the Humanities that explore these, and related, themes.

Abstracts (maximum 300 words) for 15 minute research and position papers related to the symposium themes are requested by the deadline of 28 February 2013 to digitaltransformersnetwork@gmail.com
Proposals for panels of 3-4 speakers are also welcome. A proposal should have three to four papers and should consist of a panel title and short framing text, and abstracts for all the papers with paper titles and authors. Proposals are requested by the deadline of 28 February 2013 to digitaltransformersnetwork@gmail.com
Notification of acceptance: 31 March 2013

A small amount of funding is available on a competitive basis to cover travel and subsistence costs for participants unable to source funding from elsewhere. Applications for funding will open in March 2013.
The Digital Transformers Symposium is funded by a Collaborative Skills Development training grant awarded by the AHRC. It is being co-organised by postgraduate students and early career researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University's Department of Information and Communications and the University of Sheffield's Information School.

Friday, 1 February 2013

MMU events

All welcome!

(You may need to copy and paste the URLs below directly into your browser to access the pages)

Seminar on the ethics of gang research (11th Feb):

Documentary on Italy screening (8th Feb):

Business School seminars on social care and Universities as enterprise models (7th Feb):

Manchester Centre for Regional History upcoming events:

Alzheimer's Culture seminar (4th Feb):