IOCT Salon – Bill Thompson, ‘Open Publishing and Closed Minds’ – Thursday 6 December, 6-7pm

Bill Thompson - photo by matlock, , released under creative commons license Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic
Thursday 6th December 2007, 6.00pm – 7.30pm (doors open at 5.30pm for drinks)
at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (see for map and directions)
This event is free and open to the public, however places are limited – email info /at/ to reserve a seat.
Download the flyer for this event (PDF)
According to the Open Knowledge Foundation, 'a piece of knowledge is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it'. This sounds simple enough, but underneath the slogan lie hard decisions about ownership, authority and, inevitably, cost. Those who live by writing may not wish their work to be freely available, while publishers of academic journals argue that changes to the current subscription model will threaten the ability of researchers to share knowledge.
Join Bill Thompson to discuss the nature of knowledge in the network society.

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The New Screen, Victoria, Canada.
At the New Screen yesterday I decided to junk my prepared talk and go for more of a workshop/conversational approach. We'd had an afternoon of extremely high quality and detailed talks, but I felt that since it was the end of the day, and the room was also very hot, it would be best to end with something lighter. I planned to start with a clip from Singin in the Rain, but there was a problem with the audio of that file, so instead we looked at Introducing the Book, and later at Cirque du Machinima, but mostly I introduced the audience to the concept of transliteracy and asked them to think about their own literacies. We had a very interesting discussion and I encouraged people to post their comments in this thread. Common topics were dyslexia and ADD, and once again the deficiency of the 'literacy' part of the word.
I'm starting to think we either need to agree on an answer to this, or find a substitute. Any ideas?

November 2007 slideshow

This is the public version, with copyright issues removed, of the presentation I've been using recently.

Institute for the Future, Palo Alto – talking about transliteracy

IMAGE_00217.jpg Andrea Savieri, Research Director of the Institute of the Future in Palo Alto, invited me to come and talk about transliteracy first to her colleagues over lunch and then to the IFTF FutureCommons group early evening, on Monday 12 Nov 2007. I was very excited to get the opportunity to visit this long-established thinktank, and I wasn't disappointed. I have to say that I also very much appreciated the physicality of the space, with many different kinds of settings from seminar rooms plastered with post-it notes from ceiling to floor; open lounge areas; formal presentation areas, and breakout tables complete with fresh flowers and scented candles – all designed to support reflective and creative thinking however it may occur.
IMAGE_00210.jpgAt both sessions everyone deeply engaged with the concept and gave me some extremely useful feedback and insights into the idea of transliteracy and how it might be understood. I learned that in China writing has been so deeply embedded in the culture for such a very long period of time that it would be very difficult to imagine the society without it. I was recommended (twice – once at each session, in fact – to read Fred Turner on boundary objects. Alex Pang expressed his discomfort about the notion of 'literacy' in any form, since it is automatically exclusive of a whole range of other experiences and ideas, and I tend to agree with him, although none of us in the room could think up a better word/concept. But, we all seemed to like the 'trans' part so maybe we're looking for a word like like 'trans~~~~' ??

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Creative Process: Creativity Conversation at the IOCT

"The creative process: views from practice and analysis."

Bruce Mason (New media advocate, right in photo)
Peter Shillingsburg (Textual scholar, left in photo)

Peter's talk focussed on the analysis of *creativity*

"New knowledge is the result of a rational extension of the boundaries of established knowledge through acts of innovative combination, controlled violation of conventions, and recognition of the potentitals of the unexpected, including accidents."

(from Stephen Brown paraphrasing Margaret Boden)

Continue reading and social publishing

Blurb from the ioct blog:

A lecture by Paul B. Hartzog and Richard Adler, at the IOCT, 3pm, Wed 14th November, 2007.
This lecture is free and open to the public.

The frequency and intensity of global communications is increasing, ushered in by collaborative technologies that make possible innovative forms of collective action. As a result, in many ways the structures of industrial modernity face a challenge from emerging peer-to-peer coordinated alternatives. These new alternatives are poised to transform “culture industries” like film, music, publishing, and others.

One recent force is “social publishing” which offers both new practices and new theoretical tools for thinking about the future of publishing. Oort-cloud, an online commons for writers, has embraced social publishing and “Open Lit” in an effort to explore this exciting terrain. A look at Oort-Cloud ( will illustrate the potential of such cooperative enterprises, and provide insight into how how network culture is created.

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Transliteracy talk at Washington State University, 8 Nov 07

WSU1.jpgYesterday I gave at talk to Dr Dene Grigar's class as part of The Digital Technology and Culture (DTC) major at Washington State University Vancouver. The program "integrates critical thinking, creative skills, and computer programming with course work in the Humanities and Social Sciences to offer a broad-based, interdisciplinary major that looks to the skills and abilities demanded by the future." Sounds to me like a course which might be interested in transliteracy, and sure enough we had a very lively discussion. Btw the campus sits between two mountains, Mt Hood and Mt St Helens, neither of which were visible that day due to the usual Pacific Northwest mists, but if they had been you would have been able to see one of them in the background of this picture! Very dramatic. Later that day I gave another talk, at Northbank Artists Gallery, this time on my Wild Surmise project, and appeared alongside Dr Samantha Blackmon from Purdue University, whose work on games and diversity really got me thinking about issues of difference on both race and gender in the gaming world. Another lively and very memorable session. I enjoyed visiting Vancouver WA and look forward to returning next Spring for the Visionary Landscapes conference, also organised by Dene.
After the afternoon presentation the class rose to my challenge to make some kind of transliterate object. The images from my phone aren't very clear, I'm afraid, but I hope you can make out a sense of what they did from these few photos.

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Google’s new app OpenSocial campfire-style

Very short of time today but can't resist drawing attention to Google's campfire movie for the new OpenSocial project – the long-awaited open source answer to Facebook. It certainly has jumped straight into the Google Notebook I keep for metaphors of nature and cyberspace, especially since it doesn't even need any physical space whatsoever – it exists entirely in the ether, untethered even by a server : "With the Google Gadget Editor and a simple key/value API, you can build a complete social app with no server at all."
Just look at those flickering flames and that cute log!

(x-posted at The Wild Surmise)