Transliteracy: some thoughts on themes and common ground

Transliteracy_conference wordle  At the recent transliteracy conference, one conversation touched upon the question of whether it was appropriate to have a definition for transliteracy. Although the presentations covered a rich mix of story-telling, digital and transdisciplinary art, anthropology and critical literacies, each presenter was, nonetheless, able to describe what they consider the relevance of the concept of transliteracy to their own research and discipline. This would seem to indicate that the working definition is fit-for-purpose, at least in initiating debate, engagement, if not always common ground. continue reading

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Thanks to everyone for the Transliteracy Conference

Thanks to everyone who came, presented, discussed, blogged, photographed, audiobooed and tweeted at yesterday's conference. What a wonderful day! Of all the tweets I think my favourite was from  @soundingUnder: #transliteracy conference was amazingly diverse and
surprising. Auto+ethnography, Algorithmic Music, + expansive issues of social

Question is – what next? Any thoughts? Share them here on on the Transliteracy Ning.

Closing plenary from the #transliteracy conference 2010

Action in Transliteracy

Transliteracy and Narrative

In the lunchbreak, I had a conversation with a writer that triggered some thoughts I made this audioboo about

Thoughts at Half Time at the Transliteracy conference.

I caught up with a couple of the attendees here, as well as Josie Fraser who's amplifying the event with Brian and I, and we had a chat about the day so far: 


Practice in Transliteracy – parallel session 2

Practice in Transliteracy – parallel session 1

What is transliteracy and what are the competencies?

Liveblog by Josie Fraser of the opening sessions at the Transliteracy Conference 2010

Defining Transliteracy

Sue Thomas took a broad and exploratory view of what 'transliteracy' means; it's more than reading and understanding but it does include these things.  It's certainly about an ability to deal with, absorb, attend to and perhaps produce, new thinking across multiple 'platforms'.  And I don't think in this case, we should interpret 'platform' in a purely technical sense, as would be tempting.  But the metaphor of a platform is interesting to think about.

Kate Ashton of UWE is interested in 'polyphonic narrative' and talks of ways of using ethnographic techniques and the use of transliteracy; she showed video of people in Africa using an interface that is controlled using the same keyboard commands used in vide gaming.  She says "this is quite difficult for an anthroplogist, but my daughter who plays games would have no problems navigating this content".  She's interested in polyphonic narrative.

She shows a video of Wendy James; this is rare footage apparently as Wendy does not 'do interviews'. 

Much of the footage she is showing is taken in refugee camps and the videos range from people deeply affected by the events they have experienced, to more reflective speaking and story-telling and children playing games and dancing.  All this material is navigated using new types of interface and ways of presenting the material.  The importance of context is stressed – and the need to understand where the material will be seen and used.

The common thread from both Sue's and Kate's presentations that I found really thought-provoking is what 'context' means and how it can be interpreted and perhaps acknowledged.  Kate thought that we were livestreaming or broadcasting the event (we're not) but there is a video being shot by Ash from De Montfort University.  She said that, while she might show some of the video to a small audience, she wasn't comfortable, because of some of the issues described were too sensitive.  And she obviously didn't think they were suitable to go out over the internet.  And there we have a take on 'context'.

There were also parallels in the two talks of what 'attention' and 'hyper attention' might mean.  What I think would be useful is more thinking on whether we can really divide our attention successfully across multiple platforms.  There was some mention of this being a 'generational' thing but both Sue and Kate didn't really see that this was an issue – and that it's about competence not generation.