Transliteracy 多媒体读写能力 at DAW Symposium, Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts

Duo Mei Ti Du Xie Neng Li

200px-Xi'an_-_City_wall_-_014 At the end of June I’ll be visiting China for the first time. I’ll be speaking at the DAW Symposium: Visions and Trends in Transdisciplinary Art and Science at the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts (XAFA). It promises to be a huge and very impressive event. I’m just one of many speakers from several countries and I’m really looking forward to meeting them as well as our Chinese colleagues. I’ve been learning a little Mandarin this year but not much went in, I have to admit, so I have a lot of revision to do before I leave.

I’d like to thank my colleague in the IOCT, Professor Hongji Yang, for very kindly working out a translation of the word ‘transliteracy’ for me in both characters and pinyin. I’ll be very interested to hear the view of other Mandarin speakers as to what this means to them.

I’m also keen to research metaphors of computing and the internet in China and very much hope I’ll be able to harvest a few for my growing collection.

Of course, various social media apps are blocked in China so I don’t know which I’ll use to journal my trip, but, time permitting, I will try to post some reports and pictures while I’m there.

Image from Wikipedia


Five Provocations – Kate Pullinger

I wrote this manifesto prior to attending ‘In(ter)ventions' at the Banff Centre in Canada; it
reflects my concerns as a writer who works in both print publishing and
digital fiction.  At Banff the focus of the conference was primarily on
the avant-garde and poetics; as a fiction writer my concerns, in this
context, felt more mainstream.  This itself was interesting – in the
world of book publishing I’m often seen as the futurist, the digital
advocate.  At Banff my concern with narrative and story positioned me as
a member of the non-avant old guard, a traditionalist.  This is an
observation, not a complaint – I found the conference hugely useful and
completely fascinating

1.  We need to talk about money.  Some of us reside
inside the academy, some of us reside outside the academy; some of us
get grants for our work, some of us do not.  Writers need to be
thinking hard about how to protect our revenues across all platforms. 
As publishing is shaken up by the new technologies, writers need to be
proactive, involved in the on-going discussions about developing fair
terms and new business models.

2.  Writers, publishers, and teachers need to get their heads out of
the sand:  the digital future is already here and we
risk becoming dinosaurs, as well as ostriches, if we don’t engage with
the multitude of possibilities for storytelling offered to us by the new

3.  Stop talking about ebooks. Ebooks are boring. 
Convenient, practical, destined to become one of the ways we read, but
boring, as counter-intuitive as placing the text of the latest
blockbuster novel on a television screen.  The Google Book project,
which sees the world’s leading libraries collaborating in secret with a
giant corporation, effectively pulling the copyright rug out from under
our feet, is either our best friend or our worst enemy or both; however,
the Google Book project, along with rapid developments in ereaders, has
ensured that the book, as a digital file, will remain at the heart of
our culture for the foreseeable future.  So stop talking about ebooks. 
There’s a new world of media-rich literature around the next corner;
reading on screen has huge potential to enhance the way we tell stories,
and to expand our audiences in new directions. 

4.  Always remember that human culture is highly visual.  The first
non-oral form of storytelling was cave-painting – the original
powerpoint presentation.  The dominance of film and television as
storytelling forms in the twentieth century demonstrate that as soon as
we are able to use pictures to tell stories, we do.  Literature must
reckon with this fact.  As technology enables us to carry rich media in
our pockets we need to find ways to make writing – good writing –
relevant to new generations of readers.  If we take the long view of the
history of storytelling, are plain old words on the page –
fixed-type print – an historic anomaly? 

5.  Good writing – and by this I mean writing that
demonstrates the love of language, of a good sentence, a well-turned
phrase, the power of words, writing that rewards re-reading – must
survive, regardless of platform or media
.  It’s up to us to
make sure that happens. 

This was first posted on my blog at

Transliteracy Slideshow by Bobbi Newman

I heard about this site via a Google Alert. Librarian Bobbi Newman writes
"I haven’t been able to stop thinking about transliteracy and how important the concept is for libraries and librarians. I’ve created a slideshow I hope conveys the message and is easy to share." She's produced a page of information about transliteracy and a really good slideshow. Thanks to Bobbi for allowing me to share it here.

Transliteracy at Beyond Boundaries, 22 Sept 2009, Loughborough University

Today I ran a workshop on Transliteracy at
Beyond Boundaries: Facing interdisciplinary challenges in humanities A conference for postgraduate students in the East Midlands 
It was an interesting and thought-provoking event, and especially good to see such a mix of disciplines in one place. In my workshop there was a doctor retraining to be a forensic scientist, a linguistics specialist, a librarian, a computer scientist, and artists working in quite a few different fields. They drew some great diagrams of their personal networks and the literacies to be found within them, and we had a very illuminating discussion. I promised to share my somewhat basic slides, so here they are. Download Transliteracy workshop EMUA September 2009

Plus – as discussed in the workshop, Kate Hayles' provocative paper Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes (although personally I'm not sure I agree that it is relevant to age.)

Transliteracy Lecture

Transliteracy lecture by Sue Thomas from IOCT on Vimeo.

This talk is drawn from the article Transliteracy: Crossing Divides, written with my DMU colleagues and published at First Monday in December 2007. I've presented it numerous times over the last year and now have this video version. But be warned – the lecture covers a lot of ground and it's 42 minutes of me talking, so not for the faint-hearted. Maybe one day I'll have time to slice it into bite-size chunks but for the moment I'm afraid there's only this long version. It was delivered to a mixed group of postgraduate students from the Online
MA in Creative Writing & New Media, the IOCT Master's degree, and
students working on Music Technology, in the IOCT on October 24th, 2008

Credit: the video was filmed and edited by Adam Weikert, IOCT.