Podcast talk-fest at Create World 2008

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase, source unknown

I spent a few days recently at the Apple University Consortium (AUC) Create World held at Griffith U in Brisbane Australia. I was part of a podcast team headed by Allan Carrington and Ian Green from Adelaide University.

I managed to get some interviews with various presenters and participants in conference sessions, and thought I’d link to the interviews that I did right here.

  • The Importance of Being Earmarked. Brett Muray talks about crafting an interactive theatre piece where a ‘booby-trapped’ set responded to light, movement and sound.
  • iTunesU: the growing fan club. Lorraine Harker on the good stuff about using one of Apple’s new services for higher education in Australia and NZ.
  • Second Life as an arts education environment. Jason Zagami on the results of a study into the use of Second Life to teach arts concepts to pre-service primary school teachers.
  • Gaming? Consider the Possibilities. Luke Toop talks about the way online games can be turned into learning environments.
  • Cinematic Theatre. Marwell Presents (Steven Maxwell and Brad Jennings) talk about their productions and the conventions used in what they call ‘cinematic theatre’ or the blending of live action and video.
  • Using iWeb as a tool for e-portfolios. Jenny Mundey talks about the way pre-professionals in training can prepare their portfolios to show their ability to reflect upon their professions-to be.

There are lots more of course done by Allan and Ian as well as from Cat Hope from Edith Cowan University in WA. Check out the podcast program of AUC Create World 2008 blogsite here.

It was a talk-fest all right, just the way a conference should be. Why not extend the chat. Add your ideas and comments on the blog or as they say, ‘Be part of the wisdom.’

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AUC Create World Conference 2008

There’s the whiff of conferences in the air right now. Monday starts the 3rd annual AUC (Apple University Consortium) Create World Conference at Griffith University in Brisbane. I’ll be working with a team of podcasters headed by Alan Carrington from the University of Adelaide. We will be gathering comment not just from presenters and performers, but from everyone there. We’ll edit and produce episodes daily and beam them out, so stay tuned for contact details.  If you’re interested in some up to date, cool reporting from Create World and keen to contribute, your comments would of course, be most welcome.

Create World is a conference designed to bring together higher ed creative types … performers, composers, film-makers, games designers, visual artists and musicians … all using (mostly) Apple digital technology. I’m tipping there will be a slew of iPhones, MacBook Pros and Airs on display in the auditoriums this year; last year the few iPhones seen were largely in stealth mode … the iPhone hadn’t officially arrived in Oz.

One of the delights of academe is getting to create great titles and sub-titles for papers and conferences. This one is no exception: The Art of Serious Play; the Serious Art of Play – Curiosity, Creativity, Craft and Connectedness in the Digital Age. Phew! Anyhow, the week’s programme of workshops, keynotes, performances, and presentations look to be stimulating and FUN. You can check them out on the conference webpage.

I’ll be gathering the rest of the news that’s fit to print, and most probably sending out updates on Twitter @Dramagirl. How could I not; Twitter is the cool new kid on the block at conferences. And to think a year ago at this same conference I went public in saying I didn’t see much value in it. We hadn’t even invented hashtags at that time. Ah well.

You can find the Create World podcast blog here. All sessions should be uploaded by December 20. Do drop by, listen to the follow-up commentary from presenter and audience and leave a text or voice comment.

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Three out: serial commas, barcamps, and babies eating lemons

TARDIS

Image by benleto via Flickr

And on the 20th day, they clicked three times before they rested. Who thought this one up? The 31 Day Comment Challenge became silly today with Three Links Out. We had to go to a familiar blog, click on a link, click on another link there and after landing and dusting off, look around and leave a comment. What did I find?

Well it all got surreal to be honest. On the first couple of blogs the links came to a grinding halt just two clicks out … dead end stuff. PS, lots of blogs don’t have Blogrolls, so you have to plough through postings to find a likely link. So, back I went to ground zero … my own Blogroll. From here I decided to go a blog premised on good design and great ideas, and find where that led. OK. Here I went again, feeling a bit like Doctor Who in the Tardis. You know the bit where he jiggles all the levers and doesn’t know where he’s landed till he emerges blinking into the sun/moon/other light of a planet somewhere.

TARDIS

Image by benleto via Flickr

And on the 20th day, they clicked three times before they rested. Who thought this one up? The 31 Day Comment Challenge became silly today with Three Links Out. We had to go to a familiar blog, click on a link, click on another link there and after landing and dusting off, look around and leave a comment. What did I find?

Well it all got surreal to be honest. On the first couple of blogs the links came to a grinding halt just two clicks out … dead end stuff. PS, lots of blogs don’t have Blogrolls, so you have to plough through postings to find a likely link. So, back I went to ground zero … my own Blogroll. From here I decided to go a blog premised on good design and great ideas, and find where that led. OK. Here I went again, feeling a bit like Doctor Who in the Tardis. You know the bit where he jiggles all the levers and doesn’t know where he’s landed till he emerges blinking into the sun/moon/other light of a planet somewhere. Continue reading “Three out: serial commas, barcamps, and babies eating lemons”

Passion and Presentation

Updated: Mar 1 2008 Garr Reynolds has written on many topics that strike a chord with me. This from his blog Presentation Zen extends something that I touch on in the last couple of paragraphs of my post from 30 November 2007. This is how he Reynolds finishes his post Please read it all. It’s well …. inspirational.
Inspiration Matters

(1) Never apologize for your enthusiasm, passion, or vision.
(2) Never apologize for being inspired by another human being.
(3) Seek out inspiration (don’t wait for it).
(4) Inspire others by sharing your talents and time.
(5) And no matter what: Don’t let the bozos grind you down, ever.

The world needs more inspiration, not less. Speaking is not the only way to inspire—actions inspire too, often more—but leaders know how to inspire with both words and action.

This is the last for now in a series of three recent reflections on presentations. I’ve just come off an intensive conference schedule, where the consumption of presentations is the order of the day. It takes a robust constitution to sit and consume, and a focussed approach to deliver the goods to an audience, which hour by hour is finding it harder and harder to concentrate … and to remember what’s being said. Heck, even my handwriting fell apart by day 3.

Much has been written here and elsewhere on the design and delivery of the slideshow accompaniment of a presentation. These are almost now de rigeur during presentations, and I know that many of our students have come to expect the ‘power point presentation’ to be available as ‘lecture notes.’ I’m not going into this right now; I certainly do not believe that a slideshow has to be part of any presentation, though it is certainly an extremely useful way to generate interest and deliver material to an audience. This time, I want to talk about the human factor in the equation, which for me will always be the most important.

Basics: audience contact, being seen, being heard. Probably no excuses these days and certainly not at this conference for omissions on the above. The audience were well lit as were the presenters, and the auditorium was a nice size, so making eye-contact … itself a key part of personal communication strategies … was possible. Presenters were hooked up via a great mic system being EQd by a top team of techs, so no problems there either. If you can’t be seen or heard, or don’t make an attempt to contact your audience, kiss the learning experience goodbye. But basics aside, what works, what doesn’t? It’s the way the presenters engage with their topic and then present it. Call it the passion factor if you like. The audience will get it, if you get it. Get it?

Seriously, I have sat through many lectures and presentations often unrelated to my own discipline field, in which the engagement by the presenter with the material was what made the session for me. I remembered often how, not what a person has said, and it was his or her passion for the topic that sparked a reaction in me. Did I always gallop away to read up on quantum physics or colonial history? Not necessarily … but it got my imagination spinning on something not unrelated to how people engage with learning and communicate their humanity. And yes, sometimes I even read further on the topic. When it is related to my field, then it’s more than mere consumption … a good presentation is going to have an exponential effect on my learning.

So the presentations that work and have worked for me … even when the presenter read a paper (and not very well … too fast, no ‘keying’ of words and phrases to guide my listening) with head down, and little eye-contact … were those infused with a passion or deep felt care for the subject. These are the presentations I recall. Yes, I enjoy the slick slides, and all the paraphenalia of 21st century media that can back you up, but gimme the person and the passion at the core every time.

Aloha Create World 2007

It’s been a great few days. The conference dinner (in the time-honoured way of conference dinners) got more of the chat flowing along with the sauvignon blanc and shiraz. It’s always good to make new connections … yes, social networking does happen outside FaceBook. I ended up having a couple of days getting to know a colleague who works down the corridor from me. We very rarely have time to chat in the way did these past few days; too busy … you know the drift. Upshot is we’re sketching out some tentative plans to engage in a research project next year.

The final Keynote of the conference was delivered by Sue Baker (VCA Melbourne). It was a firmly delivered look at the status of art schools as part of a new culture economy in the information age … in fact that was the title. Although her comment referenced visual art schools in particular, there was much that was appropriate across the disciplines, with their ‘porous edges’ especially in interdisciplinary centres such as the new model art schools emerging in universities.

I liked Sue’s idea of the entrepreneurial practitioner taking charge of her career as the equivalent of ‘start-up companies’ in the business world. In a paper that ranged widely around the arts economy, I found much to ponder in the notion of the emerging ‘experience economy’ tied as it is to what customers are now seeking. Beyond high quality product provision, it includes experience and action as part of the transaction; it’s found particularly in ‘image based’ product branding (there’s that word again!). Enter art as part of the provisioning process. Fascinating stuff this.

My one and only hands-on lab session was a most useful Creative Commons workshop. More useful material for those of us getting our material ‘out there’ and for encouraging our student ‘start-up companies’ to explore. And finally the round table which I live-blogged (in the last post below). Reading back over it, it seems a bit scattered at times, definitely a sense of flowing conversation rather than paraphrased, edited comment. Different, and a bit like dispatches from the field. For someone who has been engaged in writing my own discipline’s EBP for the RQF (acronyms, acronyms) it was good to hear colleagues thrashing out the challenges, and challenging the whole auditing process demanded by the (now former) federal government. Will this bureaucratic exercise change with a change of government, or is the juggernaut too big to stop. I suspect we will soldier on, having spent thousands of hours collectively in preparing this material, only to have it filed away somewhere in a Canberra vault. We’ll see.

And then it was all over for another year. New contacts, good ideas, stimulation, good food and company … what conferences are about.

RQF Round Table

August 2009: This was my first, and so far, only attempt at live-blogging. Phew! Can I say how great it is to have Twitter these days to keep up!

A live blog post from the final round table session. Sue Baker (VCA and Chair of ACUADS), Brad Haseman (QUT Creative Industries), Pat Hoffie (GU Queensland College of Arts), Nick Oughton (GU Film School), and Huib Schippers (GU-Queensland Conservatorium), chaired by Roly Sussex (UQ).

Sue Baker’s hopeful take was for creative arts academics to step up and join in the RQF process. Pat Hoffie seemed to take the how do you value art approach.  Nick Oughton spoke on behalf of the film industries and the systems for developing the capturing of metrics as part of the portfolio preparation. Huib Schippers picked up on Pat’s comments on artist’s defensiveness to be categorised as researchers. He spoke on impact, process. He noted the way arts works in a similar paradigm to that of science, via labs. Sources for our ‘information’ and intuition about the tools and the direction of our research is difficult to footnote. Journal articles are not the most appropriate output for our research. What we have to do when we submit is to make clear what the research output is in order to make the case. He noted the rise of the digital media as an assistance in presenting non-linear research outcomes (DVD, websites etc.) Impact and payback lie in the spheres of policy, professional practice, economic, social, cultural and the environment.

Brad Haseman decided to weave through an improvised response on a ‘healthy’ research life. He noted the clear protocols set down by the research industry, and which we are required to embrace. Serious, proper methods are needed. That’s the hygiene. Your findings are expected to be reported in particular forms. He also noted the wider, larger zeitgeist. He put the question whether or not the old order was appropriate for accommodating the ‘mess’ and the new form needed. If you are going to have a research process that can accommodate the new ‘mess’ perhaps we are the ones to make the new research paradigm with expert improvisation, assembling as we go. The new researcher needs an adroitness and flexibility with open ness, provisionality the markers of the new methodology. The key capacity is heightened reflexivity, in order to work as a contemporary researcher in the creative arts. The problem may only become clear at the end of the journey. We need to be aware of the multiplicity of our methods of practice. These become the methods of research (document along the way), not necessarily those of the old order. There is also a need to be aware of the multiplicity of truths (politics, ethics, spirituality etc), and the multiplicity of reporting forms. We need forms of material reporting that are suited to the practice of our artforms.

Sue Baker noted the RQF as an accounting exercise by the government and as an auditing process. We must be sure that we are not making judgment on the quality of art which is publicly funded, but to keep clear about what it is we are doing.

Comments and Observations from the audience:

difficulty of valuing art … verification and value of art is extremely difficult. (Resp) Peer review is probably the best principle of ‘judging’ the quality of work. (SB)

(PH) Voiced concerns about peer review being the best if a flawed method of assessing work. It is flawed with DEST and state and federal agencies. She noted the test of time as being the one that lasts. (SB) Noted the way creative arts have been vexed by the proxy mentality i.e., they should have been more ‘scientific.’ (BH) If we are not part of the conversation, our contribution will not be understood. Publication and methodology in the creative arts has not been ‘healthy.’ We need to get to the research table. Creative artists can unpack what they do methodologically, and we need to embrace the questions of quality. We can do it for the RQF. How do we make peer review work? That’s the big issue. (PH) Yes we need to be present at the research table, but the way we come to the table is through our own agency not as mendicants. The process of self-censorship has been profound. The process of the arts is vital … arts are loved because they are different. (HS) Noted that the full breadth of research needs to be looked at with a variety of paradigms being applied to research process and evaluation. (NO) Noted that the arts have had a huge impact on the history of human beings … art is part of what the meaning of being human is. He noted the way screen researchers are attempting to position themselves in their field.

Q . How is Australia doing compared with international artistic practice as research. (HS) Compared with UK results (10 years in the making). There is no sign in the UK or NZ of measuring research impact, so we ahead.

Q. Any universities have a model for rewarding practice? Melbourne, Edith Cowan, USQ, dropped at QUT. Noted as an incentive for staff. (SB) Noted reporting important for capacity building and developing a research culture.

Roly Sussex winding up noted that RQF had provided the opportunity for creative arts to establish themselves at the research table, and the importance of being heard. Noted the diversity of research methodologies by some: ‘performing the outcome of your research is almost an oxymoron.’ Synergies between the creative arts and other disciplines are capable of being played out in many interesting ways.