Research Seminar. November-December 2010, Coventry University

Department of Media and Communication – Coventry University
Term 1 – Open Media –
Digital Media have become ubiquitous. Our experiences are on the verge of being mediated and augmented non-stop via mobile and web-based recording devices which offer the possibility to merge, mix, and mash up texts, images, sound and other data formats. In the digital age we seem to be no longer confined by the boundaries that have governed traditional media. Notions of authorship, expertise, authority, stability, ownership and control from above are being challenged by the prosuming multi-user and crowd-sourced use of borderless multimedia applications. People can produce and publish their own books via, promote their art on online gallery sites, and advertise their music via Myspace and Youtube. They can follow an education via iTunesU, call friends abroad via Skype for free, connect and update the world via Facebook and Twitter and fund projects via Kickstarter.
These developments have led many to claim that the web and digital media offer unprecedented democratizing options for media producers, consumers and critics. However, reality is more complicated. Many (public and tax-funded) media are still behind pay-walls. Our private data are hosted and distributed via commercial social media platforms. Blogs are still not taken seriously in the academic world. Google is digitizing our books. Music mash-ups are sued for copyright infringement and fears for ebook piracy rule the literary world.
The concept of openness forms a radical critique against the closed-off worlds of what we might call the ‘traditional media’. It urges for the right to transparency, the ethics of sharing, the value of re-use and the benefits of connecting. However, openness also has its drawbacks. If cultural products are freely available, who pays the producers? Do open data pose security risks and who gets to control these data? Who governs our creative output? In what way can we control and keep check on the media we use? Is there still a place for authority and expertise in open media or are these notions explicitly being challenged? In which way can media be open, and can they really be truly open? Where does openness end or should we focus on aspects of openness? How can we compose a media critique when media are constantly updated and changed, including our critique itself?
In this lecture series various examples of aspects of openness in media will be explored. Special attention will be given to what the benefits and drawbacks of openness are and what kind of possibilities openness offers for the future of media production, use and critique.
Seminars from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Unless otherwise stated in RCG25 (Richard Crossman Building) 44 Jordan Well Coventry CV1 2, UK
Tuesday 9th November
Federica Frabetti (Westminster Institute of Education) – Open Software and Digital Humanities
Tuesday 23th November
Mafalda Stasi (Coventry University) – Transmedia and fan cultures
Tuesday 30th November
Shaun Hides and Peter Woodbridge (Coventry University) – Open Source Education: A radical case for the Arts and Humanities
Thursday 9th December
Daniel Rourke (Goldsmiths, University of London) – Errors in Things and the «Friendly Medium»
Note: in ET 130 (Ellen Terry Building) Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5FB