[blog migration]

Blogger isn't supporting ftp anymore (arg!) so I'm in the process of migrating the blog...well, I really just want to redirect the blogspot url to my usual jesslaccetti.co.uk/musings.htm address...

hopefully this works...


[experimental society conference: lancaster]

International conference: The Experimental Society, Lancaster University, 7-9 July 2010

Experimentation, with its distinctive way of joining action and knowledge, has played a crucial role in the culture and politics of modern society, but one that has a number of contradictory strands.  In one strand, experimentation is associated with the opening up of the closed medieval universe into an open world of endless possibility.  This story would include the development of the arts as an autonomous space for free exploration, and practices of social, cultural and political experimentation that invent new ways of living.  It had perhaps its leading advocate in Friedrich Nietzsche, with his notion of life as a continuous experiment, but in the contemporary world it is also manifested in the everyday creativity (de Certeau) with which people experiment ‘casually’ with new forms of humanity, technology, space, economic exchange and political participation (Hayles, Stelarc, Soja, Ghosh, Rheingold, Lury).  

 Yet the dominant strand to the modern experiment has surely been that of experimental science, which from the 17th century offered to solve the problem of social dissensus by putting all truth claims to public test, thereby replacing the received certainties of traditional society with the new certainties of objective facts and natural laws (Shapin, Schaffer, Toulmin).  In performing the split between nature and culture that Bruno Latour calls the ‘modern constitution’, the experiment thus started its long relationship with social ordering, technology and power, which has helped to legitimise the instrumental paradigm of modern political action (Ezrahi), drive forward the grand projects of 20th century high-modernist statecraft (Scott), and shape the contemporary world of evidence-based policy, clinical trials and audits.  Critiques of this development include early warnings about the iron cage of instrumental rationality (Weber), twentieth century unease about technocracy and the scientisation of politics (the Frankfurt school) and autonomous technology (Ellul, Winner), and contemporary concern about the proliferation of states of exception in which experimental subjection and the reduction of the human to ‘bare life’ becomes the norm (Agamben).

It is time to ask whether the experiment is now too complicit with power to act as a carrier of the hopes of (post)modernity, or whether its emancipatory potential can be renewed through a sustained inquiry into the different forms that it takes in science and technology, in the arts and in wider culture. If experimentation and innovation have become too integrated with imaginaries of technological control, and thereby with consequent externalisations (Wynne and Felt), then further large questions arise not only for politics, but also for environmental sustainability.
However, any such project also needs to be sensitive to ways in which the key role played by experimentation in the ordering of society seems to be shifting away from the special to the general experiment – from the experiment as a bounded episode situated in time and space, to a generalised, performative experimentality.  Driven by pervasive informationalisation, we can observe a number of interlinked trends, including: the acceleration and proliferation of feedback loops between action and reaction; the displacement of fixed structures by networks and dissipative structures; the abandonment of fixed goals for continuous repositioning; and the carrying out of knowledge-work in the context of application.  Such trends can be observed in domains as disparate as science and innovation, network-centric digital warfare, finance capitalism, product design, software engineering, new media and popular culture.  Do these add up to a systemic transformation of how society is being ordered? Are humans no longer in control of their experimental ‘projects’, and what does this mean for our conceptualisation of the human and of politics?  Does this create the conditions in which a new kind of experimental society might be possible? How might we imagine this, and perhaps influence its form?
This three-day international conference is the culmination of Lancaster’s year-long research programme Experimentality, which in six two-day workshops and a range of arts events in the North West has been exploring the varieties and transformations of experimentation.  It will draw on the inquiries held in these events: into experimentation and eventality, into the forms of subject and object implicated in experimentation, into the experimentality of matter itself and into the social and spatial organisation of experimentation in urban life.  It will draw on recent work on experimentation as having its own logic (Hacking), as being shaped into experimental systems which produce novelty and surprise (Rheinberger), as involving pervasive everyday improvisation (Ingold), as brought to closure in different ways (Galison) and as enacted in different experimental spaces or 'truth-spots' (Gieryn).  It will bring together scholars from a range of disciplines, and practitioners from different spheres of social life, to set out and debate different diagnoses and visions of the experimental society.  It will be an interdisciplinary, collaborative exploration of the power of experimentation to shape the future. 
Questions to be pursued in the conference will include the following:
  • Is experimentality becoming a key trope of contemporary society?  Is it taking new forms, and if so with what implications? 
  • How can we learn from the differences between the modes of experimentality operating within science, the arts and wider culture?
  • How do notions of experimentality intersect with other dominant notions of social change, such as societal reflexivity, liquidity, knowing capitalism, cosmopolitanism, mobility and complexity?
  • What dangers to human freedom are posed by new, experimental forms of power?
  • If a shift is occurring in modern society's ontology, so that ‘society’ is itself becoming self-interrogating, what does this mean for the social sciences? 
  • How can the power to shape our socio-technical future be distributed more evenly in society?  Can people and publics appropriate 'the experiment' so that it operates as an engine of human freedom harnessed to the task of building a common world, rather than as a tool of power?
  • If modern society is implicated in, perhaps dependent upon, forms of uncontrolled, unintended or blind experiment, what forms of regulatory ordering might be required? 
Plenary speakers will include:
·        Ulrich Beck (London School of Economics)
·        Dieter Daniels (Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig)
·        Bülent Diken (Lancaster University)
·        Silvio Funtowicz (European Commission Joint Research Centre)
·        Josephine Green (Social Innovation, Philips Design)
·        Tim Ingold (University of Aberdeen)
·        Scott Lash (Goldsmiths, University of London)
·        Helga Nowotny (European Research Council)
·        Jerome Ravetz (University of Oxford)
·        Gísli Pálsson (University of Iceland)
·        James Wilsdon (Royal Society)
For further information and to book a place please go to http://www.lancs.ac.uk/experimentality/event/international-conference-experimental-society

If you have a query please contact:
Anne-Marie Mumford
Institute for Advanced Studies
County South
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD, UK
Email: a.mumford@lancaster.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 1524 510816
Fax: +44 (0) 1524 510857



[digital transformation school]

The International School on Digital Transformation
July 25-30
Porto, Portugal
Extended deadline for applications: May 10

Applications are now open for the second annual International School on
Digital Transformation, to be held July 25-30, 2010, at the University of
Porto in Porto, Portugal. The School is accepting applications from advanced
students and recent graduates from around the world with an interest in
digital technology and the enrichment of civil society.

The International School on Digital Transformation is an intensive six-day
residential program, conducted in English and bringing together emerging and
established scholars and professionals from a variety of countries. During
the week, innovators in digital communications will serve as teachers and
mentors, presenting current projects and engaging in discussion. Presenters
and students will be regarded as peers during the School.

Students of the School will have the opportunity to develop and apply
research design skills to projects important to civil society. Consisting of
approximately 30 students and 15 faculty members, the School seeks to create
an atmosphere of scholarly collegiality, fostering dialogue among diverse
perspectives including those of design, policy, and research backgrounds.
The daily schedule will include time for presentations, workshop-style
collaboration, and informal brainstorming sessions among faculty and


[edmonton life]

It has been 10 months of first-time home ownership and 11 months since we moved from England to Edmonton. Gosh, lots has happened in that time (new jobs, travels, friends, marriage, a baby on the way...) but what we've been really enjoying is settling into our new ( 6 year old) home. Not only have we now been excited about organising a nursery for the little one on the way, but over the last ten months, just doing the routine house maintenance hasn't been a chore but a pleasure. At last we're no longer renters and keeping someone else's abode in tip-top condition; it's our own.

Last summer (mid June), as soon as we took possession of the house, I set about planting some trees and bushes. I couldn't believe that the previous owners had lived here 6 years and hadn't planted one thing...not a flower, not a seed! I quickly found out what plants could withstand an Albertan winter and am so pleased to see that our trees have survived. I was warned that our delicate lilacs wouldn't make it (though I did pick ones that were grown in Alberta and hardy for our climate).

So far, our cherry tree, maple tree, red ash tree, lilac bushes and willow are doing well. I'm hoping the apple tree will show more signs of life soon but it is in the shadiest bit of the garden.

This summer (hopefully this weekend!) I plan to start my raised bed in which I'll grow veggies.

Besides gardening, we also wanted to get our back garden fully fenced in. For some reason the previous owners didn't bother bringing the side fences all the way to the back of the house to enclose the garden. Yesterday, a brilliant retired carpenter came and not only built us our fence, but added on two gates. I didn't want just one gate...then you're stuck in the garden on one side. This is how it looks now. We'll be able to stain the new addition in a week or so once the wood has dried out a bit more.

As you can see, there are four hinges on each gate. These are extra wide gates and the additional hinges offer that much-needed support. Also, a few of those beams on top of the gates will come off, they're there also to offer support while the cement (for the posts) dries.

And this is the view from the bottom of the garden:

And yes, there are a few patches of slow-growing grass...I have reseeded but this dry Alberta weather is not the best for grass. I'm actually looking forward to it raining!


[phd studentships: multidisciplinary new media learning]

KTH – The Royal Institute of Technology – in Stockholm, Sweden
School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC) seeks
3-6 PhD students in Human Computer Interaction and
1 PhD student in Media Technology

The department of HCI conducts research within Human Computer Interaction, which is the study of the interaction between humans and computerized technical systems. The subject is multi-disciplinary and embraces computer science methods and tools to design system functionality adapted to the user, human science theories and methods to understand, evaluate and improve computerized technical systems for human use. It also includes methodologies for design of interactive computer systems.

Anticipated specializations
1. Perceptualization
2. Processes of change
3. Mobile digital services
4. Visualization
5. Computer supported cooperation
6. E-learning

The Department of Media Technology and Graphic Arts is a multidisciplinary group focused on technology and methods for supporting human communication over distances in time and space. This includes a wide area of media, from printing and publishing to digital interactive media, from broadcast media to mobile social media. Our education and research also cover the implications and effects of using media technologies from human, social and design perspectives.

Anticipated specialization
7. E-learning

Application deadline: May 17, 2010

For more information, please visit:


[DMSC Governors Challenge Virtual Institute Summer 2010]

Participate in the DMSC Governors Challenge Virtual Institute Summer 2010 by submitting media from your students and faculty representing your institutions and by registering to judge the media during our Institute using our semantic assessment model.

We also ask you to kindly forward our link to your networks to help us recruit participants: our website is located at www.sandboxnetwork.org 

Essentially, Engaged Technology is a marriage of academic service learning/civic engagement and educational technology. Our method integrates active learning and action research in the process of building e.portfolios for students, faculty, institutions and communities based on validated multi-media and service equity.
Over the past four years of our academic media tournament, The Governors Challenge, we have evolved a guided system of:

1. Omni-disciplinary research and production of multimedia (text, audio, video and image),
2. Assessment with our semantic assessment instrument,
3. Analyze/Revise
4. Publish

Bringing those two resource bases together is an underlying design for our efforts. Partnering with the University of Virginia, UNC-CH, and Tennessee higher education, we will begin our Summer 2010 Virtual Institute for the fourth iteration of the Governors Challenge, which has been sponsored by FedEx Institute of University of Memphis, Apple Inc., Microsoft, emma, Echo, and Cisco, Tennessee Board of Regents, University of Tennessee systems and the Tennessee Campus Compact, among others.

Our vision of evolving partnerships would form a strong oversight body for an NCAA-like model of engaged scholarship. With multi-media conveying the content innovations created out of these partnerships and assessment provided from other stakeholders, personal learning spaces can be networked for capacity-building in many different areas and many different ways.

We seek to help evolve educational practice by reaching a broader talent pool of ‘flat-world outliers’ who want to create life/work options that leverage dreams, visions, and potential of heretofore silo-ed talent pools. This NCAA-like model of engaged scholarship embeds the guided learning system that will also function as a platform to engage local pre-k-12 public and private (including faith-based schools) systems to form P-20 Pathways for life-long learning.

Read more here


[digital literacy across the curriculum]

A superb find, sure to be of use to any educator. The pdf version is available as a free download from Futurelab.

By Cassie Hague and Sarah Payton, Futurelab

This handbook is aimed at educational practitioners and school leaders in both primary and secondary schools who are interested in creative and critical uses of technology in the classroom.

Although there is increasing policy and research attention paid to issues related to digital literacy, there is still relatively little information about how to put this into practice in the classroom. There is even less guidance on how teachers might combine a commitment to digital literacy with the needs of their own subject teaching. How can digital literacy be fostered, for example, in a maths or science lesson?

This handbook aims to introduce educational practitioners to the concepts and contexts of digital literacy and to support them in developing their own practice aimed at fostering the components of digital literacy in classroom subject teaching and in real school settings.
The handbook is not a comprehensive ‘how to’ guide; it provides instead a rationale, some possible strategies and some practical examples for schools to draw on. The first section details the reasons teachers should be interested in digital literacy and how it is relevant to their subject teaching. It looks at the increasing role of technology in young people’s cultures, the support they may need to benefit from their engagement with technology and the way in which digital literacy can contribute to the development of subject knowledge. The second section discusses digital literacy in practice and moves through a number of components of digital literacy discussing how these might be fostered in the classroom.

The handbook ends by looking at issues related to continuing professional development for teachers and the ways in which digital literacy can support whole-school initiatives.

It is teachers that are expert in their own school context, in the needs of their students and in the pedagogical techniques required to support learning. This handbook has been informed by the work of fourteen teachers who are interested in how technology is used in classroom teaching and who took part in Futurelab’s digital participation project. Rather than being prescriptive, it aims to provide information which will help teachers to make the best use of their own expertise to support students’ emerging digital literacy.


[fellowship opportunity at warwick]

Research Fellow
University of Warwick - Department of Film and Television Studies
£27,319 - £35,646 pa

This is an exciting opportunity to work on a major new project funded by the AHRC. You will assist the project investigators (Dr Rachel Moseley, Dr Helen Wheatley, (University of Warwick) Dr Helen Wood (De Montfort University) in the successful execution of the project, undertaking original research to explore television programming made for and watched by women viewers during this significant period. You will explore the production culture, policies and decision-making which have produced television programming for women in Britain in the specified period. You will also reconstruct and analyse the programming itself, contributing to a project that aims to establish and protect that programming available in the archives. Your research will address some of the gaps in existing histories of British television and will involve substantial time working in written and audio-visual archives in Britain. There is scope within this project for you to develop your own research themes within the bounds of the project.

You will have a PhD or equivalent experience in a relevant field, experience of conducting archival research and textual analysis of television programmes or similar, a developing profile of research publications, administrative experience or capabilities and a commitment to a feminist research agenda.

Fixed Term Contract for 36 months
Informal enquiries: Dr Helen Wheatley, Department of Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick e-mail: Helen.Wheatley@warwick.ac.uk or tel: 024 7657 3871

Interview date: w/c 31 May 2010

Read more about the post here.

Note: Image from Wikimedia.


[digital literacy and learning]

An interesting presentation on how to "restore" awe and fascination in learning using new media (there are some great ideas with augmented reality and geotagging). This definitely fits into the them of transliterate learning & pedagogy:


[wedding flowers]

I saw these and just *had* to get some. We had yellow and orange Gerbera Daisies at  our wedding last June...they're so cheerful. Love them!


[assistant prof: creative writing & english]

Be aware: the deadline is coming up - 15 May 2010

Dalhousie University

Location: Nova Scotia

The Department of English at Dalhousie University invites applications for a ten-month sessional position in Creative Writing and English at the Lecturer / Assistant Professor level, effective August 1, 2010, subject to budgetary approval. The successful applicant will teach primarily in Creative Writing but will also teach at the introductory level in English literature. The applicant should possess an MA or MFA in Creative Writing and have a strong publishing resume in Creative Writing, with at least two creative works published by reputable publishers. Preference will be given to those with experience in university-level teaching. Applications, which must include a complete curriculum vitae, a statement of writing and teaching interests, evidence of teaching effectiveness, as well as three confidential letters of reference forwarded by the referees, should be sent in hard copy to: 

Dr. Christina Luckyj
Department of English
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 4P9

The deadline for receipt of applications is May 15, 2010.

Note: Image from the English Department at Dalhousie. 


[20 rules for creativity]

1. The best way to get great ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.

2. Create ideas that are fifteen minutes ahead of their time...not light-years ahead.

3. Always look for a second right answer.

4. If at first you don't succeed...take a break!

5. Write down your ideas before you forget them!

6. If everyone says you're wrong, you're one step ahead. If everyone laughs at you, you're two steps ahead.

7. The answer to any problem "pre-exists." We need to ask the right question to reveal the answer. -Jonas Salk

8. When you ask a dumb question, you get a smart answer. -Aristotle

9. Never solve a problem from its original perspective.

10. Visualize your problem as solved before solving it.

11. All behavior consists of opposites...Learn to see things backward, inside out, and upside down. -Lao-tzu

12. Challenging an assumption can turn obstacles into opportunities.

13. If different shoes don't work, try looking at your problem from a helicopter...or a space ship.

14. Think like Nature. Ask "How would Nature solve this problem?" -Jonas Salk

15. Swipe from the best, then adapt. -Tom Peters

16. Make sure that the penalty for failure is not greater than the penalty for doing nothing.

17. Often it's the interesting part of an idea- not the positive or negative- that leads to innovation.

18. Writing down your ideas is like money in the bank.

19. Always start a sixty-minute meeting with a one- minute warm-up exercise.

20. Make friends with your shower. If inspired to sing, maybe the song has an idea in it for you. -A. Einstein

Ideas from here.

Note: Image from Wishful Thinking.


[new media academic assistant]

 Interesting...the University of Lethbridge is hiring an academic assistant in new media. It's a three-year term appointment but would be great for a recently finished ph.d or post-doc:

START DATE: July 1, 2010

QUALIFICATIONS: An M.F.A. with a concentration in digital media is the preferred degree. The University aspires to hire individuals who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and have potential to contribute actively in the Department of New Media and the Faculty of Fine Arts.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The successful candidate will be expected to teach core courses in interactive web development, digital video and New Media Foundations. This includes both creative and technical aspects of New Media production as well as the history and theory of New Media as it relates to contemporary culture and society. Other duties may be assigned depending upon the candidate's secondary expertise.

PROGRAM: The Faculty of Fine Arts, housed in the Centre for the Arts with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, offers degree programs in Art, Drama, Music and New Media within the liberal arts education context and focuses on excellence in teaching and research/creative activity.

APPLICATION: Candidates should submit an application describing interest in all areas of teaching expertise, along with a current curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching philosophy, current research program and /or samples of recent research/creative work, as well as arrange for three confidential letters of reference under separate cover from people who can assess teaching and research/ creative activity.

ADDRESS: Address applications to:
Dr. Desmond Rochfort, Dean
Faculty of Fine Arts
The University of Lethbridge
4401 University Drive
Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4
Tel: (403) 329-2155
Fax: (403) 382-7127 email: angela.luck@uleth.ca

DEADLINE: Applications must be received by the closing date of April 15, 2010.

Note: Image from University of Lethbridge.