72nd World Science Fiction Convention: Diversity in Speculative Fiction: Digital Comics Panel (Call for Papers)

#Loncon3 logo

Yesterday I posted on the Comics Grid blog a call for papers for a digital comics panel to take place within the Academic Programme of Loncon 3, 72nd World Science Fiction Convention.

I have copied and pasted the call below.

Call for Papers

Diversity in Speculative Fiction: Digital Comics Panel

Loncon 3, 72nd World Science Fiction Convention

Thursday 14 to Monday 18 August 2014, London, UK



The academic programme at Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, is offering the opportunity for academics from across the globe to share their ideas with their peers and other convention attendees.

To reflect the history and population of  the host city, London, United Kingdom, the theme of the academic programme is “Diversity”.

This is a call for academic papers on digital comics. Proposals are particularly welcome on the works (and adaptations of the work) of the Guests of Honour, London as a location and under-represented areas of research in digital comics, particularly those fitting within the ‘speculative fiction‘ label.

By digital comics we mean any comics (printed or not) making uses of digital technologies, as well as media-specific comics made to be read on digital devices (online comics, webcomics, motion comics, mobile comics). Examples of these may include, but are not limited to:

  • Digital comics: media, medium, form, genre?
  • Digital comics and market diversity in the comics publishing industry
  • Digital archives of comics and questions of digitisation and preservation
  • London, geolocation, psychogeography and mobile comics
  • Connections between computer technologies and speculative fiction in digital comics
  • Adaptation, translation and transmediality in digital comics
  • Representation of alternative bodies, gender and sexual orientations in digital comics
  • Digital comics by black and ‘minority ethnic’ authors and publishers
  • Representation of characters of different ethnic origin in digital comics
  • Social class and digital comics: issues of access, representation, production
  • Approaches to non-English language digital comics

The deadline for submission is 31 December 2013.

Participants will be notified by 1 February 2014.

All presenters must have acquired convention membership by 1 May 2014.

Please read the Academic Programme’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Abstracts will be included in the Academic Programme Book, which will be available to download from the Loncon website, and selected papers might be invited for submission to an edited volume showcasing the diversity of scholarship in current academic research and The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship.

To propose a paper (presentations should not exceed 20 minutes), please submit a 300 word abstract to Ernesto Priego at Ernesto.Priego.1@city.ac.uk.

The Good Old Days: Charity Shop Music

Near Obsolescence: Charity Shop Music

“Everything comes from somewhere…”

-Paul Morley, Words and Music, 2003

Getting old is hard. It’s hard not to feel that when the stuff you love is becoming obsolescent you yourself are rushing to obsolescence. Suddenly we find our past left behind in charity shops. The stuff you bought once with much effort is suddenly there for a quid.

Recently someone left a sizeable collection of recent-ish, mint CDs in one of my (several) local charity shop. I had bought all of those CDs once in the past (not the same CDs, but the same, in a work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction kind of way), but due to several migrations they got lost along the way. As a record collector and frequent scavenger of second-hand and charity shops, I often wonder about previous owners, and the pieces of biographies they leave behind when they get rid of a collection.

This time around I took the opportunity of recovering some of these objects, that, even as compact discs, still hold on to the aura of valuable, meaningful objects, embedded with collective and individual memories. The newest of those CDs is from a decade ago, and boy, does that still feel like yesterday to me.

Anyway, I have made a ‘mixtape’ (many times in my life I used this word non-metaphorically) with some songs from some of the albums I found in the charity shop. There is nothing rare or ‘underground’ here (particularly for the UK context, pretty much the opposite) but where I come from some of these CDs were precious possessions to be treasured.

I have called this “The Good Old Days (Charity Shop Rock Sr Priego Set)”, and you can listen to it if you click here.

Meeting the Beholder Halfway

“…technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself. Above all, it enables the original to meet the beholder halfway, be it in the form of a photograph or a phonograph record. The cathedral leaves its locale to be received in the studio of a lover of art; the choral production, performed in an auditorium or in the open air, resounds in the drawing room.”

-Walter Benjamin, 1936

The other day walking down London’s Tottenham Court Road I was struck by the window displays at Heal’s. “Masterpieces”, read the blue lettering printed on the glass.

As part of the sofa displays, very large high-definition reproductions of Van Gogh, Rosetti… in the past such massive reproductions would have been either impossible or incredibly expensive to make.

Digitisation and large format digital printing suddenly announced here as the possibility of not only turning your home into a gallery– this has been going on for more than a century now, with both originals and reproductions of varying quality– but of enlarging art, reproduction as magnification. (Miniaturisation has had a longer tradition– art reproduced in postcards, t-shirts and the like, but high resolution digital files to be printed on plotters is fairly recent).  It all had the whiff of an aesthetic preference I tend to relate to drug lords or chain hotels, but hey.

At home I found a blog post on “Heal’s Reveals” (28 March 2013) about it:

At Heal’s, we like to think our sofas are works of art. Viewed from any angle, they are inspirational, sculptural artefacts created by master craftsmen. So that got us thinking… we decided to take some of our most iconic sofas and display them side by side with a complementary work of art – by the likes of Van Gogh, Gainsborough and Rosetti – exquisitely reproduced on large scale canvases by Surface View (creators of amazing bespoke interior print products). The result? Heal’s Masterpieces.

I thought these displays and the fact a company is dedicated to ‘creating bespoke interior print products’ that are giant enlargements of classic artworks was a poignant example of the decay of the aura of original art in the digital age. ‘The cathedral leaves its locale”: the religious image desacralised in its new digitally manipulated giant size, taken to the window display and presumably to the ‘drawing room’ of those whose budget and taste can afford it.

There is indeed an in-between-ness about this concept and images, the concept of department store sofa as a work of art, and the should we say arrogance of the technological power to reproduce, manipulate, enlarge, commoditise, turn into an interior design product. From outside the shop the displays and the images greet us back with our own reflection and the reflection of the city and its passerbys, here yet there, something but not quite that something that was supposed to be once, the promise of what meets us as beholders only ‘halfway’. ‘Masterpieces’: to this beholder, neither art nor interior design, niether here nor there.

I took some photos of the displays and I share them here with you. What would have Walter Benjamin written about them?

Heal's Masterpieces. Photo 1 by Ernesto Priego, taken 2013-04-02 17.23.55

Heal's Masterpieces. Photo 2  by Ernesto Priego, taken  2013-04-02 17.25.09

Heal's Masterpieces. Photo 3  by Ernesto Priego, taken  2013-04-02 17.24.08

At the British Library: Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference

 Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference

As many of you already know the Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences conference will take place the 1st and 2nd of July 2013 at the British Library in London.

I will participate within the second strand, titled “How exactly do you get your monograph published in open access?.” I will focus on issues around copyright and Creative Commons for HSS researchers.

I am honoured for the kind invitation; the whole programme (still being updated) is looking amazing!

At Roehampton: Digital Dissemination of Scholarship

University of RoehamptonOn Thursday 28th February 2013 my colleague Susan Greenberg and I will participate in an internal colloquium for students of the University of Roehampton’s Graduate School.

We will go from “where we are now” to “where we could be”, and will focus not only on digital dissemination of scholarship, but on “how to make it count”.

Susan and I will refer to our own experience as researchers to describe the far-reaching changes taking place in the way that scholars collaborate with each other and communicate with a wider public. Using recent case studies, we will look at repositories, open access journals, blogs, social media and alt-metrics.

An external site for Digital Cultures

Digital Cultures This week I set up a public blog for the Digital Cultures module Lyn Robinson and I are leading (City’s official page for it is here).

Creating a public blog is a simple way of having an external site (apart from the internal Moodle for registered students) where there can be some public record of what we are doing and who else is participating. It also offers, potentially, a way of tracking potential interest from those outside our institution.  You can visit the site and see who else is on board here.

Like all blogs and all courses these are works in progress, so changes are expected.

Joining City University London

City University London banner

It is my great pleasure to announce that in 2013 I will be joining the Department of Information Science at City University London as Lecturer in Library Science. I will be conducting research and teaching “New Publishing Models” and “The Digital Humanities” from term 2.

Words cannot fully describe how honoured I am to have been selected for this position; I’ll be joining the incredibly talented team led by Lyn Robinson and David Bawden at the Centre for Information Science (CIS).

Established within the School of Informatics at City University London, CIS is dedicated to research, teaching and scholarship of information science in the context of different domains and influenced by developing technologies. The Centre’s specific interests are in human information behaviour; information organisation; information history; foundations of the information sciences; and the idea of the information sciences as liberal arts. The Masters programmes have a focus on GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector issues; collection management; culture and heritage information and informatics; digital humanities; social informatics; and publishing.

For me personally it’s been a very long journey, and I would have not made it to this point without the help, encouragement and support of several colleagues, family and friends.

My most sincere thanks in particular to Melissa Terras and Claire Warwick, my supervisors at University College London; everyone at the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities; Willard McCarty and Andrew Prescott at King’s College London; Roger Sabin at the University of the Arts London and Euan Adie at Altmetric. I cannot mention here everyone whose help was essential: you know who you are. Thank you.

We are going through a period of profound transformation in Higher Education; recent developments in digital information technologies have brought to the fore the enduring relevance of Library and Information Science and related disciplines. These changes are also expressed through the new ways in which scholarly communications are taking place, and consequently in a transformation of academic culture as a whole, including the traditional methods of teaching, research and academic career assessment and professional development. I see my new appointment as a unique opportunity to continue engaging with these transformations from within.

I cannot wait to share my expertise in digital scholarship, cultural studies, publishing and the digital humanities with City LIS students and to continuing my research projects in collaboration with peers from several institutions inside and outside academia in the UK and abroad. I am very much aware of the incredible privilege and responsibility that this entails, and I look forward to facing the challenges and to creating new opportunities.

For once in a very long time the future looks bright and beautiful from here.

Happy new year 2013!

At the LSE Impact blog and Open Access Now


Open Acces Now banner

Social Sciences blog banner

My Altmetric blog post on the LSE Future of Academic Impact conference (7 December 2012) was  published as “Editor’s Choice” at Open Access Now (11 December 2012).

It was also published by the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog under the title “A new paradigm of scholarly communications is emerging: A report from the Future of Impact conference” (12 December 2012).

With many thanks to both publications and to Altmetric for allowing the reblogging of the piece.

For another report on the LSE event, see Dr David McGillivray’s Storify, “Narrating impacts in the Arts & Humanities” (12 December 2012).

Visualising #digitrans

Screenshot of a fragment of a #digitrans TAGSExplorer visualisation
Screenshot of a fragment of a #digitrans TAGSExplorer visualisation, 20/11/2012 1:07 PM GMT

Yesterday I attended the Digital Transformations Moot organised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in London. My colleague Sarah Quinnell and I participated in the ‘Yack Space’ with a ten-minute flash presentation on our Networked Researcher project. You can view our slides here.

This morning I used Martin Hawksey‘s TAGSExplorer to create a visualisation of a Google spreadsheet archive of the #digitrans tweets. You can view it here.

By tweaking the visualisation’s URL you can also see the nodes connected by @ mentions and @ replies, here.

And if you want to push your browser to the limit and see web entanglement in full effect, the archive can also visualise RTs (here).

Note that the visualisation is in fact an interactive, searchable arhive. You can click on nodes to find out more and also search by keyword.

The Google spreadsheet archive was created once the event had finished (this morning around 9:00am GMT) and it updates itself every fifteen minutes. Nevertheless since the RL event officially concluded last night we can argue most of the event’s backchannel tweets have been collected. At the time of writing this post the archive had collected 1517 unique tweets:

#digitrans archive summary with top 20 tweeters
 #digitrans archive summary with top 20 tweeters. Screen shot taken 20/11/2012 12:48 PM GMT.

As expected most of the tweets were posted during the day of the event (19 November 2012), with some activity some days before and the day after:

#digitrans tweet volume over time graph
 #digitrans tweet volume over time. Screenshot taken 20/11/2012 12:54  PM GMT.

The top tweeters were divided between the organisers, speakers and attendants:

#digitrans top tweeters percentages pie chart
#digitrans top tweeters percentages. Screenshot taken 12:53 PM GMT.

I have found Martin Hawksey’s tool very useful to collect, archive, visualise and analyse Twitter activity, particularly academic conference backchannels. It offers a way of revealing the intrinsically networked and social (as in, involving human interaction) nature of a Twitter’s stream data.

As a form of data mining and distant reading, visualising archives of Twitter backchannels (and therefore networks) can be a useful way of demonstrating an event’s public impact and of discovering key participants, topics, sentiment and links.

At the AHRC’s Digital Transformations Moot

Networked Researcher logo

AHRC logo

Sarah-Louise Quinnell and I will be presenting Networked Researcher at the AHRC’s Digital Transformations Moot, taking place Monday 19 November 2012 in The Mermaid Centre London. We will be participating in the ‘Yack Space’ talking about Networked Researcher for ten minutes from 12:30PM.