Tag Archives: pdf

Digital Audience Development, courtesy of Inner Ear.

It was very good to see a large audience for the 2011 ‘Digital Audience Development‘ session at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Run by Inner Ear Ltd. again on Thursday 4 August, this was the second time I’ve seen them present ideas and case studies to help those who would like to use social media to spread the word about their work. The presenters were Dougal Perman (@dougalperman)and Anny Deery (@adeery).

Why the larger audience? Partly because the tools are more pervasive within the arts community I should imagine, but also because more people want to use them and are keen to learn. The fact that this event took place before the official start to the fringe made it all the more impressive: visiting artists should probably have been spending their time settling in, doing their tech rehearsals and buying waterproof jackets. Something that particularly impresses me about Inner Ear is their knowledge of the range of social tools available, with pretty well defined ideas about the strengths of each and when it could/should be employed by different users. There was a mixed audience for the event in terms of social media experience, but I think it’s likely that as time goes by they will find ever more savvy audience members who come to these sessions with their own ideas of what works in this space. To this end it’s great that those folk can tap into Inner Ear’s expertise just as effectively as the relative novices who need some guidance on where to start.

For a recommendation however I think there is scope for a follow up session on a more ‘workshop’ based level, where people can show and tell the methods and approaches that have worked for them. There’s no reason that this couldn’t still be set up for the 2011 Fringe, I’m sure it’s already taken place on a small scale many times over as people discuss stuff over a pint, but something more formal could be very rewarding for all.

To finish this post, as suggested by Dougal, you should find their presentation embedded into this blog just below (although it needs Flash). The slides are hosted on Slideshare and contain a heap of good ideas and suggestions.

View more presentations from Inner Ear

Refinements.

It’s a full 12 months, 365 days, since I turned a pile of dog-eared Post-It notes into the seed of a PhD idea, so a appropriate time to mark some recent thoughts. I hope this is going to be a brief post, responding in part to the #iDocQ conference I discussed in yesterday’s post.

Included below you’ll see the poster I put together for my talk: short on detail for two reasons… firstly that I don’t yet have much of substance to talk about (no clearly defined theoretical basis, no research methods), but also because this was displayed through a projector and viewed from distance. It borrows from my Pecha Kucha slides and raises some topics that I tried to justify in my talk; with the commentary they pose more questions than provide answers.

Three key pieces of audience feedback from my talk:
  • What is the research question? What’s the problem being addressed?
  • On what basis is the gap in the literature being identified? …that these two disciplines lack sufficient exploration, or that the debate needs to be moved on?
  • Establish a theoretical basis for the work: define the mental frame of reference within which questions, conclusions and recommendations can be addressed.

My general response to the second of these points is that sometimes I think I’ve hit upon a new area of research on which little has been said, which rapidly turns to ‘time to catch up’ when I stumble upon a trove of existing work. As for the first and third topics, they have formed the basis of the refinements flagged in the title above. The following statements are full of value judgements, links to Wikipedia and leaps of imagination, but that aside…

  1. Social capital is desired: it binds communities, fosters civil society (reciprocally), supports social and industrial innovation and so on.
  2. Social capital is tied to social networks: connections are made, mapped, maintained and these two concepts are mutually reinforcing, to the benefit of individuals, organisations and society.
  3. Festivals and events have a large role to play in supporting social networks and providing opportunities for the creation and application of social capital: its is through events that we meet others, gain their trust and invest in shared projects.
  4. Communications technologies and social media have a part to play in supporting festivals and events (planned and unplanned) in this work: event producers and other interested parties can take advantage of these technologies, reaching stated objectives on the basis of enhanced social capital in a given community and/or location.
  5. This will necessarily have an impact on the audience or delegate experience, to the extent that they are instrumental to the achievement of those social capital objectives and are asked (perhaps implicitly) to subscribe to them: audience members will bring their own agendas to the party, negotiating the degree to which their priorities fit those of the event organisers and their stakeholders.
  6. These negotiations will be mediated through real life meetings and communications technologies.

Which leads to the proposed research problem:

How can social media and communications technologies best facilitate the social networks and social capital that are created and sustained by festivals and live events?
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I’ve been having a quick look at some of the earliest posts on this blog, such as my round up of last year’s event management education conference at Leeds Met. The research question doesn’t stray from my thoughts coming out of that event, although to my eyes it’s a much more focused attempt to encapsulate the themes I’m interested in. A quick review of the research proposal submitted last December tells me much the same, so this is an evolution that can happily draw on the reading (and writing) I’ve done over the past year.

Speaking of which, my brief post has blossomed somewhat: I’ll prune that flower just here.

Late February round up of quick links, software and half-formed responses.

The limited nature of my engagement with Delicious is based on the idea that if I particularly like a website or want to keep a record of someone’s blog post I’ll note it on my own blog and add a little comment to remind myself what was so great about it in the first place. Fortunately it’s often self-evident what’s so great about the sites, as will hopefully be the case with the links below…
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When it comes to websites which capture the work of single person, ranging from academic to journalist to general polymath I’m particularly enamoured by Aleks Krotoski’s. She’s recently finished her 365 Flickr project to illustrate the opening three paragraphs of George Orwell’s 1984, some 369 words. It took a while to watch the slideshow, but if you’ve time look through some of images it’s very rewarding.
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This morning I finally made time to read Jennifer Jones’s post on writing tools, which these here thoughts build upon.

Scrivener has the potential to act as a traditional word processor, yet most of the comments I’ve read and watched compare it to old skool typewriters and extol its virtues as a much better fit for how we actually compile and write papers and other pieces of text. (See also Prezi and slideshows.) For longer documents the ease of use by which sections can be manipulated, moved and otherwise messed about with is impressive. I’m planning to give it a go by importing my PhD proposal, then waiting until I next have to write something of any length.

Jennifer’s post also links to her passionate piece on the joys of the Kindle. Its ability to let you carry so much around, comment on papers and PDFs, import and export documents is very appealing. Something to think about when the need arises and the wallet allows.

Mendeley gets another mention… something I should really get into, but I know all that!

It’s so valuable to have these software and hardware resources to draw on, yet even more so to be able to share the thoughts of others in similar situations. I’m sure it was ever thus in one form or another, but the joys of social media both expand that community and bring it closer together.
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On a similar theme is Ana Adi’s post on screen captures, based on web tools. There’s such a variety of options available to consumers these days that we’re truly spoiled for choice. This feels like it could be a golden age for technology and social media (before net neutrality comes under serious threat, again), or it could be just the beginning.
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Finally, a posting on my blog of a document which David McGillivray brought to my attention by adding it to his. 

The Online Learning Task Force’s Collaborate to compete is a call to arms for those keen to work between institutions within higher education. (The OLTF is HEFCE funded, though its recommendations are widely applicable.) I’ve commented on David’s post, but in short I think there’s much to be commended in their work from my perspective: meaning that I can see how their ideas would apply to me and current projects. I think a lot of what they’ve recommended is skewed towards what university executives should be doing to move their institutions towards a more collaborative future, ignoring to some extent the opportunities already open to academics to push things on themselves.

Who’s to say we won’t reach a time when fine intentions from above are met halfway by several years of experimentation and good practice from the coalface. Collaboration between institutions means good communication between universities; we can only hope that there’s a comparable sharing of ideas within them as well.

Pg Certificate professional study now posted online.

After a year of getting used to my current role as lecturer and programme leader, Edinburgh Napier supported me through their Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Higher Education (2008-2010). This is my professional qualification, it makes me official and gains me the fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I think it’s important for teaching staff to give themselves the opportunity to discuss and explore some of the themes and topics covered in the Pg Cert; it’s too easy to get complacent.

I’ve now posted my final project, the ‘professional study’, on this site here. It runs to some 10,000 words, twice the length it should have been, so here are some highlights and sections from the text:

  • The idea was to reflect on the benefits of carrying out industry-based research, particularly its influence on curriculum design.
  • Three themes run through the work:
    • the embedding of employability within the curriculum.
    • the identification of employers?? expectations towards higher education and HEIs?? responses to those expectations.
    • the purpose of event management programmes, including an initial review of Edinburgh Napier??s provision and its links to the local industry.
  • Sources referred to include QAA benchmarks (pdf), People 1st, the Dearing Report and a range of academic sources from the fields of event management and tourism.
  • Some limited benchmarking is included, looking at Edinburgh Napier alongside Queen Margaret University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Robert Gordon University and Leeds Metropolitan University. I hope that each institution is fairly represented (given the limited data I used for the comparison in 2009-2010) and positively assessed. All comments are welcome below!

I’ll finish this post by repeating the final paragraph of the report:

Events Management is a young area of academic interest but it has established itself quickly as an important ally to the industry: generating knowledge and understanding; identifying a strong and committed student body; while selecting and applying relevant theoretical work from other disciplines. Edinburgh is a festival city of global standing which will continue to attract students keen to gain skills and knowledge in the field of festival and event management. Ongoing research is important to continue this work and promote the interests of both specific institutions in the local environment, and the HE sector in general.

(The full paper can be read and downloaded here.)

PhD ideas: 25 November 2010

It’s a while since I posted an updated ‘ideas’ file, but there have been distractions since August. There may not even be anything particularly new here, although the file itself remains an important repository for ideas, notes, references and supporting arguments. It has been used pretty extensively in the preparation of my postponed presentation, pending a preferable paucity of precipitation. Attention has been shifting to the more formal requirements of the university’s PhD application process. I’m realising over time that by starting my work from an industry perspective I’ve now got to bend those ideas towards the theoretical discussions which will underpin the work. (This is where the presentation would have been very useful I suspect, which is reason enough to try and get something put in its place over the next week.)

Meanwhile, behold the latest iteration of My Ideas.

Data journalism.

Have I mentioned how much I admire the work of David McCandless and the very idea of ‘Information is Beautiful’?  You can get the book, a great Christmas present for the more cerebral – or visually stimulated – members of your family.  You can follow the blog on their site.  You should start with McCandless’s TED talk though, for insight and some lovely examples of their work.

This is relevant to me and my potential research, because I want it to be.  I want to have data that will enable and encourage me to present it in innovative, spellbinding ways.  I don’t imagine it’s easy, yet these folks make it look effortless – the image slips away into the background, leaving the message up front and personal.

A guide to help: How to be a data journalist (Guardian)

And a straightforward starting point thanks to Abhishek Tiwari on choosing the right kind of chart.  I should link to the relevant page, rather than hosting a copy on this blog, but as I can’t find a suitable page to link to (and have only a download link as an alternative), here’s the document:

Remember everyone: be creative with your data for it can be beautiful.  You owe it to yourselves and your readers to communicate your message in the best possible way.

Event Technologies workshop: slides.

As flagged a month or two back I recently took part in a workshop organised by Edinburgh Napier, or more specifically my colleagues at the university.  The theme was ‘event technologies’, from planning and logistics software to virtual meeting spaces, and my contribution was focused on social media.  I’m indebted to having attended similar workshops in the past – primarily aimed at an industry audience, this is an area where academia needs to catch up.

I think my bit went OK, although I overran (with permission of the others who were there!).  Here are my slides:

And this is the three minute video I showed at the end on the use of social media in the UK (2010) – great music, lovely clip.