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Archive for May, 2013

Last year’s iDocs conference at the Watershed in Bristol was a lively and engaging event which looked at a range of critical, conceptual and practical issues around the emerging field of interactive documentary. It focused on several key themes surrounding the genre: participation and authorship, activism, pervasive/locative media and HTML 5 authoring tools.

The conference featured a number of practitioners involved in fantastic projects, such as Jigar Metha’s 18 Days in Egypt, Brett Gaylor, who made the excellent RIP: a remix manifesto and is now at Mozilla working on their popcorn maker, an HTML 5 based javascript library for making interactive web documentaries,  and Kat Cizek (via Skype) whose Highrise project is well worth a look. There were also more theoretically inflected contributions from the likes of Brian Winston, Mandy Rose, Jon Dovey and Sandra Gaudenzi (among many others) which made for a really stimulating couple of days.

The Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE asked me to document the event and produce a short video summary, and the video above is the outcome of that.

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Changes

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The last few months have been a whirlwind of exciting changes.

Firstly, I’ve now completed my PhD. I had my viva on March 25th with Sean Cubitt from Goldsmiths as my external examiner and Mark Jackson from the Geography department as my internal. I’m glad to say that we had a lively an interesting discussion, and at the end of it they let me know that I had passed with the minor end of minor corrections (basically a bunch of typos and a couple of references missed out of the bibliography). Since then I’ve completed those corrections and submitted the final version of the thesis to the library, so I’m now Dr Taffel!

In other exciting news, about a week after the viva I was flown out to New Zealand for an interview at Massey university in Palmerston North. I had a wonderful time out in NZ, catching up with some old friends who left the UK for Nelson a while ago, and then seeing a few bits of the stunning New Zealand scenery (pics on Flickr). I’m very pleased to say that Massey have offered me a job, so I’m currently in the process of sorting out a visa and relocation logistics, and as of July I’ll be a lecturer in Media Studies (Media Practice) at Massey.

It’s hugely exciting to be moving to a new country, a new job and a new lifestyle. I’m also slightly blown away by how quickly this has all happened, I know a lot of hugely talented people who’ve spent a fair amount of time with PhD corrections and then trying to find that elusive first full time academic post. For it to have all come together in a couple of months is amazing, and so I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s helped me get to where I am now, especially after being in a really low place a few years back after the bike accident and prolonged period of brokenness.

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