RMeS RMa Course: Trending Topics – Engaging Objects

When? 16 & 23 February, 2 & 9 March 13.00 – 17.00 / presentation day: 16 March 2018. 10.00 – 17.00 / deadline paper: date TBA
Where?  Utrecht University, Janskerkhof 15A – 105
Course? RMa Course: Trending Topics – Engaging Objects
Coordinator? Dr Maryn Wilkinson (UvA)
Guest lectures by? Dr Miklos Kiss (RUG), Eva Sancho-Rodriguez (UvA), Dr Anne Kustritz (UU), Dr Mark Stewart (UvA), Daniël de Zeeuw (UvA), Dr Sabrina Sauer (RUG), Dr Scott Eldridge II (RUG), Dr Marc Tuters (UvA)
Organisation? RMeS
For? First and second year RMa students in Media Studies, who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). Students who are members of RMeS will have first access. RMeS staff and PhD researchers are welcome to sit in on specific sessions; please send an e-mail to RMeS if you intend to attend one or more seminar sessions: rmes-fgw@uva.nl.

General description:

Each spring, the Research School for Media Studies offers a Trending Topics course where faculty members from eight participating universities (UvA, UU, VU, EUR, UL, UM, RUG, RUN) present the latest research in their fields of interest through a series of lectures and workshops. The course invites RMA students to participate in an international, cutting edge research environment, while earning credits towards their degree. It presents a unique opportunity to get to know other students and leading academics from all over The Netherlands, in an open setting of engaging and ambitious exchange that would prove particularly fruitful for students who are aspiring to pursue a future career in academic research or teaching. All eight universities accept the credits earned in this module.

The field of media studies today is decreasingly tied to specific media types (film, television, or digital media) or practices (e.g. journalism), and instead often turns towards the areas of interaction between them, and their shared concepts and ideas. Larger trends such as globalisation, digitisation and convergence have prompted researchers to study the complex interrelation of technological changes and media content, as well as the new relations between users and producers, while different modes of media consumption have brought about new areas for aesthetics and politics that continue to require intense critical enquiry. These crossovers are both theoretically and methodologically challenging. Moreover, it requires us to rethink our engagement with specific media objects, and our critical analysis skills. Close reading remains incredibly important, but it can no longer stay isolated. In order to improve and enrich our understanding of the media objects we engage in our research, it is important to understand where different perspectives add to, overlap, or digress from one another.

In the ‘Trending Topics – Engaging Objects’ course, the lecture sessions will each take a specific media objects as a primary case study (from the field of film, television, digital media, and journalism studies), and bring two guest lecturers and their respective areas of expertise into dialogue about their objects. Each afternoon will be dedicated to the analysis, research and discussion of specific media objects. A fifth session revolves around student presentations in preparation of their final written assignment. All sessions, assignments, readings and preparatory work will be supervised and marked by dr. Maryn Wilkinson (UvA), the coordinator of the course. The grading will be based on both the presentation (30%) and the final written assignment (70%).


13.00-17.00 on Friday, February 16th, 2018 : “Engaging film today”

  •  Dr Miklos Kiss (Groningen)
  •  Eva Sancho-Rodriguez (UvA)

13.00-17.00 on Friday, February 23rd, 2018: “Engaging fan practices”

  •  Dr Anne Kustritz (UU)
  •  Dr Mark Stewart (UvA)

13.00-17.00 on Friday, March 2nd, 2018 “On the internet ugly and internet aesthetics”

  •   Daniël de Zeeuw (UvA)
  •   Dr Sabrina Sauer (Groningen)

13.00-17.00 on Friday, March 9th, 2018: “On fake news and the alt-right” 

  • Dr Scott Eldridge II (Groningen)
  • Dr Marc Tuters (UvA)

RMeS Winter School & Graduate Symposium 2017-18

URBAN FRICTION | the [urban interfaces] graduate seminar 2017-2018

Seminars: 8 November 2017, 31 January, 28 February, 9 May 2018 (15.00-17.00)
Workshop: two-day “pressure cooker” workshop: February 27-28
Venue: Parnassos, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.
Organization: Nanna Verhoeff, Michiel de Lange, Sigrid Merx, Hira Sheikh
Registration via: RMeS-fgw@uva.nl
Please be sure to specify your master programme, national research school and university


Urban Friction Flyer
Urban Friction Poster

Urban processes have been impacted by frictions all throughout history. The remarkable pace and dynamics of the current phase of global urbanization in the age of mediatization, datafication, and pervasive connectivity suggest a new age where insular, political boundaries have come to shift radically. Perhaps to a larger extent than before, people are identifying as global citizens. However, as a result of this spatial accumulation social, political and cultural frictions within our cities manifest themselves on a wide scale. In this year’s [urban interfaces] graduate seminar series we open up a forum to debate and inquire about contemporary frictions being experienced in urban cities, namely:

  • Civic Empowerment and “Right to the City”
  • Mobility and Migration
  • Urban Institutions and Smart Platforms

We intent to question these frictions from a critical, yet optimistic perspective. Frictions can be both obstructive and productive and, and we aim to disclose this paradox and approach frictions as a prospect to discuss their positive potential for urban culture and society. This seminar series proposes a framework to think about urban frictions, and about how urban media, art and performance as interventions in our cities’ public spaces can productively address these frictions. In each session, we will focus on the temporality and performativity of media, art and performance, and the ambitions of the design of “frictional” urban interfaces as a form of critical making.

The seminar is open for all. Research Master Students can earn 4 ECTS. The workload consists of:

  • Attending and preparing for the readings before each seminar
  • A final reflection, in one of the following formats: a short exploratory paper, a critical essay, an interview, a reading report or review of an event. Upon review, the reflection can be published on the [urban interfaces] online library.

Please contact the organizers (n.verhoeff@uu.nl  | m.l.delange@uu.nl | s.merx@uu.nl) for further details.


Masterclass: Helen Nissenbaum (NYU) on Privacy as Contextual Integrity

Date: 11 October, 10-13hrs. (includes lunch)
Venue: University of Amsterdam, Roeterseiland, REC C10.20
Open to: PhD Candidates and RMA students who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool).
Credits: 1EC
Coordination: Marijn Sax, M.Sax@uva.nl
Registration: Max number of participants: 5
Space is limited and registration is required.
Register with RMeS by 1 October.

THE MASTERCLASS IS FULLY BOOKED, please send us an e-mail with your name, university and research school. We will put you on our waiting list.
Helen Nissenbaum’s theory of contextual integrity is arguably the most influential theory of privacy of the last decade. Its account of privacy describes its nature; it also offers normative foundations for its value to individuals and societies. Nissenbaum’s theory of contextual integrity seeks a theoretical understanding of privacy not only for the sake of theory, but also to address real world threats posed by deployments of digital technologies. As a result, privacy as contextual integrity is highly relevant to a range of disciplines working on questions of privacy, including law and policy, social sciences, and technology design. In this masterclass we will, together with Professor Nissenbaum, explore the framework of contextual integrity and its application to real life cases.


Masterclass: ‘Making Interactive Narrative’ with Prof. Janet Murray (Georgia Tech)

Date: 29 September 2017
Time: 14:00 – 17:00 (TBC)
Venue: Utrecht University, Parnassos, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht
Open to: PhD Candidates and RMA students who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool).
Credits: 1EC
Coordination: Michiel de Lange (UU), Nanna Verhoeff (UU)
Register before: 25 Sept 2017
Maximum participants in the event: 25 (on first-come basis)

This masterclass with renowned scholar and interaction designer Janet Murray will explore how interactive narratives can help to create engaging experiences, and support critical and problem-solving capacities.

Janet H. Murray’s seminal book Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace (1997) has been an essential read for everyone interesting in the future of storytelling through digital media. Her work has been critical in establishing the foundational thinking about the potential of games as storytelling platforms within the then emerging field of game studies. Recently, an updated version of Hamlet on the Holodeck was released which renewed a long-lasting discussion on the relationship between games and narratives, showing that the book’s concepts are still seen as both relevant and controversial. As an internationally recognized interaction designer, Murray kept pushing boundaries of digital media’s potential resulting in the book Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice (2011), hailed by Henry Jenkins as “an epic accomplishment, one which we will all be mining for years to come”. Murray currently is Ivan Allen College Dean’s Professor at the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology.

The Masterclass is hosted by Utrecht University’s expertise centre Co.Laborations; the Media, Arts, and Performance Studies RMA program, and kindly supported by RMeS.


14:00 Welcome

14:10 Short introduction Janet Murray about interactive narrative

14:30 Students will work in teams on a concept and/or rough prototype of an interactive narrative, under guidance of Janet Murray, Nanna Verhoeff, and Michiel de Lange.

16:00 Round of public presentations + short comments and reflections by Janet Murray.

17:00 Closing

Preparation and readings:


Credits & certificate:

Certificates of participation and credits are available after the event. Event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.