RMeS Network Event: “How do you… Disconnect in a Digital Age?”

Date: 25 April 2018, 13.00-16.00 (followed by drinks)
Venue: Utrecht University [room to be confirmed]
Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/jHESESnumQaMlcpJ2

Description

In line with the previous editions of the RMeS Network Event – which covered such themes as methodology, (re)writing, and academic communication – this year we will focus on “How do you… disconnect in a digital age?”

Digital detox holidays, phone stacking dinners, virtual suicide, a year without Internet.
In a culture obsessed with social networking, participation and connectivity, to disconnect has come to mean going off-line: to reclaim presence in the physical world; to revitalize face to face communication; to salvage the actual over the virtual; to (temporarily) obliterate one’s online identity. To disconnect signals a desire to re-connect: with one’s off-line identity, with friends, with the spiritual values of life, with one’s natural environment, with the world at large. Disconnectivity thus bespeaks connectivity, and vice versa.

During this years’ RMeS Network Event, Pepita Hesselberth will engage with you in a discussion on paradox of disconnectivity in the digital age, taking the “Data Detox Kit” – as well as academic life itself – as a case in point.

For the eager reader:

Bio
Pepita Hesselberth is Lecturer in Film and Literary Studies and Digital Media, at Leiden University. She is the author of Cinematic Chonotopes (Bloomsbury 2014), and co-editor of volumes on Compact Cinematics (Bloomsbury 2016) and Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines (Brill 2018). She is currently finalizing her project on Disconnectivity in the Digital, for which she received a fellowship from the Danish Council for Independent Research, and was appointed as a research fellow at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen (2015-2018). For more info see here.

The purpose of the annual RMeS Network Event is to stimulate the exchange of ideas between PhD and RMa students of different universities in light of a topical theme and/or practice relevant to (junior) media researchers.

PhD defence Tom Slootweg (University of Groningen)

Resistance, Disruption and Belonging: Electronic Video in Three Amateur Modes

Date: Monday, April 9, 2018, 16:15
Venue: Aula of the Academy Building (University of Groningen), Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Promoters: Prof. H.B.M. Wijfjes and Dr. S.I. Aasman

On Monday April 9, 2018 at 16:15, Tom Slootweg will defend his doctoral thesis Resistance, Disruption and Belonging. The thesis returns to the period before the explosive rise of YouTube. The slow introduction of video as a consumer media technology, from the mid-1960s onwards, set in motion a long phase during which expectations were rife with video’s potential for everyday users in terms of participation and media democratisation. This particular era has been largely ignored in Dutch media history. In this thesis the gap is filled and it is revealed that video was able to capture popular imagination for a considerable amount of time during the second half of the twentieth century. By studying a wide array of sometimes forgotten sources, from official as well as private archives, a new picture emerges of a turbulent time in which the possibilities of video were understood in various ways. With three case studies of distinct historical amateur media practitioners, it is shown that video acquired meaning in terms of “resistance,” “disruption” and “belonging.” The thesis successively discusses a progressive video collective from The Hague, a traditional amateur film club in Groningen and a Dutch expat family in the Middle East. Whereas the idealistic collective claimed video to bring about socio-political change, and to give a voice to the under-represented, outspoken members of the amateur film club regarded the use of video as a threat to the cherished hobby and the spirit of community. The expat family, in contrast, saw many new possibilities in video to capture the dynamic of the family, in sound and vision, against the backdrop of a foreign environment that became their new, temporary home.

This doctoral research has been carried out in the context of the research project “Changing Platforms of Ritualized Memory Practices: The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies”, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It entailed a collaboration between Maastricht University, the University of Groningen and the University of Luxembourg, as well as various partners from the field of cultural heritage in the Netherlands and abroad.

For more information about this research project, see the weblog: https://homemoviesproject.wordpress.com You are cordially invited to attend the public defense, which will take place at the aula of the Academy Building (Broerstraat 5, Groningen). After the ceremony you are welcome for a drink at the Grand Theatre (Grote Markt 35, Groningen) between 17:30 and 18:30.

In case you have any questions, or would like to receive a digital copy of the thesis, please contact the paranymphs via: resist.disrupt.belong@gmail.com

Symposium: The politics of memory and platforms

29 March 2018
University of Groningen
Registration: Send an e-mail to: p.h.smit@rug.nl and RMeS-fgw@uva.nl

Description

This one-day symposium revolves around the question how the politics of memory are today increasingly interwoven with the politics of social media platforms. Social media such as YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia are not only platforms for content sharing and consumption, social networking, and knowledge production. They can also be conceived of as vast archives that simultaneously hold and construct our mediated personal, public, social, political, and collective memory. They are both containers and filters of our past. The aim of the symposium is to problematize social media platforms as such “platforms of memory.” The symposium precedes Rik Smit’s defence of the dissertation: Platforms of Memory: Social Media and Digital Memory Work.

Location

University Museum Groningen
Oude Kijk in Het Jatstraat 7A
9712 EA Groningen

Programme

9.30 Doors open and coffee

10.00-10.15 Welcome by Marcel Broersma (U of Groningen)
10.15-10.30 Introduction by Rik Smit (U of Groningen)
10.30-10.45 Andrew Hoskins (U of Glasgow): “Digital Forgetting”
10.45-11.00 Q&A
11.00-11.15 Christine Lohmeier (U of Bremen): “Keep it or delete it? – Practices of personal digital archiving”
11.15-11.45 Roundtable discussion and Q&A

11.45-13.00 Lunch break

13.00-13.15 Huub Wijfjes (U of Groningen): “Creating sustainable online memories: The quest for public service web archives”
13.15-13.30 Q&A
13.30-13.45 Susan Aasman (U of Groningen): “Ritualised memory practices versus YouTube’s home mode”
13.45-14.15 Roundtable discussion and Q&A
14.15-14.25 Concluding remarks by Marcel Broersma (U of Groningen)

14.25-14.45 Coffee, cake and chatting

16.00-17.00 Public PhD defence Rik Smit

17.00 Reception at Academy building

 

 

PhD Defence: Rik Smit (University of Groningen)

Image: Sylvia van Schie, illustrator

Platforms of Memory: Social Media and Digital Memory Work

Date: 29 March 2018, at 16.00h
Venue: University of Groningen
Promotor: Prof. dr Marcel Broersma

On Thursday 29 March 2018, Rik Smit will defend his PhD Thesis Platforms of Memory: Social Media and Digital Memory Work.

People increasingly share their experiences and knowledge about the past on social media. Simultaneously, social media are enormous archives that contain vast amounts of audiovisual material from which the past is reconstructed. This study examines this ‘memory work’ by social media users and these platforms themselves by means of three case studies.

The first case study revolves around a chemical weapons attack in Syria in 2013. In the days after the attack, thousands of videos were uploaded on YouTube by various individuals and organizations with their own agendas. The research showed that especially videos edited by mainstream media gained popularity and visibility, instead of the material uploaded by witnesses. The main reason for this is that these media know how to curate footage well.

The second case study zooms in on the Facebook page Justice for Mike Brown. During and after the riots in Ferguson in 2014, this page was used for diverse types of memory work. Page users shared their personal memories of Michael Brown, reconstructed the shooting, created iconic and recognizable images and phrases, and made historical comparisons. Facebook’s technology played a guiding and shaping role in these practices, especially in terms of visibility and dominance of specific representations.

The final case study investigated the memory work behind the scenes of the Wikipedia page on MH17. Some editors have more power over how an event like the MH17 disaster is re-constructed on Wikipedia. They can also deny other editors from editing the page. This ultimately shaped the content of the wiki.

All three cases show that users as well as platforms themselves play an important part in the representation of the past in the present.

Image: Sylvia van Schie, illustrator

PhD Defence: Tim van der Heijden (Maastricht University)

Hybrid Histories: Technologies of Memory and the Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies, 1895–2005

Date: Thursday 18 January 2018, at 16:00h
Venue: Aula of Maastricht University, Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht
Promoters: Prof. dr Maaike Meijer, Prof. dr Andreas Fickers, Dr Jo Wachelder

On Thursday 18 January 2018 at 16:00h, Tim van der Heijden will defend his PhD dissertation Hybrid Histories: Technologies of Memory and the Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies, 1895–2005. This research project analyses how throughout the twentieth century various generations have recorded their family memories on film, video and digital media. More specifically, it investigates how changes in these “technologies of memory” have shaped new forms of home movie making and screening. Covering the period from the invention of the film camera in the late nineteenth century, the introduction of 9.5mm, 16mm, 8mm small-gauges and Super 8 film technologies for amateurs, via home video to digital media technologies, this study addresses the complex interrelations between the materiality of film, video and digital media technologies, their social usages and cultural meanings from a long-term historical perspective. Focusing on specific periods of transition, it becomes clear that different media technologies, user practices and discourses not only succeed each other in time, but also increasingly interrelate, interact or even transform each other. Maintaining both a diachronic and a synchronic perspective on media transitions, this dissertation proposes an alternative form of media historiography that rethinks media histories beyond the frameworks of change and continuity by perceiving hybridity as a constant factor in media historical development.

The dissertation is carried out in the context of the research project “Changing Platforms of Ritualized Memory Practices: The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies”, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It entailed a collaboration between Maastricht University, the University of Groningen and the University of Luxembourg as well as several partners from the field of cultural heritage in the Netherlands and abroad. For more information about this research project, see the project weblog: http://homemoviesproject.wordpress.com

You are cordially invited to attend the public defence, which will take place at the Aula of Maastricht University (address: Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht). In case you have any questions or would like to receive a digital copy of the dissertation, please contact Tim van der Heijden via: tim.vanderheijden@maastrichtuniversity.nl