The John Adams Institute presents a new course:
Storytelling in the Transmedia Age
Stories are no longer static things. Writers today rely on networks of fans and readers not only to circulate content, but to help expand the story. Popular transmedia franchises, from Tolkien and Harry Potter to Twilight and The Walking Dead, mobilize massive numbers of readers and viewers, who take part in the process via social networks. At the same time, storytelling is becoming less a matter of inventing new stories, and more about the development of recognizable 'story-worlds' that allow for many different versions and variations to exist side by side.
Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are examples of such transmedia franchises in which television series, books, comics, and video games play off each other to stimulate communities of fans who share materials on social networks. User-created content like memes, mashups, and fan fiction are transforming these audiences from passive spectators to active communities that invest in the development of the stories. As a result, storytelling is a more immersive experience than ever before, one in which the whole culture participates. In some cases, like the fan-created Twilight spin-off Fifty Shades of Grey, user-generated content even develops into a new franchise, with its own mass audience and a cottage industry of spin-offs and copycats.
This new course, taught (in English) by Dan Hassler-Forest of the University of Amsterdam, will focus on the revolutionary changes in how stories are being told, developed, and shared. New approaches to transmedia storytelling challenge the traditional divide between author and reader, producer and consumer, affecting both the form and the content of popular media. The course will use numerous case studies from literature, film, television, video games, comics, and advertising, in order to provide an understanding of the enormous shifts that are transforming our media landscape and changing the way we tell and react to stories.
The course is intended both for media professionals with an interest in transmedia practices, and for a more general audience of fans, readers, and media enthusiasts with a passion for immersive narratives.
When: Wednesdays 15, 22 and 29 May, and 5 and 12 June
Time: 8:00pm – 9:30pm
Where: Studio 239, Prinsengracht 239 Amsterdam
Price: € 200 per person (VAT included)
Please register before 3 May at: email@example.com.
For more information please contact:
Maarten van Essen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020-624 72 80
Social Media and the U.S. Election
Everyone is using social media tools these days. But do Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media services make a difference? This course, taught by Janelle Ward, will use the fall U.S. presidential election campaign to look at how politicians, the media and citizens are employing social media. But it's not just about politics: we'll also explore how the political use of social media relates to other areas: in business, for nonprofits, and for regular people.
Janelle Ward is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research focuses on the use of new media for political purposes ranging from election campaigning to political consumerism.
A Facebook Group will be set up for the course, where participants can contribute to and follow relevant information, including links about social media and news about the election. Janelle recommends reading Campaigning online by Bruce Bimber and Richard Davis, Socialnomics by Erik Qualman and The political power of social media by Clay Shirky. These books will be available at The American Book Center.
The Netherlands Survival Guide
Ask anyone what they think of the Netherlands and chances are you'll get a smile. Such a tolerant and liberal country! So quaint and friendly and open! But if this is the home of free love and equality for all, why is an anti-immigrant party so popular? And why is it so hard to make meaningful contact with Dutch colleagues and neighbors?
The two sessions of this course are aimed at helping the newcomer understand both the highs and lows of Dutch culture. The course is taught by Aliefka Bijlsma, a Dutch author and screenwriter who was born and raised outside the Netherlands. She draws on her own experiences when entering Dutch society as a university student at age 18. Using examples from music, film and literature, she’ll deconstruct some of the complexities of Dutch society. Aliefka suggests students read the Dutch novels Amsterdam Stories (Nescio) and The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi (Arthur Japin) in advance. The English translations of these novels are available at The American Book Center.
Southern Gothic Fiction
What is the American South? Why are Tennessee and Mississippi so different from New York and California? In this six-week course you will plunge into this literature-rich part of America that is often hidden away from the rest of the world.
Classic authors like William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor constructed painfully vivid scenes of the grotesquely real in the South, a region where simple did not mean easy. Modern authors like Larry Brown have continued the tradition, with graphic portrayals of intense, inward-looking characters. And John Grisham, best known for his courtroom dramas, can also get down into the southern dirt.
The course, taught by Mississippi native Matt Luna, will examine the harsh settings and unique language found in these works. We’ll look at how extreme situations give birth to grotesque characters, and try to find out how close they are to reality. Come and explore a mythic literary landscape in which racism, family, nature, religion and pride dictate the destiny of powerful characters.
Crossing Boundaries: Storytelling in the 21st Century
Television shows like "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" have taken the place of the serialized fiction that novelists like Charles Dickens used to write. And novelists today are often screenwriters as well, and in turn write books that seem written specifically for film adaptations. This six-week course, offered by the John Adams Institute and taught by Dan Hassler-Forest of the University of Amsterdam, will explore the way today's narrative media have grown increasingly convergent. We'll focus on individual authors and filmmakers, such as Charlie Kaufman, Jane Campion and David Cronenberg, whose work continually crosses the boundaries between narrative media.
Article in NRC Handelsblad 5-Oct-2011