Posts Tagged ‘Engagement’

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Class 11: The crit

April 26, 2017

The show of student art work this week was very successful. Each student exhibited one piece of art and, led by Glenn, presented it to the class; explaining the origin, inspiration, context and production.

Treasure Ballinger and her colleagues from Virtual Ability Island and Cape Able Gallery joined us and shared their responses to the work. The range of work was impressive, as was the relationship with the theme of the module this semester.

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From left: AlxMway’s acrylic is a view of Schull from Sherkin through a keyhole; Yashurdoshur painted her reflection looking down on a still pool of water as a symbol of Utopia.

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jackmittens’ painting of the archway within the walls of the Abbey on Sherkin Island – you are neither outside nor inside.

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Fayebubba painted the Abbey from a photo – measured by points on the buildings.

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Shadidame seems to be walking under Saoise’s fairytale bridge over a stream near her house. The fact that it seems like a road yet is a river gives it a heterotopic quality.

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Unfortunately Inchydoney was having trouble with the internet connection and was logged out before she could present her intriguing painting.

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From left: ChipVanCorner’s painting of the community hall in Sherkin; whatyamacallit’s Mocollop graveyard in Co Waterford; Burnsygirl’s painting of the Abbey is a reminder of her great grandparents buried in a similar place.

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Left: Shadidame’s heterotopian space of crisis and deviation – Retirement Home. Right: freddymcfreddy’s Boat.

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freddymcfreddy was inspired by Foucault’s description of a boat being the ultimate heterotopia: a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea.

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Deeuwan’s acrylic of her garden, a heterotopic ‘other’ place for festivities apart from our home.

Glenn, John and Locks complimented you all on the show – it was very impressive that you were able to mount it so successfully. The work was a thoughtful response to the readings this semester and you all presented confidently. Well done!

Afterwards we all teleported to Cape Able Gallery where Suellen Heartsong’s SL photography show is on. Gentle Heron was there to greet us and Slatan Dryke razzed some of his moving photographs and dynamic sculpture on the lawn (see more on his website). iSkye Silverweb showed us one of her interactive sculptures, more of which can be seen at Ethnographpia in SL.

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A moving airborne sculptural work by Slatan Dryke.

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Class 6: Discussion

March 15, 2017

Following on from last week the group discussed the visit to Virtual Ability Island. It seems that this experience had a deeply affective impact on most of the group and for whom the second life environment has taken on a whole new meaning. There was a lot of discussion about the benefits of the virtual world for individuals with disabilities, how the community has created a social space that supports engagement with others, conversations, showing art, providing information and to move about freely. Whilst many in the group felt that Virtual Ability Island was like a utopia for the community that engage with it, it was also suggested that it could be seen as sad that the participants needed to create an alternative social life due to the limitations in real life. Another way to think about this issue might be that instead of feeling sorry for themselves or complaining about their limitations or lack of access the community has been affirmative and residents get on with their lives creatively and constructively in SL as opposed to accepting limitations. In many ways, this might be one of the most therapeutic aspects of Virtual Ability Island, that it is an active creative space, a space of human subjectivity and agency against the odds.

Within this discussion, the group touched briefly on the possibility that the aesthetic dimension of SL might also have a complex sensorial value for the Virtual Ability community, and it was on the back of this conversation that the group proposed a brief exhibition of their Digital Skies work in the Gallery in Virtual Ability Island. John has agreed to discuss this possibility with Gentle Heron and it would be a great event to share with that community. Burnsygirl, freddymcfreddy and whatyamacallit volunteered to liaise with the community and see if artists from Virtual Ability would like to take part also.

Finally, the group briefly discussed Richard Noble’s Lecture: The Politics of Utopia. Some of the key discussion points revolved around the tensions in utopia artistic practices between autonomy and instrumentalisation, which provoked questions concerning the use of art as a social-political form and the function of art and aesthetics as political in and of itself.

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Class 6: Online communities

October 27, 2016
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Gentle Heron welcomes the class to Virtual Ability Island.

Gentle Heron hosted our visit to Virtual Ability Island this week. We gathered in the auditorium where she told us of the origin and development of the island. It was opened in 2007 to support a community enabling people with a wide range of disabilities to thrive in online virtual worlds like SL. Now, with a population of over 1,000 individuals from six continents (in Real Life) of varying abilities (not all are disabled) the community is vibrant and active. Although disability may be less apparent in SL where, for example avatars can walk even though their human counterparts may need a wheelchair, those with visual or hearing impairment require particular consideration.

The principles of universal design and access for all underpin the development of the environment so that colour schemes, landscaping, materials and access all promote integration – there is no segregation between the able and the disabled. You won’t find any stairs here, only ramps, colour schemes are soothing to promote calm stress-free engagement and support those with visual disability, while speech is accompanied by text in local chat so those with hearing impairment are not disadvantaged. The Virtual Ability website is worth a visit if you would like to read about the history and development.

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Some participants enjoying virtual refreshment during the visit to Virtual Ability Island.

Gentle spoke of the importance of community support in SL, in particular for people who may not be able to leave their homes in Real Life. Online communities may well provide their only means of socialising, getting informed, engaging with the wider world and influencing issues outside their immediate physical environment.

We then teleported to Cape Able to visit the art gallery. It hosts work by artists working in both RL and SL. We saw work by SL photographer Slatan Dryke. Next door is the virtual presence of the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, with a Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition downstairs and pieces from its famed Masterpieces of American Indian Art upstairs.

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Imagine Magazine, an SL periodical, published a profile on Gentle Heron in the November 2010 edition.

The final location we visited was Cape Serenity which hosts a library and poetry garden. The library has a selection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama that can be read directly in SL, or in the form of notecards, or provide links to free downloads and websites. It features publications by residents writing about their direct experiences of disability and engagement. The poetry garden was the highlight of the evening. A beautifully serene place with birdsong, a pond, rabbits and birds wandering through panels displaying poems.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Write the sixth post: to your blog discussing the importance of regulation, convention and etiquette in online communities.
  2. Write the seventh post: to your blog describing how you have contributed to the theme of your group’s project and describing the group meetings held so far.
  3. Read: Digital identity development is a process, by Eric Stoller.
  4. Read: Syrian lesbian blogger is revealed conclusively to be a married man in the Guardian newspaper 2011.

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Class 5: personal branding – presence online

October 20, 2016

Class began with a review of the student groups. Some of the groups have been unable to make contact with one of their members so John suggested that we would consider the groups again next week. By then the pattern of class attendance will have emerged and if some realignment of membership is required we can do it then.

Most of the class have now joined the Facebook group and everyone agreed that it is a very useful way to keep in touch with class issues because most of us access the app regularly throughout the day. John asked how the group members intend to communicate online and it appears that many of you will use Facebook messenger. In addition to the advantage of regular checking it is also accessible across may platforms – phone, pc, tablet etc. This gives it an advantage over WhatsApp, WeChat and other apps that are limited to the phone.

Only some of you had read the articles posted here last week so there was a limited discussion on how employers might interact with employees who have a very public social media presence. In the four years since the Wall Street Journal article was published the landscape has changed so much that it appeared quite dated. However, it did begin a discussion about the ubiquity of social media and how our real lives are becoming synonymous with our online profiles. We will return to this subject next week.

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Lauk’s Nest, one of the oldest parks in Second Life, was built in 2004 by Laukosargas Svarog.

The class finished with a visit to Lauk’s Nest, one of the oldest natural parks in SL. Symeon Siamendes greeted us by offering cocktails and a notecard giving the history of the park. It was created only two years after the launch of SL itself, in 2004 and, almost uniquely for the virtual world, it has been sold to different owners four times since then. Each has maintained the integrity of the original creation.

John commenced disbursement of L$300 to each participant and said he would ensure everyone received their payment before class next week.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Look at: the infographic Personal Branding: 10 Steps to a New Professional You.
  2. Explore: Humans of New York Facebook page and related social media see how Brandon Stanton has used social media to make an impact- an example being his use of instagram, facebook, twitter alongside the blog. Take note of how he has identified and positioned himself.
  3. Read: about the Heron Sanctuary which we will be visiting next week. Virtual Ability Inc. 
  4. Write the fifth post: to your blog about how you might convert your personal presence online into an identity for professional networking.
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Class 6: Content creation

November 5, 2015

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For some reason attendance at class this week was very poor. This made it difficult to have a really meaningful discussion. However, Rory made up for it by sharing his experience of co-creating a successful automotive blog over the last five years. He shared the story behind the development as a few friends went from posting photos about their common interest to becoming a recognised source of expertise with several hundred followers. We discussed how this led to more focussed sense of responsibility towards the community of followers and greater sensitivity around the audience. Issues of copyright and plagiarism emerged also. The value of having a recognisable approach to the subject is one way of counteracting this – Rory suggested that the source of distinctive images remains recognisable even if cropped or altered.

John reminded the class that everyone should have at least the following five posts made to their blogs by now:

  1. Expectations for the module.
  2. Review of three locations visited in SL.
  3. Description of encounters with two residents of SL.
  4. Three adjectives describing yourself and a 30 second elevator pitch.
  5. How to convert your personal presence online to an identity for professional networking.

From this week on you should write at least one post a week describing progress on your project: how you are communicating with your partner, the tools you find useful, how easy/difficult you are finding online collaboration, what works for you and what doesn’t, etc.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Read: some of Reinventing Ourselves: Contemporary Concepts of Identity in Virtual Worlds, Eds Anna Peachy and Mark Childs, published by Springer 2011.
  2. Prepare: a report on your progress with the project for next week’s class.
  3. Write the sixth post: to your blog describing progress on your project.
  4. If you have some time visit The Garden Maze at Falconmoon and see if you can find your way to the middle!
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Class 4: Online communities and relationships

March 7, 2014

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CLASS SUMMARY:

There were presentations from three guest lecturers in three different locations for this class meeting. The photograph taken at an art installation shows, from left, John O’Connor, Elfay Pinkdot, Inish Karu and Ham Rambler (in his Paddy’s Day leprechaun guise). The session begun with Ham, Mayor of Virtual Dublin, telling the story of how he came to develop the space in Second Life. It started out as an Irish Bar, The Blarney Stone, that built a regular clientele for live music, story telling and general socialising and gradually grew into a replica of the centre of Dublin City. From the elegant arena where Ham delivered his talk the class moved to the Dublin Conference Centre originally built for Dublin Tourism and containing a virtual build of the former church that now hosts the Tourist Information Office. There Inish Karu, a graduate of the module, spoke about her involvement in role play in Second Life and how this led to the development of a community of role playing pirates and many long term friendships.

Finally, Elfay Pinkdot brought the class to an art installation to share her experiences producing and presenting one of the longest running radio programmes in Second Life, Coffee and Pajamas Jazz programme.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Post: a blog entry discussing the importance of regulation, convention and etiquette in online communities.
  2. Watch: ‘From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation‘ (accessed 03/07/14) by Prof Axel Bruns (Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland Institute of Technology) who explains his theory of user-led collaborative content creation.
  3. Read: User Generated Content and Virtual Worlds‘ (accessed 03/07/14) a paper on the legal background to creating content in an online context.
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Class 3: Personal branding

February 28, 2014

CLASS SUMMARY:

The reading for this class included an article in Forbes and Chris Brogan’s blog post on personal branding. We discussed the difference between corporate and personal branding and looked more closely at the latter. The importance of distinguishing between the professional and personal when it comes to our online presence was identified and this led to some consideration of the different expectations supported by different platforms. So, for example, LinkedIn is a specifically for professional promotion whereas Facebook is primarily personal, and twitter can be seen in either category.

The bio (or ‘about me’) piece you write is a very important element in establishing your ‘promise’, your possible value to a potential follower. It is a signal to those who may decide whether or not to follow you. But, your identity will really be formed by the content you add and that should reinforce your promise. Just as the corporate brand builds recognition by repetition and consistent delivery on its promise your personal brand will be shaped by your reliability also.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Go: outside your established community/group (eg, this class group) in SL and make contact with at least two people relevant to your interests (artist, gallery owner, musician, shop manager, business owner, educator, builder, etc). Write about the experience in a post to your blog.
  2. Decide: among your group what tools you will use for planning your project (how you will stay in touch and share information, etc.).
  3. Write: the third post on your blog explaining your choice of communication tools and reflect on how the group arrived at the decision.
  4. Read: this article from the Wall Street Journal that looks at what might happen when employees mix their ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ online identities. Your Employee is an Online Celebrity. Now What Do You Do? (accessed on 02/28/14)
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