I’m joining the team from Queensland University of Technology’s Writing the Digital Futures project to deliver a two-day creative writing event in Bundaberg next month.
It’s part of the broader Digital Futures season at the State Library of Queensland this year.
“Dispatches from Bundy: Visions from the Future, Stories From the Past” will blend digital media, oral storytelling, play, speculative fiction, and archival materials to help local people explore the past, present, and future of their town.
“I want to see technology used for good, but I’m fascinated by the possibilities for destruction!”
Joel Edmondson, CEO of Queensland’s QMusic network talks digital technology, music beyond entertainment, mysterious orchestras in the middle of the ocean, and the “nefarious, sulphuric beginning of life” in this week’s Marvellous, Electrical.
We wanted the people attending our event to be participants, not just an audience – so I helped the library devise an “anti-panel” session inspired by our Broadband and Heritage workshops earlier this year.
In the “anti-panel”, the audience split up into four groups. Each group got to spend ten minutes in conversation with each of our four guests. At the end of that forty-minute session, we held a plenary panel where our guests reflected on the discussions they’d had, and more questions could be fielded from the floor.
The aim was to change audiences’ experience at a festival panel from “sitting watching VIPs have a conversation, with maybe a few questions at the end” to full interaction and engagement.
Our tools weren’t digital devices or social media apps, but wheelie chairs and a stopwatch.
The experiment in event design was part of a broader conversation I’ve been having with David Robertson around audience participation and public engagement. You can read more of his work at the Beyond Panels website, a great one-stop shop for alternative event formats.
Our Science and Belonging event, presented by the State Library of Queensland for the Festival, was part of the library’s year-long theme of Belonging – an exploration of many different Queensland identities and experiences.
During the event, we were asked if we had deliberately chosen an all-women panel of experts. We hadn’t – we simply wanted outstanding practitioners of science and science-fiction – but we also acknowledged the importance of bringing together women, migrants, and Indigenous people as experts on a panel which was not “the token diversity panel”.
I’m proud that the Library and the Festival were able to deliver this special celebration of science and speculative fiction with a distinctive Queensland flavour. See more from Brisbane Writers Festival via the #bwf16 hashtag on Twitter.
Busy times here at Finch Towers, both at home and work. My head was full of stuff and I needed a quick summer read. I was supposed to be reading John Tomb’s Head, a New Zealand novel about postcolonial heritage, but it was too intense. Then I stumbled on The Baba Yaga, by Una McCormack and Eric Brown.
I know Una vaguely from Twitter and I heard her speak once, brilliantly, on Doctor Who so I gave the book a whirl. Read more →
It’s a beautiful Sunday morning in Parkes, and life is grand, so I thought it might be a good day to share three great writers with you. These are all pop-culture pundits whose essays make excellent weekend reading.
Emmet O’Cuana – Challenger of the Unknown
Emmet is a Melbourne-based comics writer, critic, and occasional radio host who has interviewed me on a couple of occasions. Each time he forced me to question my opinions and raise my thinking to a new level. The first time our chat ranged from Star Crash to Kierkegaard; the second he asked smart and challenging questions about the live-action zombie games I’d been running in Australia and New Zealand.
My favourite pieces by Emmet are still forthcoming – he wrote an insightful chapter on comics creator Grant Morrison in Darragh Greene and Kate Roddy’s Grant Morrison and the Superhero Renaissance, plus a great essay for the comics site Sequart which made me re-evaluate James Robinson’s Starman, a comic which I love and thought I knew everything about. Watch out for them next year.
I’ve come to see Superman’s greatest powers as not his strength or heat vision, but his restraint and his theatricality both in restraining that power while pretending to fight as hard as he can and in passing as Clark Kent. As I see him now, Superman is always performing one way or another.
Frank Collins – May Not Be Used Where There Is Life
Frank writes on classic television for British site MovieMail, and at his own site Cathode Ray Tube. I’ve long had a fondness for old television shows, but through Frank’s chronicle of twentieth century telly I discovered obscure gems like the fourth-wall-breaking Strange World of Gurney Slade.
Frank’s current MovieMail series tracing the history of British TV sci-fi showcases his critical strengths: erudition, insight, and elegance. Frank can capture the essence and wider resonance of a TV show in a single descriptive paragraph, as he does here for the wildly different Red Dwarf, Space:1999, and Sapphire and Steel:
That’s all for today: three clever souls thinking out loud about the stories we tell ourselves on the page and screen. Go check them out, if you’re looking for a Sunday read. And have a great weekend!