Journal articles: 'Research Audio-visual education. 4-H clubs' – Grafiati (2024)

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Relevant bibliographies by topics / Research Audio-visual education. 4-H clubs / Journal articles

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Author: Grafiati

Published: 4 June 2021

Last updated: 8 February 2022

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1

Hidayatulloh, Taufik, Elindra Yetti, and Hapidin. "Movement and Song Idiom Traditional to Enhance Early Mathematical Skills: Gelantram Audio-visual Learning Media." JPUD - Jurnal Pendidikan Usia Dini 14, no.2 (November30, 2020): 215–30. http://dx.doi.org/10.21009/jpud.142.02.

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Many studies have shown a link between being competent in early mathematics and achievement in school. Early math skills have the potential to be the best predictors of later performance in reading and mathematics. Movement and songs are activities that children like, making it easier for teachers to apply mathematical concepts through this method. This study aims to develop audio-visual learning media in the form of songs with a mixture of western and traditional musical idioms, accompanied by movements that represent some of the teaching of early mathematics concepts. The stages of developing the ADDIE model are the basis for launching new learning media products related to math and art, and also planting the nation's cultural arts from an early age. These instructional media products were analyzed by experts and tested for their effectiveness through experiments on five children aged 3-4 years. The qualitative data were analyzed using transcripts of field notes and observations and interpreted in a descriptive narrative. The quantitative data were analyzed using gain score statistics. The results showed that there was a significant increase in value for early mathematical understanding of the concepts of geometry, numbers and measurement through this learning medium. The results of the effectiveness test become the final basis of reference for revision and complement the shortcomings of this learning medium. Further research can be carried out to develop other mathematical concepts through motion and song learning media, and to create experiments with a wider sample. Keywords: Early Mathematical Skills, Movement and Song Idiom Traditional, Audio-visual Learning Media References An, S. A., & Tillman, D. A. (2015). Music activities as a meaningful context for teaching elementary students mathematics: a quasi-experiment time series design with random assigned control group. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 3(1), 45–60. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep15999 An, S., Capraro, M. M., & Tillman, D. A. (2013). Elementary Teachers Integrate Music Activities into Regular Mathematics Lessons: Effects on Students’ Mathematical Abilities. Journal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.21977/d99112867 Austin, A. M. B., Blevins-Knabe, B., Ota, C., Rowe, T., & Lindauer, S. L. K. (2011). Mediators of preschoolers’ early mathematics concepts. Early Child Development and Care, 181(9), 1181–1198. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2010.520711 Barrett, J. E., Cullen, C., Sarama, J., Miller, A. L., & Rumsey, C. (2011). Children ’ s unit concepts in measurement : a teaching experiment spanning grades 2 through 5. 637–650. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-011-0368-8 Basco, R. O. (2020). Effectiveness of Song, Drill and Game Strategy in Improving Mathematical Performance. International Educational Research, 3(2), p1. https://doi.org/10.30560/ier.v3n2p1 Bausela Herreras, E. (2017). Risk low math performance PISA 2012: Impact of assistance to Early Childhood Education and other possible cognitive variables. Acta de Investigación Psicológica, 7(1), 2606–2617. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aipprr.2017.02.001 Buchoff, R. (2015). Childhood Education. January. https://doi.org/10.1080/00094056.1995.10521830 Clements, D. H. (2014). Geometric and Spatial Thinking in Young Children. In Science of Advanced Materials (Vol. 6, Issue 4). National Science Foundation. https://doi.org/10.1166/sam.2014.1766 Clements, D. H., Baroody, A. J., Joswick, C., & Wolfe, C. B. (2019). Evaluating the Efficacy of a Learning Trajectory for Early Shape Composition. XX(X), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831219842788 Clements, D. H., Swaminathan, S., Anne, M., & Hannibal, Z. (2016). Young Children ’ s Concepts of Shape. 30(2), 192–212. Cross, C. T., Woods, T., & Schweingruber, H. (2009). Mathematics Learning in Early Chidhood Paths Toward Excellence and Equity. The National Academies Press. Geary, D. C. (2011). Cognitive predictors of achievement growth in mathematics: A 5-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 47(6), 1539–1552. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025510 Geary, D. C. (2012). Learning Disabilities and Persistent Low Achievement in Mathematics. J Dev Behav Pediatr., 32(3), 250–263. https://doi.org/10.1097/DBP.0b013e318209edef.Consequences Gejard, G., & Melander, H. (2018). Mathematizing in preschool : children ’ s participation in geometrical discourse. 1807. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2018.1487143 Harususilo, Y. E. (2020). Skor PISA Terbaru Indonesia, Ini 5 PR Besar Pendidikan pada Era Nadiem Makarim. https://pusmenjar.kemdikbud.go.id/ Hsiao, T. (1999). Romanticism with Deep Affection: Selected Articles About the Music of Hsiao Tyzen (Hengzhe Lin (ed.)). Wang Chun Feng Wen Hua Fa Xing. Kasuya-Ueba, Y., Zhao, S., & Toichi, M. (2020). The Effect of Music Intervention on Attention in Children: Experimental Evidence. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 14(July), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.00757 Kołodziejski, M., Králová, P. D. E., & Hudáková, P. D. J. (2014). Music and Movement Activities and Their Impact on Musicality and Healthy Development of a Child. Journal of Educational Revies, 7(4). Kristanto, W. (2020). Javanese Traditional Songs for Early Childhood Character Education. 14(1), 169–184. Litkowski, E. C., Duncan, R. J., Logan, J. A. R., & Purpura, D. J. (2020). When do preschoolers learn specific mathematics skills? Mapping the development of early numeracy knowledge. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 195, 104846. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2020.104846 Logvinova, O. K. (2016). Socio-pedagogical approach to multicultural education at preschool. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 233(May), 206–210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.10.203 Lopintsova, O., Paloniemi, K., & Wahlroos, K. (2012). Multicultural Education through Expressive Methods in Early Childhood Education. Ludwig, M. ., Marklein, M. ., & Song, M. (2016). Arts Integration: A Promising Approach to Improving Early Learning. American Institutes for Research. Macdonald, A., & Lowrie, T. (2011). Developing measurement concepts within context : Children ’ s representations of length. 27–42. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13394-011-0002-7 Mans, M. (2002). Playing The Music- Comparing Perfomance of Children’s Song and dance in Traditional and Contemporary Namibian Education. In The Arts in Children’s Live (pp. 71–86). Kluwer Academic Publishers. Maričić, S. M., & Stamatović, J. D. (2017). The Effect of Preschool Mathematics Education in Development of Geometry Concepts in Children. 8223(9), 6175–6187. https://doi.org/10.12973/eurasia.2017.01057a Missall, K., Hojnoski, R. L., Caskie, G. I. L., & Repasky, P. (2015). Home Numeracy Environments of Preschoolers: Examining Relations Among Mathematical Activities, Parent Mathematical Beliefs, and Early Mathematical Skills. Early Education and Development, 26(3), 356–376. https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2015.968243 Moreno, S., Bialystok, E., Barac, R., Schellenberg, E. G., Cepeda, N. J., & Chau, T. (2011). Short-term music training enhances verbal intelligence and executive function. Psychological Science, 22(11), 1425–1433. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611416999 Nketia, J. H. K. (1982). Developing Contemporary Idioms out of Traditional Music. Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 24, 81. https://doi.org/10.2307/902027 Nyota, S., & Mapara, J. (2008). Shona Traditional Children ’ s Games and Play : Songs as Indigenous Ways of Knowing. English, 2(4), 189–203. Östergren, R., & Träff, U. (2013). Early number knowledge and cognitive ability affect early arithmetic ability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 115(3), 405–421. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2013.03.007 Pantoja, N., Schaeffer, M. W., Rozek, C. S., Beilock, S. L., & Levine, S. C. (2020). Children’s Math Anxiety Predicts Their Math Achievement Over and Above a Key Foundational Math Skill. Journal of Cognition and Development, 00(00), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/15248372.2020.1832098 Papadakis, Stamatios, Kalogiannakis, M., & Zaranis, N. (2017). Improving Mathematics Teaching in Kindergarten with Realistic Mathematical Education. Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(3), 369–378. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-015-0768-4 Papadakis, Stamatios, Kalogiannakis, M., & Zaranis, N. (2018). The effectiveness of computer and tablet assisted intervention in early childhood students’ understanding of numbers. An empirical study conducted in Greece. Education and Information Technologies, 23(5), 1849–1871. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-018-9693-7 Papadakis, Stamatis, Kalogiannakis, M., & Zaranis, N. (2016). Comparing Tablets and PCs in teaching Mathematics: An attempt to improve Mathematics Competence in Early Childhood Education. Preschool and Primary Education, 4(2), 241. https://doi.org/10.12681/ppej.8779 Paul, T. (2019). Mathematics and music : loves and fights To cite this version. PISA worldwide ranking; Indonesia’s PISA results show need to use education resources more efficiently, (2016). Phyfferoen, D. (2019). The Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Northern Ghana Contemporary Idioms of Music Making in Tamale. 1(2), 81–104. Purpura, D. J., Napoli, A. R., & King, Y. (2019). Development of Mathematical Language in Preschool and Its Role in Learning Numeracy Skills. In Cognitive Foundations for Improving Mathematical Learning (1st ed., Vol. 5). Elsevier Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815952-1.00007-4 Ribeiro, F. S., & Santos, F. H. (2020). Persistent Effects of Musical Training on Mathematical Skills of Children With Developmental Dyscalculia. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(January), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02888 Roa, R., & IA, C. (2020). Learning Music and Math, Together as One: Towards a Collaborative Approach for Practicing Math Skills with Music. In I. T. (eds) Nolte A., Alvarez C., Hishiyama R., Chounta IA., Rodríguez-Triana M. (Ed.), Collaboration Technologies and Social Computing. Col (Vol. 26, Issue 5, pp. 659–669). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58157-2_10 Sarama, J., & Clements, D. H. (2006a). Mathematics, Young Students, and Computers: Software, Teaching Strategies and Professional Development. The Mathematics Educato, 9(2), 112–134. Sarama, J., & Clements, D. H. (2006b). Mathematics in early childhood. International Journal of Early Childhood, 38(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03165980 Sarkar, J., & Biswas, U. (2015). The role of music and the brain development of children. 4(8), 107–111. Sheridan, K. M., Banzer, D., Pradzinski, A., & Wen, X. (2020). Early Math Professional Development: Meeting the Challenge Through Online Learning. Early Childhood Education Journal, 48(2), 223–231. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-019-00992-y Silver, A. M., Elliott, L., & Libertus, M. E. (2021). When beliefs matter most: Examining children’s math achievement in the context of parental math anxiety. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 201, 104992. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2020.104992 Sterner, G., Wolff, U., & Helenius, O. (2020). Reasoning about Representations: Effects of an Early Math Intervention. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 64(5), 782–800. https://doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2019.1600579 Temple, B. A., Bentley, K., Pugalee, D. K., Blundell, N., & Pereyra, C. M. (2020). Using dance & movement to enhance spatial awareness learning. Athens Journal of Education, 7(2), 153–167. https://doi.org/10.30958/aje.7-2-2 Thippana, J., Elliott, L., Gehman, S., Libertus, K., & Libertus, M. E. (2020). Parents’ use of number talk with young children: Comparing methods, family factors, activity contexts, and relations to math skills. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 53, 249–259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2020.05.002 Tsai, Y. (2017). Taiwanese Traditional Musical Idioms Meet Western Music Composition: An Analytical and Pedagogical Approach to Solo Piano Works by Tyzen Hsiao. http://aquila.usm.edu/dissertations/1398 Upadhyaya, D. (2017). Benefits of Music and Movement in young children. Furtados School of Music. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/benefits-music-movement-young-children-dharini-upadhyaya Vennberg, H., Norqvist, M., Bergqvist, E., Österholm, M., Granberg, C., & Sumpter, L. (2018). Counting on: Long Term Effects of an Early Intervention Programme. 4, 355–362. http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-148101 Verdine, B. N., Lucca, K. R., Golinkoff, R. M., Hirsh-, K., & Newcombe, N. S. (2015). The Shape of Things : The Origin of Young Children ’ s Knowledge of the Names and Properties of Geometric Forms. 8372(October). https://doi.org/10.1080/15248372.2015.1016610 Wakabayashi, T., Andrade-Adaniya, F., Schweinhart, L. J., Xiang, Z., Marshall, B. A., & Markley, C. A. (2020). The impact of a supplementary preschool mathematics curriculum on children’s early mathematics learning. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 53, 329–342. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2020.04.002 Wardani, I. K., Djohan, & Sittiprapap*rn, P. (2018). The difference of brain activities of musical listeners. 1st International ECTI Northern Section Conference on Electrical, Electronics, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering, ECTI-NCON 2018, 181–184. https://doi.org/10.1109/ECTI-NCON.2018.8378307 Winter, E., & Seeger, P. (2015). The Important Role of Music in Early Childhood Learning. Independent School. Zaranis, N., Kalogiannakis, M., & Papadakis, S. (2013). Using Mobile Devices for Teaching Realistic Mathematics in Kindergarten Education. Creative Education, 04(07), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.4236/ce.2013.47a1001

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Ting,D., B.Bailey, F.Scheuermeyer, T.Chan, and D.Harris. "P018: Journal club functions as a community of practice that safeguards quality assurance in the era of free open access medical education: a qualitative study." CJEM 22, S1 (May 2020): S70—S71. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cem.2020.226.

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Introduction: The ways in which Emergency Medicine (EM) physicians interact with the medical literature has been transformed with the rise of Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM). Although nearly all residents use FOAM resources, some criticize the lack of universal quality assurance. This problem is a particular risk for trainees who have many time constraints and incompletely developed critical appraisal skills. One potential safeguard is journal club, which is used by virtually all EM residency programs in North America to review new literature. However, EM resident perspectives have not been studied. Our research objective was to describe how residents perceive journal club to influence how they translate the medical literature into their clinical practice. Our research question was whether FOAM has influenced residents’ goals and perceived value of journal club. Methods: We developed a semi-structured interview script in conjunction with a methods expert and refined it via pilot testing. Following constructivist grounded theory, and using both purposive and theoretical sampling, we conducted a focus group (n = 7) and 18 individual interviews with EM residents at the 4 training sites of the University of British Columbia. In total, we analyzed 920 minutes of recorded audio. Two authors independently coded each transcript, with discrepancies reconciled by discussion and consensus. Constant comparative analysis was performed. We conducted return of findings through public presentations. Results: We found evidence that journal club works as a community of practice with a progression of roles from junior to senior residents. Participants described journal club as a safe venue to compare practice patterns and to gain insight into the practical wisdom of their peers and mentors. The social and academic activities present at journal club interacted positively to foster this environment. In asking residents about ways that journal club accelerates knowledge translation, we actually found that residents cite journal club as a quality check to prevent premature adoption of new research findings. Residents are hesitant to adopt new literature into their practice without positive validation, which can occur during journal club. Conclusion: Journal club functions as a community of practice that is valued by residents. Journal club is a primary way that new evidence can be validated before being put into practice, and may act as quality assurance in the era of FOAM.

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Nurningsih Sinuraya, RachmawatyM.Noer, Sherly Mutiara, Endah Hapsari, Neni Triana, and Istini. "ARTIs Prevention Efforts at Paya Lebar Village." International Journal Of Community Service 1, no.1 (May30, 2021): 35–41. http://dx.doi.org/10.51601/ijcs.v1i1.4.

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[1] Andanawarih, P., & Baroroh, I. (2018). The Role of Midwives as Facilitators for the Implementation of the Maternity Planning and Complication Prevention Program (P4k) in the Pekalongan District Health Center Area. Cycle: Journal of Tegal Polytechnic Midwifery Research, 7 (1) : 252-256. [2] Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, 2002, Guidelines for the Eradication of Acute Upper Respiratory Infection for Prevention of Pneumonia in Toddlers in Pelita VI , Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta. [3] Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia. Riskesdas Indonesia 2007 . jakarta: 2007 . [4] Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia. 2004. Guidelines for the eradication ofacute respiratory infections (ISPA) to controlpneumonia in children under five. Jakarta: MOH RI. [5] Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, 2014a, Clinical Practice Guide for Doctors in Primary Health Care Facilities , Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta. [6] Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, 2014b, Indonesia Health Profile 2013 , Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta. [7] Nurrijal, (2009) . Acute Respiratory Infections . http: //www.springerlink.com (23 August 2014 ) [8] Papilaya, EA, ZuliAri, K., &. J. (2016). Comparison of the effect of health promotion using audio-visual media with audio-visual media on elementary students' oral health behavior. E-TEETH, 4 (2): 282-286. [9] Sanjaya, Vienna. 2009. Process-Oriented Learning Strategy Standards. Education. Jakarta : Prenada [10] Somantri, I., 2008, Medical Surgical Nursing: Nursing Care for Patients with Respiratory System Disorders , Salemba Medika, Jakarta. [11] Susilo, A., Rumende, CM, Pitoyo, CW, Santoso, WD, Yulianti, M., Herikurniawan, H., Sinto, R., Singh, G., Nainggolan, L., Nelwan, EJ, Chen, LK, Widhani, A., Wijaya, E., Wicaksana, B., Maksum, M., Annisa, F., Jasirwan, COM, & Yunihastuti, E. (2020).

Kristanto, Wisnu. "Javanese Traditional Songs for Early Childhood Character Education." JPUD - Jurnal Pendidikan Usia Dini 14, no.1 (April30, 2020): 169–84. http://dx.doi.org/10.21009/141.12.

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Character education in early childhood is not new, and character education is also not just a transfer of knowledge, but something that needs to be built early on through various stimula- tions. This study aims to develop the character of early childhood through audio-visual media with traditional Javanese songs. Using educational design-based research to develop audio-visual media from traditional songs, this media was tested in the field with an experimental design with a control group. Respondents involved 71 kindergarten students from one experimental class in one control class. The data revealed that character education in children shows the average value of the experi- mental class is higher than the control group, this means character education in children can be built through traditional songs. Further research can be done to improve the character of early childhood through a variety of media that interests children. Keywords: Early Childhood, Character Education, Javanese Traditional Songs Media References: Anderson, T., & Shattuck, J. (2012). Design-based research: A decade of progress in education research? Educational Researcher, 41(1), 16–25. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X11428813 Bates, A. (2016). The management of ‘emotional labour’ in the corporate re-imagining of primary education in England. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 26(1), 66–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2016.1175959 Bates, A. (2019). Character education and the ‘priority of recognition.’ Cambridge Journal of Education, 49(6), 695–710. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2019.1590529 Battistich, V., Schaps, E., Watson, M., Solomon, D., & Lewis, C. (2000). Effects of the Child Development Project on students’ drug use and other problem behaviors. Journal of Primary Prevention, 21(1), 75–99. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007057414994 Berkowitz, M. W. (1933). The Science of Character. 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Johnson,S., A.VanHoye, A.Donaldson, F.Lemonnier, F.Rostan, and A.Vuillemin. "Building health promoting sports clubs: A participative concept mapping approach." European Journal of Public Health 30, Supplement_5 (September1, 2020). http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckaa166.371.

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Abstract Background Sports clubs offer a unique position to increase performance and physical activity but may also provide additional health promoting opportunities. Research is limited on support clubs need to increase health promotion efforts. This study took a participative approach to gather French stakeholder ideas on perceived assistance sports clubs need to increase health promotion efforts and prioritized them based on ratings of importance and feasibility. Methods This concept mapping study had 4-steps: 1) drafting a focus prompt to a key issue, 2) brainstorming ideas in response to the focus prompt, 3) sorting ideas into themed piles and 4) rating ideas (1-6) based on two indicators. French stakeholders (45) in sports and health organizations were invited to respond using the groupwisdom™ platform. Researchers produced visual cluster maps of themed piles and Go-Zone graphs displaying ideas perceived as important and feasible. Results Participants generated 62 ideas responding to the focus prompt: 'What assistance would benefit sports clubs to become health-promoting settings?'. Once researchers edited ideas, 78 were available to sort. Final sorting formed 9 clusters: Tools for health promotion, Communication tools, Stakeholder training courses, Diagnostic & Financing, Awareness & Mobilization, Advocacy, Policies & Methods, Sharing & Networking, Communication & Dissemination. Importance and feasibility ratings produced Go-Zones with 34 ideas above the mean for both indicators. Top focus areas include: increasing awareness of health promotion benefits, mobilizing actors, advocating for support and educating club actors. Conclusions Understanding support stakeholders need to increase health promotion efforts in sports clubs is a crucial step to plan and implement policies. Including stakeholders' perceptions helps establish effective interventions by increasing the possibility of integration into current or emerging policies and acceptance from those working in clubs. Key messages Generating and organizing stakeholder ideas gives insight into perceptions of what support is needed to develop and implement health promotion interventions in the sports club context. Based on importance and feasibility, sports clubs can increase health promotion efforts by focusing on: increasing awareness of health promotion benefits, mobilizing actors, advocacy and education.

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Ellis,KatieM., Mike Kent, and Kathryn Locke. "Indefinitely beyond Our Reach: The Case for Elevating Audio Description to the Importance of Captions on Australian Television." M/C Journal 20, no.3 (June21, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1261.

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IntroductionIn a 2013 press release issued by Blind Citizens Australia, the advocacy group announced they were lodging a human rights complaint against the Australian government and the ABC over the lack of audio description available on the public broadcaster. Audio description is a track of narration included between the lines of dialogue which describes important visual elements of a television show, movie or performance. Audio description is broadly recognised as an essential feature to make television accessible to audiences who are blind or vision impaired (Utray et al.). Indeed, Blind Citizens Australia maintained that audio description was as important as captioning on Australian television:people who are blind have waited too long and are frustrated that audio description on television remains indefinitely beyond our reach. Our Deaf or hearing impaired peers have always seen great commitment from the ABC, but we continue to feel like second class citizens.While audio description as a technology was developed in the 1960s—around the same time as captions (Ellis, “Netflix Closed Captions”)—it is not as widely available on television and access is therefore often considered to be out of reach for this group. As a further comparison, in Australia, while the provision of captions was mandated in the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) 1992 and television sets had clear Australian standards regarding their capability to display captions, there is no legislation for audio description and no consistency regarding the ability of television sets sold in Australia to display them (Ellis, “Television’s Transition”). While as a technology, audio description is as old as captioning it is not as widely available on television. This is despite the promise of technological advancements to facilitate its availability. For example, Cronin and King predicted that technological change such as the introduction of stereo sound on television would facilitate a more widespread availability of audio description; however, this has not eventuated. Similarly, in the lead up to the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in Australia, government policy documents predicted a more widespread availability of audio description as a result of increased bandwidth available via digital television (Ellis, “Television’s Transition”). While these predictions paved way for an audio description trial, there has been no amendment to the BSA to mandate its provision.Audio description has been experienced on Australian broadcast television in 2012, but only for a 14-week trial on ABC1. The trial report, and feedback from disability groups, identified several technical impediments and limitations which effected the experience of audio described content during this trial, including: the timing of the trial during a period in which the transition from analogue to digital television was still occurring (creating hardware compatibility issues for some consumers); the limitations of the “ad hoc” approach undertaken by the ABC and manual implementation of audio description; and the need for upgraded digital receivers (ABC “Trial of Audio Description”, 2). While advocacy groups acknowledged the technical complexities involved, the expected stakeholder discussions that were due to be held post-trial, in part to attempt to resolve the issues experienced, were never undertaken. As a result of the lack of subsequent commitments to providing audio description, in 2013 advocacy group Blind Citizens Australia lodged their formal complaints of disability discrimination against the ABC and the Federal Government. Since the 2012 trial on ABC1, the ABC’s catch-up portal iView instigated another audio description trial in 2015. Through the iView trial it was further confirmed that audio description held considerable benefits for people with a vision impairment. They also demonstrated that audio description was technically feasible, with far less ‘technical difficulties’ than the experience of the 2012 broadcast-based trial. Over the 15 month trial on ABC iView 1,305 hours of audio described content was provided and played 158, 277 times across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, the Freeview app and desktop computers (ABC, “ABC iView Audio Description Trial”).Yet despite repeated audio description trials and the lodgement of discrimination complaints, there remains no audio description on Australian broadcast television. Similarly, whereas 55 per cent of DVDs released in Australia have captions, only 25 per cent include an audio description track (Media Access Australia). At the time of writing, the only audio description available on Australian television is on Netflix Australia, a subscription video on demand provider.This article seeks to highlight the importance of television access for people with disability, with a specific focus on the provision of audio description for people with vision impairments. Research consistently shows that despite being a visual medium, people with vision impairments watch television at least once a day (Cronin and King; Ellis, “Netflix Closed Captions”). However, while television access has been a priority for advocates for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing (Downey), audiences advocating audio description are only recently making gains (Ellis, “Netflix Closed Captions”; Ellis and Kent). These gains are frequently attributed to technological change, particularly the digitisation of television and the introduction of subscription video on demand where users access television content online and are not constrained by broadcast schedules. This transformation of how we access television is also considered in the article, again with a focus on the provision–or lack thereof—of audio description.This article also reports findings of research conducted with Australians with disabilities accessing the emerging video on demand environment in 2016. The survey was run online from January to February 2016. Survey respondents included people with disability, their families, and carers, and were sourced through disability organisations and community groups as well as via disability-focused social media. A total of 145 people completed the survey and 12 people participated in follow-up interviews. Insights were gained into both how people with disability are currently using video on demand and their anticipated usage of services. Of note is that most subscription video on demand services (Netflix Australia, Stan, and Presto) had only been introduced in Australia in the year before the survey being carried out, with only Foxtel Play and Quickflix having been in operation for some time prior to that.Finally, the article ends by looking at past and current advocacy in this area, including a discussion on existing—albeit, to date, limited—political will.Access to Television for People with DisabilitiesTelevision can be disabling in different ways for people with impairments, yet several accessibility features exist to translate information. For example, people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing may require captions, while people with vision impairments prefer to make use of audio description (Alper et al.). Similarly, people with mobility and dexterity impairments found the transition to digital broadcasting difficult, particularly with relation to set top box set up (Carmichael et al.). As Joshua Robare has highlighted, even legislation has generally favoured the inclusion of audiences with hearing impairments, while disregarding those with vision impairments. Similarly, much of the literature in this area focuses on the provision of captions—a vital accessibility feature for people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. Consequently, research into accessibility to television for a diversity of impairments, going beyond hearing impairments, remains deficient.In a study of Australian audiences with disability conducted between September and November 2013—during the final months of the analogue to digital simulcast period of Australian broadcast television—closed captions, clean audio, and large/colour-coded remote control keys emerged as the most desired access features (see Ellis, “Digital Television Flexibility”). Audio description barely registered in the top five. In a different study conducted two years ago/later, when disabled Australian audiences of video on demand were asked the same question, captions continued to dominate at 63.4 per cent; however, audio description was also seen to be a necessary feature for almost one third of respondents (see Ellis et al., Accessing Subcription Video).Robert Kingett, founder of the Accessible Netflix Project, participated in our research and told us in an interview that video on demand providers treat accessibility as an “afterthought”, particularly for blind people whom most don’t think of as watching television. Yet research dating back to the 1990s shows almost 100 per cent of people with vision impairments watch television at least once a day (Cronin & King). Statistically, the number of Australians who identify as blind or vision impaired is not insignificant. Vision Australia estimates that over 357,000 Australians have a vision impairment, while one in five Australians have a disability of some form. With an ageing population, this number is expected to grow exponentially in the next ten years (Australian Network on Disability). Kingett therefore describes this lack of accessibility as evidence video on demand is “stuck in the dark ages”, and advocates that people with vision impairments do use video on demand and therefore continue to have unmet access needs.Video on Demand—Transforming TelevisionSubscription video on demand services have caused a major shift in the way television is used and consumed in Australia. Prior to 2015, there was a small subscription video on demand industry in this country. However, in 2015, following the launch of Netflix Australia, Stan, and Presto, Australia was described as having entered the “streaming wars” (Tucker) where consumers would benefit from the increased competition. As Netflix gained dominance in the video on demand market internationally, people with disability began to recognise the potential this service could have in transforming their access to television.For example, the growing availability of video on demand services continues to provide disruptive change to the way in which consumers enjoy information and entertainment. While traditional broadcast television has provided great opportunities for participation in news, events, and popular culture, both socially and in the workplace, the move towards video on demand services has seen a notable decline in traditional television viewing habits, with online continuing to increase at the expense of Australian free-to-air programming (C-Scott).For the general population, this always-on, always-available, and always-shareable nature of video on demand means that the experience is both convenient and instant. If a television show is of interest to friends and family, it can be quickly shared through popular social media with others, allowing everyone to join in the experience. For people with disability, the ability to both share and personalise the experience of television is critical to the popularity of video on demand services for this group. This gives them not only the same benefits as others but also ensures that people with disability are not unintentionally excluded from participation—it allows people with disability the choice as to whether or not to join in. However, exclusion from video on demand is a significant concern for people with disability due to the lack of accessibility features in popular subscription services. The lack of captions, audio description, and interfaces that do not comply with international Web accessibility standards are resulting in many people with disability being unable to fully participate in the preferred viewing platforms of family and friends.The impact of this expands beyond the consumption patterns of audiences, shifting the way the audience is defined and conceptualised. With an increasing distribution of audience attention to multiple channels, products, and services, the ability to, and strategies for, acquiring a large audience has changed (Napoli). As audience attention is distributed, it is broken up, into smaller, fragmented groups. The success, therefore, of a new provider may be to amass a large audience through the aggregation of smaller, niche audiences. This theory has significance for consumers who require audio description because they represent a viable target group. In this context, accessibility is reframed as a commercial opportunity rather than a cost (Ellis, “Netflix Closed Captions”).However, what this means for future provision of audio description in Australia is still unclear. Chris Mikul from Media Access Australia, author of Access on Demand, was interviewed as part of this research. He told us that the complete lack of audio description on local video on demand services can be attributed to the lack of Australian legislation requiring it. In an interview as part of this research he explained the central issue with audio description in this country as “the lack of audio description on broadcast TV, which is shocking in a world context”.International providers fare only slightly better. Robert Kingett established the Accessible Netflix Project in 2013 with the stated aim of advocating for the provision of audio description on Netflix. Netflix, despite a lack of a clear accessibility policy, are seen as being in front in terms of overall accessibility—captions are available for most content. However, the provision of audio description was initially not considered to be of such importance, and Netflix were initially against the idea, citing technical difficulties. Nevertheless, in 2015—shortly after their Australian launch—they did eventually introduce audio description on original programming, describing the access feature as an option customers could choose, “just like choosing the soundtrack in a different language” (Wright). However, despite such successful trials, the issue in the Australian market remains the absence of legislation mandating the provision of audio description in Australia and the other video on demand providers have not introduced audio description to compete with Netflix. As the Netflix example illustrates, both legislation and recognition of people with disability as a key audience demographic will result in a more accessible television environment for this group.Currently, it is debatable as to whether this increasingly competitive market, the shifting perception of audience attraction and retention, and the entry of multiple international video on demand providers, has influenced how accessibility is viewed, both for broadcast television and video on demand. Although there is some evidence for an increasing consideration of people with disability as “valid” consumers—take, for example, the iView audio description trial, or the inclusion of audio description by Netflix—our research indicates accessibility is still inconsistently considered, designed for, and applied by current providers.Survey Response: Key Issues Regarding AccessibilityRespondents were asked to provide an overall impression of video on demand services, and to tell us about their positive and negative experiences. Analysis of 68 extended responses, and the responses provided by the interview participants, identified a lack of availability of accessibility features such as audio description as a key problem. What our results indicate is that while customers with a disability are largely accommodating of the inaccessibility of providers—they use their own assistive technology to access content—they are keenly aware of the provisions that could be made. As one respondent put it:they could do a lot better: talking menus, spoken sub titles, and also spoken messages on screen.However, many expressed low expectations due to the continued absence of audio description on broadcast television:so, the other thing is, my expectations are quite low because of years of not having audio descriptions. I have slightly different expectations to other people.This reflection is important in considering both the shifting expectations regarding video on demand providers but also the need for a clear communication of what features are available so that providers can cater to—and therefore capture—niche markets.The survey identified captioning as the main accessibility problem of video on demand services. However, this may not accurately reflect the need for other accessibility features such as audio description. Rather, it may be indicative that this feature is often the only choice given to consumers. As, Chris Mikul identified, “the only disability being catered for to any great extent is deafness/hearing impairment”. Kingett agreed, noting:people who are deaf and hard of hearing are placed way before the rest because captions are beyond easy and cheap to create now. Please, there’s even companies that people use to crowd source captions so companies don’t have to do it anymore. This all came about because the deaf community has [banded] together … to achieve a cause. I know audio description isn’t as cheap to make as captions but, by these companies’ budgets that’s like dropping a penny.Advocacy and Political WillAs noted above, it has been argued by some that accessibility features that address vision impairments have been neglected. The reason behind this is twofold—the perception that this disability is experienced by a minority of the population and that, because blind people “don’t watch television”, it is not an important accessibility feature. This points towards a need for both disability advocacy and political will by politicians to introduce legislation. As one survey respondent identified, the reality is that, in Australia, neither politicians nor people with vision impairments have yet to address the issue on audio description in an organised or sustained way:we have very little audio described content available in Australia. We don’t have the population of blind people nor the political will by politicians to force providers to provide for us.However, Blind Citizens Australia—the coalition of television audiences with vision impairments who lodged the human rights complaint against the government and the ABC—suggest the tide is turning. Whereas advocates for people with vision impairments have traditionally focused on access to the workforce, the issue of television accessibility is increasingly gaining attention, particularly as a result of international activist efforts and the move towards video on demand (see Ellis and Kent).For example, Kingett’s Accessible Netflix Project in the US is considered one of the most successful accessibility movements towards the introduction of audio description. While its members are predominantly US-based, it does include several Australian members and continues to cover Netflix Australia’s stance on audio description, and be covered by Australian media and organisations (including Media Access Australia and Life Hacker). When Netflix launched in Australia, Kingett encouraged Australians to become more involved in the project (Ellis and Kent).However, despite the progress towards mandating of audio description in parliament and the resolution of efforts made by advocacy groups (including Vision Australia and Blind Citizens Australia), the status of audio description remains uncertain. Whilst some support has been gained—specifically through motions made by Senator Siewert and the ABC iView audio description trials—significant change has been slow. For example, conciliation discussions are still ongoing regarding the now four-year-old complaint brought against the ABC and the Federal Government by Blind Citizens Australia. Meanwhile, although the Senate supported Senator Siewert’s motion to change the Broadcasting Services Act to include audio description, the Act has yet to be amended.The results of multiple ABC trials of audio description remain in discussion. Whilst the recently released report on the findings of the April 2015—July 2016 iView trial states that the “trial has identified that those who utilised the audio description service found it a valuable enhancement to their media engagement and their social interactions” (ABC, “ABC iView Audio Description Trial” 18), it also cautioned that “any move to introduce AD services in Australia would have budgetary implications for the broadcasters in a constrained financial environment” and “broader legislative implications” (ABC, “ABC iView Audio Description Trial” 18). Indeed, although the trial was considered “successful”—in that experiences by users were generally positive and the benefits considerable (Media Access Australia, “New Report”)—the continuation of audio description on iView alone was clarified as representing “a systemic failure to provide people who are blind or have low vision with basic access to television now, given that iView is out of reach for many people in the blindness and low vision community” (Media Access Australia, “New Report”). Indeed, the relatively low numbers of plays of audio described content during the trial (158, 277 plays, representing 0.58% of total program plays on iView) were likely a result of a lack of access to smartphones or Internet technology, prohibitive data speeds and/or general Internet costs, all factors which affect the accessibility of video on demand significantly more for people with disability (Ellis et al., “Access for Everyone?”).On a more positive note, the culmination of advocacy pressure, the ABC iView trial, political attention, and increasing academic literature on the accessibility of Australian media has resulted in the establishment of an Audio Description Working Group by the government. This group consists of industry representatives, advocacy group representatives, academics, and “consumer representatives”. The aims of the group are to: identify options to sustainably increase access to audio description services; identify any impediments to the implementation of audio description; provide expert advice on audio description implementation options; and develop a report on the findings due at the end of 2017.ConclusionIn the absence of audio description, people who are blind or vision impaired report a less satisfying television experience (Cronin and King; Kingett). However, with each technological advancement in the delivery of television, from stereo sound to digital television, this group has held hopes for a more accessible experience. The reality, however, has been a continued lack of audio description, particularly in broadcast television.Several commentators have compared the provision of audio description with closed captioning. They find that audio description is not as widely available, and reflect this is likely a result of lack of legislation (Robare; Ellis, “Digital Television Flexibility”)—for example, in the Australian context, whereas the provision of captions is mandated in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, audio description is not. As a result, there have been limited trials of audio description in this country and inconsistent standards in how to display it. As discussed throughout this paper, people with vision impairments and their allies therefore often draw on the example of the widespread “acceptance” of captions to make the case that audio description should also be more widely available.However, following the introduction of subscription video on demand in Australia, and particularly Netflix, the issue of audio description is receiving greater attention. It has been argued that video on demand has transformed television, particularly the ways in which television is accessed. Video on demand could also potentially transform the way we think about accessibility for audiences with disability. While captions are a well-established accessibility feature facilitating television access for people with a range of disabilities, video on demand is raising the profile of the importance of audio description for audiences with vision impairments.ReferencesABC. “Audio Description Trial on ABC Television: Report to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy”. Dec. 2012. 8 Apr. 2017 <https://www.communications.gov.au/sites/g/files/net301/f/ABC-Audio-Description-Trial-Report2.pdf>.ABC. “ABC iView Audio Description Trial: Final Report to The Department of Communications and the Arts.” Oct. 2016. 6 Apr. 2017 <https://www.communications.gov.au/documents/final-report-trial-audio-description-abc-iview>.Alper, Meryl, et al. “Reimagining the Good Life with Disability: Communication, New Technology, and Humane Connections.” Communication and the Good Life. Ed. H. Wang. New York: Peter Lang, 2015.Australian Network on Disability. “Disability Statistics.” Mar. 2017. 30 Apr. 2017 <https://www.and.org.au/pages/disability-statistics.html>.Blind Citizens Australia. Government and ABC Fail to Deliver on Accessible TV for Australia’s Blind. Submission. 10 July 2013. 1 May 2017 <http://bca.org.au/submissions/>.C-Scott, Marc. “The Battle for Audiences as Free-TV Viewing Continues Its Decline.” Mumbrella 22 Apr. 2016. 24 May 2016 <https://mumbrella.com.au/the-battle-for-audiences-as-free-tv-viewing-continues-its-decline-362010>.Carmichael, Alex, et al. “Digital Switchover or Digital Divide: A Prognosis for Useable and Accessible Interactive Digital Television in the UK.” Universal Access in the Information Society 4 (2006): 400–16.Cronin, Barry J., and Sharon Robertson King. “The Development of the Descriptive Video Services.” National Center to Improve Practice in Special Education through Technology, Media and Materials. Sep. 1998. 8 May 2014 <https://www2.edc.org/NCIP/library/v&c/Cronin.htm>.Downey, G. “Constructing Closed-Captioning in the Public Interest: From Minority Media Accessibility to Mainstream Educational Technology.” Info 9.2–3 (2007): 69–82.Ellis, Katie. “Digital Television Flexibility: A Survey of Australians with Disability.” Media International Australia 150 (2014): 96.———. “Netflix Closed Captions Offer an Accessible Model for the Streaming Video Industry, But What about Audio Description?” Communication, Politics & Culture 47.3 (2015).———. “Television’s Transition to the Internet: Disability Accessibility and Broadband-Based TV in Australia.” Media International Australia 153 (2014): 53–63.Ellis, Katie, and Mike Kent. “Accessible Television: The New Frontier in Disability Media Studies Brings Together Industry Innovation, Government Legislation and Online Activism.” First Monday 20 (2015). <http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/6170>.Ellis, Katie, et al. Accessing Subscription Video on Demand: A Study of Disability and Streaming Television in Australia. Australian Communications Consumer Action Network. Aug. 2016. <https://accan.org.au/grants/current-grants/1066-accessing-video-on-demand-a-study-of-disability-and-streaming-television>.Ellis, Katie, et al. “Access for Everyone? Australia’s ‘Streaming Wars’ and Consumers with Disabilities.” Continuum (2017, publication pending).Kingett, Robert. “The Accessible Netflix Project Advocates Taking Steps to Ensure Netflix Accessibility for Everyone.” 2014. 30 Jan. 2014 <https://netflixproject.wordpress.com>.Media Access Australia. “Statistics on DVD Accessibility in Australia.” 2012. 21 Nov. 2014 <https://mediaaccess.org.au/dvds/Statistics%20on%20DVD%20accessibility%20in%20Australia>.———. “New Report on the Trial of A.D. on ABC iView.” 7 Mar. 2017. 30 Apr. 2017 <https://mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/television/new-report-on-the-trial-of-ad-on-abc-iview>.Napoli, Philip M., ed. Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences. New York: Columbia UP, 2011.Robare, Joshua S. “Television for All: Increasing Television Accessibility for the Visually Impaired through the FCC’s Ability to Regulate Video Description Technology.” Federal Communications Law Journal 63.2 (2011): 553–78.Tucker, Harry. “Netflix Leads the Streaming Wars, Followed by Foxtel’s Presto.” News.com.au 24 June 2016. 18 May 2016 <http://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/tv/netflix-leads-the-streaming-wars-followed-by-foxtels-presto/news-story/7adf45dcd7d9486ff47ec5ea5951287f>.Utray, Francisco, et al. “Monitoring Accessibility Services in Digital Television.” International Journal of Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (2012): 9.

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Holleran, Samuel. "Better in Pictures." M/C Journal 24, no.4 (August19, 2021). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2810.

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While the term “visual literacy” has grown in popularity in the last 50 years, its meaning remains nebulous. It is described variously as: a vehicle for aesthetic appreciation, a means of defence against visual manipulation, a sorting mechanism for an increasingly data-saturated age, and a prerequisite to civic inclusion (Fransecky 23; Messaris 181; McTigue and Flowers 580). Scholars have written extensively about the first three subjects but there has been less research on how visual literacy frames civic life and how it might help the public as a tool to address disadvantage and assist in removing social and cultural barriers. This article examines a forerunner to visual literacy in the push to create an international symbol language born out of popular education movements, a project that fell short of its goals but still left a considerable impression on graphic media. This article, then, presents an analysis of visual literacy campaigns in the early postwar era. These campaigns did not attempt to invent a symbolic language but posited that images themselves served as a universal language in which students could receive training. Of particular interest is how the concept of visual literacy has been mobilised as a pedagogical tool in design, digital humanities and in broader civic education initiatives promoted by Third Space institutions. Behind the creation of new visual literacy curricula is the idea that images can help anchor a world community, supplementing textual communication. Figure 1: Visual Literacy Yearbook. Montebello Unified School District, USA, 1973. Shedding Light: Origins of the Visual Literacy Frame The term “visual literacy” came to the fore in the early 1970s on the heels of mass literacy campaigns. The educators, creatives and media theorists who first advocated for visual learning linked this aim to literacy, an unassailable goal, to promote a more radical curricular overhaul. They challenged a system that had hitherto only acknowledged a very limited pathway towards academic success; pushing “language and mathematics”, courses “referred to as solids (something substantial) as contrasted with liquids or gases (courses with little or no substance)” (Eisner 92). This was deemed “a parochial view of both human ability and the possibilities of education” that did not acknowledge multiple forms of intelligence (Gardner). This change not only integrated elements of mass culture that had been rejected in education, notably film and graphic arts, but also encouraged the critique of images as a form of good citizenship, assuming that visually literate arbiters could call out media misrepresentations and manipulative political advertising (Messaris, “Visual Test”). This movement was, in many ways, reactive to new forms of mass media that began to replace newspapers as key forms of civic participation. Unlike simple literacy (being able to decipher letters as a mnemonic system), visual literacy involves imputing meanings to images where meanings are less fixed, yet still with embedded cultural signifiers. Visual literacy promised to extend enlightenment metaphors of sight (as in the German Aufklärung) and illumination (as in the French Lumières) to help citizens understand an increasingly complex marketplace of images. The move towards visual literacy was not so much a shift towards images (and away from books and oration) but an affirmation of the need to critically investigate the visual sphere. It introduced doubt to previously upheld hierarchies of perception. Sight, to Kant the “noblest of the senses” (158), was no longer the sense “least affected” by the surrounding world but an input centre that was equally manipulable. In Kant’s view of societal development, the “cosmopolitan” held the key to pacifying bellicose states and ensuring global prosperity and tranquillity. The process of developing a cosmopolitan ideology rests, according to Kant, on the gradual elimination of war and “the education of young people in intellectual and moral culture” (188-89). Transforming disparate societies into “a universal cosmopolitan existence” that would “at last be realised as the matrix within which all the original capacities of the human race may develop” and would take well-funded educational institutions and, potentially, a new framework for imparting knowledge (Kant 51). To some, the world of the visual presented a baseline for shared experience. Figure 2: Exhibition by the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Vienna, photograph c. 1927. An International Picture Language The quest to find a mutually intelligible language that could “bridge worlds” and solder together all of humankind goes back to the late nineteenth century and the Esperanto movement of Ludwig Zamenhof (Schor 59). The expression of this ideal in the world of the visual picked up steam in the interwar years with designers and editors like Fritz Kahn, Gerd Arntz, and Otto and Marie Neurath. Their work transposing complex ideas into graphic form has been rediscovered as an antecedent to modern infographics, but the symbols they deployed were not to merely explain, but also help education and build international fellowship unbounded by spoken language. The Neuraths in particular are celebrated for their international picture language or Isotypes. These pictograms (sometimes viewed as proto-emojis) can be used to represent data without text. Taken together they are an “intemporal, hieroglyphic language” that Neutrath hoped would unite working-class people the world over (Lee 159). The Neuraths’ work was done in the explicit service of visual education with a popular socialist agenda and incubated in the social sphere of Red Vienna at the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum (Social and Economic Museum) where Otto served as Director. The Wirtschaftsmuseum was an experiment in popular education, with multiple branches and late opening hours to accommodate the “the working man [who] has time to see a museum only at night” (Neurath 72-73). The Isotype contained universalist aspirations for the “making of a world language, or a helping picture language—[that] will give support to international developments generally” and “educate by the eye” (Neurath 13). Figure 3: Gerd Arntz Isotype Images. (Source: University of Reading.) The Isotype was widely adopted in the postwar era in pre-packaged sets of symbols used in graphic design and wayfinding systems for buildings and transportation networks, but with the socialism of the Neuraths’ peeled away, leaving only the system of logos that we are familiar with from airport washrooms, charts, and public transport maps. Much of the uptake in this symbol language could be traced to increased mobility and tourism, particularly in countries that did not make use of a Roman alphabet. The 1964 Olympics in Tokyo helped pave the way when organisers, fearful of jumbling too many scripts together, opted instead for black and white icons to represent the program of sports that summer. The new focus on the visual was both technologically mediated—cheaper printing and broadcast technologies made the diffusion of image increasingly possible—but also ideologically supported by a growing emphasis on projects that transcended linguistic, ethnic, and national borders. The Olympic symbols gradually morphed into Letraset icons, and, later, symbols in the Unicode Standard, which are the basis for today’s emojis. Wordless signs helped facilitate interconnectedness, but only in the most literal sense; their application was limited primarily to sports mega-events, highway maps, and “brand building”, and they never fulfilled their role as an educational language “to give the different nations a common outlook” (Neurath 18). Universally understood icons, particularly in the form of emojis, point to a rise in visual communication but they have fallen short as a cosmopolitan project, supporting neither the globalisation of Kantian ethics nor the transnational socialism of the Neuraths. Figure 4: Symbols in use. Women's bathroom. 1964 Tokyo Olympics. (Source: The official report of the Organizing Committee.) Counter Education By mid-century, the optimism of a universal symbol language seemed dated, and focus shifted from distillation to discernment. New educational programs presented ways to study images, increasingly reproducible with new technologies, as a language in and of themselves. These methods had their roots in the fin-de-siècle educational reforms of John Dewey, Helen Parkhurst, and Maria Montessori. As early as the 1920s, progressive educators were using highly visual magazines, like National Geographic, as the basis for lesson planning, with the hopes that they would “expose students to edifying and culturally enriching reading” and “develop a more catholic taste or sensibility, representing an important cosmopolitan value” (Hawkins 45). The rise in imagery from previously inaccessible regions helped pupils to see themselves in relation to the larger world (although this connection always came with the presumed superiority of the reader). “Pictorial education in public schools” taught readers—through images—to accept a broader world but, too often, they saw photographs as a “straightforward transcription of the real world” (Hawkins 57). The images of cultures and events presented in Life and National Geographic for the purposes of education and enrichment were now the subject of greater analysis in the classroom, not just as “windows into new worlds” but as cultural products in and of themselves. The emerging visual curriculum aimed to do more than just teach with previously excluded modes (photography, film and comics); it would investigate how images presented and mediated the world. This gained wider appeal with new analytical writing on film, like Raymond Spottiswoode's Grammar of the Film (1950) which sought to formulate the grammatical rules of visual communication (Messaris 181), influenced by semiotics and structural linguistics; the emphasis on grammar can also be seen in far earlier writings on design systems such as Owen Jones’s 1856 The Grammar of Ornament, which also advocated for new, universalising methods in design education (Sloboda 228). The inventorying impulse is on display in books like Donis A. Dondis’s A Primer of Visual Literacy (1973), a text that meditates on visual perception but also functions as an introduction to line and form in the applied arts, picking up where the Bauhaus left off. Dondis enumerates the “syntactical guidelines” of the applied arts with illustrations that are in keeping with 1920s books by Kandinsky and Klee and analyse pictorial elements. However, at the end of the book she shifts focus with two chapters that examine “messaging” and visual literacy explicitly. Dondis predicts that “an intellectual, trained ability to make and understand visual messages is becoming a vital necessity to involvement with communication. It is quite likely that visual literacy will be one of the fundamental measures of education in the last third of our century” (33) and she presses for more programs that incorporate the exploration and analysis of images in tertiary education. Figure 5: Ideal spatial environment for the Blueprint charts, 1970. (Image: Inventory Press.) Visual literacy in education arrived in earnest with a wave of publications in the mid-1970s. They offered ways for students to understand media processes and for teachers to use visual culture as an entry point into complex social and scientific subject matter, tapping into the “visual consciousness of the ‘television generation’” (Fransecky 5). Visual culture was often seen as inherently democratising, a break from stuffiness, the “artificialities of civilisation”, and the “archaic structures” that set sensorial perception apart from scholarship (Dworkin 131-132). Many radical university projects and community education initiatives of the 1960s made use of new media in novel ways: from Maurice Stein and Larry Miller’s fold-out posters accompanying Blueprint for Counter Education (1970) to Emory Douglas’s graphics for The Black Panther newspaper. Blueprint’s text- and image-dense wall charts were made via assemblage and they were imagined less as charts and more as a “matrix of resources” that could be used—and added to—by youth to undertake their own counter education (Cronin 53). These experiments in visual learning helped to break down old hierarchies in education, but their aim was influenced more by countercultural notions of disruption than the universal ideals of cosmopolitanism. From Image as Text to City as Text For a brief period in the 1970s, thinkers like Marshall McLuhan (McLuhan et al., Massage) and artists like Bruno Munari (Tanchis and Munari) collaborated fruitfully with graphic designers to create books that mixed text and image in novel ways. Using new compositional methods, they broke apart traditional printing lock-ups to superimpose photographs, twist text, and bend narrative frames. The most famous work from this era is, undoubtedly, The Medium Is the Massage (1967), McLuhan’s team-up with graphic designer Quentin Fiore, but it was followed by dozens of other books intended to communicate theory and scientific ideas with popularising graphics. Following in the footsteps of McLuhan, many of these texts sought not just to explain an issue but to self-consciously reference their own method of information delivery. These works set the precedent for visual aids (and, to a lesser extent, audio) that launched a diverse, non-hierarchical discourse that was nonetheless bound to tactile artefacts. In 1977, McLuhan helped develop a media textbook for secondary school students called City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media. It is notable for its direct address style and its focus on investigating spaces outside of the classroom (provocatively, a section on the third page begins with “Should all schools be closed?”). The book follows with a fine-grained analysis of advertising forms in which students are asked to first bring advertisem*nts into class for analysis and later to go out into the city to explore “a man-made environment, a huge warehouse of information, a vast resource to be mined free of charge” (McLuhan et al., City 149). As a document City as Classroom is critical of existing teaching methods, in line with the radical “in the streets” pedagogy of its day. McLuhan’s theories proved particularly salient for the counter education movement, in part because they tapped into a healthy scepticism of advertisers and other image-makers. They also dovetailed with growing discontent with the ad-strew visual environment of cities in the 1970s. Budgets for advertising had mushroomed in the1960s and outdoor advertising “cluttered” cities with billboards and neon, generating “fierce intensities and new hybrid energies” that threatened to throw off the visual equilibrium (McLuhan 74). Visual literacy curricula brought in experiential learning focussed on the legibility of the cities, mapping, and the visualisation of urban issues with social justice implications. The Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute (DGEI), a “collective endeavour of community research and education” that arose in the aftermath of the 1967 uprisings, is the most storied of the groups that suffused the collection of spatial data with community engagement and organising (Warren et al. 61). The following decades would see a tamed approach to visual literacy that, while still pressing for critical reading, did not upend traditional methods of educational delivery. Figure 6: Beginning a College Program-Assisting Teachers to Develop Visual Literacy Approaches in Public School Classrooms. 1977. ERIC. Searching for Civic Education The visual literacy initiatives formed in the early 1970s both affirmed existing civil society institutions while also asserting the need to better inform the public. Most of the campaigns were sponsored by universities, major libraries, and international groups such as UNESCO, which published its “Declaration on Media Education” in 1982. They noted that “participation” was “essential to the working of a pluralistic and representative democracy” and the “public—users, citizens, individuals, groups ... were too systematically overlooked”. Here, the public is conceived as both “targets of the information and communication process” and users who “should have the last word”. To that end their “continuing education” should be ensured (Study 18). Programs consisted primarily of cognitive “see-scan-analyse” techniques (Little et al.) for younger students but some also sought to bring visual analysis to adult learners via continuing education (often through museums eager to engage more diverse audiences) and more radical popular education programs sponsored by community groups. By the mid-80s, scores of modules had been built around the comprehension of visual media and had become standard educational fare across North America, Australasia, and to a lesser extent, Europe. There was an increasing awareness of the role of data and image presentation in decision-making, as evidenced by the surprising commercial success of Edward Tufte’s 1982 book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Visual literacy—or at least image analysis—was now enmeshed in teaching practice and needed little active advocacy. Scholarly interest in the subject went into a brief period of hibernation in the 1980s and early 1990s, only to be reborn with the arrival of new media distribution technologies (CD-ROMs and then the internet) in classrooms and the widespread availability of digital imaging technology starting in the late 1990s; companies like Adobe distributed free and reduced-fee licences to schools and launched extensive teacher training programs. Visual literacy was reanimated but primarily within a circ*mscribed academic field of education and data visualisation. Figure 7: Visual Literacy; What Research Says to the Teacher, 1975. National Education Association. USA. Part of the shifting frame of visual literacy has to do with institutional imperatives, particularly in places where austerity measures forced strange alliances between disciplines. What had been a project in alternative education morphed into an uncontested part of the curriculum and a dependable budget line. This shift was already forecasted in 1972 by Harun Farocki who, writing in Filmkritik, noted that funding for new film schools would be difficult to obtain but money might be found for “training in media education … a discipline that could persuade ministers of education, that would at the same time turn the budget restrictions into an advantage, and that would match the functions of art schools” (98). Nearly 50 years later educators are still using media education (rebranded as visual or media literacy) to make the case for fine arts and humanities education. While earlier iterations of visual literacy education were often too reliant on the idea of cracking the “code” of images, they did promote ways of learning that were a deep departure from the rote methods of previous generations. Next-gen curricula frame visual literacy as largely supplemental—a resource, but not a program. By the end of the 20th century, visual literacy had changed from a scholarly interest to a standard resource in the “teacher’s toolkit”, entering into school programs and influencing museum education, corporate training, and the development of public-oriented media (Literacy). An appreciation of image culture was seen as key to creating empathetic global citizens, but its scope was increasingly limited. With rising austerity in the education sector (a shift that preceded the 2008 recession by decades in some countries), art educators, museum enrichment staff, and design researchers need to make a case for why their disciplines were relevant in pedagogical models that are increasingly aimed at “skills-based” and “job ready” teaching. Arts educators worked hard to insert their fields into learning goals for secondary students as visual literacy, with the hope that “literacy” would carry the weight of an educational imperative and not a supplementary field of study. Conclusion For nearly a century, educational initiatives have sought to inculcate a cosmopolitan perspective with a variety of teaching materials and pedagogical reference points. Symbolic languages, like the Isotype, looked to unite disparate people with shared visual forms; while educational initiatives aimed to train the eyes of students to make them more discerning citizens. The term ‘visual literacy’ emerged in the 1960s and has since been deployed in programs with a wide variety of goals. Countercultural initiatives saw it as a prerequisite for popular education from the ground up, but, in the years since, it has been formalised and brought into more staid curricula, often as a sort of shorthand for learning from media and pictures. The grand cosmopolitan vision of a complete ‘visual language’ has been scaled back considerably, but still exists in trace amounts. Processes of globalisation require images to universalise experiences, commodities, and more for people without shared languages. Emoji alphabets and globalese (brands and consumer messaging that are “visual-linguistic” amalgams “increasingly detached from any specific ethnolinguistic group or locality”) are a testament to a mediatised banal cosmopolitanism (Jaworski 231). In this sense, becoming “fluent” in global design vernacular means familiarity with firms and products, an understanding that is aesthetic, not critical. It is very much the beneficiaries of globalisation—both state and commercial actors—who have been able to harness increasingly image-based technologies for their benefit. To take a humorous but nonetheless consequential example, Spanish culinary boosters were able to successfully lobby for a paella emoji (Miller) rather than having a food symbol from a less wealthy country such as a Senegalese jollof or a Morrocan tagine. This trend has gone even further as new forms of visual communication are increasingly streamlined and managed by for-profit media platforms. The ubiquity of these forms of communication and their global reach has made visual literacy more important than ever but it has also fundamentally shifted the endeavour from a graphic sorting practice to a critical piece of social infrastructure that has tremendous political ramifications. Visual literacy campaigns hold out the promise of educating students in an image-based system with the potential to transcend linguistic and cultural boundaries. This cosmopolitan political project has not yet been realised, as the visual literacy frame has drifted into specialised silos of art, design, and digital humanities education. It can help bridge the “incomplete connections” of an increasingly globalised world (Calhoun 112), but it does not have a program in and of itself. Rather, an evolving visual literacy curriculum might be seen as a litmus test for how we imagine the role of images in the world. References Brown, Neil. “The Myth of Visual Literacy.” Australian Art Education 13.2 (1989): 28-32. Calhoun, Craig. “Cosmopolitanism in the Modern Social Imaginary.” Daedalus 137.3 (2008): 105–114. Cronin, Paul. “Recovering and Rendering Vital Blueprint for Counter Education at the California Institute for the Arts.” Blueprint for Counter Education. Inventory Press, 2016. 36-58. Dondis, Donis A. A Primer of Visual Literacy. MIT P, 1973. Dworkin, M.S. “Toward an Image Curriculum: Some Questions and Cautions.” Journal of Aesthetic Education 4.2 (1970): 129–132. Eisner, Elliot. Cognition and Curriculum: A Basis for Deciding What to Teach. Longmans, 1982. Farocki, Harun. “Film Courses in Art Schools.” Trans. Ted Fendt. Grey Room 79 (Apr. 2020): 96–99. Fransecky, Roger B. Visual Literacy: A Way to Learn—A Way to Teach. Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 1972. Gardner, Howard. Frames Of Mind. Basic Books, 1983. Hawkins, Stephanie L. “Training the ‘I’ to See: Progressive Education, Visual Literacy, and National Geographic Membership.” American Iconographic. U of Virginia P, 2010. 28–61. Jaworski, Adam. “Globalese: A New Visual-Linguistic Register.” Social Semiotics 25.2 (2015): 217-35. Kant, Immanuel. Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Cambridge UP, 2006. Kant, Immanuel. “Perpetual Peace.” Political Writings. Ed. H. Reiss. Cambridge UP, 1991 [1795]. 116–130. Kress, G., and T. van Leeuwen. Reading images: The Grammar of Visual Design. Routledge, 1996. Literacy Teaching Toolkit: Visual Literacy. Department of Education and Training (DET), State of Victoria. 29 Aug. 2018. 30 Sep. 2020 <https://www.education.vic.gov.au:443/school/teachers/teachingresources/discipline/english/literacy/ readingviewing/Pages/litfocusvisual.aspx>. Lee, Jae Young. “Otto Neurath's Isotype and the Rhetoric of Neutrality.” Visible Language 42.2: 159-180. Little, D., et al. Looking and Learning: Visual Literacy across the Disciplines. Wiley, 2015. Messaris, Paul. “Visual Literacy vs. Visual Manipulation.” Critical Studies in Mass Communication 11.2: 181-203. DOI: 10.1080/15295039409366894 ———. “A Visual Test for Visual ‘Literacy.’” The Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association. 31 Oct. to 3 Nov. 1991. Atlanta, GA. <https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED347604.pdf>. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. McGraw-Hill, 1964. McLuhan, Marshall, Quentin Fiore, and Jerome Agel. The Medium Is the Massage, Bantam Books, 1967. McLuhan, Marshall, Kathryn Hutchon, and Eric McLuhan. City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media. Agincourt, Ontario: Book Society of Canada, 1977. McTigue, Erin, and Amanda Flowers. “Science Visual Literacy: Learners' Perceptions and Knowledge of Diagrams.” Reading Teacher 64.8: 578-89. Miller, Sarah. “The Secret History of the Paella Emoji.” Food & Wine, 20 June 2017. <https://www.foodandwine.com/news/true-story-paella-emoji>. Munari, Bruno. Square, Circle, Triangle. Princeton Architectural Press, 2016. Newfield, Denise. “From Visual Literacy to Critical Visual Literacy: An Analysis of Educational Materials.” English Teaching-Practice and Critique 10 (2011): 81-94. Neurath, Otto. International Picture Language: The First Rules of Isotype. K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1936. Schor, Esther. Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language. Henry Holt and Company, 2016. Sloboda, Stacey. “‘The Grammar of Ornament’: Cosmopolitanism and Reform in British Design.” Journal of Design History 21.3 (2008): 223-36. Study of Communication Problems: Implementation of Resolutions 4/19 and 4/20 Adopted by the General Conference at Its Twenty-First Session; Report by the Director-General. UNESCO, 1983. Tanchis, Aldo, and Bruno Munari. Bruno Munari: Design as Art. MIT P, 1987. Warren, Gwendolyn, Cindi Katz, and Nik Heynen. “Myths, Cults, Memories, and Revisions in Radical Geographic History: Revisiting the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute.” Spatial Histories of Radical Geography: North America and Beyond. Wiley, 2019. 59-86.

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Dodd, Adam. "Making It Unpopular." M/C Journal 2, no.4 (June1, 1999). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1767.

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It is time for the truth to be brought out ... . Behind the scenes high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. -- Rear Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, Director of Central Intelligence (1947-50), signed statement to Congress, 22 Aug. 1960 As an avid UFO enthusiast, an enduring subject of frustration for me is the complacency and ignorance that tends to characterise public knowledge of the phenomenon itself and its social repercussions. Its hard for people like myself to understand how anyone could not be interested in UFOs, let alone Congressional statements from ex-Directors of the Central Intelligence Agency testifying to an official policy of secrecy and ridicule (in other words, propaganda), which aims to suppress public interest and belief in UFOs. As a student of cultural studies who also happens to be a conspiracy theorist, the idea of the Central Intelligence Agency seeking to manipulate one of the twentieth century's most significant icons -- the UFO -- is a fascinating one, because it allows for the possibility that the ways in which the UFO has come to be understood by the public may involve more than the everyday cultural processes described by cultural studies. A review of the history of the CIA's interest in UFO phenomena actually suggests, quite compellingly I think, that since the 1950s, American culture (and, indirectly and to a lesser degree, the rest of the western world) may have been subjected to a highly sophisticated system of UFO propaganda that originated from the Central Intelligence Agency. This is, of course, a highly contentious claim which would bring many important repercussions should it turn out to be true. There is no point pretending that it doesn't sound like a basic premise of The X-Files -- of course it does. So to extract the idea from its comfortable fictional context and attempt to place it into a real historical one (a completely legitimate endeavour) one must become familiar with the politics of the UFO phenomenon in Cold War America, a field of history which is, to understate the matter, largely ignored by academia. A cursory glance at the thousands of (now declassified) UFO-related documents that once circulated through some of the highest channels of US intelligence reveal that, rather than the nonsense topic it is often considered, the UFO phenomenon has been a matter of great concern for the US government since 1947. To get a sense of just how seriously UFOs were taken by the CIA in the 1950s, consider this declassified 'Secret' memorandum from H. Marshall Chadwell, Assistant Director of Scientific Intelligence, to the Director of Central Intelligence, General Walter Bedell Smith, dated 24 September 1952: a world-wide reporting system has been instituted and major Air Force bases have been ordered to make interceptions of unidentified flying objects ... . Since 1947, ATIC [Air Technical Intelligence Center, a branch of the US Air Force] has received approximately 1500 official reports of sightings ... . During 1952 alone, official reports totalled 250. Of the 1500 reports, Air Force carries 20 percent as unexplained and of those received from January through July 1952 it carries 28 percent as unexplained. (qtd. in Good 390) Fifteen-hundred reports in five years is roughly three-hundred reports per year, which is dangerously close to one per day. Although only twenty percent, or one-fifth of these reports were unexplained, equalling about 60 unexplained sightings per year, this still equalled more than one unexplained sighting per week. But these were just the unexplained, official sightings collected by ATIC, which was by no means a comprehensive database of all sightings occurring in the United States, or the rest of the world, for that matter. Extrapolation of these figures suggested that the UFO problem was probably much more extensive than the preliminary findings were indicating, hence the erection of a world-wide reporting system and the interception of UFOs by major US Air Force bases. The social consequences of the UFO problem quickly became a matter of major importance to the CIA. Chadwell went on to point out that: The public concern with the phenomena, which is reflected both in the United States press and in the pressure of inquiry upon the Air Force, indicates that a fair proportion of our population is mentally conditioned to the acceptance of the incredible. In this fact lies the potential for the touching-off of mass hysteria and panic. (qtd. in Good 393) By "acceptance of the incredible" Chadwell was probably referring to acceptance of the existence of intelligently controlled, disc-shaped craft which are capable of performing aerial manoeuvres far in excess of those possible with contemporary technology. Flying saucers were, and remain, incredible. Yet belief in them had permeated the US government as early as 1947, when a 'Secret' Air Materiel Command report (now declassified) from Lieutenant General Nathan Twining to the Commanding General, Army Air Forces, announced that: It is the opinion that: (a) The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary and fictitious. There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as man-made aircraft. There is a possibility that some of the incidents may be caused by natural phenomena, such as meteors. (b) The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, manoeuvrability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft or radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically, or remotely. -- (qtd. in Good 313-4) This report was compiled only two months after the term flying saucer had been invented, following pilot Kenneth Arnold's historic sighting of nine saucer-like objects in June 1947. The fact that a phenomenon which should have been ignored as a tabloid fad was being confirmed, extremely quickly, by the Air Materiel Command Headquarters suggested that those people mentally conditioned to accept the impossible were not restricted to the public domain. They also, apparently, held positions of considerable power within the government itself. This rapid acceptance, at the highest levels of America's defense agencies, of the UFO reality must have convinced certain segments of the CIA that a form of hysteria had already begun, so powerful that those whose job it was to not only remain immune from such psychosocial forces, but to manage them, were actually succumbing to it themselves. What the CIA faced, then, was nothing short of a nation on the verge of believing in aliens. Considering this, it should become a little clearer why the CIA might develop an interest in the UFO phenomenon at this point. Whether aliens were here or not did not, ultimately, matter. What did matter was the obvious social phenomenon of UFO belief. Walter Bedell Smith, Director of Central Intelligence, realised this in 1952, and wrote to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (in a letter previously classified 'Secret'): It is my view that this situation has possible implications for our national security which transcend the interests of a single service. A broader, coordinated effort should be initiated to develop a firm scientific understanding of the several phenomena which apparently are involved in these reports, and to assure ourselves that the incidents will not hamper our present efforts in the Cold War or confuse our early warning system in case of an attack. I therefore recommend that this Agency and the agencies of the Department of Defense be directed to formulate and carry out a program of intelligence and research activities required to solve the problem of instant positive identification of unidentified flying objects ... . This effort shall be coordinated with the military services and the Research and Development Board of the Department of Defense, with the Psychological Strategy Board and other Governmental agencies as appropriate. (qtd. in Good 400-1) What the Director was asserting, basically, was that the UFO problem was too big for the CIA to solve alone. Any government agencies it was deemed necessary to involve were to be called into action to deal with the UFOs. If this does not qualify UFOs as serious business, it is difficult to imagine what would. In the same year, Chadwell again reported to the CIA Director in a memo which suggests that he and his colleagues were on the brink of believing not only that UFOs were real, but that they represented an extraterrestrial presence: At this time, the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention ... . Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major US defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles. (qtd. in Good 403) In 1953, these concerns eventually led to the CIA's most public investigation of the UFO phenomenon, the Robertson Panel. Its members were Dr H. P. Robertson (physics and radar); Dr Lloyd V. Berkner (geophysics); Dr Samuel Goudsmit (atomic structure and statistical problems); and Dr Thornton Page (astronomy and astrophysics). Associate members were Dr J. Allen Hynek (astronomy) and Frederick C. Durant (missiles and rockets). Twelve hours of meetings ensued (not nearly enough time to absorb all of the most compelling UFO data gathered at this point), during which the panel was shown films of UFOs, case histories and sightings prepared by the ATIC, and intelligence reports relating to the Soviet Union's interest in US sightings, as well as numerous charts depicting, for example, frequency and geographic location of sightings (Good 404). The report (not fully declassified until 1975) concluded with a highly skeptical, and highly ambiguous, view of UFO phenomena. Part IV, titled "Comments and Suggestions of the Panel", stated that: Reasonable explanations could be suggested for most sightings ... by deduction and scientific method it could be induced (given additional data) that other cases might be explained in a similar manner. (qtd. in Good 404) However, even if the panel's insistence that UFOs were not of extraterrestrial origin seemed disingenuous, it still noted the subjectivity of the public to mass hysteria and greater vulnerability to possible enemy psychological warfare (qtd. in Good 405). To remedy this, it recommended quite a profound method of propaganda: The debunking aim would result in reduction in public interest in flying saucers which today evokes a strong psychological reaction. This education could be accomplished by mass media such [as] television, motion pictures, and popular articles. Basis of such education would be actual case histories which had been puzzling at first but later explained. As in the case of conjuring tricks, there is much less stimulation if the secret is known. Such a program should tend to reduce the current gullibility of the public and consequently their susceptibility to clever hostile propaganda. The panel noted that the general absence of Russian propaganda based on a subject with so many obvious possibilities for exploitation might indicate a possible Russian official policy ... . It was felt strongly that psychologists familiar with mass psychology should advise on the nature and extent of the program ... . It was believed that business clubs, high schools, colleges, and television stations would all be pleased to cooperate in the showing of documentary type motion pictures if prepared in an interesting manner. The use of true cases showing first the mystery and then the explanation would be forceful ... . The continued emphasis on the reporting of these phenomena does, in these parlous times, result in a threat to the orderly functioning of the protective organs of the body politic ... . [It is recommended that] the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired; that the national security agencies institute policies on intelligence, training, and public education designed to prepare the material defenses and the morale of the country to recognise most promptly and to react most effectively to true indications of hostile intent or action. We suggest that these aims may be achieved by an integrated program designed to reassure the public of the total lack of evidence of inimical forces behind the phenomena, to train personnel to recognize and reject false indications quickly and effectively, and to strengthen regular channels for the evaluation of and prompt reaction to true indications of hostile measures. (qtd. in Good 405-6) The general aim of the Robertson Panel's recommendations, then, was to not only stop people believing in UFOs, but to stop people seeing UFOs, which constitutes an extreme manipulation of the public consciousness. It was the intention of the CIA to ensure, as subtly as was possible, that most people interpreted specific visual experiences (i.e. UFO sightings) in terms of a strict CIA-developed criterion. This momentous act basically amounts to an attempt to define, control and enforce a particular construction of reality which specifically excludes UFOs. In an ironic way, the Robertson Panel report advocated a type of modern exorcism, and may have been the very birthplace of the idea that such an obvious icon of wonder and potential as the UFO is, it can never be more than a misidentification or a hoax. We cannot be certain to what extent the recommendations of the Robertson Panel were put into practice, but we can safely assume that its findings were not ignored by the CIA. For example, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, Chief of the ATIC's Aerial Phenomena Branch, has testified that "[We were] ordered to hide sightings when possible, but if a strong report does get out, we have to publish a fast explanation -- make up something to kill the report in a hurry, and also ridicule the witnesses, especially if we can't find a plausible answer. We even have to discredit our own pilots" (Good 407). Comments like these make one wonder just how extensive the program of debunking and ridicule actually was. What I have suggested here is that during the 1950s, and possibly throughout the four decades since, an objective of the CIA has been to downplay its own interest in the UFO phenomenon to the public whilst engaging in secret, complex investigations of the phenomenon itself and its social repercussions. If this is the case, as the evidence -- the best of which can be found in the government's own files (even though such evidence, as tens of thousands of conspiracy theorists continue to stress, can hardly be taken simply at face value) -- indicates, then the construction of the UFO in western popular culture will have to be revised as a process involving more than just the projection of popular hopes, desires and anxieties onto an abstract, mythical object. It will also need to be seen as involving the clandestine manipulation of this process by immeasurably powerful groups within the culture itself, such as the CIA. And since the CIAs major concerns about UFOs haved traditionally been explicitly related to the Cold War, the renewed prominence of the UFO in western popular culture since the demise of the Soviet Union requires immediate, serious investigation in a political context. For the UFO issue is, and has always been, a political issue. I suggest that until this fascinating chapter of American domestic history is explored more thoroughly, the cultural function of the UFO will remain just as poorly understood as its physical nature. References Good, Timothy. Beyond Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Security Threat. London: MacMillan, 1996. Citation reference for this article MLA style: Adam Dodd. "Making It Unpopular: The CIA and UFOs in Popular Culture." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2.4 (1999). [your date of access] <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9906/cia.php>. Chicago style: Adam Dodd, "Making It Unpopular: The CIA and UFOs in Popular Culture," M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2, no. 4 (1999), <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9906/cia.php> ([your date of access]). APA style: Adam Dodd. (1999) Making it unpopular: the CIA and UFOs in popular culture. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2(4). <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9906/cia.php> ([your date of access]).

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Reifegerste, Doreen, and Annemarie Wiedicke. "Framing responsibility (Health Coverage)." DOCA - Database of Variables for Content Analysis, March26, 2021. http://dx.doi.org/10.34778/2d.

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Responsibility frames in media coverage describe the mediated attribution of responsibility for causes and remedies (treatments, solutions) for health issues, mostly differentiating between individual and societal responsibility. Field of application/theoretical foundation: Media coverage of health topics, public opinion formation, attribution of responsibility, framing studies, social media on health issues Example studies: Gollust & Lantz (2009); Kim & Willis (2007); O’Hara & Smith (2007); Stefanik-Sidener (2013); Yoo & Kim (2012); Zhang & Jin (2015) Information on Kim & Willis, 2007 Authors: Sei-Hill Kim, Leigh Anne Willis Health topic: Obesity Research questions: How have the media presented the causes and solutions for obesity? Have certain causes and solutions appeared more often than others? How has media coverage of causal and solution responsibility changed over the years? Have mentions of certain causes and solutions increased or decreased? Object of analysis: Newspaper and television news data containing “obesity” or “obese” appearing in the headline, lead paragraphs, or index terms; articles published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Houston Chronicle, and USA Today; news transcripts on obesity from three television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC); after conducting a systematic sampling, n = 300 articles and n = 200 transcripts were analyzed Time frame of analysis: January 1995 to August 2004 Info about variables Variables: Variables included attributions of causal and treatment responsibility, cause or treatment option was coded as ‘‘not present’’ (0) or ‘‘present’’ (1). Level of analysis: News article respectively tv transcript Causal responsibility Solution responsibility Personal causes (Scott’s pi= .81) Unhealthy diet: Consuming too much food, consuming too much unhealthy food, addictive or emotional eating. Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of exercise, Lack of physical activities. Genetic conditions: Genetic=biological factors that may produce obesity (e.g., imbalance of hunger hormones that may stimulate appetite). Others: E.g., poor adult role models. Personal solutions (Scott’s pi= .74) Healthy diet: Consuming less food, consuming healthy food. Physically activities: More exercise and physical activities. Medical treatments: Medications (e.g., diet pills), surgical treatments of obesity (e.g., gastric bypass, gastric stapling). Others: E.g., working with a support group, talking to a counselor, parents as role models. Societal causes (Scott’s pi= .86) The food industry: Obesity-promoting foods (fast=junk food), super-sizing, large increase in fast=junk food restaurants, other aggressive marketing promotions. Schools & education: Unhealthy foods in school cafeterias, lack of physical activity programs at schools, lack of public education about healthy eating and lifestyle. Socioeconomic factors: Low-income families may not be able to afford healthy food, exercise equipment, or a gym membership. They may be too busy to prepare their own healthy food. Others: E.g., automobile-oriented society (e.g., drive-thru stores and restaurants, big-box stores), unsafe community (crime, traffic, accident), and limited opportunities for outdoor activities. Societal solutions (Scott’s pi= .81) Regulations of the food industry: Regulating obesity-promoting foods, super-sizing, vending machines, and other aggressive marketing promotions, taxing unhealthy food. Changes in schools & education: Healthier food in school cafeteria, more physical activity programs at schools, more public education. Socioeconomic changes: Narrowing income gap, healthy food should be more affordable and available, more affordable exercise. Others: E.g., less automobile-oriented and more walking-oriented society (less drive-thru stores and restaurants, less big-box stores), safer community, and more opportunities for outdoor activities. Information on Stefanik-Sidener, 2013 Author: Kelsey Stefanik-Sidener Health topic: Diabetes Research questions: What was the dominant frame used in news stories about diabetes? What were the most common cause and solution frames used for each type of diabetes? Object of analysis: Diabetes coverage in the New York Times (N = 239) Time frame of analysis: 2000 to 2010 Info about variables Variables: The articles were coded for the presence of three types of frames for both causes of and solutions to diabetes, respectively: behavioral, societal, or medical, frames were not mutually exclusive Level of analysis: News article General cause frame (Krippendorff’s Alpha= .96) General solution frame (Krippendorff’s Alpha= .64) Behavioral causal frame Poor diet, lack of physical activity, or other individual-level issues Personal solutions Improving one’s diet or increasing activity levels Societal cause frames Poor food environments, car-centered culture, poor nutrition in schools, or other broad problems Societal solution frames Improving access to healthy foods, increasing nutrition education, or other public policy/societal-level solutions Medical cause frames Family history, genetics, age Medical solution frames Blood sugar control, medication, or surgery Information on Yoo & Kim, 2012 Authors: Jina H. Yoo, Junghyun Kim Health topic: obesity Research questions: What typifications (i.e., causal claims and solution claims) have been made in videos on YouTube with regard to the obesity issue? How do these typifications vary among different types of media formats on YouTube? Object of analysis: YouTube was searched with the keywords “obesity” and “obese” on 5 March 2010 and owing to capacity limits, the number of available videos was limited to 1,000 per each keyword; after a systematic random sampling and excluding irrelevant videos, total sample of N = 417 YouTube videos was analyzed Time frame of analysis: 2000 to 2010 Info about variables Variables: articles were coded for the presence of causal claims and solution typifications, behavioral, biological, and systematic causal factors on obesity being causal claims and behavioral solution, medical or pharmacological solution and systematic solution Reliability: Intercoder reliability was calculated for each category, and average intercoder reliability coefficient was .89. The Cohen’s kappa coefficient for each variable ranged between .77 and 1.00 Level of analysis: each whole video, including all of the video’s visual, audio, and text presentation Causal claims for obesity Solution typifications for obesity Behavioral causal claim Obesity is due to the individual’s lifestyle choices, including lack of exercise, wrong diet, lack of willpower and self-control, etc. Behavioral solution Improving one’s diet or increasing activity levels Biological causal claim Obesity is due to genetic or hormonal problems Medical or pharmacological solution To use diet pills or have a gastric bypass surgery as a means of treating obesity. Systematic causal claim Obesity is based on environmental influences and policy choices, including detrimental practices of corporations and government, such as the fast food industry’s marketing practices, school cafeterias’ unhealthy foods, inadequate or inaccurate information about food and nutrition, etc. Systematic solution A societal level of obesity treatment, such as implementing obesity-related policies, banning fast food marketing, removing vending machines from school, etc. Information on Zhang & Jin, 2015 Authors: Yuan Zhang, Yan Jin Health topic: Depression Research question: Do cultural values and organizational restraints shape the responsibility frames for health issues? Object of analysis: US (n = 228) and Chinese (n = 224) newspaper coverage on depression, including New York Times and USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, Star Tribune and Denver Post; Chinese newspapers were not further specified, except for People’s Daily and Beijing Daily Time frame of analysis: 2000 to 2012 Info about variables Variables: News framing of causal and problem-solving responsibilities was measured at individual and societal levels, with individual-level and society-level causes and solutions. Each cause and solution included four subcategories which were measured nominally as 0 (absent) or 1 (present). Reliability: For the US data, a pretest in which two coders both coded a randomly selected 10% of the sample yielded Pearson’s r of 0.737 (p < 0.001) for individual causes, 0.862 (p < 0.001) for societal causes, 0.790 (p < 0.001) for individual solutions, and 0.907 (p < 0.001) for societal solutions. For the Chinese data, a pretest in which two bilingual coders both coded a randomly selected 10% of the sample yielded Pearson’s r of 0.861 (p < 0.001) for individual causes, 0.893 (p < 0.001) for societal causes, 0.807 (p < 0.001) for individual solutions, and 0.899 (p < 0.001) Level of analysis: Article Variables & operational definitions: In the appendix References Gollust, S. E., & Lantz, P. M. (2009). Communicating population health: Print news media coverage of type 2 diabetes. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 69(7), 1091–1098. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.07.009 Kim, S.?H., & Willis, A. (2007). Talking about obesity: News framing of who is responsible for causing and fixing the problem. Journal of Health Communication, 12(4), 359–376. https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730701326051 O’Hara, S. K., & Smith, K. C. (2007). Presentation of eating disorders in the news media: What are the implications for patient diagnosis and treatment? Patient Education and Counseling, 68(1), 43–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2007.04.006 Stefanik-Sidener, K. (2013). Nature, nurture, or that fast food hamburger: Media framing of diabetes in the New York Times from 2000 to 2010. Health Communication, 28(4), 351–358. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2012.688187 Yoo, J. H., & Kim, J. (2012). Obesity in the new media: a content analysis of obesity videos on YouTube. Health Communication, 27(1), 86–97. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2011.569003 Zhang, Y., & Jin, Y. (2015). Who's responsible for depression? The Journal of International Communication, 21(2), 204–225. https://doi.org/10.1080/13216597.2015.1052532 Zhang, Y., & Jin, Y. (2015). Who's responsible for depression? Journal of International Communication, 21(2), 204–225.

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Meron, Yaron. "“What's the Brief?”." M/C Journal 24, no.4 (August20, 2021). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2797.

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“What's the brief?” is an everyday question within the graphic design process. Moreover, the concept and importance of a design brief is overtly understood well beyond design practice itself—especially among stakeholders who work with designers and clients who commission design services. Indeed, a design brief is often an assumed and expected physical or metaphoric artefact for guiding the creative process. When a brief is lacking, incomplete or unclear, it can render an already ambiguous graphic design process and discipline even more fraught with misinterpretation. Nevertheless, even in wider design discourse, there appears to be little research on design briefs and the briefing process (Jones and Askland; Paton and Dorst). It seems astonishing that, even in Peter Phillips’s 2014 edition of Creating the Perfect Design Brief, he feels compelled to comment that “there are still no books available about design briefs” and that the topic is only “vaguely” covered within design education (21). While Phillips’s assertion is debatable if one draws purely from online vernacular sources or professional guides, it is supported by the lack of scholarly attention paid to the design brief. Graphic design briefs are often mentioned within design books, journals, and online sources. However, this article argues that the format, function and use of such briefs are largely assumed and rarely identified and studied. Even within the broader field of design research, the tendency appears to be to default to “the design brief” as an assumed shorthand, supporting Phillips’s argument about the nebulous nature of the topic. As this article contextualises, this is further problematised by insufficient attention cast on graphic design itself as a specific discipline. This article emerges from a wider, multi-stage creative practice study into graphic design practice, that used experimental performative design research methods to investigate graphic designers’ professional relationships with stakeholders (Meron, Strangely). The article engages with specific outcomes from that study that relate to the design brief. The article also explores existing literature and research and argues for academics, the design industry, and educationalists, to focus closer attention on the design brief. It concludes by suggesting that experimental and collaborative design methods offers potential for future research into the design brief. Contextualising the Design Brief It is critical to differentiate the graphic design brief from the operational briefs of architectural design (Blyth and Worthington; Khan) or those used in technical practices such as software development or IT systems design, which have extensive industry-formalised briefing practices and models such as the waterfall system (Petersen et al.) or more modern processes such as Agile (Martin). Software development and other technical design briefs are necessarily more formulaically structured than graphic design briefs. Their requirements are generally empirically and mechanistically located, and often mission-critical. In contrast, the conceptual nature of creative briefs in graphic design creates the potential for them to be arbitrarily interpreted. Even in wider design discourse, there appears to be little consistency about the form that a brief takes. Some sources indicate that a brief only requires one page (Elebute; Nov and Jones) or even a single line of text (Jones and Askland). At other times briefs are described as complex, high-level documents embedded within processes which designers respond to with the aim of producing end products to satisfy clients’ requirements (Ambrose; Patterson and Saville). Ashby and Johnson (40) refer to the design brief as a “solution neutral” statement, the aim being to avoid preconceptions or the narrowing of the creative possibilities of a project. Others describe a consultative (Walsh), collaborative and stakeholder-inclusive process (Phillips). The Scholarly Brief Within scholarly design research, briefs inevitably manifest as an assumed artefact or process within each project; but the reason for their use or antecedents for chosen formats are rarely addressed. For example, in “Creativity in the Design Process” (Dorst and Cross) some elements of the design brief are described. The authors also describe at what stage of the investigation the brief is introduced and present a partial example of the brief. However, there is no explanation of the form of the brief or the reasons behind it. They simply describe it as being typical for the design medium, adding that its use was considered a critical part of addressing the design problem. In a separate study within advertising (Johar et al.), researchers even admit that the omission of crucial elements from the brief—normally present in professional practice—had a detrimental effect on their results. Such examples indicate the importance of briefs for the design process, yet further illustrating the omission of direct engagement with the brief within the research design, methodology, and methods. One exception comes from a study amongst business students (Sadowska and Laffy) that used the design brief as a pedagogical tool and indicates that interaction with, and changes to, elements of a design brief impact the overall learning process of participants, with the brief functioning as a trigger for that process. Such acknowledgement of the agency of a design brief affirms its importance for professional designers (Koslow et al.; Phillips). This use of a brief as a research device informed my use of it as a reflective and motivational conduit when studying graphic designers’ perceptions of stakeholders, and this will be discussed shortly. The Professional Brief Professionally, the brief is a key method of communication between designers and stakeholders, serving numerous functions including: outlining creative requirements, audience, and project scope; confirming project requirements; and assigning and documenting roles, procedures, methods, and approval processes. The format of design briefs varies from complex multi-page procedural documents (Patterson and Saville; Ambrose) produced by marketing departments and sent to graphic design agencies, to simple statements (Jones and Askland; Elebute) from small to medium-sized businesses. These can be described as the initial proposition of the design brief, with the following interactions comprising the ongoing briefing process. However, research points to many concerns about the lack of adequate briefing information (Koslow, Sasser and Riordan). It has been noted (Murray) that, despite its centrality to graphic design, the briefing process rarely lives up to designers’ expectations or requirements, with the approach itself often haphazard. This reinforces the necessarily adaptive, flexible, and compromise-requiring nature of professional graphic design practice, referred to by design researchers (Cross; Paton and Dorst). However, rather than lauding these adaptive and flexible designer abilities as design attributes, such traits are often perceived by professional practitioners as unequal (Benson and Dresdow), having evolved by the imposition by stakeholders, rather than being embraced by graphic designers as positive designer skill-sets. The Indeterminate Brief With insufficient attention cast on graphic design as a specific scholarly discipline (Walker; Jacobs; Heller, Education), there is even less research on the briefing process within graphic design practice (Cumming). Literature from professional practice on the creation and function of graphic design briefs is often formulaic (Phillips) and fractured. It spans professional design bodies, to templates from mass-market printers (Kwik Kopy), to marketing-driven and brand-development approaches, in-house style guides, and instructional YouTube videos (David). A particularly clear summary comes from Britain’s Design Council. This example describes the importance of a good design brief, its requirements, and carries a broad checklist that includes the company background, project aims, and target audience. It even includes stylistic tips such as “don’t be afraid to use emotive language in a brief if you think it will generate a shared passion about the project” (Design Council). From a subjective perspective, these sources appear to contain sensible professional advice. However, with little scholarly research on the topic, how can we know that, for example, using emotive language best informs the design process? Why might this be helpful and desirable (or otherwise) for designers? These varied approaches highlight the indeterminate treatment of the design brief. Nevertheless, the very existence of such diverse methods communicates a pattern of acknowledgement of the criticality of the brief, as well as the desire, by professional bodies, commentators, and suppliers, to ensure that both designers and stakeholders engage effectively with the briefing process. Thus, with such a pedagogic gap in graphic design discourse, scholarly research into the design brief has the potential to inform vernacular and formal educational resources. Researching the Design Brief The research study from which this article emerges (Meron, Strangely) yielded outcomes from face-to-face interviews with eleven (deidentified) graphic designers about their perceptions of design practice, with particular regard to their professional relationships with other creative stakeholders. The study also surveyed online discussions from graphic design forums and blog posts. This first stage of research uncovered feelings of lacking organisational gravitas, creative ownership, professional confidence, and design legitimacy among the designers in relation to stakeholders. A significant causal factor pointed to practitioners’ perceptions of lacking direct access to and involvement with key sources of creative inspiration and information; one specific area being the design brief. It was a discovery that was reproduced thematically during the second stage of the research. This stage repurposed performative design research methods to intervene in graphic designers’ resistance to research (Roberts, et al), with the goal of bypassing practitioners’ tendency to portray their everyday practices using formulaic professionalised answers (Dorland, View). In aiming to understand graphic designers’ underlying motivations, this method replaced the graphic designer participants with trained actors, who re-performed narratives from the online discussions and designer interviews during a series of performance workshops. Performative methodologies were used as design thinking methods to defamiliarise the graphic design process, thereby enabling previously unacknowledged aspects of the design process to be unveiled, identified and analysed. Such defamiliarisation repurposes methods used in creative practice, including design thinking (Bell, Blythe, and Sengers), with performative elements drawing on ethnography (Eisner) and experimental design (Seago and Dunne). Binding these two stages of research study together was a Performative Design Brief—a physical document combining narratives from the online discussions and the designer interviews. For the second stage, this brief was given to a professional theatre director to use as material for a “script” to motivate the actors. In addition to identifying unequal access to the creative process as a potential point of friction, this study yielded outcomes suggesting that designers were especially frustrated when the design brief was unclear, insufficiently detailed, or even missing completely. The performative methodology enabled a refractive approach, using performative metaphor and theatre to defamiliarise graphic design practice, portraying the process through a third-party theatrical prism. This intervened in graphic designers’ habitual communication patterns (Dorland, The View). Thus, combining traditional design research methods with experimental interdisciplinary ones, enabled outcomes that might not otherwise have emerged. It is an example of engaging with the fluid, hybrid (Heller, Teaching), and often elusive practices (van der Waarde) of graphic design. Format, Function, and Use A study (Paton and Dorst) among professional graphic designers attempts to dissect practitioners’ perceptions of different aspects of briefing as a process of ‘framing’. Building on the broader theories of design researchers such as Nigel Cross, Bryan Lawson, and Donald Schön, Paton and Dorst suggest that most of the designers preferred a collaborative briefing process where both they and client stakeholders were directly involved, without intermediaries. This concurs with the desire, from many graphic designers that I interviewed, for unobstructed engagement with the brief. Moreover, narratives from the online discussions that I investigated suggest that the lack of clear frameworks for graphic design briefs is a hotly debated topic, as are perceptions of stakeholder belligerence or misunderstanding. For example, in a discussion from Graphic Design Forums designer experiences range from only ever receiving informal verbal instructions—“basically, we’ve been handed design work and they tell us ‘We need this by EOD’” (VFernandes)—to feeling obliged to pressure stakeholders to provide a brief—“put the burden on them to flesh out the details of a real brief and provide comprehensive material input” (HotButton) —to resignation to an apparent futility of gaining adequate design briefs from stakeholders because— “they will most likely never change” (KitchWitch). Such negative assumptions support Koslow et al.’s assertion that the absence of a comprehensive brief is the most “terrifying” thing for practitioners (9). Thus, practitioners’ frustrations with stakeholders can become unproductive when there is an inadequate design brief, or if the creative requirements of a brief are otherwise removed from the direct orbit of graphic designers. This further informs a narrative of graphic designers perceiving some stakeholders as gatekeepers of the design brief. For example, one interviewed designer believed that stakeholders ‘don’t really understand the process’ (Patricia). Another interviewee suggested that disorganised briefs could be avoided by involving designers early in the process, ensuring that practitioners had direct access to the client as a creative source, rather than having to circumnavigate stakeholders (Marcus). Such perceptions appeared to reinforce beliefs among these practitioners that they lack design capital within the creative process. These perceptions of gatekeeping of the design brief support suggestions of designers responding negatively when stakeholders approach the design process from a different perspective (Wall and Callister), if stakeholders assume a managerial position (Jacobs) and, in particular, if stakeholders are inexperienced in working with designers (Banks et al.; Holzmann and Golan). With such little clarity in the design briefing process, future research may consider comparisons with industries with more formalised briefing processes, established professional statuses, or more linear histories. Indeed, the uneven historical development of graphic design (Frascara; Julier and Narotzky) may influence the inconsistency of its briefing process. Inconsistency as Research Opportunity The inconsistent state of the graphic design brief is reflective of the broader profession that it resides within. Graphic design as a profession remains fluid and inconsistent (Dorland, Tell Me; Jacobs), with even its own practitioners unable to agree on its parameters or even what to call the practice (Meron, Terminology). Pedagogically, graphic design is still emerging as an independent discipline (Cabianca; Davis), struggling to gain capital outside of existing and broader creative practices (Poynor; Triggs). The inherent interdisciplinarity (Harland) and intangibility of graphic design also impact the difficulty of engaging with the briefing process. Indeed, graphic design’s practices have been described as “somewhere between science and superstition (or fact and anecdote)” (Heller, Teaching par. 3). With such obstacles rendering the discipline fractured (Ambrose et al.), it is understandable that stakeholders might find engaging productively with graphic design briefs challenging. This can become problematic, with inadequate stakeholder affinity or understanding of design issues potentially leading to creative discord (Banks et al.; Holzmann and Golan). Identifying potentially problematic and haphazard aspects of the design brief and process also presents opportunities to add value to research into broader relationships between graphic designers and stakeholders. It suggests a practical area of study with which scholarly research on collaborative design approaches might intersect with professional graphic design practice. Indeed, recent research suggests that collaborative approaches offer both process and educational advantages, particularly in the area of persona development, having the ability to discover the “real” brief (Taffe 394). Thus, framing the brief as a collaborative, educative, and negotiative process may allow creative professionals to elucidate and manage the disparate parts of a design process, such as timeframes, stakeholders, and task responsibilities, as well as the cost implications of stakeholder actions such as unscheduled amendments. It can encourage the formalisation of incomplete vernacular briefs, as well as allow for the influence of diverse briefing methods, such as the one-page creative brief of advertising agencies, or more formal project management practices while allowing for some of the fluidity of more agile approaches: acknowledging that changes may be required while keeping all parties informed and involved. In turn, collaborative approaches may contribute towards enabling the value of contributions from both graphic designers and stakeholders and it seems beneficial to look towards design research methodologies that promote collaborative pathways. Mark Steen, for example, argues for co-design as a form of design thinking for enabling stakeholders to combine knowledge with negotiation to implement change (27). Collaborative design methods have also been advocated for use between designers and users, with stakeholders on shared projects, and with external collaborators (Binder and Brandt). Others have argued that co-design methods facilitate stakeholder collaboration “across and within institutional structures” while challenging existing power relations, albeit leaving structural changes largely unaffected (Farr 637). The challenge for collaborative design research is to seek opportunities and methodologies to conduct design brief research within a graphic design process that often appears amorphous, while also manifesting complex designer–stakeholder dynamics. Doubly so, when the research focus—the graphic design brief—often appears as nebulous an entity as the practice it emerges from. Conclusion The research discussed in this article suggests that graphic designers distrust a creative process that itself symbolises an inconsistent, reactive, and often accidental historical development of their profession and pedagogy. Reflecting this, the graphic design brief emerges almost as a metaphor for this process. The lack of overt discussion about the format, scope, and process of the brief feeds into the wider framework of graphic design’s struggle to become an independent scholarly discipline. This, in turn, potentially undermines the professional authority of graphic design practice that some of its practitioners believe is deficient. Ultimately, the brief and its processes must become research-informed parts of graphic design pedagogy. Embracing the brief as a pedagogical, generative, and inseparable part of the design process can inform the discourse within education, adding scholarly value to practice and potentially resulting in increased agency for practitioners. The chameleon-like nature of graphic design’s constant adaptation to ever-changing industry requirements makes research into the role and influences of its briefing process challenging. Thus, it also follows that the graphic design brief is unlikely to quickly become as formalised a document or process as those from other disciplines. But these are challenges that scholars and professionals must surely embrace if pedagogy is to gain the research evidence to influence practice. As this article argues, the often obfuscated practices and inherent interdisciplinarity of graphic design benefit from experimental research methods, while graphic designers appear responsive to inclusive approaches. Thus, performative methods appear effective as tools of discovery and collaborative methodologies offer hope for organisational intervention. References Ambrose, Gavin. Design Thinking for Visual Communication. Fairchild, 2015. Ambrose, Gavin, Paul Harris, and Nigel Ball. The Fundamentals of Graphic Design. Bloomsbury, 2020. Ashby, M.F., and Kara Johnson. Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2010. Banks, Mark, et al. "Where the Art Is: Defining and Managing Creativity in New Media SME’s." Creativity and Innovation Management 11.4 (2002): 255-64. Bell, Genevieve, Mark Blythe, and Phoebe Sengers. "Making by Making Strange: Defamiliarization and the Design of Domestic Technologies." ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 12.2 (2005): 149-73. Benson, Joy, and Sally Dresdow. "Design Thinking: A Fresh Approach for Transformative Assessment Practice." Journal of Management Education 38.3 (2014): 436-61. Binder, Thomas, and Eva Brandt. "The Design:Lab as Platform in Participatory Design Research." CoDesign 4.2 (2008). Blyth, Alastair, and John Worthington. Managing the Brief for Better Design. Routledge, 2010. Cabianca, David. "A Case for the Sublime Uselessness of Graphic Design." Design and Culture 8.1 (2016): 103-22. Cross, Nigel. Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work. Berg, 2011. Cumming, Deborah. "An Investigation into the Communication Exchange between Small Business Client and Graphic Designer." Robert Gordon U, 2007. David, Gareth. "The Graphic Design Brief." 5 June 2021 <https://youtu.be/EMG6qJp_sPY 2017>. Davis, Meredith. "Tenure and Design Research: A Disappointingly Familiar Discussion." Design and Culture 8.1 (2016): 123-31. De Michelis, G., C. Simone and K. Schmidt, eds. An Ethnographic Study of Graphic Designers. Third European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. 1993. U of Surrey, UK. Design Council. "How to Commission a Designer: Step 4: Brief Your Designer." Design Council. 3 June 2021 <https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/how-commissiondesigner-step-4-brief-your-designer>. Dorland, AnneMarie. Tell Me Why You Did That: Learning “Ethnography” from the Design Studio. Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, 2016. ———. "The View from the Studio: Design Ethnography and Organizational Cultures."Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings 2017. Vol. 1. 2017. 232-46. Dorst, Kees, and Nigel Cross. "Creativity in the Design Process: Co-Evolution of Problem–Solution." Design Studies 22 (2001): 425–37. Eisner, Elliot. Concerns and Aspirations for Qualitative Research in the New Millennium. Issues in Art and Design Teaching. RoutledgeFalmer, 2003. Elebute, Ayo. "Influence of Layout and Design on Strategy and Tactic for Communicating Advertising Messages." Global Journal of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences 4.6 (2016): 34-47. Farr, Michelle. "Power Dynamics and Collaborative Mechanisms in Co-Production and Co-Design Processes." Critical Social Policy 38.4 (2017): 623–644. DOI: 10.1177/0261018317747444. Frascara, Jorge. "Graphic Design: Fine Art or Social Science?" Design Issues 5.1 (1988): 18-29. DOI: 10.2307/1511556. Harland, Robert G. "Seeking to Build Graphic Design Theory from Graphic Design Research." Routledge Companion to Design Research. Eds. Paul Rodgers and Joyce Yee. Routledge, 2015. 87-97. Heller, Steven. The Education of a Graphic Designer. Allworth P, 2015. ———. "Teaching Tools." Teaching Graphic Design History. Allworth, 2019. 312. Holzmann, Vered, and Joseph Golan. "Leadership to Creativity and Management of Innovation? The Case of the 'Innovation Club' in a Production Company." American Journal of Industrial and Business Management 6 (2016): 60-71. HotButton. "Kind of a Design Brief?" 2016. 28 July 2018 <https://web.archive.org/web/20160310013457/http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/forum/forum/graphic-design/general/1619626-kind-of-a-designbrief?p=1619683#post1619683>. Jacobs, Jessica. "Managing the Creative Process within Graphic Design Firms: Literature Review." Dialectic 1.2 (2017): 155-78. Johar, Gita Venkataramani, Morris B. Holbrook, and Barbara B. Stern. "The Role of Myth in Creative Advertising Design: Theory, Process and Outcome." Journal of Advertising 30.2 (2001): 1-25. Jones, Wyn M., and Hedda Haugen Askland. "Design Briefs: Is There a Standard?" International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education. 2012. Khan, Ayub. Better by Design: An Introduction to Planning and Designing a New Library Building. Facet, 2009. KitchWitch. "Kind of a Design Brief?" 2016. 28 July 2018 <https://web.archive.org/web/20160310013457/http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/forum/graphic-design/general/1619626-kind-of-a-design-brief?p=1619687#post1619687>. Kwik Kopy. "Design Brief." 2018. 5 June 2021 <https://www.kwikkopy.com.au/blog/graphic-designbrief-template>. Koslow, Scott, Sheila Sasser, and Edward Riordan. "What Is Creative to Whom and Why? Perceptions in Advertising Agencies." Journal of Advertising Research 43.1 (2003). “Marcus”. Interview by the author. 2013. Martin, Robert Cecil. Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns, and Practices. Prentice Hall PTR, 2003. Meron, Yaron. "Strangely Familiar: Revisiting Graphic Designers’ Perceptions of Their Relationships with Stakeholders." RMIT University, 2019. ———. "Terminology and Design Capital: Examining the Pedagogic Status of Graphic Design through Its Practitioners’ Perceptions of Their Job Titles." International Journal of Art & Design Education 40.2 (2021): 374-88. “Patricia”. Interview by the author. 2013. Paton, Bec, and Kees Dorst. "Briefing and Reframing: A Situated Practice." Design Studies 32.6 (2011): 573-87. Patterson, Jacinta, and Joanne Saville. Viscomm: A Guide to Visual Communication Design VCE Units, 2012.1-4. Petersen, Kai, Claes Wohlin, and Dejan Baca. "The Waterfall Model in Large-Scale Development." . Proceedings of Product-Focused Software Process Improvement: 10th International Conference, Profes 2009, Oulu, Finland, June 15-17, 2009. Eds. Frank Bomarius et al. Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing. Springer, 2009. 386-400. Phillips, Peter L. Creating the Perfect Design Brief: How to Manage Design for Strategic Advantage. Allworth P, 2014. Poynor, Rick. "Does Graphic Design History Have a Future?" Print 65.4 (2011): 30-32. Roberts, Lucienne, Rebecca Wright, and Jessie Price. Graphic Designers Surveyed. Ed. Lucienne Roberts. London, UK: GraphicDesign&, 2015. Sadowska, Noemi, and Dominic Laffy. "The Design Brief: Inquiry into the Starting Point in a Learning Journey." Design Journal 20, Sup. 1 (2017): S1380-S89. Seago, Alex, and Anthony Dunne. "New Methodologies in Art and Design Research: The Object as Discourse." Design Issues 15.2 (1999): 11-17. Steen, Marc. "Co-Design as a Process of Joint Inquiry and Imagination." Design Issues 29.2 (2013): 16-28. DOI: 10.1162/DESI_a_00207. Taffe, Simone. "Who’s in Charge? End-Users Challenge Graphic Designers’ Intuition through Visual Verbal Co-Design." The Design Journal 20, Sup. 1 (2017): S390-S400. Triggs, Teal. "Graphic Design History: Past, Present, and Future." Design Issues 27.1 (2011): 3-6. Van der Waarde, Karel. "Graphic Design as Visual Arguments: Does This Make a Reliable Appraisal Possible?" Perspective on Design: Research, Education and Practice. Eds. Raposo, Daniel, João Neves, and José Silva. Springer Series in Design and Innovation. Springer, 2020. 89-101. VFernandes. "Kind of a Design Brief?" 2016. 28 July 2018 < https://web.archive.org/web/20160310013457/http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/forum/graphic-design/general/1619626-kind-of-a-design-brief#post1619626>. Walker, Sue. "Research in Graphic Design." Design Journal 20.5 (2017): 549-59. Wall, James A., Jr., and Ronda Roberts Callister. "Conflict and Its Management." Journal of Management 21.3 (1995). Walsh, Vivien. "Design, Innovation and the Boundaries of the Firm." Research Policy 25 (1996): 509-29.

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Cesarini, Paul. "‘Opening’ the Xbox." M/C Journal 7, no.3 (July1, 2004). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2371.

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“As the old technologies become automatic and invisible, we find ourselves more concerned with fighting or embracing what’s new”—Dennis Baron, From Pencils to Pixels: The Stage of Literacy Technologies What constitutes a computer, as we have come to expect it? Are they necessarily monolithic “beige boxes”, connected to computer monitors, sitting on computer desks, located in computer rooms or computer labs? In order for a device to be considered a true computer, does it need to have a keyboard and mouse? If this were 1991 or earlier, our collective perception of what computers are and are not would largely be framed by this “beige box” model: computers are stationary, slab-like, and heavy, and their natural habitats must be in rooms specifically designated for that purpose. In 1992, when Apple introduced the first PowerBook, our perception began to change. Certainly there had been other portable computers prior to that, such as the Osborne 1, but these were more luggable than portable, weighing just slightly less than a typical sewing machine. The PowerBook and subsequent waves of laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and so-called smart phones from numerous other companies have steadily forced us to rethink and redefine what a computer is and is not, how we interact with them, and the manner in which these tools might be used in the classroom. However, this reconceptualization of computers is far from over, and is in fact steadily evolving as new devices are introduced, adopted, and subsequently adapted for uses beyond of their original purpose. Pat Crowe’s Book Reader project, for example, has morphed Nintendo’s GameBoy and GameBoy Advance into a viable electronic book platform, complete with images, sound, and multi-language support. (Crowe, 2003) His goal was to take this existing technology previously framed only within the context of proprietary adolescent entertainment, and repurpose it for open, flexible uses typically associated with learning and literacy. Similar efforts are underway to repurpose Microsoft’s Xbox, perhaps the ultimate symbol of “closed” technology given Microsoft’s propensity for proprietary code, in order to make it a viable platform for Open Source Software (OSS). However, these efforts are not forgone conclusions, and are in fact typical of the ongoing battle over who controls the technology we own in our homes, and how open source solutions are often at odds with a largely proprietary world. In late 2001, Microsoft launched the Xbox with a multimillion dollar publicity drive featuring events, commercials, live models, and statements claiming this new console gaming platform would “change video games the way MTV changed music”. (Chan, 2001) The Xbox launched with the following technical specifications: 733mhz Pentium III 64mb RAM, 8 or 10gb internal hard disk drive CD/DVD ROM drive (speed unknown) Nvidia graphics processor, with HDTV support 4 USB 1.1 ports (adapter required), AC3 audio 10/100 ethernet port, Optional 56k modem (TechTV, 2001) While current computers dwarf these specifications in virtually all areas now, for 2001 these were roughly on par with many desktop systems. The retail price at the time was $299, but steadily dropped to nearly half that with additional price cuts anticipated. Based on these features, the preponderance of “off the shelf” parts and components used, and the relatively reasonable price, numerous programmers quickly became interested in seeing it if was possible to run Linux and additional OSS on the Xbox. In each case, the goal has been similar: exceed the original purpose of the Xbox, to determine if and how well it might be used for basic computing tasks. If these attempts prove to be successful, the Xbox could allow institutions to dramatically increase the student-to-computer ratio in select environments, or allow individuals who could not otherwise afford a computer to instead buy and Xbox, download and install Linux, and use this new device to write, create, and innovate . This drive to literally and metaphorically “open” the Xbox comes from many directions. Such efforts include Andrew Huang’s self-published “Hacking the Xbox” book in which, under the auspices of reverse engineering, Huang analyzes the architecture of the Xbox, detailing step-by-step instructions for flashing the ROM, upgrading the hard drive and/or RAM, and generally prepping the device for use as an information appliance. Additional initiatives include Lindows CEO Michael Robertson’s $200,000 prize to encourage Linux development on the Xbox, and the Xbox Linux Project at SourceForge. What is Linux? Linux is an alternative operating system initially developed in 1991 by Linus Benedict Torvalds. Linux was based off a derivative of the MINIX operating system, which in turn was a derivative of UNIX. (Hasan 2003) Linux is currently available for Intel-based systems that would normally run versions of Windows, PowerPC-based systems that would normally run Apple’s Mac OS, and a host of other handheld, cell phone, or so-called “embedded” systems. Linux distributions are based almost exclusively on open source software, graphic user interfaces, and middleware components. While there are commercial Linux distributions available, these mainly just package the freely available operating system with bundled technical support, manuals, some exclusive or proprietary commercial applications, and related services. Anyone can still download and install numerous Linux distributions at no cost, provided they do not need technical support beyond the community / enthusiast level. Typical Linux distributions come with open source web browsers, word processors and related productivity applications (such as those found in OpenOffice.org), and related tools for accessing email, organizing schedules and contacts, etc. Certain Linux distributions are more or less designed for network administrators, system engineers, and similar “power users” somewhat distanced from that of our students. However, several distributions including Lycoris, Mandrake, LindowsOS, and other are specifically tailored as regular, desktop operating systems, with regular, everyday computer users in mind. As Linux has no draconian “product activation key” method of authentication, or digital rights management-laden features associated with installation and implementation on typical desktop and laptop systems, Linux is becoming an ideal choice both individually and institutionally. It still faces an uphill battle in terms of achieving widespread acceptance as a desktop operating system. As Finnie points out in Desktop Linux Edges Into The Mainstream: “to attract users, you need ease of installation, ease of device configuration, and intuitive, full-featured desktop user controls. It’s all coming, but slowly. With each new version, desktop Linux comes closer to entering the mainstream. It’s anyone’s guess as to when critical mass will be reached, but you can feel the inevitability: There’s pent-up demand for something different.” (Finnie 2003) Linux is already spreading rapidly in numerous capacities, in numerous countries. Linux has “taken hold wherever computer users desire freedom, and wherever there is demand for inexpensive software.” Reports from technology research company IDG indicate that roughly a third of computers in Central and South America run Linux. Several countries, including Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, have all but mandated that state-owned institutions adopt open source software whenever possible to “give their people the tools and education to compete with the rest of the world.” (Hills 2001) The Goal Less than a year after Microsoft introduced the The Xbox, the Xbox Linux project formed. The Xbox Linux Project has a goal of developing and distributing Linux for the Xbox gaming console, “so that it can be used for many tasks that Microsoft don’t want you to be able to do. ...as a desktop computer, for email and browsing the web from your TV, as a (web) server” (Xbox Linux Project 2002). Since the Linux operating system is open source, meaning it can freely be tinkered with and distributed, those who opt to download and install Linux on their Xbox can do so with relatively little overhead in terms of cost or time. Additionally, Linux itself looks very “windows-like”, making for fairly low learning curve. To help increase overall awareness of this project and assist in diffusing it, the Xbox Linux Project offers step-by-step installation instructions, with the end result being a system capable of using common peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse, scanner, printer, a “webcam and a DVD burner, connected to a VGA monitor; 100% compatible with a standard Linux PC, all PC (USB) hardware and PC software that works with Linux.” (Xbox Linux Project 2002) Such a system could have tremendous potential for technology literacy. Pairing an Xbox with Linux and OpenOffice.org, for example, would provide our students essentially the same capability any of them would expect from a regular desktop computer. They could send and receive email, communicate using instant messaging IRC, or newsgroup clients, and browse Internet sites just as they normally would. In fact, the overall browsing experience for Linux users is substantially better than that for most Windows users. Internet Explorer, the default browser on all systems running Windows-base operating systems, lacks basic features standard in virtually all competing browsers. Native blocking of “pop-up” advertisem*nts is still not yet possible in Internet Explorer without the aid of a third-party utility. Tabbed browsing, which involves the ability to easily open and sort through multiple Web pages in the same window, often with a single mouse click, is also missing from Internet Explorer. The same can be said for a robust download manager, “find as you type”, and a variety of additional features. Mozilla, Netscape, Firefox, Konqueror, and essentially all other OSS browsers for Linux have these features. Of course, most of these browsers are also available for Windows, but Internet Explorer is still considered the standard browser for the platform. If the Xbox Linux Project becomes widely diffused, our students could edit and save Microsoft Word files in OpenOffice.org’s Writer program, and do the same with PowerPoint and Excel files in similar OpenOffice.org components. They could access instructor comments originally created in Microsoft Word documents, and in turn could add their own comments and send the documents back to their instructors. They could even perform many functions not yet capable in Microsoft Office, including saving files in PDF or Flash format without needing Adobe’s Acrobat product or Macromedia’s Flash Studio MX. Additionally, by way of this project, the Xbox can also serve as “a Linux server for HTTP/FTP/SMB/NFS, serving data such as MP3/MPEG4/DivX, or a router, or both; without a monitor or keyboard or mouse connected.” (Xbox Linux Project 2003) In a very real sense, our students could use these inexpensive systems previously framed only within the context of entertainment, for educational purposes typically associated with computer-mediated learning. Problems: Control and Access The existing rhetoric of technological control surrounding current and emerging technologies appears to be stifling many of these efforts before they can even be brought to the public. This rhetoric of control is largely typified by overly-restrictive digital rights management (DRM) schemes antithetical to education, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Combined,both are currently being used as technical and legal clubs against these efforts. Microsoft, for example, has taken a dim view of any efforts to adapt the Xbox to Linux. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who has repeatedly referred to Linux as a cancer and has equated OSS as being un-American, stated, “Given the way the economic model works - and that is a subsidy followed, essentially, by fees for every piece of software sold - our license framework has to do that.” (Becker 2003) Since the Xbox is based on a subsidy model, meaning that Microsoft actually sells the hardware at a loss and instead generates revenue off software sales, Ballmer launched a series of concerted legal attacks against the Xbox Linux Project and similar efforts. In 2002, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft simultaneously sued Lik Sang, Inc., a Hong Kong-based company that produces programmable cartridges and “mod chips” for the PlayStation II, Xbox, and Game Cube. Nintendo states that its company alone loses over $650 million each year due to piracy of their console gaming titles, which typically originate in China, Paraguay, and Mexico. (GameIndustry.biz) Currently, many attempts to “mod” the Xbox required the use of such chips. As Lik Sang is one of the only suppliers, initial efforts to adapt the Xbox to Linux slowed considerably. Despite that fact that such chips can still be ordered and shipped here by less conventional means, it does not change that fact that the chips themselves would be illegal in the U.S. due to the anticircumvention clause in the DMCA itself, which is designed specifically to protect any DRM-wrapped content, regardless of context. The Xbox Linux Project then attempted to get Microsoft to officially sanction their efforts. They were not only rebuffed, but Microsoft then opted to hire programmers specifically to create technological countermeasures for the Xbox, to defeat additional attempts at installing OSS on it. Undeterred, the Xbox Linux Project eventually arrived at a method of installing and booting Linux without the use of mod chips, and have taken a more defiant tone now with Microsoft regarding their circumvention efforts. (Lettice 2002) They state that “Microsoft does not want you to use the Xbox as a Linux computer, therefore it has some anti-Linux-protection built in, but it can be circumvented easily, so that an Xbox can be used as what it is: an IBM PC.” (Xbox Linux Project 2003) Problems: Learning Curves and Usability In spite of the difficulties imposed by the combined technological and legal attacks on this project, it has succeeded at infiltrating this closed system with OSS. It has done so beyond the mere prototype level, too, as evidenced by the Xbox Linux Project now having both complete, step-by-step instructions available for users to modify their own Xbox systems, and an alternate plan catering to those who have the interest in modifying their systems, but not the time or technical inclinations. Specifically, this option involves users mailing their Xbox systems to community volunteers within the Xbox Linux Project, and basically having these volunteers perform the necessary software preparation or actually do the full Linux installation for them, free of charge (presumably not including shipping). This particular aspect of the project, dubbed “Users Help Users”, appears to be fairly new. Yet, it already lists over sixty volunteers capable and willing to perform this service, since “Many users don’t have the possibility, expertise or hardware” to perform these modifications. Amazingly enough, in some cases these volunteers are barely out of junior high school. One such volunteer stipulates that those seeking his assistance keep in mind that he is “just 14” and that when performing these modifications he “...will not always be finished by the next day”. (Steil 2003) In addition to this interesting if somewhat unusual level of community-driven support, there are currently several Linux-based options available for the Xbox. The two that are perhaps the most developed are GentooX, which is based of the popular Gentoo Linux distribution, and Ed’s Debian, based off the Debian GNU / Linux distribution. Both Gentoo and Debian are “seasoned” distributions that have been available for some time now, though Daniel Robbins, Chief Architect of Gentoo, refers to the product as actually being a “metadistribution” of Linux, due to its high degree of adaptability and configurability. (Gentoo 2004) Specifically, the Robbins asserts that Gentoo is capable of being “customized for just about any application or need. ...an ideal secure server, development workstation, professional desktop, gaming system, embedded solution or something else—whatever you need it to be.” (Robbins 2004) He further states that the whole point of Gentoo is to provide a better, more usable Linux experience than that found in many other distributions. Robbins states that: “The goal of Gentoo is to design tools and systems that allow a user to do their work pleasantly and efficiently as possible, as they see fit. Our tools should be a joy to use, and should help the user to appreciate the richness of the Linux and free software community, and the flexibility of free software. ...Put another way, the Gentoo philosophy is to create better tools. When a tool is doing its job perfectly, you might not even be very aware of its presence, because it does not interfere and make its presence known, nor does it force you to interact with it when you don’t want it to. The tool serves the user rather than the user serving the tool.” (Robbins 2004) There is also a so-called “live CD” Linux distribution suitable for the Xbox, called dyne:bolic, and an in-progress release of Slackware Linux, as well. According to the Xbox Linux Project, the only difference between the standard releases of these distributions and their Xbox counterparts is that “...the install process – and naturally the bootloader, the kernel and the kernel modules – are all customized for the Xbox.” (Xbox Linux Project, 2003) Of course, even if Gentoo is as user-friendly as Robbins purports, even if the Linux kernel itself has become significantly more robust and efficient, and even if Microsoft again drops the retail price of the Xbox, is this really a feasible solution in the classroom? Does the Xbox Linux Project have an army of 14 year olds willing to modify dozens, perhaps hundreds of these systems for use in secondary schools and higher education? Of course not. If such an institutional rollout were to be undertaken, it would require significant support from not only faculty, but Department Chairs, Deans, IT staff, and quite possible Chief Information Officers. Disk images would need to be customized for each institution to reflect their respective needs, ranging from setting specific home pages on web browsers, to bookmarks, to custom back-up and / or disk re-imaging scripts, to network authentication. This would be no small task. Yet, the steps mentioned above are essentially no different than what would be required of any IT staff when creating a new disk image for a computer lab, be it one for a Windows-based system or a Mac OS X-based one. The primary difference would be Linux itself—nothing more, nothing less. The institutional difficulties in undertaking such an effort would likely be encountered prior to even purchasing a single Xbox, in that they would involve the same difficulties associated with any new hardware or software initiative: staffing, budget, and support. If the institutional in question is either unwilling or unable to address these three factors, it would not matter if the Xbox itself was as free as Linux. An Open Future, or a Closed one? It is unclear how far the Xbox Linux Project will be allowed to go in their efforts to invade an essentially a proprietary system with OSS. Unlike Sony, which has made deliberate steps to commercialize similar efforts for their PlayStation 2 console, Microsoft appears resolute in fighting OSS on the Xbox by any means necessary. They will continue to crack down on any companies selling so-called mod chips, and will continue to employ technological protections to keep the Xbox “closed”. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, in all likelihood Microsoft continue to equate any OSS efforts directed at the Xbox with piracy-related motivations. Additionally, Microsoft’s successor to the Xbox would likely include additional anticircumvention technologies incorporated into it that could set the Xbox Linux Project back by months, years, or could stop it cold. Of course, it is difficult to say with any degree of certainty how this “Xbox 2” (perhaps a more appropriate name might be “Nextbox”) will impact this project. Regardless of how this device evolves, there can be little doubt of the value of Linux, OpenOffice.org, and other OSS to teaching and learning with technology. This value exists not only in terms of price, but in increased freedom from policies and technologies of control. New Linux distributions from Gentoo, Mandrake, Lycoris, Lindows, and other companies are just now starting to focus their efforts on Linux as user-friendly, easy to use desktop operating systems, rather than just server or “techno-geek” environments suitable for advanced programmers and computer operators. While metaphorically opening the Xbox may not be for everyone, and may not be a suitable computing solution for all, I believe we as educators must promote and encourage such efforts whenever possible. I suggest this because I believe we need to exercise our professional influence and ultimately shape the future of technology literacy, either individually as faculty and collectively as departments, colleges, or institutions. Moran and Fitzsimmons-Hunter argue this very point in Writing Teachers, Schools, Access, and Change. One of their fundamental provisions they use to define “access” asserts that there must be a willingness for teachers and students to “fight for the technologies that they need to pursue their goals for their own teaching and learning.” (Taylor / Ward 160) Regardless of whether or not this debate is grounded in the “beige boxes” of the past, or the Xboxes of the present, much is at stake. Private corporations should not be in a position to control the manner in which we use legally-purchased technologies, regardless of whether or not these technologies are then repurposed for literacy uses. I believe the exigency associated with this control, and the ongoing evolution of what is and is not a computer, dictates that we assert ourselves more actively into this discussion. We must take steps to provide our students with the best possible computer-mediated learning experience, however seemingly unorthodox the technological means might be, so that they may think critically, communicate effectively, and participate actively in society and in their future careers. About the Author Paul Cesarini is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Communication & Technology Education, Bowling Green State University, Ohio Email: pcesari@bgnet.bgsu.edu Works Cited http://xbox-linux.sourceforge.net/docs/debian.php>.Baron, Denis. “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies.” Passions Pedagogies and 21st Century Technologies. Hawisher, Gail E., and Cynthia L. Selfe, Eds. Utah: Utah State University Press, 1999. 15 – 33. Becker, David. “Ballmer: Mod Chips Threaten Xbox”. News.com. 21 Oct 2002. http://news.com.com/2100-1040-962797.php>. http://news.com.com/2100-1040-978957.html?tag=nl>. http://archive.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/08/13/020813hnchina.xml>. http://www.neoseeker.com/news/story/1062/>. http://www.bookreader.co.uk>.Finni, Scott. “Desktop Linux Edges Into The Mainstream”. TechWeb. 8 Apr 2003. http://www.techweb.com/tech/software/20030408_software. http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/29439.html http://gentoox.shallax.com/. http://ragib.hypermart.net/linux/. http://www.itworld.com/Comp/2362/LWD010424latinlinux/pfindex.html. http://www.xbox-linux.sourceforge.net. http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/27487.html. http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/26078.html. http://www.us.playstation.com/peripherals.aspx?id=SCPH-97047. http://www.techtv.com/extendedplay/reviews/story/0,24330,3356862,00.html. http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,61984,00.html. http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/about.xml http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/philosophy.xml http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/stories/main/0,14179,2869075,00.html. http://xbox-linux.sourceforge.net/docs/usershelpusers.html http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/fun.games/12/16/gamers.liksang/. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Cesarini, Paul. "“Opening” the Xbox" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture <http://www.media-culture.org.au/0406/08_Cesarini.php>. APA Style Cesarini, P. (2004, Jul1). “Opening” the Xbox. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 7, <http://www.media-culture.org.au/0406/08_Cesarini.php>

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Linke, Christine, Elizabeth Prommer, and Claudia Wegener. "Gender Representations on YouTube." M/C Journal 23, no.6 (November28, 2020). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2728.

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Introduction Media and gender are intricately linked in our society. Every day we see representations of women and men on the screen, read about politicians in the press, watch influencers on YouTube or go to the cinema where we meet screen heroes. Our images and notions of gender draw on these media narratives and role models. Children and young people are socialised with these views and cultivate their own identity and gender roles accordingly. Ideas of gender are not static. They are produced discursively in an ongoing process. Gender is understood as a social category, and this perspective is interwoven with an observation of people’s social behaviour, their “doing gender” (West and Zimmerman). From a social constructivist, the focus lies on the production processes connected with the construction of gender representations through the media. The question of how masculinity and femininity, concepts of “being a man” or “being a woman”, represented on a platform such as YouTube become relevant. Our research interest lies exactly in this: How gender inclusive is the video platform YouTube? Are male and female representations equally visible—or do we find exclusion mechanisms that hinder this? Literature Review Europe-wide studies show that children and adolescents are online for an average of 2.4 hours a day (Hasebrink et al.). Eighty-seven per cent of young people report watching videos (e.g. on YouTube) at least once a week (ibid., 11). This applies for Germany as well (MPFS). Considering the relevance YouTube has for adolescents, the question arises as to which role models are portrayed through YouTube and how diverse the representations of gender are depicted there. Initial analyses, primarily for the English-language YouTube platform, see its potential to counteract gender stereotypes (Maloney et al.), but generally show an unequal visibility of the genders on YouTube. These studies find that women are underrepresented, receive more hostile feedback and present themselves in stereotypical forms (Wotanis and McMillan; Döring; Molyneaux et al.). Döring and Mohseni showed in their current nine-country comparative analysis that men dominate the popular YouTube across countries and women are more likely to give up after hostility. The existing research usually examined the English-language, mainly US YouTube, it analysed gender performance, stereotypes in selected genres such as advertising or gaming, the stigmatisation of obesity, the representation and experiences of black women on YouTube, and the staging of alternative images of masculinity (see Hussin et al.; Kataria and Pandey; Wotanis and McMillan; Casabianca; Maloney et al.; Sobande). Molyneaux et al. noted in their landmark study gender-specific differences: female YouTubers tend to focus on private matters and interact more frequently with their users. Male YouTubers, on the other hand, share opinions and information and avoid emotions (Pedersen and Macafee). In addition, female vloggers are more often criticised for their appearance than for the content of their videos (Molyneaux et al.). Even though YouTube is an international medium, its use remains limited to language and nation. For example, the most popular YouTube stars among German children and young people are predominantly German-speaking influencers or sportsmen and women. In 2019, girls between the ages of 6 and 13 most often name Bibi, Dagi Bee, Shirin David, Lisa & Lena, and Miley; boys at the same age Julien Bam, Gronkh, Die Lochis, LeFloid and Manuel Neuer (IZI). All these are German YouTube or sports stars. YouTube itself shows in its recommendations under the heading “most popular videos in Germany” exclusively German-language videos, music videos, or sporting events (YouTube). Therefore, YouTube also needs to be examined in national contexts, as well as in cross-national context. Our study will focus on the national German context to examine whether there are similar gender differences in the German-speaking YouTube as have been identified for the English-speaking YouTube. For German-speaking YouTube, few studies are available. Döring and Mohseni examined male and female operators of the top 100 YouTube channels in nine different countries. The results show that women make up 25 per cent of the top 100 German YouTube channel operators, a distribution which is similarly uneven in other countries. Usage data shows that the German-speaking YouTube appears to have a greater relevance among boys than girls. Boys (93%) use YouTube more often on a regular basis, than girls (86%), and rank it higher as their favourite app (MPFS). Other than for traditional media such as television or film, where intensive research has for decades shown a wide gender gap in the visibility of women (Prommer and Linke; Linke and Prommer), research on German-speaking YouTube is rare (Döring and Mohseni). Hypotheses In reflection of the research outlined above on representations of gender in media and the stereotypical portrayals of men and women in film and television, we assume that these gender role depictions are carried over into online videos on social media platforms. The fact that girls use YouTube somewhat less often, consider themselves less competent in the necessary Internet skills, and anticipate greater risks related to communicative aspects suggests that female operators might have been held back and that the female perspective might be marginalised in public (self-)portrayals. The following hypotheses will therefore guide our study: H1: Fewer women are channel operators of Germany’s most popular YouTube channels, and they are more limited in their choice of genres. H2: Women are less visible than men in popular YouTube videos. H3: Women portray themselves more often as connected to stereotypically female topics or are depicted as such in videos. H4: Men stage themselves as professionals. Methods and Sample Following these hypotheses, we conducted a two-step research. The first research step was to analyse to what extent women and men produce popular content. For this, we looked at the ratio of female to male YouTubers among the 1,000 most successful German channels. These YouTubers are called either creators or channel operators by the industry. Both terms are used synonymously here. To identify the most popular YouTube channels, we acquired the viewing and ranking data from the market research company Social Blade, which is one of the very few sources for these data. We measured the popularity of the channels by the number of subscribers to a channel. The success of individual videos was measured by individual views. We coded the 1,000 most successful German YouTube channels, with a standardised quantitative content analysis. This method is frequently applied in existing studies on gender representations in YouTube (Döring; Döring and Mohensi). Different to existing research, we looked at a larger number of channels. This quantified analysis was combined with a more qualitative, but still standardised analysis of visibility of gender and concrete content and presentation forms (Prommer and Linke). For the second step we used the Audio-Visual Character Analysis (ACIS) developed by Prommer and Linke as a method that is able to code any audio-visual content in order to describe visibility and diversity of the depicted people. Here, the analysis considered the individual video as the unit of analysis. For 20 videos from each of the top 100 YouTube creators, we chose the 10 of most recent videos plus the 10 videos with the most views to be analysed. In total, 2,000 videos were analysed. For the qualitative analysis, looking at the visibility of gender, we excluded channels operated by institutions, such as radio and TV broadcasters, music labels, and other commercial entities. These were not considered since there is no individual person responsible. We also excluded “Let’s Play” videos, since these often do not show the operator, but only show game play from video games. Results H1: Fewer women are operators of Germany’s most popular YouTube channels, and they are more limited in their choice of genres. As the analyses show, if the non-individual channel operators are included in the statistics, we see that 27 per cent of the top popular channels in Germany are hosted by institutions (270); this leaves 172 channels operated by women (17%), 525 channels by men (53%), and 25 (3%) by mixed-gender teams. Further on, we will only consider the top 1,000 channels produced by one or more individuals; of these, one quarter (24%) of channel operators are female (fig. 1). This shows that, for every channel in the list produced by a woman, three are produced by men. Only three per cent of the channels are produced by men and women together, constituting a mixed-gender team. The YouTube genres, according to the YouTube classification, also show significant gender differences. Women can be seen first and foremost in tutorial channels (women: 61; men: 9). However, because only 24 per cent of channels in which an individual operator could be identified are contributed by women, all other genres except for tutorial channels are produced disproportionally more often by men. Gaming videos are solid male territory, as almost all "Let’s Play" channels are operated by men (women: 6; men: 150). Here, there are 25 men for every one woman who operates a gaming channel. This is particularly remarkable, as women make up 46 per cent of gamers (ISFE), and their underrepresentation can generally not be explained by lack of interest. Men operate channels in a wide variety of other genres, such as music (women: 9; men: 80) and sports (women: 4; men: 20). The genres of comedy, film, and education show only one female operator each—outnumbered from 10 to 1 to as much as 20 to 1. Examining the statistics for men and women separately reveals that men do not only operate the majority of the top 1,000 channels, but they are also visible in a wider variety of genres. Female YouTubers have primarily limited themselves to entertainment channels (50% of all women) and how-to channels (35% of all women). Male channels are more diverse and include entertainment (38% of all men), games (29% of all men), and music (15% of all men), as well as all other genres. Only in tutorial channels men are rarely seen (2%). The genre definitions of the YouTube channels used here are derived from YouTube itself, and these definitions are not in line with other genre theories and are overly broad. Nevertheless, these results confirm the first hypothesis that fewer women are operators of popular YouTube channels, and that women are more limited in their genre diversity. Fig. 1: Gender distribution of the top 1,000 YouTube channel creators—individuals only (n=722) H2: Women are less visible than men in popular YouTube videos. From the list of the top 1,000 channels, the top 100 most successful channels produced by individuals were analysed in more depth. Of these top 100 channels we analysed 20 videos each, for a total of 2,000 videos, for the visibility and appearance of men, women, and non-binary persons. If we count the main protagonists appearing in these 2,000 videos, we see for every woman (979; 29%) more than two men (2,343; 69%). Only two per cent (54) of the people appearing in these videos had a non-binary gender (intersexual, transsexual, or other). Interestingly, this is a similar imbalance as we can detect in television as well (Prommer and Linke). In other categories, there is more diversity than in television: in total, 44 per cent of channel operators have a recognisable “migration background”, which is more commonly seen in men (49%) than in women (32%). “Migration background” is the official German definition of people with a foreign nationality, people not born in Germany, or having parents with these criteria. This confirms the second hypothesis, according to which women are visible in popular Web videos less often than men. H3: Women portray themselves more often in connection to stereotypically female topics or are depicted as such in videos. In the 2,000 videos from the top 100 channels, female YouTubers are primarily visible in service-oriented tutorial channels (on topics like beauty, food, and the household). Female YouTubers are predominantly represented in video blogs (vlogs: 17%), battles/challenges (16%), sketches/parodies (14%), and tutorials (11%). The haul/unboxing format, in which presenters unpack acquired products or gifts, is almost exclusively female. Men are visible in a wide array of formats such as battles/challenges (21%), sketches (17%), and vlogs (14%), including music (9%), opinions/positions (6%), interviews (2%), music parodies (3%), and question-answer formats (2%). The wide range of content produced by male YouTubers, compared to the limited range of female YouTubers, becomes even more obvious when we consider the topics of the individual videos. The results show that men engage with a variety of themes. Women’s topics, on the other hand, are limited: female YouTubers address beauty (30%), food (23%), relationships (23%), fashion and family, as well as household topics (15%). As fig. 2 shows, men present a bigger variety of topics such as music, relationships, family and fashion, and they also address politics (7%), gaming, and much more. The men’s list is significantly more comprehensive (21 topic areas instead of 15). The data thus confirm the third hypothesis, according to which female YouTubers are more often represented in popular videos with stereotypically female themes. It also becomes clear that their spectrum of topics is significantly more limited than that of male actors. Fig. 2: Topic and subject areas of main actors by gender (3,322), statistics for all women and all men; multiple answers possible H4: Men stage themselves as professionals The following results reveal selected characteristics of the staging with which the main female protagonists portray themselves in the 2,000 videos analysed, and which we understand as an expression of professional versus non-professional ability. Female YouTubers appear predominantly in private settings, and their relationships to (almost exclusively male) partners and to their families play a larger role in their appearances than with the male protagonists. Their activities in the videos are described more frequently by the women themselves as personal passions and hobbies, and they rarely discuss their activities as connected to a career. Women talk about their passions, while men thematise their professional abilities. While fewer than a quarter of female YouTubers (22%) address their careers, almost two thirds of men (61%) do so. When looking at hobbies and passions the reverse is true: while only a third of male YouTubers (32%) mention these themes, two thirds of women (64%) create this context in their videos. Also, public spaces and professional contexts are predominantly reserved for male protagonist on YouTube. This means that women shoot their videos in what appears to be their homes or other private environments, while men are also visible in offices or other professional environments (e.g. fitness studios). The settings in which most people are visible on YouTube are private houses and apartments, where most women (71%) and more than half of male actors (57%) are shown. Settings in the public sphere, in contrast, are chosen by male YouTubers twice as often (34%) as by females. This confirms the fourth hypothesis, which states that men communicate and stage themselves as professionals in their videos, measured by the choice of public settings, references to professional activity, and thematisation of emotions. Limitations This study represents a first step toward a quantified analysis of gender portrayals on YouTube. Although a large number of channels and videos were included in the analysis, it is not a comprehensive assessment of all of the most popular videos, nor a random sampling. Limiting the scope to the most popular content necessarily excludes videos that may show alternative content but receive fewer clicks and subscribers. The content analysis does not allow conclusions to be drawn regarding the videos’ actual reception among adolescents. Even though the data prove the platform’s popularity among children and young adults, the audience groups for the individual videos we analysed could not be broken down by sociodemographics. The gender-typical depictions can thus only be understood as an offering; no statements can be made as to their actual acceptance. Discussion The results show that Web videos favourited by children and young adults on the YouTube platform adopt and propagate similar role models to those that previously existed in television and film (Götz et al.). Female channel operators are significantly underrepresented in the most popular videos, they are more limited in their range of topics, and they appear predominantly in and with topics with a stereotypically female connotation. Further, most of women’s (self-)portrayals take place in private settings. Here, the new Web formats have not created a change from classical depictions on television, where women are also predominantly shown in their personal and private lives. Web videos emphasise this aspect, as female actors refer often to their hobbies rather than to their careers, thus characterising their actions as less socially legitimised. This shows that in their favourite new media, too, adolescents encounter traditional gender stereotypes that steer the engagement with gender onto traditional tracks. The actual variety of gender identities and gender roles in real life is not presented in the popular YouTube videos and therefore excluded from the mainstream audience. Clearly, the interplay of the structure of YouTube, the market, and audience demand does not lead to the inclusion and visibility of alternative role models. References Casabianca, Barbara. "YouTube as a Net'Work': A Media Analysis of the YouTube Beauty Community." CUNY Academic Works, 2016. <https://academicworks.cuny.edu/gc_etds/1300/>. Döring, Nicola. “Videoproduktion auf YouTube: Die Bedeutung von Geschlechterbildern.” Handbuch Medien und Geschlecht: Perspektiven und Befunde der Feministischen Kommunikations- und Medienforschung. Eds. Johanna Dorer et al. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien, 2019. 1–11. Döring, Nicola, and M. Rohangis Mohseni. “Male Dominance and Sexism on YouTube: Results of Three Content Analyses.” Feminist Media Studies 19.4 (2019): 512–24. DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2018.1467945. Götz, Maya, et al. “Whose Story Is Being Told? Results of an Analysis of Children's TV in 8 Countries.” TelevIZIon 31 (2018): 61–65. Hasebrink, Uwe, et al. Ergebnisse der EU Kids Online-Befragung in Deutschland 2019: Online-Erfahrungen von 9- bis 17-Jährigen. Hamburg: Verlag Hans-Bredow-Institut, 5 Oct. 2020. <https://www.hans-bredow-institut.de/uploads/media/Publikationen/cms/media/s3lt3j7_EUKO_Bericht_DE_190917.pdf>. Hussin, Mallory, et al. “Fat Stigmatization on YouTube: A Content Analysis.” Body Image 8.1 (2011): 90–92. DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2010.10.003. ISFE (Interactive Software Federation of Europe). Key Facts 2020. 17 Nov. 2020. <https://www.isfe.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ISFE-final-1.pdf>. IZI (Internationales Zentralinstitut für das Bildungsfernsehen). "BibisBeautyPalace wieder ganz vorne bei den Kindern: Neue Studie zu den beliebtesten Influencer*innen bei Kindern und Preteens." München: Bayrischer Rundfunk. 26 Nov. 2019 <https://www.br-online.de › Pressemitteilungen › PM_LieblingsYouTuber>. Kataria, Manju, and Bandana Pandey. “Representation of Women in Online Advertisem*nts: A Content Analysis.” Research on Humanities and Social Sciences 22.4 (2014): 138–45. <https://www.iiste.org/Journals/index.php/RHSS/article/view/16823>. Linke, Christine, and Elizabeth Prommer. “From Fade-Out into Spotlight: An Audio-Visual Character Analysis (ACIS) on the Diversity of Media Representation and Production Culture.” Studies in Communication Sciences (SComS), forthcoming 2021. Maloney, Marcus, et al. “‘Mmm … I Love It, Bro!’: Performances of Masculinity in YouTube Gaming.” New Media & Society 20.5 (2018): 1697–714. DOI: 10.1177/1461444817703368. Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest (MPFS). JIM Studie 2018: Jugend, Information, Medien: Basisuntersuchung zum Medienumgang 12- bis 19-Jähriger. 1 Jan. 2019. 5 Oct. 2020 <https://www.mpfs.de/fileadmin/files/Studien/JIM/2018/Studie/JIM2018_Gesamt.pdfZ>. Molyneaux, Heather, et al. “Exploring the Gender Divide on YouTube: An Analysis of the Creation and Reception of Vlogs.” American Communication Journal 10.2 (2008). <https://www.it.uu.se/edu/course/homepage/avint/vt09/1.pdf>. Pedersen, Sarah, and Caroline Macafee. “Gender Differences in British Blogging.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12.4 (2007): 1472–92. DOI: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00382.x. Prommer, Elizabeth, and Christine Linke. Ausgeblendet: Frauen im deutschen Film und Fernsehen. Herbert von Halem Verlag, 2019. Sobande, Francesca. “Watching Me Watching You: Black Women in Britain on YouTube.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 20.6 (2017): 655–71. DOI: 10.1177/1367549417733001. West, Candice, and D. H. Zimmerman. “Doing Gender.” Gender and Society 1.2 (1987): 125–51. Wotanis, Lindsey, and Laurie McMillan. “Performing Gender on YouTube.” Feminist Media Studies 14.6 (2014): 912–28. DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2014.882373. YouTube. 23 Oct. 2019 <https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=beliebteste+videos+deutschland>.

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Gibson, Chris. "On the Overland Trail: Sheet Music, Masculinity and Travelling ‘Country’." M/C Journal 11, no.5 (September4, 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.82.

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Abstract:

Introduction One of the ways in which ‘country’ is made to work discursively is in ‘country music’ – defining a genre and sensibility in music production, marketing and consumption. This article seeks to excavate one small niche in the historical geography of country music to explore exactly how discursive antecedents emerged, and crucially, how images associated with ‘country’ surfaced and travelled internationally via one of the new ‘global’ media of the first half of the twentieth century – sheet music. My central arguments are twofold: first, that alongside aural qualities and lyrical content, the visual elements of sheet music were important and thus far have been under-acknowledged. Sheet music diffused the imagery connecting ‘country’ to music, to particular landscapes, and masculinities. In the literature on country music much emphasis has been placed on film, radio and television (Tichi; Peterson). Yet, sheet music was for several decades the most common way people bought personal copies of songs they liked and intended to play at home on piano, guitar or ukulele. This was particularly the case in Australia – geographically distant, and rarely included in international tours by American country music stars. Sheet music is thus a rich text to reveal the historical contours of ‘country’. My second and related argument is that that the possibilities for the globalising of ‘country’ were first explored in music. The idea of transnational discourses associated with ‘country’ and ‘rurality’ is relatively new (Cloke et al; Gorman-Murray et al; McCarthy), but in music we see early evidence of a globalising discourse of ‘country’ well ahead of the time period usually analysed. Accordingly, my focus is on the sheet music of country songs in Australia in the first half of the twentieth century and on how visual representations hybridised travelling themes to create a new vernacular ‘country’ in Australia. Creating ‘Country’ Music Country music, as its name suggests, is perceived as the music of rural areas, “defined in contrast to metropolitan norms” (Smith 301). However, the ‘naturalness’ of associations between country music and rurality belies a history of urban capitalism and the refinement of deliberate methods of marketing music through associated visual imagery. Early groups wore suits and dressed for urban audiences – but then altered appearances later, on the insistence of urban record companies, to emphasise rurality and cowboy heritage. Post-1950, ‘country’ came to replace ‘folk’ music as a marketing label, as the latter was considered to have too many communistic references (Hemphill 5), and the ethnic mixing of earlier folk styles was conveniently forgotten in the marketing of ‘country’ music as distinct from African American ‘race’ and ‘r and b’ music. Now an industry of its own with multinational headquarters in Nashville, country music is a ‘cash cow’ for entertainment corporations, with lower average production costs, considerable profit margins, and marketing advantages that stem from tropes of working class identity and ‘rural’ honesty (see Lewis; Arango). Another of country music’s associations is with American geography – and an imagined heartland in the colonial frontier of the American West. Slippages between ‘country’ and ‘western’ in music, film and dress enhance this. But historical fictions are masked: ‘purists’ argue that western dress and music have nothing to do with ‘country’ (see truewesternmusic.com), while recognition of the Spanish-Mexican, Native American and Hawaiian origins of ‘cowboy’ mythology is meagre (George-Warren and Freedman). Similarly, the highly international diffusion and adaptation of country music as it rose to prominence in the 1940s is frequently downplayed (Connell and Gibson), as are the destructive elements of colonialism and dispossession of indigenous peoples in frontier America (though Johnny Cash’s 1964 album The Ballads Of The American Indian: Bitter Tears was an exception). Adding to the above is the way ‘country’ operates discursively in music as a means to construct particular masculinities. Again, linked to rural imagery and the American frontier, the dominant masculinity is of rugged men wrestling nature, negotiating hardships and the pressures of family life. Country music valorises ‘heroic masculinities’ (Holt and Thompson), with echoes of earlier cowboy identities reverberating into contemporary performance through dress style, lyrical content and marketing imagery. The men of country music mythology live an isolated existence, working hard to earn an income for dependent families. Their music speaks to the triumph of hard work, honest values (meaning in this context a musical style, and lyrical concerns that are ‘down to earth’, ‘straightforward’ and ‘without pretence’) and physical strength, in spite of neglect from national governments and uncaring urban leaders. Country music has often come to be associated with conservative politics, heteronormativity, and whiteness (Gibson and Davidson), echoing the wider politics of ‘country’ – it is no coincidence, for example, that the slogan for the 2008 Republican National Convention in America was ‘country first’. And yet, throughout its history, country music has also enabled more diverse gender performances to emerge – from those emphasising (or bemoaning) domesticity; assertive femininity; creative negotiation of ‘country’ norms by gay men; and ‘alternative’ culture (captured in the marketing tag, ‘alt.country’); to those acknowledging white male victimhood, criminality (‘the outlaw’), vulnerability and cruelty (see Johnson; McCusker and Pecknold; Saucier). Despite dominant tropes of ‘honesty’, country music is far from transparent, standing for certain values and identities, and yet enabling the construction of diverse and contradictory others. Historical analysis is therefore required to trace the emergence of ‘country’ in music, as it travelled beyond America. A Note on Sheet Music as Media Source Sheet music was one of the main modes of distribution of music from the 1930s through to the 1950s – a formative period in which an eclectic group of otherwise distinct ‘hillbilly’ and ‘folk’ styles moved into a single genre identity, and after which vinyl singles and LP records with picture covers dominated. Sheet music was prevalent in everyday life: beyond radio, a hit song was one that was widely purchased as sheet music, while pianos and sheet music collections (stored in a piece of furniture called a ‘music canterbury’) in family homes were commonplace. Sheet music is in many respects preferable to recorded music as a form of evidence for historical analysis of country music. Picture LP covers did not arrive until the late 1950s (by which time rock and roll had surpassed country music). Until then, 78 rpm shellac discs, the main form of pre-recorded music, featured generic brown paper sleeves from the individual record companies, or city retail stores. Also, while radio was clearly central to the consumption of music in this period, it obviously also lacked the pictorial element that sheet music could provide. Sheet music bridged the music and printing industries – the latter already well-equipped with colour printing, graphic design and marketing tools. Sheet music was often literally crammed with information, providing the researcher with musical notation, lyrics, cover art and embedded advertisem*nts – aural and visual texts combined. These multiple dimensions of sheet music proved useful here, for clues to the context of the music/media industries and geography of distribution (for instance, in addresses for publishers and sheet music retail shops). Moreover, most sheet music of the time used rich, sometimes exaggerated, images to convince passing shoppers to buy songs that they had possibly never heard. As sheet music required caricature rather than detail or historical accuracy, it enabled fantasy without distraction. In terms of representations of ‘country’, then, sheet music is perhaps even more evocative than film or television. Hundreds of sheet music items were collected for this research over several years, through deliberate searching (for instance, in library archives and specialist sheet music stores) and with some serendipity (for instance, when buying second hand sheet music in charity shops or garage sales). The collected material is probably not representative of all music available at the time – it is as much a specialised personal collection as a comprehensive survey. However, at least some material from all the major Australian country music performers of the time were found, and the resulting collection appears to be several times larger than that held currently by the National Library of Australia (from which some entries were sourced). All examples here are of songs written by, or cover art designed for Australian country music performers. For brevity’s sake, the following analysis of the sheet music follows a crudely chronological framework. Country Music in Australia Before ‘Country’ Country music did not ‘arrive’ in Australia from America as a fully-finished genre category; nor was Australia at the time without rural mythology or its own folk music traditions. Associations between Australian national identity, rurality and popular culture were entrenched in a period of intense creativity and renewed national pride in the decades prior to and after Federation in 1901. This period saw an outpouring of art, poetry, music and writing in new nationalist idiom, rooted in ‘the bush’ (though drawing heavily on Celtic expressions), and celebrating themes of mateship, rural adversity and ‘battlers’. By the turn of the twentieth century, such myths, invoked through memory and nostalgia, had already been popularised. Australia had a fully-established system of colonies, capital cities and state governments, and was highly urbanised. Yet the poetry, folk music and art, invariably set in rural locales, looked back to the early 1800s, romanticising bush characters and frontier events. The ‘bush ballad’ was a central and recurring motif, one that commentators have argued was distinctly, and essentially ‘Australian’ (Watson; Smith). Sheet music from this early period reflects the nationalistic, bush-orientated popular culture of the time: iconic Australian fauna and flora are prominent, and Australian folk culture is emphasised as ‘native’ (being the first era of cultural expressions from Australian-born residents). Pioneer life and achievements are celebrated. ‘Along the road to Gundagai’, for instance, was about an iconic Australian country town and depicted sheep droving along rustic trails with overhanging eucalypts. Male figures are either absent, or are depicted in situ as lone drovers in the archetypal ‘shepherd’ image, behind their flocks of sheep (Figure 1). Figure 1: No. 1 Magpie Ballads – The Pioneer (c1900) and Along the road to Gundagai (1923). Further colonial ruralities developed in Australia from the 1910s to 1940s, when agrarian values grew in the promotion of Australian agricultural exports. Australia ‘rode on the sheep’s back’ to industrialisation, and governments promoted rural development and inland migration. It was a period in which rural lifestyles were seen as superior to those in the crowded inner city, and government strategies sought to create a landed proletariat through post-war land settlement and farm allotment schemes. National security was said to rely on populating the inland with those of European descent, developing rural industries, and breeding a healthier and yet compliant population (Dufty), from which armies of war-ready men could be recruited in times of conflict. Popular culture served these national interests, and thus during these decades, when ‘hillbilly’ and other North American music forms were imported, they were transformed, adapted and reworked (as in other places such as Canada – see Lehr). There were definite parallels in the frontier narratives of the United States (Whiteoak), and several local adaptations followed: Tex Morton became Australia’s ‘Yodelling boundary rider’ and Gordon Parsons became ‘Australia’s yodelling bushman’. American songs were re-recorded and performed, and new original songs written with Australian lyrics, titles and themes. Visual imagery in sheet music built upon earlier folk/bush frontier themes to re-cast Australian pastoralism in a more settled, modernist and nationalist aesthetic; farms were places for the production of a robust nation. Where male figures were present on sheet music covers in the early twentieth century, they became more prominent in this period, and wore Akubras (Figure 2). The lyrics to John Ashe’s Growin’ the Golden Fleece (1952) exemplify this mix of Australian frontier imagery, new pastoralist/nationalist rhetoric, and the importation of American cowboy masculinity: Go west and take up sheep, man, North Queensland is the shot But if you don’t get rich, man, you’re sure to get dry rot Oh! Growin’ the golden fleece, battlin’ a-way out west Is bound to break your flamin’ heart, or else expand your chest… We westerners are handy, we can’t afford to crack Not while the whole darn’d country is riding on our back Figure 2: Eric Tutin’s Shearers’ Jamboree (1946). As in America, country music struck a chord because it emerged “at a point in history when the project of the creation and settlement of a new society was underway but had been neither completed nor abandoned” (Dyer 33). Governments pressed on with the colonial project of inland expansion in Australia, despite the theft of indigenous country this entailed, and popular culture such as music became a means to normalise and naturalise the process. Again, mutations of American western imagery, and particular iconic male figures were important, as in Roy Darling’s (1945) Overlander Trail (Figure 3): Wagon wheels are rolling on, and the days seem mighty long Clouds of heat-dust in the air, bawling cattle everywhere They’re on the overlander trail Where only sheer determination will prevail Men of Aussie with a job to do, they’ll stick and drive the cattle through And though they sweat they know they surely must Keep on the trail that winds a-head thro’ heat and dust All sons of Aussie and they will not fail. Sheet music depicted silhouetted men in cowboy hats on horses (either riding solo or in small groups), riding into sunsets or before looming mountain ranges. Music – an important part of popular culture in the 1940s – furthered the colonial project of invading, securing and transforming the Australian interior by normalising its agendas and providing it with heroic male characters, stirring tales and catchy tunes. Figure 3: ‘Roy Darling’s (1945) Overlander Trail and Smoky Dawson’s The Overlander’s Song (1946). ‘Country Music’ Becomes a (Globalised) Genre Further growth in Australian country music followed waves of popularity in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s, and was heavily influenced by new cross-media publicity opportunities. Radio shows expanded, and western TV shows such as Bonanza and On the Range fuelled a ‘golden age’. Australian performers such as Slim Dusty and Smokey Dawson rose to fame (see Fitzgerald and Hayward) in an era when rural-urban migration peaked. Sheet music reflected the further diffusion and adoption of American visual imagery: where male figures were present on sheet music covers, they became more prominent than before and wore Stetsons. Some were depicted as chiselled-faced but simple men, with plain clothing and square jaws. Others began to more enthusiastically embrace cowboy looks, with bandana neckerchiefs, rawhide waistcoats, embellished and harnessed tall shaft boots, pipe-edged western shirts with wide collars, smile pockets, snap fasteners and shotgun cuffs, and fringed leather jackets (Figure 4). Landscapes altered further too: cacti replaced eucalypts, and iconic ‘western’ imagery of dusty towns, deserts, mesas and buttes appeared (Figure 5). Any semblance of folk music’s appeal to rustic authenticity was jettisoned in favour of showmanship, as cowboy personas were constructed to maximise cinematic appeal. Figure 4: Al Dexter’s Pistol Packin’ Mama (1943) and Reg Lindsay’s (1954) Country and Western Song Album. Figure 5: Tim McNamara’s Hitching Post (1948) and Smoky Dawson’s Golden West Album (1951). Far from slavish mimicry of American culture, however, hybridisations were common. According to Australian music historian Graeme Smith (300): “Australian place names appear, seeking the same mythological resonance that American localisation evoked: hobos became bagmen […] cowboys become boundary riders.” Thus alongside reproductions of the musical notations of American songs by Lefty Frizzel, Roy Carter and Jimmie Rodgers were songs with localised themes by new Australian stars such as Reg Lindsay and Smoky Dawson: My curlyheaded buckaroo, My home way out back, and On the Murray Valley. On the cover of The square dance by the billabong (Figure 6) – the title of which itself was a conjunction of archetypal ‘country’ images from both America and Australia – a background of eucalypts and windmills frames dancers in classic 1940s western (American) garb. In the case of Tex Morton’s Beautiful Queensland (Figure 7), itself mutated from W. Lee O’Daniel’s Beautiful Texas (c1945), the sheet music instructed those playing the music that the ‘names of other states may be substituted for Queensland’. ‘Country’ music had become an established genre, with normative values, standardised images and themes and yet constituted a stylistic formula with enough polysemy to enable local adaptations and variations. Figure 6: The Square dance by the billabong, Vernon Lisle, 1951. Figure 7: Beautiful Queensland, Tex Morton, c1945 source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.mus-vn1793930. Conclusions In country music images of place and masculinity combine. In music, frontier landscapes are populated by rugged men living ‘on the range’ in neo-colonial attempts to tame the land and convert it to productive uses. This article has considered only one media – sheet music – in only one country (Australia) and in only one time period (1900-1950s). There is much more to say than was possible here about country music, place and gender – particularly recently, since ‘country’ has fragmented into several niches, and marketing of country music via cable television and the internet has ensued (see McCusker and Pecknold). My purpose here has been instead to explore the early origins of ‘country’ mythology in popular culture, through a media source rarely analysed. Images associated with ‘country’ travelled internationally via sheet music, immensely popular in the 1930s and 1940s before the advent of television. The visual elements of sheet music contributed to the popularisation and standardisation of genre expectations and appearances, and yet these too travelled and were adapted and varied in places like Australia which had their own colonial histories and folk music heritages. Evidenced here is how combinations of geographical and gender imagery embraced imported American cowboy imagery and adapted it to local markets and concerns. Australia saw itself as a modern rural utopia with export aspirations and a desire to secure permanence through taming and populating its inland. Sheet music reflected all this. So too, sheet music reveals the historical contours of ‘country’ as a transnational discourse – and the extent to which ‘country’ brought with it a clearly defined set of normative values, a somewhat exaggerated cowboy masculinity, and a remarkable capacity to be moulded to local circ*mstances. Well before later and more supposedly ‘global’ media such as the internet and television, the humble printed sheet of notated music was steadily shaping ‘country’ imagery, and an emergent international geography of cultural flows. References Arango, Tim. “Cashville USA.” Fortune, Jan 29, 2007. Sept 3, 2008, http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/01/22/8397980/index.htm. Cloke, Paul, Marsden, Terry and Mooney, Patrick, eds. Handbook of Rural Studies, London: Sage, 2006. Connell, John and Gibson, Chris. Sound Tracks: Popular Music, Identity and Place, London: Routledge, 2003. Dufty, Rae. Rethinking the politics of distribution: the geographies and governmentalities of housing assistance in rural New South Wales, Australia, PhD thesis, UNSW, 2008. Dyer, Richard. White: Essays on Race and Culture, London: Routledge, 1997. George-Warren, Holly and Freedman, Michelle. How the West was Worn: a History of Western Wear, New York: Abrams, 2000. Fitzgerald, Jon and Hayward, Phil. “At the confluence: Slim Dusty and Australian country music.” Outback and Urban: Australian Country Music. Ed. Phil Hayward. Gympie: Australian Institute of Country Music Press, 2003. 29-54. Gibson, Chris and Davidson, Deborah. “Tamworth, Australia’s ‘country music capital’: place marketing, rural narratives and resident reactions.” Journal of Rural Studies 20 (2004): 387-404. Gorman-Murray, Andrew, Darian-Smith, Kate and Gibson, Chris. “Scaling the rural: reflections on rural cultural studies.” Australian Humanities Review 45 (2008): in press. Hemphill, Paul. The Nashville Sound: Bright Lights and Country Music, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970. Holt, Douglas B. and Thompson, Craig J. “Man-of-action heroes: the pursuit of heroic masculinity in everyday consumption.” Journal of Consumer Research 31 (2004). Johnson, Corey W. “‘The first step is the two-step’: hegemonic masculinity and dancing in a country western gay bar.” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 18 (2004): 445-464. Lehr, John C. “‘Texas (When I die)’: national identity and images of place in Canadian country music broadcasts.” The Canadian Geographer 27 (1983): 361-370. Lewis, George H. “Lap dancer or hillbilly deluxe? The cultural construction of modern country music.” Journal of Popular Culture, 31 (1997): 163-173. McCarthy, James. “Rural geography: globalizing the countryside.” Progress in Human Geography 32 (2008): 132-137. McCusker, Kristine M. and Pecknold, Diane. Eds. A Boy Named Sue: Gender and Country Music. UP of Mississippi, 2004. Peterson, Richard A. Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1997. Saucier, Karen A. “Healers and heartbreakers: images of women and men in country music.” Journal of Popular Culture 20 (1986): 147-166. Smith, Graeme. “Australian country music and the hillbilly yodel.” Popular Music 13 (1994): 297-311. Tichi, Cecelia. Readin’ Country Music. Durham: Duke UP, 1998. truewesternmusic.com “True western music.”, Sept 3, 2008, http://truewesternmusic.com/. Watson, Eric. Country Music in Australia. Sydney: Rodeo Publications, 1984. Whiteoak, John. “Two frontiers: early cowboy music and Australian popular culture.” Outback and Urban: Australian Country Music. Ed. P. Hayward. Gympie: AICMP: 2003. 1-28.

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Guarini, Beaux Fen. "Beyond Braille on Toilet Doors: Museum Curators and Audiences with Vision Impairment." M/C Journal 18, no.4 (August7, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1002.

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The debate on the social role of museums trundles along in an age where complex associations between community, collections, and cultural norms are highly contested (Silverman 3–4; Sandell, Inequality 3–23). This article questions whether, in the case of community groups whose aspirations often go unrecognised (in this case people with either blindness or low vision), there is a need to discuss and debate institutionalised approaches that often reinforce social exclusion and impede cultural access. If “access is [indeed] an entry point to experience” (Papalia), then the privileging of visual encounters in museums is clearly a barrier for people who experience sight loss or low vision (Levent and Pursley). In contrast, a multisensory aesthetic to exhibition display respects the gamut of human sensory experience (Dudley 161–63; Drobnick 268–69; Feld 184; James 136; McGlone 41–60) as do discursive gateways including “lectures, symposia, workshops, educational programs, audio guides, and websites” (Cachia). Independent access to information extends beyond Braille on toilet doors.Underpinning this article is an ongoing qualitative case study undertaken by the author involving participant observation, workshops, and interviews with eight adults who experience vision impairment. The primary research site has been the National Museum of Australia. Reflecting on the role of curators as storytellers and the historical development of museums and their practitioners as agents for social development, the article explores the opportunities latent in museum collections as they relate to community members with vision impairment. The outcomes of this investigation offer insights into emerging issues as they relate to the International Council of Museums (ICOM) definitions of the museum program. Curators as Storytellers“The ways in which objects are selected, put together, and written or spoken about have political effects” (Eilean Hooper-Greenhill qtd. in Sandell, Inequality 8). Curators can therefore open or close doors to discrete communities of people. The traditional role of curators has been to collect, care for, research, and interpret collections (Desvallées and Mairesse 68): they are characterised as information specialists with a penchant for research (Belcher 78). While commonly possessing an intimate knowledge of their institution’s collection, their mode of knowledge production results from a culturally mediated process which ensures that resulting products, such as cultural significance assessments and provenance determinations (Russell and Winkworth), privilege the knowing systems of dominant social groups (Fleming 213). Such ways of seeing can obstruct the access prospects of underserved audiences.When it comes to exhibition display—arguably the most public of work by museums—curators conventionally collaborate within a constellation of other practitioners (Belcher 78–79). Curators liaise with museum directors, converse with conservators, negotiate with exhibition designers, consult with graphics designers, confer with marketing boffins, seek advice from security, chat with editors, and engage with external contractors. I question the extent that curators engage with community groups who may harbour aspirations to participate in the exhibition experience—a sticking point soon to be addressed. Despite the team based ethos of exhibition design, it is nonetheless the content knowledge of curators on public display. The art of curatorial interpretation sets out not to instruct audiences but, in part, to provoke a response with narratives designed to reveal meanings and relationships (Freeman Tilden qtd. in Alexander and Alexander 258). Recognised within the institution as experts (Sandell, Inclusion 53), curators have agency—they decide upon the stories told. In a recent television campaign by the National Museum of Australia, a voiceover announces: a storyteller holds incredible power to connect and to heal, because stories bring us together (emphasis added). (National Museum of Australia 2015)Storytelling in the space of the museum often shares the histories, perspectives, and experiences of people past as well as living cultures—and these stories are situated in space and time. If that physical space is not fit-for-purpose—that is, it does not accommodate an individual’s physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, or neurological needs (Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Cwlth)—then the story reaches only long-established patrons. The museum’s opportunity to contribute to social development, and thus the curator’s as the primary storyteller, will have been missed. A Latin-American PerspectiveICOM’s commitment to social development could be interpreted merely as a pledge to make use of collections to benefit the public through scholarship, learning, and pleasure (ICOM 15). If this interpretation is accepted, however, then any museum’s contribution to social development is somewhat paltry. To accept such a limited and limiting role for museums is to overlook the historical efforts by advocates to change the very nature of museums. The ascendancy of the social potential of museums first blossomed during the late 1960s at a time where, globally, overlapping social movements espoused civil rights and the recognition of minority groups (Silverman 12; de Varine 3). Simultaneously but independently, neighbourhood museums arose in the United States, ecomuseums in France and Quebec, and the integral museum in Latin America, notably in Mexico (Hauenschild; Silverman 12–13). The Latin-American commitment to the ideals of the integral museum developed out of the 1972 round table of Santiago, Chile, sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Giménez-Cassina 25–26). The Latin-American signatories urged the local and regional museums of their respective countries to collaborate with their communities to resolve issues of social inequality (Round Table Santiago 13–21). The influence of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire should be acknowledged. In 1970, Freire ushered in the concept of conscientization, defined by Catherine Campbell and Sandra Jovchelovitch as:the process whereby critical thinking develops … [and results in a] … thinker [who] feels empowered to think and to act on the conditions that shape her living. (259–260)This model for empowerment lent inspiration to the ideals of the Santiago signatories in realising their sociopolitical goal of the integral museum (Assunção dos Santos 20). Reframing the museum as an institution in the service of society, the champions of the integral museum sought to redefine the thinking and practices of museums and their practitioners (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 37–39). The signatories successfully lobbied ICOM to introduce an explicitly social purpose to the work of museums (Assunção dos Santos 6). In 1974, in the wake of the Santiago round table, ICOM modified their definition of a museum to “a permanent non-profit institution, open to the public, in the service of society and its development” (emphasis added) (Hauenschild). Museums had been transformed into “problem solvers” (Judite Primo qtd. in Giménez-Cassina 26). With that spirit in mind, museum practitioners, including curators, can develop opportunities for reciprocity with the many faces of the public (Guarini). Response to Social Development InitiativesStarting in the 1970s, the “second museum revolution” (van Mensch 6–7) saw the transition away from: traditional roles of museums [of] collecting, conservation, curatorship, research and communication … [and toward the] … potential role of museums in society, in education and cultural action. (van Mensch 6–7)Arguably, this potential remains a work in progress some 50 years later. Writing in the tradition of museums as agents of social development, Mariana Lamas states:when we talk about “in the service of society and its development”, it’s quite different. It is like the drunk uncle at the Christmas party that the family pretends is not there, because if they pretend long enough, he might pass out on the couch. (Lamas 47–48)That is not to say that museums have neglected to initiate services and programs that acknowledge the aspirations of people with disabilities (refer to Cachia and Krantz as examples). Without discounting such efforts, but with the refreshing analogy of the drunken uncle still fresh in memory, Lamas answers her own rhetorical question:how can traditional museums promote community development? At first the word “development” may seem too much for the museum to do, but there are several ways a museum can promote community development. (Lamas 52) Legitimising CommunitiesThe first way that museums can foster community or social development is to:help the community to over come [sic] a problem, coming up with different solutions, putting things into a new perspective; providing confidence to the community and legitimizing it. (Lamas 52)As a response, my doctoral investigation legitimises the right of people with vision impairment to participate in the social and cultural aspects of publicly funded museums. The Australian Government upheld this right in 2008 by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (and Optional Protocol), which enshrines the right of people with disability to participate in the cultural life of the nation (United Nations).At least 840,700 people in Australia (a minimum of four per cent of the population) experiences either blindness or low vision (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009). For every one person in the Australian community who is blind, nearly five other people experience low vision. The medical model of disability identifies the impairment as the key feature of a person and seeks out a corrective intervention. In contrast, the social model of disability strives to remove the attitudinal, social, and physical barriers enacted by people or institutions (Landman, Fishburn, and Tonkin 14). Therein lies the opportunity and challenge for museums—modifying layouts and practices that privilege the visual. Consequently, there is scope for museums to partner with people with vision impairment to identify their aspirations rather than respond as a problem to be fixed. Common fixes in the museums for people with disabilities include physical alterations such as ramps and, less often, special tours (Cachia). I posit that curators, as co-creators and major contributors to exhibitions, can be part of a far wider discussion. In the course of doctoral research, I accompanied adults with a wide array of sight impairments into exhibitions at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Museum of Australia. Within the space of the exhibition, the most commonly identified barrier has been the omission of access opportunities to interpreted materials: that is, information about objects on display as well as the wider narratives driving exhibitions. Often, the participant has had to work backwards, from the object itself, to understand the wider topic of the exhibition. If aesthetics is “the way we communicate through the senses” (Thrift 291), then the vast majority of exhibits have been inaccessible from a sensory perspective. For people with low vision (that is, they retain some degree of functioning sight), objects’ labels have often been too small to be read or, at times, poorly contrasted or positioned. Objects have often been set too deep into display cabinets or too far behind safety barriers. If individuals must use personal magnifiers to read text or look in vain at objects, then that is an indicator that there are issues with exhibition design. For people who experience blindness (that is, they cannot see), neither the vast majority of exhibits nor their interpretations have been made accessible. There has been minimal access across all museums to accessioned objects, handling collections, or replicas to tease out exhibits and their stories. Object labels must be read by family or friends—a tiring experience. Without motivated peers, the stories told by curators are silenced by a dearth of alternative options.Rather than presume to know what works for people with disabilities, my research ethos respects the “nothing about us without us” (Charlton 2000; Werner 1997) maxim of disability advocates. To paraphrase Lamas, we have collaborated to come up with different solutions by putting things into new perspectives. In turn, “person-centred” practices based on rapport, warmth, and respect (Arigho 206–07) provide confidence to a diverse community of people by legitimising their right to participate in the museum space. Incentivising Communities Museums can also nurture social or community development by providing incentives to “the community to take action to improve its quality of life” (Lamas 52). It typically falls to (enthusiastic) public education and community outreach teams to engage underserved communities through targeted programs. This approach continues the trend of curators as advocates for the collection, and educators as advocates for the public (Kaitavouri xi). If the exhibition briefs normally written by curators (Belcher 83) reinforced the importance of access, then exhibition designers would be compelled to offer fit-for-purpose solutions. Better still, if curators (and other exhibition team members) regularly met with community based organisations (perhaps in the form of a disability reference group), then museums would be better positioned to accommodate a wider spectrum of community members. The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries already encourages museums to collaborate with disability organisations (40). Such initiatives offer a way forward for improving a community’s sense of itself and its quality of life. The World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. While I am not using quality of life indicators for my doctoral study, the value of facilitating social and cultural opportunities for my target audience is evident in participant statements. At the conclusion of one sensory based workshop, Mara, a female participant who experiences low vision in one eye and blindness in the other, stated:I think it was interesting in that we could talk together about what we were experiencing and that really is the social aspect of it. I mean if I was left to go to a whole lot of museums on my own, I probably wouldn’t. You know, I like going with kids or a friend visiting from interstate—that sort of thing. And so this group, in a way, replicates that experience in that you’ve got someone else to talk about your impressions with—much better than going on your own or doing this alone.Mara’s statement was in response to one of two workshops I held with the support of the Learning Services team at the National Museum of Australia in May 2015. Selected objects from the museum’s accessioned collection and handling collection were explored, as well as replicas in the form of 3D printed objects. For example, participants gazed upon and handled a tuckerbox, smelt and tasted macadamia nuts in wattle seed syrup, and listened to a genesis story about the more-ish nut recorded by the Butchulla people—the traditional owners of Fraser Island. We sat around a table while I, as the workshop mediator, sought to facilitate free-flowing discussions about their experiences and, in turn, mused on the capacity of objects to spark social connection and opportunities for cultural access. While the workshop provided the opportunity for reciprocal exchanges amongst participants as well as between participants and me, what was highly valued by most participants was the direct contact with members of the museum’s Learning Services team. I observed that participants welcomed the opportunity to talk with real museum workers. Their experience of museum practitioners, to date, had been largely confined to the welcome desk of respective institutions or through special events or tours where they were talked at. The opportunity to communicate directly with the museum allowed some participants to share their thoughts and feelings about the services that museums provide. I suggest that curators open themselves up to such exchanges on a more frequent basis—it may result in reciprocal benefits for all stakeholders. Fortifying IdentityA third way museums can contribute to social or community development is by:fortify[ing] the bonds between the members of the community and reaffirm their identities making them feel more secure about who they are; and give them a chance to tell their own version of their history to “outsiders” which empowers them. (Lamas 52)Identity informs us and others of who we are and where we belong in the world (Silverman 54). However, the process of identity marking and making can be fraught: “some communities are ours by choice … [and] … some are ours because of the ways that others see us” (Watson 4). Communities are formed by identifying who is in and who is out (Francois Dubet qtd. in Bessant and Watts 260). In other words, the construction of collective identity is reinforced through means of social inclusion and social exclusion. The participants of my study, as members or clients of the Royal Society for the Blind | Canberra Blind Society, clearly value participating in events with empathetic peers. People with vision impairment are not a hom*ogenous group, however. Reinforcing the cultural influences on the formation of identity, Fiona Candlin asserts that “to state the obvious but often ignored fact, blind people … [come] … from all social classes, all cultural, racial, religious and educational backgrounds” (101). Irrespective of whether blindness or low vision arises congenitally, adventitiously, or through unexpected illness, injury, or trauma, the end result is an assortment of individuals with differing perceptual characteristics who construct meaning in often divergent ways (De Coster and Loots 326–34). They also hold differing world views. Therefore, “participation [at the museum] is not an end in itself. It is a means for creating a better world” (Assunção dos Santos 9). According to the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Professor Gillian Triggs, a better world is: a society for all, in which every individual has an active role to play. Such a society is based on fundamental values of equity, equality, social justice, and human rights and freedoms, as well as on the principles of tolerance and embracing diversity. (Triggs)Publicly funded museums can play a fundamental role in the cultural lives of societies. For example, the Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) in Sydney partnered with Vision Australia to host an exhibition in 2010 titled Living in a Sensory World: it offered “visitors an understanding of the world of the blindness and low vision community and celebrates their achievements” (Powerhouse Museum). With similar intent, my doctoral research seeks to validate the world of my participants by inviting museums to appreciate their aspirations as a distinct but diverse community of people. ConclusionIn conclusion, the challenge for museum curators and other museum practitioners is balancing what Richard Sennett (qtd. in Bessant and Watts 265) identifies as opportunities for enhancing social cohesion and a sense of belonging while mitigating parochialism and community divisiveness. Therefore, curators, as the primary focus of this article, are indeed challenged when asked to contribute to serving the public through social development—a public which is anything but hom*ogenous. Mindful of cultural and social differences in an ever-changing world, museums are called to respect the cultural and natural heritage of the communities they serve and collaborate with (ICOM 10). It is a position I wholeheartedly support. This is not to say that museums or indeed curators are capable of solving the ills of society. However, inviting people who are frequently excluded from social and cultural events to multisensory encounters with museum collections acknowledges their cultural rights. I suggest that this would be a seismic shift from the current experiences of adults with blindness or low vision at most museums.ReferencesAlexander, Edward, and Mary Alexander. Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums. 2nd ed. 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United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation Round Table on the Development and the Role of Museums in the Contemporary World - Santiago de Chile, Chile 20-31 May 1972. 1973. 18 June 2015 ‹http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0002/000236/023679EB.pdf›.Van Mensch, Peter. Towards a Methodology of Museology. Diss. U of Zagreb, 1992. 16 June 2015 ‹http://www.muzeologie.net/downloads/mat_lit/mensch_phd.pdf›.Watson, Sheila. “Museum Communities in Theory and Practice.” Museums and Their Communities. Ed. Sheila Watson. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2007. 1–24.Werner, David. Nothing about Us without Us: Developing Innovative Technologies for, vy, and with Disabled Persons. Palo Alto, CA: Healthwrights, 1997.World Health Organization. Mental Health: Strengthening Our Response, Fact Sheet No. 220, Updated April 2014. 2014. 2 June 2015 ‹http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/›.

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Ames, Kate. "Kyle Sandilands: Examining the “Performance of Authenticity” in Chat-Based Radio Programming." M/C Journal 18, no.1 (January19, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.932.

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“Perhaps the only thing more counterfeit than Australian Idol co-host/FM radio jock Kyle Sandilands’s carotene tan is the myth of his significance.” So wrote Helen Razer in 2007 of radio host Kyle Sandilands in a piece entitled Kyle Sandilands, you are a big fake fake. In the years since Razer’s commentary, commentators and radio listeners have continued to question the legitimacy of Sandilands’s performance as a radio host, while his supporters have defended him on the basis that this performance is authentic (Wynn). References to him as “shock jock,” a term frequently associated with talkback radio, suggest Sandilands’s approach to performance is one of intended confrontation. However, the genre of radio to which his performance is associated is not talkback. It is chat-based programming, which relies on three tenets: orientation to the personal, use of wit, and risk of transgression. This paper examines the question: To what extent is Kyle Sandilands’s performance of authenticity oriented to the genre format? This paper argues that the overall success of Sandilands is supported by his mastery of the chat-based genre. The Radio Host, “Authenticity”, and PerformanceKyle Sandilands has been one of Australia’s most prominent and controversial radio hosts since the 1990s. In 2014, Sandilands was one half of Australia’s most successful breakfast team, hosting the nationally syndicated Kyle and Jackie O Show with fellow presenter Jacqueline Henderson on Kiis 1065 (Galvin, Top Radio). Sandilands’s persona has received significant attention within the mediasphere (Galvin, Kiss; Razer). Commentators argue that he is often “putting it on” or being overly dramatic in order to attract ratings. The following interaction is an example of on-air talk involving Sandilands (“Ronan Keating and Kyle Sandilands Fight On-Air”). Here, Sandilands and his co-host Jackie O are talking with singer Ronan Keating who is with them in the studio. Jackie plays Ronan a recording in which Sandilands makes fun of Keating:Kyle: ((On recorded playback)) Oh god. I don’t want to look like Ronan Keating, you two foot dwarf.((pause))Ronan K: ((laughs)) Right (.) I don’t know how to take that.Kyle: Well I’m glad it ended there because I think it went on and on didn’t it? ((Looks at Jackie O))Jackie O: I was being kind. ((Looks at Ronan)). He went on and on.Kyle: That says something about…Ronan: Play it, play it [let me hear it]Kyle: [no no] I don’t have the rest. I don’t have the rest of [it]Ronan: [No] you do. Kyle: No I don’t have it on me. It would be here somewhere.Jackie O: [Ok this…]Ronan: You go on like you’re my friend, you know you text me, you say you love me and are playing all these songs and then on radio you rip the crap out of me.Kyle: I was just joking. I think I said something like his little white arms hanging out of his singlet…and something like that.Jackie O: OK this is getting awkward and going on. I thought you guys would have a laugh, and…Kyle: [It’s tongue in cheek]Ronan: [That’s’ not cool man]. That’s not cool. Look I popped in to see you guys. I’m going to New Zealand, and I’ve got one night here (.) I’ve got one day in Sydney and that’s the crap that you’re dealing me.((silence from all))Kyle: ((Looking at Jackie)) Good one Jackie. ((Looking at Ronan)) That’s not crap. That’s just radio banter. This segment illustrates that Sandilands recognises talk as performance when he defends his criticism of Keating as “just radio banter”, inferring that his comments are not real because they are performed for radio. The argument between Keating and Sandilands, reported in media outlets such as The Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph the following day, was significant because the two had been friends, something referred to a few minutes later by Keating:Ronan: You’ve changed, man. You’ve changed. I come back and you’re on a new station and all this and that. But you’ve changed…I knew you when you were a nice guy.This segment may or may not have been staged to illicit publicity, and it is one of many possible examples that could have been selected that involve an altercation between Sandilands and a guest. Its inclusion in this paper is to illustrate orientation by co-participants, including Sandilands, to a “real self” (one that has changed) and performance (talk for radio) as an example of talk.If one is to be a fake, as Helen Razer suggested of Kyle Sandilands, one needs to be measured against that which is authentic. Authenticity is not a static concept and accordingly, can be difficult to define. Are we talking about being authentic (real) or being sincere (honest), and what really is the difference? This is an important point, because I suspect we sometimes confuse or blur the lines between these two concepts when considering authenticity and performance in media contexts. Erickson examines the difference between sincerity and authenticity, arguing “authenticity is a self-referential concept; unlike sincerity, it does not explicitly include any reference to others,” while sincerity reflects congruity between what one says and how one feels (123). Authenticity is more relevant than sincerity within the cultural space because it is self-referential: it is about “one’s relationship to oneself,” whereby actors “exist by the laws of one’s own being” (Erickson 124).Authenticity and performance by radio hosts has been central to broadcast talk analysis since the 1980s (Tolson, Televised; Tolson, ‘Authentic’ Talk; Tolson, New Authenticity; Scannell; Shingler and Wieringa; Montgomery; Crisell; Tolson, ‘Being Yourself’). The practice of “performing authenticity” by program hosts is, therefore, well-established and consistent with broadcast talk as a discursive genre generally. Sociologist Erving Goffman specifically considered performativity in radio talk in his work, and his consideration of theatrical performance written early in his career provides a good starting point for discussion. Performance, Goffman argued, “may be defined as all the activity of a given participant on a given occasion which serves to influence in any way any of the other participants” (8). In performing, actors play a part or present a routine in such a way that the audience believes the character (Goffman).This presents an interesting dilemma for radio hosts, who act as facilitators between the institution (program) and the audience. Hosts talk—or interact—with their co-hosts and listeners. This talk is a performance for an overhearing audience, achieved (or performed) by facilitating interpersonal talk between two or three people. This talk is conversational, and requires the host to play on “interpersonality”—creating the sense of a close personal relationship with audience members by talking to “anyone as someone” (Scannell). A host is required to embody the character of the radio station, represent listeners (Shingler and Wieringa), and perform in a way that appears natural through conversational talk, all at the same time. A host also needs to display personality, possibly the most critical element in the success of a program.Authenticity, Shock-Value, and Radio GenreThe radio economy revolves around the personality of a celebrity host, and audiences expect celebrity hosts to which they listen to be playing a role despite appearing to be authentic (Stiernstedt). At the same time, radio hosts are aware of the “performed nature of the displayed self” (215). The audience familiar with a host or hosts expect some inconsistency in this playing of role: “The uncertainty such performances generate among the audience is intentional, and the motive of the producers is that it will encourage audiences to find ‘evidence’ of what ‘really happened’ on other media platforms” (Stiernstedt). There is much evidence of this in the mediasphere generally, with commentary on Sandilands and other “shock jocks” often featuring in entertainment and media sections of the general press. This coverage is often focused on examining hosts’ true personality in a “what’s behind the person” type of story (Overington; Bearup; Masters). Most research into host performance on radio has been conducted within the genre of talkback radio, and the celebrity talkback “shock jock” features in the literature on talkback (Turner; Douglas; Appleton; Salter; Ward). Successful radio hosts within this genre have fostered dramatic, often polarising, and quick-witted personas to attract listeners. Susan Douglas, in an article reflecting on the male hysteric shock jock that emerged in the US during the 1980s, argued that the talk format emerged to be inflammatory: “Talk radio didn’t require stereo or FM fidelity. It was unpredictable. It was incendiary. And it was participatory.” The term “shock jock” is now routinely used to describe talk-based hosts who are deliberately inflammatory, and the term has been used to describe Kyle Sandilands.Authenticity has previously been considered in Australian talkback radio, where there is a recognised “grey area between news presentation and entertainment” (Barnard 161). In Australia, the “Cash for Comment” episode involving radio talkback hosts John Laws and Alan Jones specifically exposed radio as entertainment (Turner; Flew). Laws and Jones were exposed as having commercial relationships that influenced the manner in which they dealt with political topics. That is, the hosts presented their opinions on specific topics as being authentic, but their opinions were exposed as being influenced by commercial arrangements. The debate that surrounded the issue and expectations associated with being a commercial radio host revealed that their performance was measured against a set of public standards (ie. a journalist’s code of ethics) to which the hosts did not subscribe. For example, John Laws argued that he wasn’t really a journalist, and therefore, could not be held to the same ethical standard as would be the case if he was. This is an example of hosts being authentic within the “laws of their own being;” that is, they were commercial radio hosts and were being true to themselves in that capacity.“Cash for Comment” therefore highlighted that radio presenters do not generally work to any specific set of professional codes. Rather, in Australia, they work to more general sector-based codes, such as the commercial and community broadcasting codes of practice set by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. These codes are quite generic and give no specific direction as to the role of radio presenters. Professor Graeme Turner argued at the time that the debate about “Cash for Comment” was important because the hosts were engaging in public discussion about policy, often interviewing politicians, a role normally associated with journalists. There was limited fall-out for Laws and Jones, but changes were made to disclosure requirements for commercial radio. There have been a number of attempts since to discipline radio hosts who seemingly fail to meet community and sector standards. These attempts have appeared tokenistic and there remains acceptance that talkback radio hosts should be opinionated, controversial, and potentially inflammatory. Research also tells us that callers within this genre are aware of the rules of interaction (O'Sullivan). However, it is important to understand that not all talk-based programming is talkback.The Case of Sandilands and Adherence to GenreAlthough he is often referred to as a “shock-jock”, Kyle Sandilands is not a talkback radio host. He is the host on a chat-based radio program, and the difference in genre is important. Chat-based programming is a speech genre based on wit, orientation to the personal, and the risk of transgression. Chat-based programming was originally theorised in relation to television by Andrew Tolson (Televised), but more recently, it has been applied it to breakfast programs on commercial radio (Ames, Community). Talkback segments are incorporated into chat-based programming, but overall, the type of talk and the basis of interaction throughout the show is very different. In chat-based programming, hosts work to foster and maintain a sense of listening community by taking on different roles—being a friend, host, counsellor, entertainer—depending on the type of talk being engaged with at the time (Ames, Host/Host). Like all forms of broadcast programming, chat-based radio is driven by the need to entertain, but the orientation to the personal and risk of transgression alter the way in which “being real” or “true to oneself” (and therefore authentic) is performed. For example, chat-based hosts orient to callers in a way that prioritises sociability (Ames, Community), which is in contrast to studies on talkback interaction that reveal an orientation to conflict (Hutchby). The key point here is that talk on chat-based programming is different to the talk that occurs on talkback.Kyle Sandilands’s ability and desire to outrage has possibly always been part of his on-air persona. He has made a staff member masturbat* live, questioned a 14-year-old about her sexual experiences, called a journalist a “fat slag”, and insulted members of the radio industry and listening public. In an interview with Andrew Denton, Sandilands categorised himself as a fellow victim. He talked of his difficulties as a teenager and largely justified his on-air behaviour by saying he did not think of the consequences of his actions in the heat of the live moment:I just didn’t even think about that. Back in those days I would only think about what I thought was funny and entertaining and it wasn’t until reflection once it had gone to air then everyone flipped out and everyone started saying you know, oh this could have gone horribly wrong. (Sandilands)Sandilands’s self-categorisation actually meets the description of being a radio presenter, described by Stephen Barnard in Studying Radio, one of the early “how to be a radio presenter” texts released in the UK in 2000:Unlike music presenters, phone-in presenters do not work within the comforting disciplines of a prescribed format but are hired for their ability to think on their feet. Phone-in presenters have as much or as little leeway as station heads allow them, leading to widely diverging approaches and a continual testing of the limits of tolerance. (Barnard 161)Sandilands made specific reference to this in his interview with Denton, when he referred to tension between his practice and what station management wanted:I like to cut the rubbish out of what everyone else thinks people want. So radio to me in Sydney was for example very boring. It was you know someone in another room would write out a joke, then someone would execute it and then you would hit the button and everyone would laugh and I just thought you know to me this isn’t, this isn’t real. I want to deal with real life stuff. The real life dramas that are going on in people's lives and a lot of the times radio station management will hate that cause they say no one wants to go to work in the morning and hear a woman crying her eyes out cause her husband’s cheated on her. But I do. I, I’d like to hear it. (Sandilands)Sandilands’s defence for his actions is based on wanting to be real and deal with “real” issues:this is the real society that we live in so you know I don’t and my interest is to let everyone know you know that yes, sometimes men do cheat; sometimes women cheat, sometimes kids are bad; sometimes kids get expelled. Sometimes a girl’s addicted to ice. (Sandilands)In one sense, his practice is consistent with what is expected of a radio host, but he pushes the limits when it comes to transgression. I would argue that this is part of the game, and it is one of the reasons people listen and engage with this particular format. However, what it is to be transgressive is very locally specific. What might be offensive to one person might not be to someone else. Humour is culturally specific, and while we don’t know whether listeners are laughing, the popularity of Kyle and Jackie O as a radio host team suggests that there is some attraction to their style—Sandilands’s antics included.The relationship between Sandilands and his audience and co-host is important to this discussion. Close analysis of anyKyle and Jackie O transcript can be revealing because it often highlights Sandilands’s overall deference and a self-effacing approach to his listeners. He makes excuses, and acknowledges he is wrong in a way that almost sets himself up as a “punching bag” for his co-host and listeners. He isdoing “being real.” We can see this in the interaction at the beginning of this paper, whereby his excuse was that the talk was “just radio banter.” The interaction between Sandilands and his co-host, and their listeners, serves to define the listening community of which they are a part (Ames, Host/Host). This community can be seen as “extraordinary”—based on “privatized isolation” that is a prerequisite for membership:The sense of universality of this condition, reflected in the lyrics of the music, the chatter of the DJs and the similarity of the concerns expressed by callers on phone-ins, ensures that solitary listening grants radio listeners membership to a unique type of club: a club where the members never meet or communicate directly. The club, of course, has its rules, its rituals, its codes of conduct and its abiding principles, beliefs and values. Club membership entails conformity to a consensual view. (Shingler and Wieringa 128)If you are not a listener of a particular listening community, then you’re not privy to those rules and rituals. The problem for Sandilands is that what is acceptable to his listening community can also be overheard by others. To his club, he might be acceptable—they know him for who he really is. As a host operating in chat-based formatting which relies on the possibility for transgression as a principle, he is expected to push boundaries as a performer. His persona is accepted by the station’s listeners who tune in every evening/afternoon (or whenever the program is broadcast across the network). His views and approach might be controversial, but they are normalised within the confines of the listening community:Radio presenters therefore do not construct a consensual view and impose it on their listeners. What they do is present what they perceive to be the views shared by the station and the listening community in general, and then make it as easy as possible for individual listeners to comply with these views (despite whatever specific reservations they may have). (Shingler and Wieringa 130)But to those who are not members of the listening community, his actions might be untenable. They do not hear the times when Sandilands takes on the role of “deviant host”, a host who will become an ally with a listener in a discussion if there is disagreement in talk which is a feature of this type of programming (Ames, Community). In picking out single elements of Sandilands’s awfulness, as happens when he oversteps the boundaries (and thus transgresses), there is potential to lose the sense of context that makes Sandilands acceptable to his program’s listeners. What we don’t hear, in the debates about whether his behaviour is or isn’t acceptable within the mediasphere, are the snippets of conversation where he demonstrates empathy, or is admonished by or defers to his co-host. The only time a non-listener hears about Kyle Sandilands is when he oversteps the boundary and his actions are questioned within the wider mediasphere. These questions are based on a broader sense of moral order than the moral order specifically applicable to the Kyle and Jackie O program.The debate about a listening community’s moral order that accepts Sandilands’s antics as normal is not one for this paper; the purpose of the paper is to explain the success of Sandilands’s approach in an environment where questions are raised about why he remains successful. Here we return to discussions of authenticity. Sandilands’s performance orients to being “real” in accordance with the “laws of one’s own being” (Erickson 124). The laws in this case are set by the genre being chat-based radio programming, and the moral order created within the program of which is a co-host.ConclusionRadio hosts have always “performed authenticity” as part of their role as a link between an audience and a station. Most research into the performance of radio hosts has been conducted within the talkback genre. Talkback is different, however, to chat-based programming which is increasingly popular, and the chat-based format in Australia is currently dominated by the host team known as Kyle and Jackie O. Kyle Sandilands’s performance is based on “being real”, and this is encouraged and suited to chat-based programming’s orientation to the personal, reliance on wit and humour, and the risk of transgression. While he is controversial, Sandliands’s style is an ideal fit for the genre, and his ability to perform to meet the genre provides some explanation for his success.ReferencesAmes, Kate. “Community Membership When ‘Telling Stories’ in Radio Talk: A Regional Case Study.” PhD Thesis. University of Sydney, 2012.———. “Host/Host Conversations: Analysing Moral and Social Order in Talk on Commercial Radio.” Media International Australia 142 (2012): 112–22.Appleton, Gillian. “The Lure of Laws: An Analysis of the Audience Appeal of the John Laws Program.” Media International Australia 91 (1999): 83–95.Barnard, Stephen. Studying Radio. London: Arnold, 2000.Bearup, Greg. “Laws unto Himself.” The Weekend Australian Magazine 25 May 2013. ‹http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/laws-unto-himself/story-e6frg8h6-1226647696090›.Brand, David, and Paddy Scannell. "Talk, Identity and Performance: The Tony Blackburn Show." Broadcast Talk. Ed. Paddy Scannell. London: Sage Publications, 1991. 201–27.Crisell, Andrew. Understanding Radio. 2nd ed. London, UK: Routledge, 1994.Douglas, Susan. “Talk Radio: Letting Boys Be Boys.” El Dorado Sun 27 Jun. 2000.Erickson, Rebecca J. “The Importance of Authenticity for Self and Society.” Symbolic Interaction 18.2 (1995): 121–44.Flew, Terry. “Down by Laws: Commercial Talkback Radio and the ABA 'Cash for Comment' Inquiry.” Australian Screen Education 24 (Spring 2000): 10–15.Galvin, Nick. “Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O Finish Year in Top Radio Ratings Spot.” Sydney Morning Herald 16 Dec. 2014. ‹http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/kyle-sandilands-and-jackie-o-finish-year-in-top-radio-ratings-spot-20141216-127zyd.html›.———. “Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O Kiss and Make Up.”Sydney Morning Herald 12 Aug. 2014. ‹http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/kyle-sandilands-and-jackie-o-kiss-and-make-up-20140812-102zyh.html›.Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. U of E Social Sciences Research Centre Edinburgh: Open Library, 1956.Hutchby, Ian. Confrontation Talk: Arguments, Asymmetries, and Power on Talk Radio. Marwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1996.Masters, Chris. Jonestown: The Power and the Myth of Alan Jones. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2006.Montgomery, Martin. “Our Tune: A Study of a Discourse Genre.” Broadcast Talk. Ed. Scannell, Paddy. London: Sage Publications, 1991. 138–77.O'Sullivan, Sara. “‘The Whole Nation Is Listening to You’: The Presentation of the Self on a Tabloid Talk Radio Show.” Media Culture Society 27.5 (2005): 719–38.Overington, Caroline. “The Trouble with Kyle Sandilands.” The Weekend Australian Magazine 28 Jan. 2012. ‹http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/me-and-my-big-mouth/story-e6frg8h6-1226254068599?nk=3d9abe800533fc9a7e841eaee6a922da›.Razer, Helen. “Kyle Sandilands, You Are a Big Fake Fake.” Crikey 22 Aug. 2007.“Ronan Keating & Kyle Sandilands Fight on-Air”. YouTube, 2014. (12 Feb. 2014.) KIIS 1065. ‹https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mjyobdHYdg›.Salter, David. “Who's for Breakfast, Alan Jones? Sydney’s Talkback Titan and His Mythical Power.” The Monthly 2006. ‹http://www.themonthly.com.au/monthly-essays-david-salter-whos-breakfast-mr-jones-sydney039s-talkback-titan-and-his-mythical-power?utm_content=bufferbd79f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=buffer›.Sandilands, Kyle. Enough Rope. Ed. Denton, Andrew: ABC, 2007.Scannell, Paddy. “For-Anyone-as-Someone-Structures.” Media Culture Society 22 (2000): 5–24.Shingler, Martin, and Cindy Wieringa. On Air: Methods and Meanings of Radio. London: Arnold Publishers, 1998.Stiernstedt, Fredrik. “The Political Economy of the Radio Personality.” Journal of Radio & Audio Media 21.2 (2014): 290–306.“The Prank That Even Fooled Jackie O: Ronan Keating Storms Out of Radio Interview after ‘Clash’ with Kyle Sandilands.” Daily Mail 13 Feb. 2013.Tolson, Andrew. “‘Authentic’ Talk in Broadcast News: The Construction of Community.” The Communication Review 4 (2001): 463–80.———. “‘Being Yourself’: The Pursuit of Authentic Celebrity.”Discourse Studies 3.4 (2001): 443–57.———. “A New Authenticity? Communicative Practices on Youtube.” Critical Discourse Studies 7.4 (2010): 277–89.———. “Televised Chat and the Synthetic Personality.” Broadcast Talk. Ed. Scannell, Paddy. London: Sage Publications, 1991. 178–200.Turner, Graeme. “Ethics, Entertainment, and the Tabloid: The Case of Talkback Radio in Australia.” Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 15.3 (2001): 349–57.Ward, Ian. “Talkback Radio, Political Communication, and Australian Politics.” Australian Journal of Communication 29.1 (2002): 21–38.Wynn, James. “Kyle Sandilands — A Better Place for a Real Talent.” LinkedIn, 2014.

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Matthews, Nicole. "Creating Visible Children?" M/C Journal 11, no.3 (July2, 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.51.

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I want to argue here that the use of terms like “disabled” has very concrete and practical consequences; such language choices are significant and constitutive, not simply the abstract subject of a theoretical debate or a “politically correct” storm in a teacup. In this paper I want to examine some significant moments of conflict over and resistance to definitions of “disability” in an arts project, “In the Picture”, run by one of the UK’s largest disability charities, Scope. In the words of its webpages, this project “aims to encourage publishers, illustrators and writers to embrace diversity - so that disabled children are included alongside others in illustrations and story lines in books for young readers” (http://www.childreninthepicture.org.uk/aboutus.htm). It sought to raise awareness of “ableism” in the book world and through its webpage, offer practical advice and examples of how to include disabled children in illustrated children’s books. From 2005 to 2007, I tracked the progress of the project’s Stories strand, which sought to generate exemplary inclusive narratives by drawing on the experiences of disabled people and families of disabled children. My research drew on participant observation and interviews, but also creative audience research — a process where, in the words of David Gauntlett, “participants are asked to create media or artistic artefacts themselves.” Consequently, when I’m talking here about definitions of “disability’, I am discussing not just the ways people talk about what the word “disabled” might mean, but also the ways in which such identities might appear in images. These definitions made a real difference to those participating in various parts of the project and the types of inclusive stories they produced. Scope has been subject to substantial critique from the disability movement in the past (Benjamin; Carvel; Shakespeare, "Sweet Charity"). “In the Picture” was part of an attempt to resituate the charity as a campaigning organization (Benjamin; O’Hara), with the campaign’s new slogan “Time to get Equal” appearing prominently at the top of each page of the project’s website. As a consequence the project espoused the social model of disability, with its shift in focus from individual peoples’ bodily differences, towards the exclusionary and unequal society that systematically makes those differences meaningful. This shift in focus generates, some have argued, a performative account of disability as an identity (Sandhal; Breivik). It’s not simply that non-normative embodiment or impairment can be (and often is) acquired later in life, meaning that non-disabled people are perhaps best referred to as TABs — the “temporarily able bodied” (Duncan, Goggin and Newell). More significantly, what counts as a “disabled person” is constituted in particular social, physical and economic environments. Changing that environment can, in essence, create a disabled person, or make a person cease to be dis-abled. I will argue that, within the “In the Picture” project, this radically constructionist vision of disablement often rubbed against more conventional understandings of the term “disabled people”. In the US, the term “people with disabilities” is favoured as a label, because of its “people first” emphasis, as well as its identification of an oppressed minority group (Haller, Dorries and Rahn, 63; Shakespeare, Disability Rights). In contrast, those espousing the social model of disability in the UK tend to use the phrase “disabled people”. This latter term can flag the fact that disability is not something emanating from individuals’ bodily differences, but a social process by which inaccessible environments disable particular people (Oliver, Politics). From this point of view the phrase “people with disabilities” might appear to ascribe the disability to the individual rather than the society — it suggests that it is the people who “have” the disability, not the society which disables. As Helen Meekosha has pointed out, Australian disability studies draws on both US civil rights languages and the social model as understood in the UK. While I’ve chosen to adopt the British turn of phrase here, the broader concept from an Australian point of view, is that the use of particular sets of languages is no simple key to the perspectives adopted by individual speakers. My observations suggest that the key phrase used in the project — “ disabled people” — is one that, we might say, “passes”. To someone informed by the social model it clearly highlights a disabling society. However, it is a phrase that can be used without obvious miscommunication to talk to people who have not been exposed to the social model. Someone who subscribes to a view of “disability” as impairment, as a medical condition belonging to an individual, might readily use the term “disabled people”. The potentially radical implications of this phrase are in some ways hidden, unlike rival terms like “differently abled”, which might be greeted with mockery in some quarters (eg. Purvis; Parris). This “passing” phrase did important work for the “In the Picture” project. As many disability activists have pointed out, “charity” and “concern” for disabled people is a widely espoused value, playing a range of important psychic roles in an ableist society (eg. Longmore; Hevey). All the more evocative is a call to support disabled children, a favoured object of the kinds of telethons and other charitable events which Longmore discusses. In the words of Rosemarie Garland Thomson, the sentimentality often used in charity advertising featuring children “contains disability’s threat in the sympathetic, helpless child for whom the viewer is empowered to act” (Garland Thomson, 63). In calling for publishers to produce picture books which included disabled children, the project had invested in this broad appeal — who could argue against such an agenda? The project has been successful, for example, in recruiting support from many well known children’s authors and illustrators, including Quentin Blake and Dame Jackie Wilson. The phrase “disabled children”, I would argue, smoothed the way for such successes by enabling the project to graft progressive ideas —about the need for adequate representation of a marginalized group — onto existing conceptions of an imagined recipient needing help from an already constituted group of willing givers. So what were the implications of using the phrase “disabled children” for the way the project unfolded? The capacity of this phrase to refer to both a social model account of disability and more conventional understandings had an impact on the recruitment of participants for writing workshops. Participants were solicited via a range of routes. Some were contacted through the charity’s integrated pre-school and the networks of the social workers working beside it. The workshops were also advertised via a local radio show, through events run by the charity for families of disabled people, through a notice in the Disabled Parents site, and announcements on the local disability arts e- newsletter. I am interested in the way that those who heard about the workshops might have been hailed by —or resisted the lure of — those labels “disabled person” or “parent of a disabled child” or at least the meaning of those labels when used by a large disability charity. For example, despite a workshop appearing on the programme of Northwest Disability Arts’ Deaf and Disability Arts Festival, no Deaf participants became involved in the writing workshops. Some politicised Deaf communities frame their identities as an oppressed linguistic minority of sign language users, rather than as disabled people (Corker; Ladd). As such, I would suggest that they are not hailed by the call to “disabled people” with which the project was framed, despite the real absence of children’s books drawing on Deaf culture and its rich tradition of visual communication (Saunders; Conlon and Napier). Most of those who attended were (non-disabled) parents or grandparents of disabled children, rather than disabled people, a fact critiqued by some participants. It’s only possible to speculate about the reasons for this imbalance. Was it the reputation of this charity or charities in general (see Shakespeare, "Sweet Charity") amongst politicised disabled people that discouraged attendance? A shared perspective with those within the British disabled peoples’ movement who emphasise the overwhelming importance of material changes in employment, education, transport rather than change in the realm of “attitudes” (eg Oliver, Politics)? Or was it the association of disabled people undertaking creative activities with a patronising therapeutic agenda (eg Hevey, 26)? The “pulling power” of a term even favoured by the British disability movement, it seems, might be heavily dependent on who was using it. Nonetheless, this term did clearly speak to some people. In conversation it emerged that most of those who attended the workshops either had young family members who were disabled or were imbricated in educational and social welfare networks that identified them as “disabled” — for example, by having access to Disability Living Allowance. While most of the disabled children in participants’ families were in mainstream education, most also had an educational “statement” enabling them to access extra resources, or were a part of early intervention programmes. These social and educational institutions had thus already hailed them as “families of disabled children” and as such they recognised themselves in the project’s invitation. Here we can see the social and institutional shaping of what counts as “disabled children” in action. One participant who came via an unusual route into the workshops provides an interesting reflection of the impact of an address to “disabled people”. This man had heard about the workshop because the local charity he ran had offices adjacent to the venue of one of the workshops. He started talking to the workshop facilitator, and as he said in an interview, became interested because “well … she mentioned that it was about disabilities and I’m interested in people’s disabilities – I want to improve conditions for them obviously”. I probed him about the relationship between his interest and his own experiences as a person with dyslexia. While he taught himself to read in his thirties, he described his reading difficulties as having ongoing impacts on his working life. He responded: first of all it wasn’t because I have dyslexia, it was because I’m interested in improving people’s lives in general. So, I mean particularly people who are disabled need more care than most of us don’t they? …. and I’d always help whenever I can, you know what I mean. And then thinking that I had a disability myself! The dramatic double-take at the end of this comment points to the way this respondent positions himself throughout as outside of the category of “disabled”. This self- identification points towards the stigma often attached to the category “disabled”. It also indicates the way in which this category is, at least in part, socially organised, such that people can be in various circ*mstances located both inside and outside it. In this writer’s account “people who are disabled” are “them” needing “more care than most of us”. Here, rather than identifying as a disabled person, imagined as a recipient of support, he draws upon the powerful discourses of charity in a way that positions him giving to and supporting others. The project appealed to him as a charity worker and as a campaigner, and indeed a number of other participants (both “disabled” and “non-disabled”) framed themselves in this way, looking to use their writing as a fundraising tool, for example, or as a means of promoting more effective inclusive education. The permeability of the category of “disabled” presented some challenges in the attempt to solicit “disabled peoples’” voices within the project. This was evident when completed stories came to be illustrated by design, illustration and multimedia students at four British universities: Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Wolverhampton, the University of Teeside and the North East Wales Institute. Students attending an initial briefing on the project completed a questionnaire which included an item asking whether they considered themselves to be disabled. While around eight of the eighty respondents answered “yes” to this question, the answers of these students and some others were by no means clear cut. A number of students identified themselves as dyslexic, but contested the idea that this diagnosis meant that they were disabled. One respondent commented along similar lines: “My boyfriend was very upset that the university considers him to be disabled because he is dyslexic”. How can we make sense of these responses? We could note again that the identity of “disabled” is highly stigmatised. Many disabled students believe that they are seen as lazy, demanding excessive resources, or even in the case of some students with non- visible impairments, lying (Kleege; Olney and Brockman). So we could view such responses as identity management work. From this point of view, an indicator of the success of the project in shifting some of the stigma attached to the label of “disabled” might be the fact that at least one of the students participants “came out” as dyslexic to her tutors in the course of her participation in the project. The pattern of answers on questionnaire returns suggests that particular teaching strategies and administrative languages shape how students imagine and describe themselves. Liverpool John Moores University, one of the four art schools participating in the project, had a high profile programme seeking to make dyslexic students aware of the technical and writing support available to them if they could present appropriate medical certification (Lowy). Questionnaires from LJMU included the largest number of respondents identifying themselves as both disabled and dyslexic, and featured no comment on any mismatch between these labels. In the interests of obtaining appropriate academic support and drawing on a view of dyslexia not as a deficit but as a learning style offering significant advantages, it might be argued, students with dyslexia at this institution had been taught to recognise themselves through the label “disabled”. This acknowledgement that people sharing some similar experiences might describe themselves in very different ways depending on their context suggests another way of interpreting some students’ equivocal relationship to labels like “dyslexia” and “disabled”. The university as an environment demanding the production of very formal styles of writing and rapid assimilation of a high volume of written texts, is one where particular learning strategies of people with dyslexia come to be disabling. In many peoples’ day to day lives – and perhaps particularly in the day to day lives of visual artists – less conventional ways of processing written information simply may not be disabling. As such, students’ responses might be seen less as resistance to a stigmatised identity and more an acknowledgement of the contingent nature of disablement. Or perhaps we might understand these student responses as a complex mix of both of these perspectives. Disability studies has pointed to the coexistence of contradictory discourses around disability within popular culture (eg, Garland-Thomson; Haller, Dorries and Rahn). Similarly, the friezes, interactive games, animations, illustrated books and stand-alone images which came out of this arts project sometimes incorporate rival conceptions of disability side by side. A number of narratives, for example, include pairs of characters, one of which embodies conventional narratives of disability (for example, being diagnostically labelled or ‘cured’), while the other articulates alternative accounts (celebrating diversity and enabling environments). Both students and staff reported that participation in the project prompted critical thinking about accessible design and inclusive representation. Some commented in interviews that their work on the project had changed their professional practice in ways they thought might have longer term impact on the visual arts. However, it is clear that in student work, just as in the project itself, alternative conceptions of what “disability” might mean were at play, even as reframing such conceptions are explicitly the aim of the enterprise. Such contradictions point towards the difficulties of easily labelling individual stories or indeed the wider project “progressive” or otherwise. Some illustrated narratives and animations created by students were understood by the project management to embody the definitions of “disabled children” within the project’s ten principles. This work was mounted on the website to serve as exemplars for the publishing industry (http://www.childreninthepicture.org.uk/stories.htm). Such decisions were not unreflective, however. There was a good deal of discussion by students and project management about how to make “disabled children” visible without labelling or pathologising. For example, one of the project’s principles is that “images of disabled children should be used casually or incidentally, so that disabled children are portrayed playing and doing things alongside their non- disabled peers” (see also Bookmark). Illustrator Jane Ray commented wryly in an article on the website on her experience of including disabled characters in a such a casual way in her published work that no-one notices it! (Ray). As I’ve discussed in more detail elsewhere (Matthews, forthcoming), the social model, espoused by the project, with its primary focus on barriers to equality rather than individual impaired bodies, presented some challenges to such aims. While both fairytales and, increasingly, contemporary books for young people, do sometimes engage with violence, marginalisation and social conflict (Saunders), there is a powerful imperative to avoid such themes in books for very young children. In trying to re-narrativise disabled children outside conventional paradigms of “bravery overcoming adversity”, the project may have also pushed writers and illustrators away from engaging with barriers to equality. The project manager commented in an interview: “probably in the purest form the social model would show in stories the barriers facing disabled children, whereas we want to show what barriers have been knocked down and turn it round into a more positive thing”. While a handful of the 23 stories emerging from the writing workshops included narratives around bullying and or barriers to equal access, many of the stories chose to envisage more utopian, integrated environments. If it is barriers to inequality that, at least in part, create “disabled people”, then how is it possible to identify disabled children with little reference to such barriers? The shorthand used by many student illustrators, and frequently too in the “images for inspiration” part of the project’s website, has been the inclusion of enabling technologies. A white cane, a wheelchair or assistive and augmentative communication technologies can be included in an image without making a “special” point of these technologies in the written text. The downside to this shorthand, however, is the way that the presence of these technologies can serve to naturalise the category of “disabled children”. Rather than being seen as a group identity constituted by shared experiences of discrimination and exclusion, the use of such “clues” to which characters “are disabled” might suggest that disabled people are a known group, independent of particular social and environmental settings. Using this arts project as a case study, I have traced here some of the ways people are recognised or recognise themselves as “disabled”. I’ve also suggested that within this project other conceptions of what “disabled” might mean existed in the shadows of the social constructionist account to which it declared its allegiances. Given the critiques of the social model which have emerged within disability studies over the last fifteen years (e.g. Crowe; Shakespeare, Disability Rights), this need not be a damning observation. The manager of this arts project, along with writer Mike Oliver ("If I Had"), has suggested that the social model might be used strategically as a means of social transformation rather than a complete account of disabled peoples’ lives. However, my analysis here has suggested that we can not only imagine different ways that “disabled people” might be conceptualised in the future. Rather we can see significant consequences of the different ways that the label “disabled” is mobilised here and now. Its inclusion and exclusions, what it makes it easy to say or difficult to imagine needs careful thinking through. References Benjamin, Alison. “Going Undercover.” The Guardian, Society, April 2004: 8. Bookmark. Quentin Blake Award Project Report: Making Exclusion a Thing of the Past. The Roald Dahl Foundation, 2006. Breivik, Jan Kare. “Deaf Identities: Visible Culture, Hidden Dilemmas and Scattered Belonging.” In H.G. Sicakkan and Y.G. Lithman, eds. What Happens When a Society Is Diverse: Exploring Multidimensional Identities. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006. 75-104. Carvel, John. “Demonstrators Rattle Scope.” The Guardian, Society section, 6 Oct. 2004: 4. Conlon, Caroline, and Jemina Napier. “Developing Auslan Educational Resources: A Process of Effective Translation of Children’s Books.” Deaf Worlds 20.2. (2004): 141-161. Corker, Mairian. Deaf and Disabled or Deafness Disabled. Buckingham: Open University Press, 1998. Crow, Liz. “Including All of Our Lives: Renewing the Social Model of Disability.” In Jenny Morris, ed. Encounters with Strangers: Feminism and Disability. Women’s Press, 1996. 206-227. Davis, John, and Nick Watson. “Countering Stereotypes of Disability: Disabled Children and Resistance.” In Mairian Corker and Tom Shakespeare, eds. Disability/Postmodernity: Embodying Disability Theory. London: Continuum, 2002. 159-174. Duncan, Kath, Gerard Goggin, and Christopher Newell. “Don’t Talk about Me… like I’m Not Here: Disability in Australian National Cinema.” Metro Magazine 146-147 (2005): 152-159. Garland Thomson, Rosemarie. “The Politics of Staring: Visual Rhetorics of Disability in Popular Photography.” In Sharon L. Snyder, Brenda Jo Bruggemann, and Rosemarie Garland Thomson, eds. Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities. New York: MLAA, 2002. 56-75. Gauntlett, David. “Using Creative Visual Research Methods to Understand Media Audiences.” MedienPädagogik 4.1 (2005). Haller, Beth, Bruce Dorries, and Jessica Rahn. “Media Labeling versus the US Disability Community Identity: A Study of Shifting Cultural Language.” In Disability & Society 21.1 (2006): 61-75. Hevey, David. The Creatures Time Forgot: Photography and Disability Imagery. London: Routledge, 1992. Kleege, Georgia. “Disabled Students Come Out: Questions without Answers.” In Sharon Snyder, Brenda Jo Brueggeman, and Rosemarie Garland Thomson, eds. Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2002. 308-316. Ladd, Paddy. Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2003. Longmore, Paul. “Conspicuous Contribution and American Cultural Dilemma: Telethon Rituals of Cleansing and Renewal.” In David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder, eds. The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997. 134-158. Lowy, Adrienne. “Dyslexia: A Different Approach to Learning?” JMU Learning and Teaching Press 2.2 (2002). Matthews, Nicole. “Contesting Representations of Disabled Children in Picture Books: Visibility, the Body and the Social Model of Disability.” Children’s Geographies (forthcoming). Meekosha, Helen. “Drifting Down the Gulf Stream: Navigating the Cultures of Disability Studies.” Disability & Society 19.7 (2004): 720-733. O’Hara, Mary. “Closure Motion.” The Guardian, Society section, 30 March 2005: 10. Oliver, Mike. The politics of Disablement. London: Macmillan, 1990. ———. “If I Had a Hammer: The Social Model in Action.” In John Swain, Sally French, Colin Barnes, and Carol Thomas, eds. Disabling Barriers – Enabling Environments. London: Sage, 2002. 7-12. Olney, Marjorie F., and Karin F. Brockelman. "Out of the Disability Closet: Strategic Use of Perception Management by Select University Students with Disabilities." Disability & Society 18.1 (2003): 35-50. Parris, Matthew. “Choose Your Words Carefully If You Want to Be Misunderstood.” The Times 10 July 2004. Purves, Libby. “Handicap, What Handicap?” The Times 9 Aug. 2003. Ray, Jane. “An Illustrator’s View: Still Invisible.” In the Picture. < http://www.childreninthepicture.org.uk/au_illustrateview.htm >.Sandhal, Carrie. “Queering the Crip or Cripping the Queer: Intersections of Queer and Crip Identities in Solo Autobiographical Performance.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 9.1-2 (2003): 25-56. Saunders, Kathy. Happy Ever Afters: A Storybook Guide to Teaching Children about Disability. London: Trenton Books, 2000. Shakespeare, Tom. “Sweet Charity?” 2 May 2003. Ouch! < (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/features/charity.shtml >. Shakespeare, Tom. Disability Rights and Wrongs. London: Routledge, 2006.

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Abidin, Crystal. "Micro­microcelebrity: Branding Babies on the Internet." M/C Journal 18, no.5 (October14, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1022.

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Abstract:

Babies and toddlers are amassing huge followings on social media, achieving microcelebrity status, and raking in five figure sums. In East Asia, many of these lucrative “micro­-microcelebrities” rise to fame by inheriting exposure and proximate microcelebrification from their social media Influencer mothers. Through self-branding techniques, Influencer mothers’ portrayals of their young’ children’s lives “as lived” are the canvas on which (baby) products and services are marketed to readers as “advertorials”. In turning to investigate this budding phenomenon, I draw on ethnographic case studies in Singapore to outline the career trajectory of these young children (under 4yo) including their social media presence, branding strategies, and engagement with their followers. The chapter closes with a brief discussion on some ethical considerations of such young children’s labour in the social media age.Influencer MothersTheresa Senft first coined the term “microcelebrity” in her work Camgirls as a burgeoning online trend, wherein people attempt to gain popularity by employing digital media technologies, such as videos, blogs, and social media. She describes microcelebrities as “non-actors as performers” whose narratives take place “without overt manipulation”, and who are “more ‘real’ than television personalities with ‘perfect hair, perfect friends and perfect lives’” (Senft 16), foregrounding their active response to their communities in the ways that maintain open channels of feedback on social media to engage with their following.Influencers – a vernacular industry term albeit inspired by Katz & Lazarsfeld’s notion of “personal influence” that predates Internet culture – are one type of microcelebrity; they are everyday, ordinary Internet users who accumulate a relatively large following on blogs and social media through the textual and visual narration of their personal lives and lifestyles, engage with their following in “digital” and “physical” spaces, and monetize their following by integrating “advertorials” into their blog or social media posts and making physical appearances at events. A pastiche of “advertisem*nt” and “editorial”, advertorials in the Influencer industry are highly personalized, opinion-laden promotions of products/services that Influencers personally experience and endorse for a fee. Influencers in Singapore often brand themselves as having “relatability”, or the ability to persuade their followers to identify with them (Abidin). They do so by make consciously visible the backstage (Goffman) of the usually “inaccessible”, “personal”, and “private” aspects of mundane, everyday life to curate personae that feel “authentic” to fans (Marwick 114), and more accessible than traditional celebrity (Senft 16).Historically, the Influencer industry in Singapore can be traced back to the early beginnings of the “blogshop” industry from the mid-2000s and the “commercial blogging” industry. Influencers are predominantly young women, and market products and services from diverse industries, although the most popular have been fashion, beauty, F&B, travel, and electronics. Most prominent Influencers are contracted to management agencies who broker deals in exchange for commission and assist in the production of their vlogs. Since then, the industry has grown, matured, and expanded so rapidly that Influencers developed emergent models of advertorials, with the earliest cohorts moving into different life stages and monetizing several other aspects of their personal lives such as the “micro-microcelebrity” of their young children. What this paper provides is an important analysis of the genesis and normative practices of micro-microcelebrity commerce in Singapore from its earliest years, and future research trajectories in this field.Micro-Microcelebrity and Proximate MicrocelebrificationI define micro-microcelebrities as the children of Influencers who have themselves become proximate microcelebrities, having derived exposure and fame from their prominent Influencer mothers, usually through a more prolific, deliberate, and commercial form of what Blum-Ross defines as “sharenting”: the act of parents sharing images and stores about their children in digital spaces such as social networking sites and blogs. Marwick (116-117), drawing from Rojek’s work on types of celebrity – distinguishes between two types of microcelebrity: “ascribed microcelebrity” where the online personality is made recognizable through the “production of celebrity media” such as paparazzi shots and user-produced online memes, or “achieved microcelebrity” where users engage in “self-presentation strateg[ies]”, such as fostering the illusion of intimacy with fans, maintaining a persona, and selective disclosure about oneself.Micro-microcelebrities lie somewhere between the two: In a process I term “proximate microcelebrification”, micro-microcelebrities themselves inherit celebrity through the preemptive and continuous exposure from their Influencer mothers, many beginning even during the pre-birth pregnancy stages in the form of ultrasound scans, as a form of “achieved microcelebrity”. Influencer mothers whose “presentational strategies” (cf. Marshall, “Promotion” 45) are successful enough (as will be addressed later) gain traction among followers, who in turn further popularize the micro-microcelebrity by setting up fan accounts, tribute sites, and gossip forums through which fame is heightened in a feedback loop as a model of “ascribed microcelebrity”.Here, however, I refrain from conceptualizing these young stars as “micro-Influencers” for unlike Influencers, these children do not yet curate their self-presentation to command the attention of followers, but instead are used, framed, and appropriated by their mothers for advertorials. In other words, Influencer mothers “curate [micro-microcelebrities’] identities into being” (Leaver, “Birth”). Following this, many aspects of their micro-microcelebrities become rapidly commodified and commercialized, with advertisers clamoring to endorse anything from maternity hospital stays to nappy cream.Although children of mommybloggers have the prospect to become micro-microcelebrities, both groups are conceptually distinct. Friedman (200-201) argues that among mommybloggers arose a tension between those who adopt “the raw authenticity of nonmonetized blogging”, documenting the “unglamorous minutiae” of their daily lives and a “more authentic view of motherhood” and those who use mommyblogs “primarily as a source of extra income rather than as a site for memoir”, focusing on “parent-centered products” (cf. Mom Bloggers Club).In contrast, micro-microcelebrities and their digital presence are deliberately commercial, framed and staged by Influencer mothers in order to maximize their advertorial potential, and are often postured to market even non-baby/parenting products such as fast food and vehicles (see later). Because of the overt commerce, it is unclear if micro-microcelebrity displays constitute “intimate surveillance”, an “almost always well-intentioned surveillance of young people by parents” (Leaver, “Born” 4). Furthermore, children are generally peripheral to mommybloggers whose own parenting narratives take precedence as a way to connect with fellow mothers, while micro-microcelebrities are the primary feature whose everyday lives and digital presence enrapture followers.MethodologyThe analysis presented is informed by my original fieldwork with 125 Influencers and related actors among whom I conducted a mixture of physical and digital personal interviews, participant observation, web archaeology, and archival research between December 2011 and October 2014. However, the material presented here is based on my digital participant observation of publicly accessible and intentionally-public digital presence of the first four highly successful micro-microcelebrities in Singapore: “Baby Dash” (b.2013) is the son of Influencer xiaxue, “#HeYurou” (b.2011) is the niece of Influencer bongqiuqiu, “#BabyElroyE” (b.2014) is the son of Influencer ohsofickle, and “@MereGoRound” (b.2015) is the daughter of Influencer bongqiuqiu.The microcelebrity/social media handles of these children take different forms, following the platform on which their parent/aunt has exposed them on the most. Baby Dash appears in all of xiaxue’s digital platforms under a variety of over 30 indexical, ironic, or humourous hashtags (Leaver, “Birth”) including “#pointylipped”, #pineappledash”, and “#面包脸” (trans. “bread face”); “#HeYurou” appears on bongqiuqiu’s Instagram and Twitter; “#BabyElroyE” appears on ohsofickle’s Instagram and blog, and is the central figure of his mother’s new YouTube channel; and “@MereGoRound” appears on all of bongqiuqiu’s digital platforms but also has her own Instagram account and dedicated YouTube channel. The images reproduced here are screenshot from Influencer mothers’ highly public social media: xiaxue, bongqiuqiu, and ohsofickle boast 593k, 277k, and 124k followers on Instagram and 263k, 41k, and 17k followers on Twitter respectively at the time of writing.Anticipation and Digital EstatesIn an exclusive front-pager (Figure 1) on the day of his induced birth, it was announced that Baby Dash had already received up to SGD25,000 worth of endorsem*nt deals brokered by his Influencer mother, xiaxue. As the first micro-microcelebrity in his cohort (his mother was among the pioneer Influencers), Baby Dash’s Caesarean section was even filmed and posted on xiaxue’s YouTube channel in three parts (Figure 2). xiaxue had announced her pregnancy on her blog while in her second trimester, following which she consistently posted mirror selfies of her baby bump.Figure 1 & 2, screenshot April 2013 from ‹instagram.com/xiaxue›In her successful attempt at generating anticipation, the “bump” itself seemed to garner its own following on Twitter and Instagram, with many followers discussing how the Influencer dressed “it”, and how “it” was evolving over the weeks. One follower even compiled a collage of xiaxue’s “bump” chronologically and gifted it to the Influencer as an art image via Twitter on the day she delivered Baby Dash (Figure 3 & 4). Followers also frequently speculated and bantered about how her baby would look, and mused about how much they were going to adore him. Figure 3 & 4, screenshot March 2013 from ‹twitter.com/xiaxue› While Lupton (42) has conceptualized the sharing of images that precede birth as a “rite of passage”, Influencer mothers who publish sonograms deliberately do so in order to claim digital estates for their to-be micro-microcelebrities in the form of “reserved” social media handles, blog URLs, and unique hashtags for self-branding. For instance, at the 3-month mark of her pregnancy, Influencer bongqiuqiu debuted her baby’s dedicated hashtag, “#MereGoRound” in a birth announcement on her on Instagram account. Shortly after, she started an Instagram account, “@MereGoRound”, for her baby, who amassed over 5.5k followers prior to her birth. Figure 5 & 6, screenshot March 2015 from instagram.com/meregoround and instagram.com/bongqiuqiuThe debut picture features a heavily pregnant belly shot of bongqiuqiu (Figure 5), creating much anticipation for the arrival of a new micro-microcelebrity: in the six months leading up to her birth, various family, friends, and fans shared Instagram images of their gifts and welcome party for @MereGoRound, and followers shared congratulations and fan art on the dedicated Instagram hashtag. During this time, bongqiuqiu also frequently updated followers on her pregnancy progress, not without advertising her (presumably sponsored) gynecologist and hospital stay in her pregnancy diaries (Figure 6) – like Baby Dash, even as a foetus @MereGoRound was accumulating advertorials. Presently at six months old, @MereGoRound boasts almost 40k followers on Instagram on which embedded in the narrative of her growth are sponsored products and services from various advertisers.Non-Baby-Related AdvertorialsPrior to her pregnancy, Influencer bongqiuqiu hopped onto the micro-microcelebrity bandwagon in the wake of Baby Dash’s birth, by using her niece “#HeYurou” in her advertorials. Many Influencers attempt to naturalize their advertorials by composing their post as if recounting a family event. With reference to a child, parent, or partner, they may muse or quip about a product being used or an experience being shared in a bid to mask the distinction between their personal and commercial material. bongqiuqiu frequently posted personal, non-sponsored images engaging in daily mundane activities under the dedicated hashtag “#HeYurou”.However, this was occasionally interspersed with pictures of her niece holding on to various products including storybooks (Figure 8) and shopping bags (Figure 9). At first glance, this might have seemed like any mundane daily update the Influencer often posts. However, a close inspection reveals the caption bearing sponsor hashtags, tags, and campaign information. For instance, one Instagram post shows #HeYurou casually holding on to and staring at a burger in KFC wrapping (Figure 7), but when read in tandem with bongqiuqiu’s other KFC-related posts published over a span of a few months, it becomes clear that #HeYurou was in fact advertising for KFC. Figure 7, 8, 9, screenshot December 2014 from ‹instagram.com/bongqiuqiu›Elsewhere, Baby Dash was incorporated into xiaxue’s car sponsorship with over 20 large decals of one of his viral photos – dubbed “pineapple Dash” among followers – plastered all over her vehicle (Figure 10). Followers who spot the car in public are encouraged to photograph and upload the image using its dedicated hashtag, “#xiaxuecar” as part of the Influencer’s car sponsorship – an engagement scarcely related to her young child. Since then, xiaxue has speculated producing offshoots of “pineapple Dash” products including smartphone casings. Figure 10, screenshot December 2014 from ‹instagram.com/xiaxue›Follower EngagementSponsors regularly organize fan meet-and-greets headlined by micro-microcelebrities in order to attract potential customers. Photo opportunities and the chance to see Baby Dash “in the flesh” frequently front press and promotional material of marketing campaigns. Elsewhere on social media, several Baby Dash fan and tribute accounts have also emerged on Instagram, reposting images and related media of the micro-microcelebrity with overt adoration, no doubt encouraged by xiaxue, who began crowdsourcing captions for Baby Dash’s photos.Influencer ohsofickle postures #BabyElroyE’s follower engagement in a more subtle way. In her YouTube channel that debut in the month of her baby’s birth, ohsofickle produces video diaries of being a young, single, mother who is raising a child (Figure 11). In each episode, #BabyElroyE is the main feature whose daily activities are documented, and while there is some advertising embedded, ohsofickle’s approach on YouTube is much less overt than others as it features much more non-monetized personal content (Figure 12). Her blog serves as a backchannel to her vlogs, in which she recounts her struggles with motherhood and explicitly solicits the advice of mothers. However, owing to her young age (she became an Influencer at 17 and gave birth at 24), many of her followers are teenagers and young women who respond to her solicitations by gushing over #BabyElroyE’s images on Instagram. Figure 11 & 12, screenshot September 2015 from ‹instagram.com/ohsofickle›PrivacyAs noted by Holloway et al. (23), children like micro-microcelebrities will be among the first cohorts to inherit “digital profiles” of their “whole lifetime” as a “work in progress”, from parents who habitually underestimate or discount the privacy and long term effects of publicizing information about their children at the time of posting. This matters in a climate where social media platforms can amend privacy policies without user consent (23), and is even more pressing for micro-microcelebrities whose followers store, republish, and recirculate information in fan networks, resulting in digital footprints with persistence, replicability, scalability, searchability (boyd), and extended longevity in public circulation which can be attributed back to the children indefinitely (Leaver, “Ends”).Despite minimum age restrictions and recent concerns with “digital kidnapping” where users steal images of other young children to be re-posted as their own (Whigham), some social media platforms rarely police the proliferation of accounts set up by parents on behalf of their underage children prominently displaying their legal names and life histories, citing differing jurisdictions in various countries (Facebook; Instagram), while others claim to disable accounts if users report an “incorrect birth date” (cf. Google for YouTube). In Singapore, the Media Development Authority (MDA) which governs all print and digital media has no firm regulations for this but suggests that the age of consent is 16 judging by their recommendation to parents with children aged below 16 to subscribe to Internet filtering services (Media Development Authority, “Regulatory” 1). Moreover, current initiatives have been focused on how parents can impart digital literacy to their children (Media Development Authority, “Empowered”; Media Literacy Council) as opposed to educating parents about the digital footprints they may be unwittingly leaving about their children.The digital lives of micro-microcelebrities pose new layers of concern given their publicness and deliberate publicity, specifically hinged on making visible the usually inaccessible, private aspects of everyday life (Marshall, “Persona” 5).Scholars note that celebrities are individuals for whom speculation of their private lives takes precedence over their actual public role or career (Geraghty 100-101; Turner 8). However, the personae of Influencers and their young children are shaped by ambiguously blurring the boundaries of privacy and publicness in order to bait followers’ attention, such that privacy and publicness are defined by being broadcast, circulated, and publicized (Warner 414). In other words, the publicness of micro-microcelebrities is premised on the extent of the intentional publicity rather than simply being in the public domain (Marwick 223-231, emphasis mine).Among Influencers privacy concerns have aroused awareness but not action – Baby Dash’s Influencer mother admitted in a national radio interview that he has received a death threat via Instagram but feels that her child is unlikely to be actually attacked (Channel News Asia) – because privacy is a commodity that is manipulated and performed to advance their micro-microcelebrities’ careers. As pioneer micro-microcelebrities are all under 2-years-old at present, future research warrants investigating “child-centred definitions” (Third et al.) of the transition in which they come of age, grow an awareness of their digital presence, respond to their Influencer mothers’ actions, and potentially take over their accounts.Young LabourThe Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore, which regulates the employment of children and young persons, states that children under the age of 13 may not legally work in non-industrial or industrial settings (Ministry of Manpower). However, the same document later ambiguously states underaged children who do work can only do so under strict work limits (Ministry of Manpower). Elsewhere (Chan), it is noted that national labour statistics have thus far only focused on those above the age of 15, thus neglecting a true reflection of underaged labour in Singapore. This is despite the prominence of micro-microcelebrities who are put in front of (video) cameras to build social media content. Additionally, the work of micro-microcelebrities on digital platforms has not yet been formally recognized as labour, and is not regulated by any authority including Influencer management firms, clients, the MDA, and the MOM. Brief snippets from my ethnographic fieldwork with Influencer management agencies in Singapore similarly reveal that micro-microcelebrities’ labour engagements and control of their earnings are entirely at their parents’ discretion.As models and actors, micro-microcelebrities are one form of entertainment workers who if between the ages of 15 days and 18 years in the state of California are required to obtain an Entertainment Work Permit to be gainfully employed, adhering to strict work, schooling, and rest hour quotas (Department of Industrial Relations). Furthermore, the Californian Coogan Law affirms that earnings by these minors are their own property and not their parents’, although they are not old enough to legally control their finances and rely on the state to govern their earnings with a legal guardian (Screen Actors Guild). However, this similarly excludes underaged children and micro-microcelebrities engaged in creative digital ecologies. Future research should look into safeguards and instruments among young child entertainers, especially for micro-micrcocelebrities’ among whom commercial work and personal documentation is not always distinct, and are in fact deliberately intertwined in order to better engage with followers for relatabilityGrowing Up BrandedIn the wake of moral panics over excessive surveillance technologies, children’s safety on the Internet, and data retention concerns, micro-microcelebrities and their Influencer mothers stand out for their deliberately personal and overtly commercial approach towards self-documenting, self-presenting, and self-publicizing from the moment of conception. As these debut micro-microcelebrities grow older and inherit digital publics, personae, and careers, future research should focus on the transition of their ownership, engagement, and reactions to a branded childhood in which babies were postured for an initimate public.ReferencesAbidin, Crystal. “Communicative Intimacies: Influencers and Perceived Interconnectedness.” Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology. Forthcoming, Nov 2015.Aiello, Marianne. “Mommy Blog Banner Ads Get Results.” Healthcare Marketing Advisor 17 Nov. 2010. HealthLeaders Media. 16 Aug. 2015 ‹http://healthleadersmedia.com/content/MAR-259215/Mommy-Blog-Banner-Ads-Get-Results›.Azzarone, Stephanie. “When Consumers Report: Mommy Blogging Your Way to Success.” Playthings 18 Feb. 2009. 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Presence, Privacy, and Intimate Surveillance.” Re-Orientation: Translingual Transcultural Transmedia: Studies in Narrative, Language, Identity, and Knowledge. Eds. John Hartley & Weiguo Qu. Fudan University Press, forthcoming.Lupton, Deborah. The Social Worlds of the Unborn. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013.Marshall, P. David. "The Promotion and Presentation of the Self: Celebrity as Marker of Presentational Media." Celebrity Studies 1.1 (2010): 35-48. Marshall, P. David. “Persona Studies: Mapping the Proliferation of the Public Self.” Journalism 15.2 (2013): 153-170. Marwick, Alice E. Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, & Branding in the Social Media Age. 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Champion,KatherineM. "A Risky Business? The Role of Incentives and Runaway Production in Securing a Screen Industries Production Base in Scotland." M/C Journal 19, no.3 (June22, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1101.

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IntroductionDespite claims that the importance of distance has been reduced due to technological and communications improvements (Cairncross; Friedman; O’Brien), the ‘power of place’ still resonates, often intensifying the role of geography (Christopherson et al.; Morgan; Pratt; Scott and Storper). Within the film industry, there has been a decentralisation of production from Hollywood, but there remains a spatial logic which has preferenced particular centres, such as Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney and Prague often led by a combination of incentives (Christopherson and Storper; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Goldsmith et al.; Miller et al.; Mould). The emergence of high end television, television programming for which the production budget is more than £1 million per television hour, has presented new opportunities for screen hubs sharing a very similar value chain to the film industry (OlsbergSPI with Nordicity).In recent years, interventions have proliferated with the aim of capitalising on the decentralisation of certain activities in order to attract international screen industries production and embed it within local hubs. Tools for building capacity and expertise have proliferated, including support for studio complex facilities, infrastructural investments, tax breaks and other economic incentives (Cucco; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Jensen; Goldsmith et al.; McDonald; Miller et al.; Mould). Yet experience tells us that these will not succeed everywhere. There is a need for a better understanding of both the capacity for places to build a distinctive and competitive advantage within a highly globalised landscape and the relative merits of alternative interventions designed to generate a sustainable production base.This article first sets out the rationale for the appetite identified in the screen industries for co-location, or clustering and concentration in a tightly drawn physical area, in global hubs of production. It goes on to explore the latest trends of decentralisation and examines the upturn in interventions aimed at attracting mobile screen industries capital and labour. Finally it introduces the Scottish screen industries and explores some of the ways in which Scotland has sought to position itself as a recipient of screen industries activity. The paper identifies some key gaps in infrastructure, most notably a studio, and calls for closer examination of the essential ingredients of, and possible interventions needed for, a vibrant and sustainable industry.A Compulsion for ProximityIt has been argued that particular spatial and place-based factors are central to the development and organisation of the screen industries. The film and television sector, the particular focus of this article, exhibit an extraordinarily high degree of spatial agglomeration, especially favouring centres with global status. It is worth noting that the computer games sector, not explored in this article, slightly diverges from this trend displaying more spatial patterns of decentralisation (Vallance), although key physical hubs of activity have been identified (Champion). Creative products often possess a cachet that is directly associated with their point of origin, for example fashion from Paris, films from Hollywood and country music from Nashville – although it can also be acknowledged that these are often strategic commercial constructions (Pecknold). The place of production represents a unique component of the final product as well as an authentication of substantive and symbolic quality (Scott, “Creative cities”). Place can act as part of a brand or image for creative industries, often reinforcing the advantage of being based in particular centres of production.Very localised historical, cultural, social and physical factors may also influence the success of creative production in particular places. Place-based factors relating to the built environment, including cheap space, public-sector support framework, connectivity, local identity, institutional environment and availability of amenities, are seen as possible influences in the locational choices of creative industry firms (see, for example, Drake; Helbrecht; Hutton; Leadbeater and Oakley; Markusen).Employment trends are notoriously difficult to measure in the screen industries (Christopherson, “Hollywood in decline?”), but the sector does contain large numbers of very small firms and freelancers. This allows them to be flexible but poses certain problems that can be somewhat offset by co-location. The findings of Antcliff et al.’s study of workers in the audiovisual industry in the UK suggested that individuals sought to reconstruct stable employment relations through their involvement in and use of networks. The trust and reciprocity engendered by stable networks, built up over time, were used to offset the risk associated with the erosion of stable employment. These findings are echoed by a study of TV content production in two media regions in Germany by Sydow and Staber who found that, although firms come together to work on particular projects, typically their business relations extend for a much longer period than this. Commonly, firms and individuals who have worked together previously will reassemble for further project work aided by their past experiences and expectations.Co-location allows the development of shared structures: language, technical attitudes, interpretative schemes and ‘communities of practice’ (Bathelt, et al.). Grabher describes this process as ‘hanging out’. Deep local pools of creative and skilled labour are advantageous both to firms and employees (Reimer et al.) by allowing flexibility, developing networks and offsetting risk (Banks et al.; Scott, “Global City Regions”). For example in Cook and Pandit’s study comparing the broadcasting industry in three city-regions, London was found to be hugely advantaged by its unrivalled talent pool, high financial rewards and prestigious projects. As Barnes and Hutton assert in relation to the wider creative industries, “if place matters, it matters most to them” (1251). This is certainly true for the screen industries and their spatial logic points towards a compulsion for proximity in large global hubs.Decentralisation and ‘Sticky’ PlacesDespite the attraction of global production hubs, there has been a decentralisation of screen industries from key centres, starting with the film industry and the vertical disintegration of Hollywood studios (Christopherson and Storper). There are instances of ‘runaway production’ from the 1920s onwards with around 40 per cent of all features being accounted for by offshore production in 1960 (Miller et al., 133). This trend has been increasing significantly in the last 20 years, leading to the genesis of new hubs of screen activity such as Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney and Prague (Christopherson, “Project work in context”; Goldsmith et al.; Mould; Miller et al.; Szczepanik). This development has been prompted by a multiplicity of reasons including favourable currency value differentials and economic incentives. Subsidies and tax breaks have been offered to secure international productions with most countries demanding that, in order to qualify for tax relief, productions have to spend a certain amount of their budget within the local economy, employ local crew and use domestic creative talent (Hill). Extensive infrastructure has been developed including studio complexes to attempt to lure productions with the advantage of a full service offering (Goldsmith and O’Regan).Internationally, Canada has been the greatest beneficiary of ‘runaway production’ with a state-led enactment of generous film incentives since the late 1990s (McDonald). Vancouver and Toronto are the busiest locations for North American Screen production after Los Angeles and New York, due to exchange rates and tax rebates on labour costs (Miller et al., 141). 80% of Vancouver’s production is attributable to runaway production (Jensen, 27) and the city is considered by some to have crossed a threshold as:It now possesses sufficient depth and breadth of talent to undertake the full array of pre-production, production and post-production services for the delivery of major motion pictures and TV programmes. (Barnes and Coe, 19)Similarly, Toronto is considered to have established a “comprehensive set of horizontal and vertical media capabilities” to ensure its status as a “full function media centre” (Davis, 98). These cities have successfully engaged in entrepreneurial activity to attract production (Christopherson, “Project Work in Context”) and in Vancouver the proactive role of provincial government and labour unions are, in part, credited with its success (Barnes and Coe). Studio-complex infrastructure has also been used to lure global productions, with Toronto, Melbourne and Sydney all being seen as key examples of where such developments have been used as a strategic priority to take local production capacity to the next level (Goldsmith and O’Regan).Studies which provide a historiography of the development of screen-industry hubs emphasise a complex interplay of social, cultural and physical conditions. In the complex and global flows of the screen industries, ‘sticky’ hubs have emerged with the ability to attract and retain capital and skilled labour. Despite being principally organised to attract international production, most studio complexes, especially those outside of global centres need to have a strong relationship to local or national film and television production to ensure the sustainability and depth of the labour pool (Goldsmith and O’Regan, 2003). Many have a broadcaster on site as well as a range of companies with a media orientation and training facilities (Goldsmith and O’Regan, 2003; Picard, 2008). The emergence of film studio complexes in the Australian Gold Coast and Vancouver was accompanied by an increasing role for television production and this multi-purpose nature was important for the continuity of production.Fostering a strong community of below the line workers, such as set designers, locations managers, make-up artists and props manufacturers, can also be a clear advantage in attracting international productions. For example at Cinecitta in Italy, the expertise of set designers and experienced crews in the Barrandov Studios of Prague are regarded as major selling points of the studio complexes there (Goldsmith and O’Regan; Miller et al.; Szczepanik). Natural and built environments are also considered very important for film and television firms and it is a useful advantage for capturing international production when cities can double for other locations as in the cases of Toronto, Vancouver, Prague for example (Evans; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Szczepanik). Toronto, for instance, has doubled for New York in over 100 films and with regard to television Due South’s (1994-1998) use of Toronto as Chicago was estimated to have saved 40 per cent in costs (Miller et al., 141).The Scottish Screen Industries Within mobile flows of capital and labour, Scotland has sought to position itself as a recipient of screen industries activity through multiple interventions, including investment in institutional frameworks, direct and indirect economic subsidies and the development of physical infrastructure. Traditionally creative industry activity in the UK has been concentrated in London and the South East which together account for 43% of the creative economy workforce (Bakhshi et al.). In order, in part to redress this imbalance and more generally to encourage the attraction and retention of international production a range of policies have been introduced focused on the screen industries. A revised Film Tax Relief was introduced in 2007 to encourage inward investment and prevent offshoring of indigenous production, and this has since been extended to high-end television, animation and children’s programming. Broadcasting has also experienced a push for decentralisation led by public funding with a responsibility to be regionally representative. The BBC (“BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2014/15”) is currently exceeding its target of 50% network spend outside London by 2016, with 17% spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Channel 4 has similarly committed to commission at least 9% of its original spend from the nations by 2020. Studios have been also developed across the UK including at Roath Lock (Cardiff), Titanic Studios (Belfast), MedicaCity (Salford) and The Sharp Project (Manchester).The creative industries have been identified as one of seven growth sectors for Scotland by the government (Scottish Government). In 2010, the film and video sector employed 3,500 people and contributed £120 million GVA and £120 million adjusted GVA to the economy and the radio and TV sector employed 3,500 people and contributed £50 million GVA and £400 million adjusted GVA (The Scottish Parliament). Beyond the direct economic benefits of sectors, the on-screen representation of Scotland has been claimed to boost visitor numbers to the country (EKOS) and high profile international film productions have been attracted including Skyfall (2012) and WWZ (2013).Scotland has historically attracted international film and TV productions due to its natural locations (VisitScotland) and on average, between 2009-2014, six big budget films a year used Scottish locations both urban and rural (BOP Consulting, 2014). In all, a total of £20 million was generated by film-making in Glasgow during 2011 (Balkind) with WWZ (2013) and Cloud Atlas (2013), representing Philadelphia and San Francisco respectively, as well as doubling for Edinburgh for the recent acclaimed Scottish films Filth (2013) and Sunshine on Leith (2013). Sanson (80) asserts that the use of the city as a site for international productions not only brings in direct revenue from production money but also promotes the city as a “fashionable place to live, work and visit. Creativity makes the city both profitable and ‘cool’”.Nonetheless, issues persist and it has been suggested that Scotland lacks a stable and sustainable film industry, with low indigenous production levels and variable success from year to year in attracting inward investment (BOP Consulting). With regard to crew, problems with an insufficient production base have been identified as an issue in maintaining a pipeline of skills (BOP Consulting). Developing ‘talent’ is a central aspect of the Scottish Government’s Strategy for the Creative Industries, yet there remains the core challenge of retaining skills and encouraging new talent into the industry (BOP Consulting).With regard to film, a lack of substantial funding incentives and the absence of a studio have been identified as a key concern for the sector. For example, within the film industry the majority of inward investment filming in Scotland is location work as it lacks the studio facilities that would enable it to sustain a big-budget production in its entirety (BOP Consulting). The absence of such infrastructure has been seen as contributing to a drain of Scottish talent from these industries to other areas and countries where there is a more vibrant sector (BOP Consulting). The loss of Scottish talent to Northern Ireland was attributed to the longevity of the work being provided by Games of Thrones (2011-) now having completed its six series at the Titanic Studios in Belfast (EKOS) although this may have been stemmed somewhat recently with the attraction of US high-end TV series Outlander (2014-) which has been based at Wardpark in Cumbernauld since 2013.Television, both high-end production and local broadcasting, appears crucial to the sustainability of screen production in Scotland. Outlander has been estimated to contribute to Scotland’s production spend figures reaching a historic high of £45.8 million in 2014 (Creative Scotland ”Creative Scotland Screen Strategy Update”). The arrival of the program has almost doubled production spend in Scotland, offering the chance for increased stability for screen industries workers. Qualifying for UK High-End Television Tax Relief, Outlander has engaged a crew of approximately 300 across props, filming and set build, and cast over 2,000 supporting artist roles from within Scotland and the UK.Long running drama, in particular, offers key opportunities for both those cutting their teeth in the screen industries and also by providing more consistent and longer-term employment to existing workers. BBC television soap River City (2002-) has been identified as a key example of such an opportunity and the programme has been credited with providing a springboard for developing the skills of local actors, writers and production crew (Hibberd). This kind of pipeline of production is critical given the work patterns of the sector. According to Creative Skillset, of the 4,000 people in Scotland are employed in the film and television industries, 40% of television workers are freelance and 90% of film production work in freelance (EKOS).In an attempt to address skills gaps, the Outlander Trainee Placement Scheme has been devised in collaboration with Creative Scotland and Creative Skillset. During filming of Season One, thirty-eight trainees were supported across a range of production and craft roles, followed by a further twenty-five in Season Two. Encouragingly Outlander, and the books it is based on, is set in Scotland so the authenticity of place has played a strong component in the decision to locate production there. Producer David Brown began his career on Bill Forsyth films Gregory’s Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983) and Comfort and Joy (1984) and has a strong existing relationship to Scotland. He has been very vocal in his support for the trainee program, contending that “training is the future of our industry and we at Outlander see the growth of talent and opportunities as part of our mission here in Scotland” (“Outlander fast tracks next generation of skilled screen talent”).ConclusionsThis article has aimed to explore the relationship between place and the screen industries and, taking Scotland as its focus, has outlined a need to more closely examine the ways in which the sector can be supported. Despite the possible gains in terms of building a sustainable industry, the state-led funding of the global screen industries is contested. The use of tax breaks and incentives has been problematised and critiques range from use of public funding to attract footloose media industries to the increasingly zero sum game of competition between competing places (Morawetz; McDonald). In relation to broadcasting, there have been critiques of a ‘lift and shift’ approach to policy in the UK, with TV production companies moving to the nations and regions temporarily to meet the quota and leaving once a production has finished (House of Commons). Further to this, issues have been raised regarding how far such interventions can seed and develop a rich production ecology that offers opportunities for indigenous talent (Christopherson and Rightor).Nonetheless recent success for the screen industries in Scotland can, at least in part, be attributed to interventions including increased decentralisation of broadcasting and the high-end television tax incentives. This article has identified gaps in infrastructure which continue to stymie growth and have led to production drain to other centres. 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Brien, Donna Lee. "Fat in Contemporary Autobiographical Writing and Publishing." M/C Journal 18, no.3 (June9, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.965.

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Abstract:

At a time when almost every human transgression, illness, profession and other personal aspect of life has been chronicled in autobiographical writing (Rak)—in 1998 Zinsser called ours “the age of memoir” (3)—writing about fat is one of the most recent subjects to be addressed in this way. This article surveys a range of contemporary autobiographical texts that are titled with, or revolve around, that powerful and most evocative word, “fat”. Following a number of cultural studies of fat in society (Critser; Gilman, Fat Boys; Fat: A Cultural History; Stearns), this discussion views fat in socio-cultural terms, following Lupton in understanding fat as both “a cultural artefact: a bodily substance or body shape that is given meaning by complex and shifting systems of ideas, practices, emotions, material objects and interpersonal relationships” (i). Using a case study approach (Gerring; Verschuren), this examination focuses on a range of texts from autobiographical cookbooks and memoirs to novel-length graphic works in order to develop a preliminary taxonomy of these works. In this way, a small sample of work, each of which (described below) explores an aspect (or aspects) of the form is, following Merriam, useful as it allows a richer picture of an under-examined phenomenon to be constructed, and offers “a means of investigating complex social units consisting of multiple variables of potential importance in understanding the phenomenon” (Merriam 50). Although the sample size does not offer generalisable results, the case study method is especially suitable in this context, where the aim is to open up discussion of this form of writing for future research for, as Merriam states, “much can be learned from […] an encounter with the case through the researcher’s narrative description” and “what we learn in a particular case can be transferred to similar situations” (51). Pro-Fat Autobiographical WritingAlongside the many hundreds of reduced, low- and no-fat cookbooks and weight loss guides currently in print that offer recipes, meal plans, ingredient replacements and strategies to reduce fat in the diet, there are a handful that promote the consumption of fats, and these all have an autobiographical component. The publication of Jennifer McLagan’s Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes in 2008 by Ten Speed Press—publisher of Mollie Katzen’s groundbreaking and influential vegetarian Moosewood Cookbook in 1974 and an imprint now known for its quality cookbooks (Thelin)—unequivocably addressed that line in the sand often drawn between fat and all things healthy. The four chapter titles of this cookbook— “Butter,” subtitled “Worth It,” “Pork Fat: The King,” “Poultry Fat: Versatile and Good For You,” and, “Beef and Lamb Fats: Overlooked But Tasty”—neatly summarise McLagan’s organising argument: that animal fats not only add an unreplaceable and delicious flavour to foods but are fundamental to our health. Fat polarised readers and critics; it was positively reviewed in prominent publications (Morris; Bhide) and won influential food writing awards, including 2009 James Beard Awards for Single Subject Cookbook and Cookbook of the Year but, due to its rejection of low-fat diets and the research underpinning them, was soon also vehemently criticised, to the point where the book was often described in the media as “controversial” (see Smith). McLagan’s text, while including historical, scientific and gastronomic data and detail, is also an outspokenly personal treatise, chronicling her sensual and emotional responses to this ingredient. “I love fat,” she begins, continuing, “Whether it’s a slice of foie gras terrine, its layer of yellow fat melting at the edges […] hot bacon fat […] wilting a plate of pungent greens into submission […] or a piece of crunchy pork crackling […] I love the way it feels in my mouth, and I love its many tastes” (1). Her text is, indeed, memoir as gastronomy / gastronomy as memoir, and this cookbook, therefore, an example of the “memoir with recipes” subgenre (Brien et al.). It appears to be this aspect – her highly personal and, therein, persuasive (Weitin) plea for the value of fats – that galvanised critics and readers.Molly Chester and Sandy Schrecengost’s Back to Butter: A Traditional Foods Cookbook – Nourishing Recipes Inspired by Our Ancestors begins with its authors’ memoirs (illness, undertaking culinary school training, buying and running a farm) to lend weight to their argument to utilise fats widely in cookery. Its first chapter, “Fats and Oils,” features the familiar butter, which it describes as “the friendly fat” (22), then moves to the more reviled pork lard “Grandma’s superfood” (22) and, nowadays quite rarely described as an ingredient, beef tallow. Grit Magazine’s Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient utilises the rhetoric that fat, and in this case, lard, is a traditional and therefore foundational ingredient in good cookery. This text draws on its publisher’s, Grit Magazine (published since 1882 in various formats), long history of including auto/biographical “inspirational stories” (Teller) to lend persuasive power to its argument. One of the most polarising of fats in health and current media discourse is butter, as was seen recently in debate over what was seen as its excessive use in the MasterChef Australia television series (see, Heart Foundation; Phillipov). It is perhaps not surprising, then, that butter is the single fat inspiring the most autobiographical writing in this mode. Rosie Daykin’s Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes from a Little Neighborhood Bakery is, for example, typical of a small number of cookbooks that extend the link between baking and nostalgia to argue that butter is the superlative ingredient for baking. There are also entire cookbooks dedicated to making flavoured butters (Vaserfirer) and a number that offer guides to making butter and other (fat-based) dairy products at home (Farrell-Kingsley; Hill; Linford).Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef is typical among chef’s memoirs in using butter prominently although rare in mentioning fat in its title. In this text and other such memoirs, butter is often used as shorthand for describing a food that is rich but also wholesomely delicious. Hamilton relates childhood memories of “all butter shortcakes” (10), and her mother and sister “cutting butter into flour and sugar” for scones (15), radishes eaten with butter (21), sautéing sage in butter to dress homemade ravoli (253), and eggs fried in browned butter (245). Some of Hamilton’s most telling references to butter present it as an staple, natural food as, for instance, when she describes “sliced bread with butter and granulated sugar” (37) as one of her family’s favourite desserts, and lists butter among the everyday foodstuffs that taste superior when stored at room temperature instead of refrigerated—thereby moving butter from taboo (Gwynne describes a similar process of the normalisation of sexual “perversion” in erotic memoir).Like this text, memoirs that could be described as arguing “for” fat as a substance are largely by chefs or other food writers who extol, like McLagan and Hamilton, the value of fat as both food and flavouring, and propose that it has a key role in both ordinary/family and gourmet cookery. In this context, despite plant-based fats such as coconut oil being much lauded in nutritional and other health-related discourse, the fat written about in these texts is usually animal-based. An exception to this is olive oil, although this is never described in the book’s title as a “fat” (see, for instance, Drinkwater’s series of memoirs about life on an olive farm in France) and is, therefore, out of the scope of this discussion.Memoirs of Being FatThe majority of the other memoirs with the word “fat” in their titles are about being fat. Narratives on this topic, and their authors’ feelings about this, began to be published as a sub-set of autobiographical memoir in the 2000s. The first decade of the new millennium saw a number of such memoirs by female writers including Judith Moore’s Fat Girl (published in 2005), Jen Lancaster’s Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer, and Stephanie Klein’s Moose: A Memoir (both published in 2008) and Jennifer Joyne’s Designated Fat Girl in 2010. These were followed into the new decade by texts such as Celia Rivenbark’s bestselling 2011 You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl, and all attracted significant mainstream readerships. Journalist Vicki Allan pulled no punches when she labelled these works the “fat memoir” and, although Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson’s influential categorisation of 60 genres of life writing does not include this description, they do recognise eating disorder and weight-loss narratives. Some scholarly interest followed (Linder; Halloran), with Mitchell linking this production to feminism’s promotion of the power of the micro-narrative and the recognition that the autobiographical narrative was “a way of situating the self politically” (65).aken together, these memoirs all identify “excess” weight, although the response to this differs. They can be grouped as: narratives of losing weight (see Kuffel; Alley; and many others), struggling to lose weight (most of these books), and/or deciding not to try to lose weight (the smallest number of works overall). Some of these texts display a deeply troubled relationship with food—Moore’s Fat Girl, for instance, could also be characterised as an eating disorder memoir (Brien), detailing her addiction to eating and her extremely poor body image as well as her mother’s unrelenting pressure to lose weight. Elena Levy-Navarro describes the tone of these narratives as “compelled confession” (340), mobilising both the conventional understanding of confession of the narrator “speaking directly and colloquially” to the reader of their sins, failures or foibles (Gill 7), and what she reads as an element of societal coercion in their production. Some of these texts do focus on confessing what can be read as disgusting and wretched behavior (gorging and vomiting, for instance)—Halloran’s “gustatory abject” (27)—which is a feature of the contemporary conceptualisation of confession after Rousseau (Brooks). This is certainly a prominent aspect of current memoir writing that is, simultaneously, condemned by critics (see, for example, Jordan) and popular with readers (O’Neill). Read in this way, the majority of memoirs about being fat are about being miserable until a slimming regime of some kind has been undertaken and successful. Some of these texts are, indeed, triumphal in tone. Lisa Delaney’s Secrets of a Former Fat Girl is, for instance, clear in the message of its subtitle, How to Lose Two, Four (or More!) Dress Sizes—And Find Yourself Along the Way, that she was “lost” until she became slim. Linden has argued that “female memoir writers frequently describe their fat bodies as diseased and contaminated” (219) and “powerless” (226). Many of these confessional memoirs are moving narratives of shame and self loathing where the memoirist’s sense of self, character, and identity remain somewhat confused and unresolved, whether they lose weight or not, and despite attestations to the contrary.A sub-set of these memoirs of weight loss are by male authors. While having aspects in common with those by female writers, these can be identified as a sub-set of these memoirs for two reasons. One is the tone of their narratives, which is largely humourous and often ribaldly comic. There is also a sense of the heroic in these works, with male memoirsts frequently mobilising images of battles and adversity. Texts that can be categorised in this way include Toshio Okada’s Sayonara Mr. Fatty: A Geek’s Diet Memoir, Gregg McBride and Joy Bauer’s bestselling Weightless: My Life as a Fat Man and How I Escaped, Fred Anderson’s From Chunk to Hunk: Diary of a Fat Man. As can be seen in their titles, these texts also promise to relate the stratgies, regimes, plans, and secrets that others can follow to, similarly, lose weight. Allen Zadoff’s title makes this explicit: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin. Many of these male memoirists are prompted by a health-related crisis, diagnosis, or realisation. Male body image—a relatively recent topic of enquiry in the eating disorder, psychology, and fashion literature (see, for instance, Bradley et al.)—is also often a surprising motif in these texts, and a theme in common with weight loss memoirs by female authors. Edward Ugel, for instance, opens his memoir, I’m with Fatty: Losing Fifty Pounds in Fifty Miserable Weeks, with “I’m haunted by mirrors … the last thing I want to do is see myself in a mirror or a photograph” (1).Ugel, as that prominent “miserable” in his subtitle suggests, provides a subtle but revealing variation on this theme of successful weight loss. Ugel (as are all these male memoirists) succeeds in the quest be sets out on but, apparently, despondent almost every moment. While the overall tone of his writing is light and humorous, he laments every missed meal, snack, and mouthful of food he foregoes, explaining that he loves eating, “Food makes me happy … I live to eat. I love to eat at restaurants. I love to cook. I love the social component of eating … I can’t be happy without being a social eater” (3). Like many of these books by male authors, Ugel’s descriptions of the food he loves are mouthwatering—and most especially when describing what he identifies as the fattening foods he loves: Reuben sandwiches dripping with juicy grease, crispy deep friend Chinese snacks, buttery Danish pastries and creamy, rich ice cream. This believable sense of regret is not, however, restricted to male authors. It is also apparent in how Jen Lancaster begins her memoir: “I’m standing in the kitchen folding a softened stick of butter, a cup of warmed sour cream, and a mound of fresh-shaved Parmesan into my world-famous mashed potatoes […] There’s a maple-glazed pot roast browning nicely in the oven and white-chocolate-chip macadamia cookies cooling on a rack farther down the counter. I’ve already sautéed the almonds and am waiting for the green beans to blanch so I can toss the whole lot with yet more butter before serving the meal” (5). In the above memoirs, both male and female writers recount similar (and expected) strategies: diets, fasts and other weight loss regimes and interventions (calorie counting, colonics, and gastric-banding and -bypass surgery for instance, recur); consulting dieting/health magazines for information and strategies; keeping a food journal; employing expert help in the form of nutritionists, dieticians, and personal trainers; and, joining health clubs/gyms, and taking up various sports.Alongside these works sit a small number of texts that can be characterised as “non-weight loss memoirs.” These can be read as part of the emerging, and burgeoning, academic field of Fat Studies, which gathers together an extensive literature critical of, and oppositional to, dominant discourses about obesity (Cooper; Rothblum and Solovay; Tomrley and Naylor), and which include works that focus on information backed up with memoir such as self-described “fat activist” (Wann, website) Marilyn Wann’s Fat! So?: Because You Don’t Have to Apologise, which—when published in 1998—followed a print ’zine and a website of the same title. Although certainly in the minority in terms of numbers, these narratives have been very popular with readers and are growing as a sub-genre, with well-known actress Camryn Manheim’s New York Times-bestselling memoir, Wake Up, I'm Fat! (published in 1999) a good example. This memoir chronicles Manheim’s journey from the overweight and teased teenager who finds it a struggle to find friends (a common trope in many weight loss memoirs) to an extremely successful actress.Like most other types of memoir, there are also niche sub-genres of the “fat memoir.” Cheryl Peck’s Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs recounts a series of stories about her life in the American Midwest as a lesbian “woman of size” (xiv) and could thus be described as a memoir on the subjects of – and is, indeed, catalogued in the Library of Congress as: “Overweight women,” “Lesbians,” and “Three Rivers (Mich[igan]) – Social life and customs”.Carol Lay’s graphic memoir, The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude, has a simple diet message – she lost weight by counting calories and exercising every day – and makes a dual claim for value of being based on both her own story and a range of data and tools including: “the latest research on obesity […] psychological tips, nutrition basics, and many useful tools like simplified calorie charts, sample recipes, and menu plans” (qtd. in Lorah). The Big Skinny could, therefore, be characterised with the weight loss memoirs above as a self-help book, but Lay herself describes choosing the graphic form in order to increase its narrative power: to “wrap much of the information in stories […] combining illustrations and story for a double dose of retention in the brain” (qtd. in Lorah). Like many of these books that can fit into multiple categories, she notes that “booksellers don’t know where to file the book – in graphic novels, memoirs, or in the diet section” (qtd. in O’Shea).Jude Milner’s Fat Free: The Amazing All-True Adventures of Supersize Woman! is another example of how a single memoir (graphic, in this case) can be a hybrid of the categories herein discussed, indicating how difficult it is to neatly categorise human experience. Recounting the author’s numerous struggles with her weight and journey to self-acceptance, Milner at first feels guilty and undertakes a series of diets and regimes, before becoming a “Fat Is Beautiful” activist and, finally, undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Here the narrative trajectory is of empowerment rather than physical transformation, as a thinner (although, importantly, not thin) Milner “exudes confidence and radiates strength” (Story). ConclusionWhile the above has identified a number of ways of attempting to classify autobiographical writing about fat/s, its ultimate aim is, after G. Thomas Couser’s work in relation to other sub-genres of memoir, an attempt to open up life writing for further discussion, rather than set in placed fixed and inflexible categories. Constructing such a preliminary taxonomy aspires to encourage more nuanced discussion of how writers, publishers, critics and readers understand “fat” conceptually as well as more practically and personally. 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Vancouver: Fair Winds Press, 2014.Cooper, Charlotte. “Fat Studies: Mapping the Field.” Sociology Compass 4.12 (2010): 1020–34.Couser, G. Thomas. “Genre Matters: Form, Force, and Filiation.” Lifewriting 2.2 (2007): 139–56.Critser, Greg. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. New York: First Mariner Books, 2004. Daykin, Rosie. Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes from a Little Neighborhood Bakery. New York: Random House, 2015.Delaney, Lisa. Secrets of a Former Fat Girl: How to Lose Two, Four (or More!) Dress Sizes – and Find Yourself along the Way. New York: Plume/Penguin, 2008.Drinkwater, Carol. The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil in the South of France. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2001.Farrell, Amy Erdman. Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture. New York: New York University Press, 2011.Farrell-Kingsley, Kathy. The Home Creamery: Make Your Own Fresh Dairy Products; Easy Recipes for Butter, Yogurt, Sour Cream, Creme Fraiche, Cream Cheese, Ricotta, and More! North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2008.Gerring, John. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Gill, Jo. “Introduction.” Modern Confessional Writing: New Critical Essays, ed. Jo Gill. London: Routledge, 2006. 1–10.Gilman, Sander L. Fat Boys: A Slim Book. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.———. Fat: A Cultural History of Obesity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008.Grit Magazine Editors. Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel, 2012.Gwynne, Joel. Erotic Memoirs and Postfeminism: The Politics of Pleasure. Houndsmills, UK: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013.Halloran, Vivian Nun. “Biting Reality: Extreme Eating and the Fascination with the Gustatory Abject.” Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 4 (2004): 27–42.Hamilton, Gabrielle. Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. New York: Random House, 2013.Heart Foundation [Australia]. “To Avoid Trans Fat, Avoid Butter Says Heart Foundation: Media Release.” 27 Sep. 2010.Hill, Louella. Kitchen Creamery: Making Yogurt, Butter & Cheese at Home. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2015.Jordan, Pat. “Dysfunction for Dollars.” New York Times 28 July 2002.Joyne, Jennifer. Designated Fat Girl: A Memoir. Guilford, CT: Skirt!, 2010.Katzen, Mollie. The Moosewood Cookbook. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1974.Klein, Stephanie. Moose: A Memoir. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.Kuffel, Frances. Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self. New York: Broadway, 2004. Lancaster, Jen. Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer. New York: New American Library/Penguin, 2008.Lay, Carol. The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude. New York: Villard Books, 2008.Levy-Navarro, Elena. “I’m the New Me: Compelled Confession in Diet Discourse.” The Journal of Popular Culture 45.2 (2012): 340–56.Library of Congress. Catalogue record 200304857. Linder, Kathryn E. “The Fat Memoir as Autopathography: Self-Representations of Embodied Fatness.” Auto/biography Studies 26.2 (2011): 219–37.Linford, Jenny. The Creamery Kitchen. London: Ryland Peters & Small, 2014.Lorah, Michael C. “Carol Lay on The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude.” Newsarama 26 Dec. 2008. Lupton, Deborah. Fat. Milton Park, UK: Routledge, 2013.Manheim, Camryn. Wake Up, I’m Fat! New York: Broadway Books, 2000.Merriam, Sharan B. Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009.McBride, Gregg. Weightless: My Life as a Fat Man and How I Escaped. Las Vegas, NV: Central Recovery Press, 2014.McLagan, Jennifer. Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2008.Milner, Jude. Fat Free: The Amazing All-True Adventures of Supersize Woman! New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006.Mitchell, Allyson. “Big Judy: Fatness, Shame, and the Hybrid Autobiography.” Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography, eds. Sarah Brophy and Janice Hladki. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. 64–77.Moore, Judith. Fat Girl: A True Story. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2005. Morris, Sophie. “Fat Is Back: Rediscover the Delights of Lard, Dripping and Suet.” The Independent 12 Mar. 2009. Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York. “Books for a Better Life Awards: 2007 Finalists.” Book Reporter 2006. Okada, Toshio. Sayonara Mr. Fatty: A Geek’s Diet Memoir. Trans. Mizuho Tiyishima. New York: Vertical Inc., 2009.O’Neill, Brendan. “Misery Lit … Read On.” BBC News 17 Apr. 2007. O’Shea, Tim. “Taking Comics with Tim: Carol Lay.” Robot 6 16 Feb. 2009. Peck, Cheryl. Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs. New York: Warner Books, 2004. 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New York and London: New York University Press, 2002.Story, Carol Ann. “Book Review: ‘Fat Free: The Amazing All-True Adventures of Supersize Women’.” WLS Lifestyles 2007. Teller, Jean. “As American as Mom, Apple Pie & Grit.” Grit History Grit. c. 2006. Thelin, Emily Kaiser. “Aaron Wehner Transforms Ten Speed Press into Cookbook Leader.” SF Gate 7 Oct. 2014. Tomrley, Corianna, and Ann Kaloski Naylor. Fat Studies in the UK. York: Raw Nerve Books, 2009.Ugel, Edward. I’m with Fatty: Losing Fifty Pounds in Fifty Miserable Weeks. New York: Weinstein Books, 2010.Vaserfirer, Lucy. Flavored Butters: How to Make Them, Shape Them, and Use Them as Spreads, Toppings, and Sauces. Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press, 2013.Verschuren, Piet. “Case Study as a Research Strategy: Some Ambiguities and Opportunities.” International Journal of Social Research Methodology 6.2 (2003): 121–39.Wann, Marilyn. Fat!So?: Because You Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Size. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1998.———. 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Stafford, Paul Edgerton. "The Grunge Effect: Music, Fashion, and the Media During the Rise of Grunge Culture In the Early 1990s." M/C Journal 21, no.5 (December6, 2018). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1471.

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IntroductionThe death of Chris Cornell in the spring of 2017 shook me. As the lead singer of Soundgarden and a pioneer of early 1990s grunge music, his voice revealed an unbridled pain and joy backed up by the raw, guitar-driven rock emanating from the Seattle, Washington music scene. I remember thinking, there’s only one left, referring to Eddie Vedder, lead singer for Pearl Jam, and lone survivor of the four seminal grunge bands that rose to fame in the early 1990s whose lead singers passed away much too soon. Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley died in 2002 at the age of 35, and Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994 had resonated around the globe. I thought about when Cornell and Staley said goodbye to their friend Andy Wood, lead singer of Mother Love Bone, after he overdosed on heroine in 1990. Wood’s untimely death at the age of 24, only days before his band’s debut album release, shook the close-knit Seattle music scene and remained a source of angst and inspiration for a genre of music that shaped youth culture of the 1990s.When grunge first exploded on the pop culture scene, I was a college student flailing around in pursuit of an English degree I had less passion for than I did for music. I grew up listening to The Beatles and Prince; Led Zeppelin and Miles Davis; David Bowie and Willie Nelson, along with a litany of other artists and musicians crafting the kind of meaningful music I responded to. I didn’t just listen to music, I devoured stories about the musicians, their often hedonistic lifestyles; their processes and epiphanies. The music spoke to my being in the world more than the promise of any college degree. I ran with friends who shared this love of music, often turning me on to new bands or suggesting some obscure song from the past to track down. I picked up my first guitar when John Lennon died on the eve of my eleventh birthday and have played for the past 37 years. I rely on music to relocate my sense of self. Rhythm and melody play out like characters in my life, colluding to make me feel something apart from the mundane, moving me from within. So, when I took notice of grunge music in the fall of 1991, it was love at first listen. As a pop cultural phenomenon, grunge ruptured the music and fashion industries caught off guard by its sudden commercial appeal while the media struggled to galvanize its relevance. As a subculture, grunge rallied around a set of attitudes and values that set the movement apart from mainstream (Latysheva). The grunge sound drew from the nihilism of punk and the head banging gospel of heavy metal, tinged with the swagger of 1970s FM rock running counter to the sleek production of pop radio and hair metal bands. Grunge artists wrote emotionally-laden songs that spoke to a particular generation of youth who identified with lyrics about isolation, anger, and death. Grunge set off new fashion trends in favor of dressing down and sporting the latest in second-hand, thrift store apparel, ripping away the Reagan-era starched white-collared working-class aesthetic of the 1980’s corporate culture. Like their punk forbearers who railed against the status quo and the trappings of success incurred through the mass appeal of their art, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and the rest of the grunge cohort often wrestled with the momentum of their success. Fortunes rained down and the media ordained them rock stars.This auto-ethnography revisits some of the cultural impacts of grunge during its rise to cultural relevance and includes my own reflexive interpretation positioned as a fan of grunge music. I use a particular auto-ethnographic orientation called “interpretive-humanistic autoethnography” (Manning and Adams 192) where, along with archival research (i.e. media articles and journal articles), I will use my own reflexive voice to interpret and describe my personal experiences as a fan of grunge music during its peak of popularity from 1991 up to the death of Cobain in 1994. It is a methodology that works to bridge the personal and popular where “the individual story leaves traces of at least one path through a shifting, transforming, and disappearing cultural landscape” (Neumann 183). Grunge RootsThere are many conflicting stories as to when the word “grunge” was first used to describe the sound of a particular style of alternative music seeping from the dank basem*nts and shoddy rehearsal spaces in towns like Olympia, Aberdeen, and Seattle. Lester Bangs, the preeminent cultural writer and critic of all things punk, pop, and rock in the 1970s was said to have used the word at one time (Yarm), and several musicians lay claim to their use of the word in the 1980s. But it was a small Seattle record label founded in 1988 called Sub Pop Records that first included grunge in their marketing materials to describe “the grittiness of the music and the energy” (Yarm 195).This particular sound grew out of the Pacific Northwest blue-collar environment of logging towns, coastal fisheries, and airplane manufacturing. Seattle’s alternative music scene unfolded as a community of musicians responding to the tucked away isolation of their musty surroundings, apart from the outside world, free to submerge themselves in their own cultural milieu of rock music, rain, and youthful rebellion.Where Seattle stood as a major metropolitan city soaked in rainclouds for much of the year, I was soaking up the desert sun in a rural college town when grunge first leapt into the mainstream. Cattle ranches and cotton fields spread across the open plains of West Texas, painted with pickup trucks, starched Wrangler Jeans, and cowboy hats. This was not my world. I’d arrived the year prior from Houston, Texas, an urban sprawl of four million people, but I found the wide-open landscape a welcome change from the concrete jungle of the big city. Along with cowboy boots and western shirts came country music, and lots of it. Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, George Straight; some of the voices that captured the lifestyle of my small rural town, twangy guitars and fiddles blaring on local radio. While popular country artists recorded for behemoth record labels like Warner Brothers and Sony, the tiny Sub Pop Records championed the grunge sound coming out of the Seattle music scene. Sub Pop became a playground for those who cared about their music and little else. The label cultivated an early following through their Sub Pop Singles Club, mailing seven-inch records to subscribers on a monthly basis promoting new releases from up-and-coming bands. Sub Pop’s stark, black and white logo showed up on records sleeves, posters, and t-shirts, reflecting a no-nonsense DIY-attitude rooted in in the production of loud guitars and heavy drums.Like the bands it represented, Sub Pop did not take itself too seriously when one of their best-selling t-shirts simply read “Loser” embracing the slacker mood of newly minted Generation X’ers born between 1961 and 1981. A July 1990 Time Magazine article described this twenty-something demographic as having “few heroes, no anthems, no style to call their own” suggesting they “possess only a hazy sense of their own identity” (Gross & Scott). As a member of this generation, I purchased and wore my “Loser” t-shirt with pride, especially in ironic response to the local cowboy way of life. I didn’t hold anything personal against the Wrangler wearing Garth Brooks fan but as a twenty-one-year-old reluctant college student, I wanted to rage with contempt for the status quo of my environment with an ambivalent snarl.Grunge in the MainstreamIn 1991, the Seattle sound exploded onto the international music scene with the release of four seminal grunge-era albums over a six-month period. The first arrived in April, Temple of the Dog, a tribute album of sorts to the late Andy Wood, led by his close friend, Soundgarden singer/songwriter, Chris Cornell. In August, Pearl Jam released their debut album, Ten, with its “surprising and refreshing, melodic restraint” (Fricke). The following month, Nirvana’s Nevermind landed in stores. Now on a major record label, DGC Records, the band had arrived “at the crossroads—scrappy garageland warriors setting their sights on a land of giants” (Robbins). October saw the release of Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger as “a runaway train ride of stammering guitar and psycho-jungle telegraph rhythms” (Fricke). These four albums sent grunge culture into the ether with a wall of sound that would upend the music charts and galvanize a depressed concert ticket market.In fall of 1991, grunge landed like a hammer when I witnessed Nirvana’s video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on MTV for the first time. Sonically, the song rang like an anthem for the Gen Xers with its jangly four-chord opening guitar riff signaling the arrival of a youth-oriented call to arms, “here we are now, entertain us” (Nirvana). It was the visual power of seeing a skinny white kid with stringy hair wearing baggy jeans, a striped T-shirt and tennis shoes belting out choruses with a ferociousness typically reserved for black-clad heavy metal headbangers. Cobain’s sound and look didn’t match up. I felt discombobulated, turned sideways, as if vertigo had taken hold and I couldn’t right myself. Stopped in the middle of my tracks on that day, frozen in front of the TV, the subculture of grunge music slammed into my world while I was on my way to the fridge.Suddenly, grunge was everywhere, As Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam albums and performances infiltrated radio, television, and concert halls, there was no shortage of media coverage. From 1992 through 1994, grunge bands were mentioned or featured on the cover of Rolling Stone 33 times (Hillburn). That same year, The New York Times ran the article “Grunge: A Success Story” featuring a short history of the Seattle sound, along with a “lexicon of grunge speak” (Marin), a joke perpetrated by a former 25-year-old Sub Pop employee, Megan Jasper, who never imagined her list of made-up vocabulary given to a New York Times reporter would grace the front page of the style section (Yarm). In their rush to keep up with pervasiveness of grunge culture, even The New York Times fell prey to Gen Xer’s comical cynicism.The circle of friends I ran with were split down the middle between Nirvana and Pearl Jam, a preference for one over the other, as the two bands and their respective front men garnered much of the media attention. Nirvana seemed to appeal to people’s sense of authenticity, perhaps more relatable in their aloofness to mainstream popularity, backed up with Cobain’s simple-yet-brilliant song arrangements and revealing lyrics. Lawrence Grossberg suggests that music fans recognise the difference between authentic and hom*ogenised rock, interpreting and aligning these differences with rock and roll’s association with “resistance, refusal, alienation, marginality, and so on” (62). I tended to gravitate toward Nirvana’s sound, mostly for technical reasons. Nevermind sparkled with aggressive guitar tones while capturing the power and fragility of Cobain’s voice. For many critics, the brilliance of Pearl Jam’s first album suffered from too much echo and reverb muddling the overall production value, but twenty years later they would remix and re-release Ten, correcting these production issues.Grunge FashionAs the music carved out a huge section of the charts, the grunge look was appropriated on fashion runways. When Cobain appeared on MTV wearing a ragged olive green cardigan he’d created a style simply by rummaging through his closet. Vedder and Cornell sported army boots, cargo shorts, and flannel shirts, suitable attire for the overcast climate of the Pacific Northwest, but their everyday garb turned into a fashion trend for Gen Xers that was then milked by designers. In 1992, the editor of Details magazine, James Truman, called grunge “un fashion” (Marin) as stepping out in second-hand clothes ran “counter to the shellacked, flashy aesthetic of 1980s” (Nnadi) for those who preferred “the waif-like look of put-on poverty” (Brady). But it was MTV’s relentless airing of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden videos that sent Gen Xers flocking to malls and thrift-stores in search grunge-like apparel. I purchased a pair of giant, heavyweight Red Wing boots that looked like small cars on my feet, making it difficult to walk, but at least I was prepared for any terrain in all types of weather. The flannel came next; I still wear flannos. Despite its association with dark, murky musical themes, grunge kept me warm and dry.Much of grunge’s appeal to the masses was that it was not gender-specific; men and women dressed to appear unimpressed, sharing a taste for shapeless garments and muted colors without reference to stereotypical masculine or feminine styles. Cobain “allowed his own sexuality to be called into question by often wearing dresses and/or makeup on stage, in film clips, and on photo shoots, and wrote explicitly feminist songs, such as ‘Sappy’ or ‘Been a Son’” (Strong 403). I remember watching Pearl Jam’s 1992 performance on MTV Unplugged, seeing Eddie Vedder scrawl the words “Pro Choice” in black marker on his arm in support of women’s rights while his lyrics in songs like “Daughter”, “Better Man”, and “Why Go” reflected an equitable, humanistic if somewhat tragic perspective. Females and males moshed alongside one another, sharing the same spaces while experiencing and voicing their own response to grunge’s aggressive sound. Unlike the hypersexualised hair-metal bands of the 1980s whose aesthetic motifs often portrayed women as conquests or as powerless décor, the message of grunge rock avoided gender exploitation. As the ‘90s unfolded, underground feminist punk bands of the riot grrrl movement like Bikini Kill, L7, and Babes in Toyland expressed female empowerment with raging vocals and buzz-saw guitars that paved the way for Hole, Sleater-Kinney and other successful female-fronted grunge-era bands. The Decline of GrungeIn 1994, Kurt Cobain appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine in memoriam after committing suicide in the greenhouse of his Seattle home. Mass media quickly spread the news of his passing internationally. Two days after his death, 7,000 fans gathered at Seattle Center to listen to a taped recording of Courtney Love, Cobain’s wife, a rock star in her own right, reading the suicide note he left behind.A few days after Cobain’s suicide, I found myself rolling down the highway with a carload of friends, one of my favorite Nirvana tunes, “Come As You Are” fighting through static. I fiddled with the radio to clear up the signal. The conversation turned to Cobain as we cobbled together the details of his death. I remember the chatter quieting down, Cobain’s voice fading as we gazed out the window at the empty terrain passing. In that reflective moment, I felt like I had experienced an intense, emotional relationship that came to an abrupt end. This “illusion of intimacy” (Horton and Wohl 217) between myself and Cobain elevated the loss I felt with his passing even though I had no intimate, personal ties to him. I counted this person as a friend (Giles 284) because I so closely identified with his words and music. I could not help but feel sad, even angry that he’d decided to end his life.Fueled by depression and a heroin addiction, Cobain’s death signaled an end to grunge’s collective appeal while shining a spotlight on one of the more dangerous aspects of its ethos. A 1992 Rolling Stone article mentioned that several of Seattle’s now-famous international musicians used heroin and “The feeling around town is, the drug is a disaster waiting to happen” (Azzerad). In 2002, eight years to the day of Cobain’s death, Layne Staley, lead singer of Alice In Chains, another seminal grunge outfit, was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose (Wiederhorn). When Cornell took his own life in 2017 after a long battle with depression, The Washington Post said, “The story of grunge is also one of death” (Andrews). The article included a Tweet from a grieving fan that read “The voices I grew up with: Andy Wood, Layne Staley, Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain…only Eddie Vedder is left. Let that sink in” (@ThatEricAlper).ConclusionThe grunge movement of the early 1990s emerged out of musical friendships content to be on their own, on the outside, reflecting a sense of isolation and alienation in the music they made. As Cornell said, “We’ve always been fairly reclusive and damaged” (Foege). I felt much the same way in those days, sequestered in the desert, planting my grunge flag in the middle of country music territory, doing what I could to resist the status quo. Cobain, Cornell, Staley, and Vedder wrote about their own anxieties in a way that felt intimate and relatable, forging a bond with their fan base. Christopher Perricone suggests, “the relationship of an artist and audience is a collaborative one, a love relationship in the sense, a friendship” (200). In this way, grunge would become a shared memory among friends who rode the wave of this cultural phenomenon all the way through to its tragic consequences. But the music has survived. Along with my flannel shirts and Red Wing boots.References@ThatEricAlper (Eric Alper). “The voices I grew up with: Andy Wood, Layne Staley, Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain…only Eddie Vedder is left. Let that sink in.” Twitter, 18 May 2017, 02:41. 15 Sep. 2018 <https://twitter.com/ThatEricAlper/status/865140400704675840?ref_src>.Andrews, Travis M. “After Chris Cornell’s Death: ‘Only Eddie Vedder Is Left. Let That Sink In.’” The Washington Post, 19 May 2017. 29 Aug. 2018 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/newsmorning-mix/wp/2017/05/19/after-chris-cornells-death-only-eddie-vedder-is-left-let-that-sink-in>.Azzerad, Michael. “Grunge City: The Seattle Scene.” Rolling Stone, 16 Apr. 1992. 20 Aug. 2018 <https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/grunge-city-the-seattle-scene-250071/>.Brady, Diane. “Kids, Clothes and Conformity: Teens Fashion and Their Back-to-School Looks.” Maclean’s, 6 Sep. 1993. Brodeur, Nicole. “Chris Cornell: Soundgarden’s Dark Knight of the Grunge-Music Scene.” Seattle Times, 18 May 2017. 20 Aug. 2018 <https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/music/chris-cornell-soundgardens-dark-knight-of-the-grunge-music-scene/>.Ellis, Carolyn, and Arthur P. Bochner. “Autoethnography, Personal Narrative, Reflexivity: Researcher as Subject.” Handbook of Qualitative Research. 2nd ed. Eds. Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000. 733-768.Foege, Alec. “Chris Cornell: The Rolling Stone Interview.” Rolling Stone, 28 Dec. 1994. 12 Sep. 2018 <https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/chris-cornell-the-rolling-stone-interview-79108/>.Fricke, David. “Ten.” Rolling Stone, 12 Dec. 1991. 18 Sep. 2018 <https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/ten-251421/>.Giles, David. “Parasocial Interactions: A Review of the Literature and a Model for Future Research.” Media Psychology 4 (2002): 279-305.Giles, Jeff. “The Poet of Alientation.” Newsweek, 17 Apr. 1994, 4 Sep. 2018 <https://www.newsweek.com/poet-alienation-187124>.Gross, D.M., and S. Scott. Proceding with Caution. Time, 16 July 1990. 3 Sep. 2018 <http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,155010,00.html>.Grossberg, Lawrence. “Is There a Fan in the House? The Affective Sensibility of Fandom. The Adoring Audience” Fan Culture and Popular Media. Ed. Lisa A. Lewis. New York, NY: Routledge, 1992. 50-65.Hillburn, Robert. “The Rise and Fall of Grunge.” Los Angeles Times, 21 May 1998. 20 Aug. 2018 <http://articles.latimes.com/1998/may/31/entertainment/ca-54992>.Horton, Donald, and R. Richard Wohl. “Mass Communication and Para-Social Interactions: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance.” Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Process 19 (1956): 215-229.Latysheva, T.V. “The Essential Nature and Types of the Youth Subculture Phenomenon.” Russian Education and Society 53 (2011): 73–88.Manning, Jimmie, and Tony Adams. “Popular Culture Studies and Autoethnography: An Essay on Method.” The Popular Culture Studies Journal 3.1-2 (2015): 187-222.Marin, Rick. “Grunge: A Success Story.” New York Times, 15 Nov. 1992. 12 Sep. 2018 <https://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/15/style/grunge-a-success-story.html>.Neumann, Mark. “Collecting Ourselves at the End of the Century.” Composing Ethnography: Alternative Forms of Qualitative Writing. Eds. Carolyn Ellis and Arthur P. Bochner. London: Alta Mira Press, 1996. 172-198.Nirvana. "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Nevermind, Geffen, 1991.Nnadi, Chioma. “Why Kurt Cobain Was One of the Most Influential Style Icons of Our Times.” Vogue, 8 Apr. 2014. 15 Aug. 2018 <https://www.vogue.com/article/kurt-cobain-legacy-of-grunge-in-fashion>.Perricone, Christopher. “Artist and Audience.” The Journal of Value Inquiry 24 (2012). 12 Sep. 2018 <https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF00149433.pdf>.Robbins, Ira. “Ten.” Rolling Stone, 12 Dec. 1991. 15 Aug. 2018 <https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/ten-25142>.Strong, Catherine. “Grunge, Riott Grrl and the Forgetting of Women in Popular Culture.” The Journal of Popular Culture 44.2 (2011): 398-416. Wiederhorn, Jon. “Remembering Layne Staley: The Other Great Seattle Musician to Die on April 5.” MTV, 4 June 2004. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.mtv.com/news/1486206/remembering-layne-staley-the-other-great-seattle-musician-to-die-on-april-5/>.Yarm, Mark. Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge. Three Rivers Press, 2011.

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Hill, Wes. "Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers: From Alternative to Hipster." M/C Journal 20, no.1 (March15, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1192.

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Abstract:

IntroductionThe 2009 American film Trash Humpers, directed by Harmony Korine, was released at a time when the hipster had become a ubiquitous concept, entering into the common vernacular of numerous cultures throughout the world, and gaining significant press, social media and academic attention (see Žižek; Arsel and Thompson; Greif et al.; Stahl; Ouellette; Reeve; Schiermer; Maly and Varis). Trash Humpers emerged soon after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis triggered Occupy movements in numerous cities, aided by social media platforms, reported on by blogs such as Gawker, and stylized by multi-national youth-subculture brands such as Vice, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters and a plethora of localised variants.Korine’s film, which is made to resemble found VHS footage of old-aged vandals, epitomises the ironic, retro stylizations and “counterculture-meets-kitsch” aesthetics so familiar to hipster culture. As a creative stereotype from 1940s and ‘50s jazz and beatnik subcultures, the hipster re-emerged in the twenty-first century as a negative embodiment of alternative culture in the age of the Internet. As well as plumbing the recent past for things not yet incorporated into contemporary marketing mechanisms, the hipster also signifies the blurring of irony and authenticity. Such “outsiderness as insiderness” postures can be regarded as a continuation of the marginality-from-the-centre logic of cool capitalism that emerged after World War Two. Particularly between 2007 and 2015, the post-postmodern concept of the hipster was a resonant cultural trope in Western and non-Western cultures alike, coinciding with the normalisation of the new digital terrain and the establishment of mobile social media as an integral aspect of many people’s daily lives. While Korine’s 79-minute feature could be thought of as following in the schlocky footsteps of the likes of Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects (2006), it is decidedly more arthouse, and more attuned to the influence of contemporary alternative media brands and independent film history alike – as if the love child of Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures (1963) and Vice Video, the latter having been labelled as “devil-may-care hipsterism” (Carr). Upon release, Trash Humpers was described by Gene McHugh as “a mildly hip take on Jackass”; by Mike D’Angelo as “an empty hipster pose”; and by Aaron Hillis as either “the work of an insincere hipster or an eccentric provocateur”. Lacking any semblance of a conventional plot, Trash Humpers essentially revolves around four elderly-looking protagonists – three men and a woman – who document themselves with a low-quality video camera as they go about behaving badly in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, where Korine still lives. They cackle eerily to themselves as they try to stave off boredom, masturbating frantically on rubbish bins, defecating and drinking alcohol in public, fellating foliage, smashing televisions, playing ten-pin bowling, lighting firecrackers and telling gay “hate” jokes to camera with no punchlines. In one purposefully undramatic scene half-way through the film, the humpers are shown in the aftermath of an attack on a man wearing a French maid’s outfit; he lies dead in a pool of blood on their kitchen floor with a hammer at his feet. The humpers are consummate “bad” performers in every sense of the term, and they are joined by a range of other, apparently lower-class, misfits with whom they stage tap dance routines and repetitively sing nursery-rhyme-styled raps such as: “make it, make it, don’t break it; make it, make it, don’t fake it; make it, make it, don’t take it”, which acts as a surrogate theme song for the film. Korine sometimes depicts his main characters on crutches or in a wheelchair, and a baby doll is never too far away from the action, as a silent and Surrealist witness to their weird, sinister and sometimes very funny exploits. The film cuts from scene to scene as if edited on a video recorder, utilising in-house VHS titling sequences, audio glitches and video static to create the sense that one is engaging voyeuristically with a found video document rather than a scripted movie. Mainstream AlternativesAs a viewer of Trash Humpers, one has to try hard to suspend disbelief if one is to see the humpers as genuine geriatric peeping Toms rather than as hipsters in old-man masks trying to be rebellious. However, as Korine’s earlier films such as Gummo (1997) attest, he clearly delights in blurring the line between failure and transcendence, or, in this case, between pretentious art-school bravado and authentic redneck ennui. As noted in a review by Jeannette Catsoulis, writing for the New York Times: “Much of this is just so much juvenile posturing, but every so often the screen freezes into something approximating beauty: a blurry, spaced-out, yellow-green landscape, as alien as an ancient photograph”. Korine has made a career out of generating this wavering uncertainty in his work, polarising audiences with a mix of critical, cinema-verité styles and cynical exploitations. His work has consistently revelled in ethical ambiguities, creating environments where teenagers take Ritalin for kicks, kill cats, wage war with their families and engage in acts of sexual deviancy – all of which are depicted with a photographer’s eye for the uncanny.The elusive and contradictory aspects of Korine’s work – at once ugly and beautiful, abstract and commercial, pessimistic and nostalgic – are evident not just in films such as Gummo, Julien Donkey Boy (1999) and Mister Lonely (2007) but also in his screenplay for Kids (1995), his performance-like appearances on The Tonight Show with David Letterman (1993-2015) and in publications such as A Crackup at the Race Riots (1998) and Pass the Bitch Chicken (2001). As well as these outputs, Korine is also a painter who is represented by Gagosian Gallery – one of the world’s leading art galleries – and he has directed numerous music videos, documentaries and commercials throughout his career. More than just update of the traditional figure of the auteur, Korine, instead, resembles a contemporary media artist whose avant-garde and grotesque treatments of Americana permeate almost everything he does. Korine wrote the screenplay for Kids when he was just 19, and subsequently built his reputation on the paradoxical mainstreaming of alternative culture in the 1990s. This is exemplified by the establishment of music and film genres such “alternative” and “independent”; the popularity of the slacker ethos attributed to Generation X; the increased visibility of alternative press zines; the birth of grunge in fashion and music; and the coining of “cool hunting” – a bottom-up market research phenomenon that aimed to discover new trends in urban subcultures for the purpose of mass marketing. Key to “alternative culture”, and its related categories such as “indie” and “arthouse”, is the idea of evoking artistic authenticity while covertly maintaining a parasitic relationship with the mainstream. As Holly Kruse notes in her account of the indie music scenes of the 1990s, which gained tremendous popularity in the wake of grunge bands such as Nirvana: without dominant, mainstream musics against which to react, independent music cannot be independent. Its existence depends upon dominant music structures and practices against which to define itself. Indie music has therefore been continually engaged in an economic and ideological struggle in which its ‘outsider’ status is re-examined, re-defined, and re-articulated to sets of musical practices. (Kruse 149)Alternative culture follows a similar, highly contentious, logic, appearing as a nebulous, authentic and artistic “other” whose exponents risk being entirely defined by the mainstream markets they profess to oppose. Kids was directed by the artist cum indie-director Larry Clark, who discovered Korine riding his skateboard with a group of friends in New York’s Washington Square in the early 1990s, before commissioning him to write a script. The then subcultural community of skating – which gained prominence in the 1990s amidst the increased visibility of “alternative sports” – provides an important backdrop to the film, which documents a group of disaffected New York teenagers at a time of the Aids crisis in America. Korine has been active in promoting the DIY ethos, creativity and anti-authoritarian branding of skate culture since this time – an industry that, in its attempts to maintain a non-mainstream profile while also being highly branded, has become emblematic of the category of “alternative culture”. Korine has undertaken commercial projects with an array skate-wear brands, but he is particularly associated with Supreme, a so-called “guerrilla fashion” label originating in 1994 that credits Clark and other 1990s indie darlings, and Korine cohorts, Chloë Sevigny and Terry Richardson, as former models and collaborators (Williams). The company is well known for its designer skateboard decks, its collaborations with prominent contemporary visual artists, its hip-hop branding and “inscrutable” web videos. It is also well known for its limited runs of new clothing lines, which help to stoke demand through one-offs – blending street-wear accessibility with the restricted-market and anti-authoritarian sensibility of avant-garde art.Of course, “alternative culture” poses a notorious conundrum for analysis, involving highly subjective demarcations of “mainstream” from “subversive” culture, not to mention “genuine subversion” from mere “corporate alternatives”. As Pierre Bourdieu has argued, the roots of alternative culture lie in the Western tradition of the avant-garde and the “aesthetic gaze” that developed in the nineteenth century (Field 36). In analysing the modernist notion of advanced cultural practice – where art is presented as an alternative to bourgeois academic taste and to the common realm of cultural commodities – Bourdieu proposed a distinction between two types of “fields”, or logics of cultural production. Alternative culture follows what Bourdieu called “the field of restricted production”, which adheres to “art for art’s sake” ideals, where audiences are targeted as if like-minded peers (Field 50). In contrast, the “field of large-scale production” reflects the commercial imperatives of mainstream culture, in which goods are produced for the general public at large. The latter field of large-scale production tends to service pre-established markets, operating in response to public demand. Furthermore, whereas success in the field of restricted production is often indirect, and latent – involving artists who create niche markets without making any concessions to those markets – success in the field of large-scale production is typically more immediate and quantifiable (Field 39). Here we can see that central to the branding of “alternative culture” is the perceived refusal to conform to popular taste and the logic of capitalism more generally is. As Supreme founder James Jebbia stated about his brand in a rare interview: “The less known the better” (Williams). On this, Bourdieu states that, in the field of restricted production, the fundamental principles of all ordinary economies are inversed to create a “loser wins” scenario (Field 39). Profit and cultural esteem become detrimental attributes in this context, potentially tainting the integrity and marginalisation on which alternative products depend. As one ironic hipster t-shirt puts it: “Nothing is any good if other people like it” (Diesel Sweeties).Trash HipstersIn abandoning linear narrative for rough assemblages of vignettes – or “moments” – recorded with an unsteady handheld camera, Trash Humpers positions itself in ironic opposition to mainstream filmmaking, refusing the narrative arcs and unwritten rules of Hollywood film, save for its opening and closing credits. Given Korine’s much publicized appreciation of cinema pioneers, we can understand Trash Humpers as paying homage to independent and DIY film history, including Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, William Eggleston’s Stranded in Canton (1973), Andy Warhol’s and Paul Morrissey’s Lonesome Cowboys (1967) and Trash (1970), and John Waters’s Pink Flamingos (1972), all of which jubilantly embraced the “bad” aesthetic of home movies. Posed as fantasized substitutions for mainstream movie-making, such works were also underwritten by the legitimacy of camp as a form of counter-culture critique, blurring parody and documentary to give voice to an array of non-mainstream and counter-cultural identities. The employment of camp in postmodern culture became known not merely as an aesthetic subversion of cultural mores but also as “a gesture of self-legitimation” (Derrida 290), its “failed seriousness” regarded as a critical response to the specific historical problem of being a “culturally over-saturated” subject (Sontag 288).The significant difference between Korine’s film and those of his 1970s-era forbears is precisely the attention he pays to the formal aspects of his medium, revelling in analogue editing glitches to the point of fetishism, in some cases lasting as long as the scenes themselves. Consciously working out-of-step with the media of his day, Trash Humpers in imbued with nostalgia from its very beginning. Whereas Smith, Eggleston, Warhol, Morrissey and Waters blurred fantasy and documentary in ways that raised the social and political identities of their subjects, Korine seems much more interested in “trash” as an aesthetic trope. In following this interest, he rightfully pays homage to the tropes of queer cinema, however, he conveniently leaves behind their underlying commentaries about (hetero-) normative culture. A sequence where the trash humpers visit a whor*house and amuse themselves by smoking cigars and slapping the ample bottoms of prostitutes in G-strings confirms the heterosexual tenor of the film, which is reiterated throughout by numerous deadpan gay jokes and slurs.Trash Humpers can be understood precisely in terms of Korine’s desire to maintain the aesthetic imperatives of alternative culture, where formal experimentation and the subverting of mainstream genres can provide a certain amount of freedom from explicated meaning, and, in particular, from socio-political commentary. Bourdieu rightly points out how the pleasures of the aesthetic gaze often manifest themselves curiously as form of “deferred pleasure” (353) or “pleasure without enjoyment” (495), which corresponds to Immanuel Kant’s notion of the disinterested nature of aesthetic judgement. Aesthetic dispositions posed in the negative – as in the avant-garde artists who mined primitive and ugly cultural stereotypes – typically use as reference points “facile” or “vulgar” (393) working-class tropes that refer negatively to sensuous pleasure as their major criterion of judgment. For Bourdieu, the pleasures provided by the aesthetic gaze in such instances are not sensual pleasures so much as the pleasures of social distinction – signifying the author’s distance from taste as a form of gratification. Here, it is easy to see how the orgiastic central characters in Trash Humpers might be employed by Korine for a similar end-result. As noted by Jeremiah Kipp in a review of the film: “You don't ‘like’ a movie like Trash Humpers, but I’m very happy such films exist”. Propelled by aesthetic, rather than by social, questions of value, those that “get” the obscure works of alternative culture have a tendency to legitimize them on the basis of the high-degree of formal analysis skills they require. For Bourdieu, this obscures the fact that one’s aesthetic “‘eye’ is a product of history reproduced by education” – a privileged mode of looking, estranged from those unfamiliar with the internal logic of decoding presupposed by the very notion of “aesthetic enjoyment” (2).The rhetorical priority of alternative culture is, in Bourdieu’s terms, the “autonomous” perfection of the form rather than the “heteronomous” attempt to monopolise on it (Field 40). However, such distinctions are, in actuality, more nuanced than Bourdieu sometimes assumed. This is especially true in the context of global digital culture, which makes explicit how the same cultural signs can have vastly different meanings and motivations across different social contexts. This has arguably resulted in the destabilisation of prescriptive analyses of cultural taste, and has contributed to recent “post-critical” advances, in which academics such as Bruno Latour and Rita Felski advocate for cultural analyses and practices that promote relationality and attachment rather than suspicious (critical) dispositions towards marginal and popular subjects alike. Latour’s call for a move away from the “sledge hammer” of critique applies as much to cultural practice as it does to written analysis. Rather than maintaining hierarchical oppositions between authentic versus inauthentic taste, Latour understands culture – and the material world more generally – as having agency alongside, and with, that of the social world.Hipsters with No AlternativeIf, as Karl Spracklen suggests, alternativism is thought of “as a political project of resistance to capitalism, with communicative oppositionality as its defining feature” (254), it is clear that there has been a progressive waning in relevance of the category of “alternative culture” in the age of the Internet, which coincides with the triumph of so-called “neoliberal individualism” (258). To this end, Korine has lost some of his artistic credibility over the course of the 2000s. If viewed negatively, icons of 1990s alternative culture such as Korine can be seen as merely exploiting Dada-like techniques of mimetic exacerbation and symbolic détournement for the purpose of alternative, “arty” branding rather than pertaining to a counter-hegemonic cultural movement (Foster 31). It is within this context of heightened scepticism surrounding alternative culture that the hipster stereotype emerged in cultures throughout the world, as if a contested symbol of the aesthetic gaze in an era of neoliberal identity politics. Whatever the psychological motivations underpinning one’s use of the term, to call someone a hipster is typically to point out that their distinctive alternative or “arty” status appears overstated; their creative decisions considered as if a type of bathos. For detractors of alternative cultural producers such as Korine, he is trying too hard to be different, using the stylised codes of “alternative” to conceal what is essentially his cultural and political immaturity. The hipster – who is rarely ever self-identified – re-emerged in the 2000s to operate as a scapegoat for inauthentic markers of alternative culture, associated with men and women who appear to embrace Realpolitik, sincerity and authentic expressions of identity while remaining tethered to irony, autonomous aesthetics and self-design. Perhaps the real irony of the hipster is the pervasiveness of irony in contemporary culture. R. J Magill Jnr. has argued that “a certain cultural bitterness legitimated through trenchant disbelief” (xi) has come to define the dominant mode of political engagement in many societies since the early 2000s, in response to mass digital information, twenty-four-hour news cycles, and the climate of suspicion produced by information about terrorism threats. He analyses the prominence of political irony in American TV shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Simpsons, South Park, The Chappelle Show and The Colbert Report but he also notes its pervasiveness as a twenty-first-century worldview – a distancing that “paradoxically and secretly preserves the ideals of sincerity, honesty and authenticity by momentarily belying its own appearance” (x). Crucially, then, the utterance “hipster” has come to signify instances when irony and aesthetic distance are perceived to have been taken too far, generating the most disdain from those for whom irony, aesthetic discernment and cultural connoisseurship still provide much-needed moments of disconnection from capitalist cultures drowning in commercial hyperbole and grave news hype. Korine himself has acknowledged that Spring Breakers (2013) – his follow-up feature film to Trash Humpers – was created in response to the notion that “alternative culture”, once a legitimate challenge to mainstream taste, had lost its oppositional power with the decentralization of digital culture. He states that he made Spring Breakers at a moment “when there’s no such thing as high or low, it’s all been exploded. There is no underground or above-ground, there’s nothing that’s alternative. We’re at a point of post-everything, so it’s all about finding the spirit inside, and the logic, and making your own connections” (Hawker). In this context, we can understand Trash Humpers as the last of the Korine films to be branded with the authenticity of alternative culture. In Spring Breakers Korine moved from the gritty low-fi sensibility of his previous films and adopted a more digital, light-filled and pastel-coloured palette. Focussing more conventionally on plot than ever before, Spring Breakers follows four college girls who hold up a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation. Critic Michael Chaiken noted that the film marks a shift in Korine’s career, from the alternative stylings of the pre-Internet generation to “the cultural heirs [of] the doomed protagonists of Kids: nineties babies, who grew up with the Internet, whose sensibilities have been shaped by the sweeping technological changes that have taken place in the interval between the Clinton and Obama eras” (33).By the end of the 2000s, an entire generation came of age having not experienced a time when the obscure films, music or art of the past took more effort to track down. Having been a key participant in the branding of alternative culture, Korine is in a good position to recall a different, pre-YouTube time – when cultural discernment was still caught up in the authenticity of artistic identity, and when one’s cultural tastes could still operate with a certain amount of freedom from sociological scrutiny. Such ideas seem a long way away from today’s cultural environments, which have been shaped not only by digital media’s promotion of cultural interconnection and mass information, but also by social media’s emphasis on mobilization and ethical awareness. ConclusionI should reiterate here that is not Korine’s lack of seriousness, or irony, alone that marks Trash Humpers as a response to the scepticism surrounding alternative culture symbolised by the figure of the hipster. It is, rather, that Korine’s mock-documentary about juvenile geriatrics works too hard to obscure its implicit social commentary, appearing driven to condemn contemporary capitalism’s exploitations of youthfulness only to divert such “uncool” critical commentaries through unsubtle formal distractions, visual poetics and “bad boy” avant-garde signifiers of authenticity. Before being bludgeoned to death, the unnamed man in the French maid’s outfit recites a poem on a bridge amidst a barrage of fire crackers let off by a nearby humper in a wheelchair. Although easily overlooked, it could, in fact, be a pivotal scene in the film. Spoken with mock high-art pretentions, the final lines of the poem are: So what? Why, I ask, why? Why castigate these creatures whose angelic features are bumping and grinding on trash? Are they not spawned by our greed? Are they not our true seed? Are they not what we’ve bought for our cash? We’ve created this lot, of the ooze and the rot, deliberately and unabashed. Whose orgiastic elation and one mission in creation is to savagely fornicate TRASH!Here, the character’s warning of capitalist overabundance is drowned out by the (aesthetic) shocks of the fire crackers, just as the stereotypical hipster’s ethical ideals are drowned out by their aesthetic excess. The scene also functions as a metaphor for the humpers themselves, whose elderly masks – embodiments of nostalgia – temporarily suspend their real socio-political identities for the sake of role-play. It is in this sense that Trash Humpers is too enamoured with its own artifices – including its anonymous “boys club” mentality – to suggest anything other than the aesthetic distance that has come to mark the failings of the “alternative culture” category. In such instances, alternative taste appears as a rhetorical posture, with Korine asking us to gawk knowingly at the hedonistic and destructive pleasures pursued by the humpers while factoring in, and accepting, our likely disapproval.ReferencesArsel, Zeynep, and Craig J. Thompson. “Demythologizing Consumption Practices: How Consumers Protect Their Field-Dependent Identity Investments from Devaluing Marketplace Myths.” Journal of Consumer Research 37.5 (2011): 791-806.Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Trans. Richard Nice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984.Bourdieu, Pierre. The Field of Cultural Production Essays on Art and Literature. Edited by Randal Johnson. London: Polity Press, 1993.Carr, David. “Its Edge Intact, Vice Is Chasing Hard News.” New York Times 24 Aug. 2014. 12 Nov. 2016 <https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/25/business/media/its-edge-intact-vice-is-chasing-hard-news-.html>.Catsoulis, Jeannette. “Geriatric Delinquents, Rampaging through Suburbia.” New York Times 6 May 2010. 1` Nov. 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/movies/07trash.html>.Chaiken, Michael. “The Dream Life.” Film Comment (Mar./Apr. 2013): 30-33.D’Angelo, Mike. “Trash Humpers.” Not Coming 18 Sep. 2009. 12 Nov. 2016 <http://www.notcoming.com/reviews/trashhumpers>.Derrida, Jacques. Positions. London: Athlone, 1981.Diesel Sweeties. 1 Nov. 2016 <https://store.dieselsweeties.com/products/nothing-is-any-good-if-other-people-like-it-shirt>.Felski, Rita. The Limits of Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.Greif, Mark. What Was the Hipster? A Sociological Investigation. New York: n+1 Foundation, 2010.Hawker, Philippa. “Telling Tales Out of School.” Sydney Morning Herald 4 May 2013. 12 Nov. 2016 <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/telling-tales-out-of-school-20130503-2ixc3.html>.Hillis, Aaron. “Harmony Korine on Trash Humpers.” IFC 6 May 2009. 12 Nov. 2016 <http://www.ifc.com/2010/05/harmony-korine-2>.Jay Magill Jr., R. Chic Ironic Bitterness. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007.Kipp, Jeremiah. “Clean Off the Dirt, Scrape Off the Blood: An Interview with Trash Humpers Director Harmony Korine.” Slant Magazine 18 Mar. 2011. 1 Nov. 2016 <http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/article/clean-off-the-dirt-scrape-off-the-blood-an-interview-with-trash-humpers-director-harmony-korine>.Latour, Bruno. “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Inquiry 30.2 (2004): 225-248.Maly, Ico, and Varis, Piia. “The 21st-Century Hipster: On Micro-Populations in Times of Superdiversity.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 19.6 (2016): 637–653.McHugh, Gene. “Monday May 10th 2010.” Post Internet. New York: Lulu Press, 2010.Ouellette, Marc. “‘I Know It When I See It’: Style, Simulation and the ‘Short-Circuit Sign’.” Semiotic Review 3 (2013): 1–15.Reeve, Michael. “The Hipster as the Postmodern Dandy: Towards an Extensive Study.” 2013. 12 Nov. 2016. <http://www.academia.edu/3589528/The_hipster_as_the_postmodern_dandy_towards_an_extensive_study>.Schiermer, Bjørn. “Late-Modern Hipsters: New Tendencies in Popular Culture.” Acta Sociologica 57.2 (2014): 167–181.Sontag, Susan. “Notes on Camp.” Against Interpretation. New York: Octagon, 1964/1982. 275-92. Stahl, Geoff. “Mile-End Hipsters and the Unmasking of Montreal’s Proletaroid Intelligentsia; Or How a Bohemia Becomes BOHO.” Adam Art Gallery, Apr. 2010. 12 May 2015 <http://www.adamartgallery.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/adamartgallery_vuwsalecture_geoffstahl.pdf>.Williams, Alex. “Guerrilla Fashion: The Story of Supreme.” New York Times 21 Nov. 2012. 1 Nov. 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/fashion/guerrilla-fashion-the-story-of-supreme.html>.Žižek, Slavoj. “L’Etat d’Hipster.” Rhinocerotique. Trans. Henry Brulard. Sep. 2009. 3-10.

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Dwyer, Simon. "Highlighting the Build: Using Lighting to Showcase the Sydney Opera House." M/C Journal 20, no.2 (April26, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1184.

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Abstract:

IntroductionThe Sydney Opera House is Australia’s, if not the world’s, most recognisable building. It is universally recognised as an architectural icon and as a masterpiece of the built environment, which has captured the imagination of many (Commonwealth of Australia 4). The construction of the Sydney Opera House, between 1959 and 1973, utilised many ground-breaking methods and materials which, together, pushed the boundaries of technical possibilities to the limits of human knowledge at the time (Commonwealth of Australia 36, 45). Typical investigations into the Sydney Opera House focus on its architects, the materials, construction, or the events that occur on its stages. The role of the illumination, in the perception and understanding of Australia’s most famous performing arts centre, is an under-investigated aspect of its construction and its use today (Dwyer Backstage Biography 1; Dwyer “Utzon’s Use” 131).This article examines the illumination of the Sydney Opera House from the perspective of light as a construction material, another element that is used to ‘build’ the structure on Bennelong Point. This article examines the illumination from an historical view as Jørn Utzon’s (1918-2008) concepts for the building, including the lighting design intentions, were not all realised as he did not complete the project. The task of finishing this structure was allocated to the architectural cooperative of Hall, Todd & Littlemore who replaced Utzon in 1966. The Danish-born Utzon was appointed in January 1957 having won an international competition, from a field of over 230 entries, to design a national opera house for Sydney. He quickly began the task of resolving his design, transforming the roughly-sketched concepts presented in his competition entry, into detailed drawings that articulated how the opera house would be realised. The iteration of these concepts can be most succinctly identified in Utzon’s formal design reports to the Opera House Committee which are often referred to based on the colour of their cover design. The first report, the ‘red book’ was issued in 1958 with further developments of the architectural and services designs outlined in the ‘yellow book’ which followed in 1962. The last of the original architects’ publications was the Utzon Design Principles (2002) which was created as part of the reengagement process—between the Government of New South Wales and the Sydney Opera House with the original architect—that commenced in 1999.As with many modern buildings (such as Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center, Richard Meier’s Jubilee Church or Adrian D. Smith’ Burj Khalifa), concrete was selected to form the basic structural element of the Sydney Opera House. Working with the, now internationally-renowned, engineering firm Ove Arup and Partners, Utzon designed some of the most significant shapes and finishes that have become synonymous with the site. The concrete elements range from basic blade walls with lustrous finishes to the complex, shape-changing beams that rise from under the monumental stairs and climb to terminate in the southern foyers. Thus, demonstrating the use of concrete as both a structural element and a high quality architectural finish. Another product used throughout the Sydney Opera House is granite. As a hardwearing stone, it is used in a crushed form as part of the precast panels that line the walls and internal flooring and as setts on the forecourt. As with the concrete the use of the same material inside and out blurs the distinction between interior and exterior. The forecourt forms a wide-open plaza before the building rises like a headland as it meets the harbour. The final, and most recognisable element is that of the shell (or roof) tiles. After many years of research Utzon settled on a simple mix of gloss and matt tiles of approximately 120mm square that, carefully arranged, produced a chevron shaped ‘lid’ and results in an effect likened to snow and ice (Commonwealth of Australia 51).These construction elements would all remain invisible if not illuminated by light, natural or artificial. This paper posits that the illumination reinforces the architecture of the structure and extends the architectural and experiential narratives of the Sydney Opera House across time and space. That, light is—like concrete, granite and tiles—a critical component of the Opera House’s build.Building a Narrative with LightIn creating the Sydney Opera House, Utzon set about harnessing natural and artificial illumination that are intrinsic parts of the human condition. Light shapes every facet of our lives from defining working and leisure hours to providing the mechanism for high speed communications and is, therefore, an obvious choice to reinforce the structure of the building and to link the built environment with the natural world that enveloped his creation. Light was to play a major role in the narrative of the Sydney Opera House starting from a patron’s approach to the site.Utzon’s staged approach to a performance at the Sydney Opera House is well documented, from the opening passages of the Descriptive Narrative (Utzon 1-2) to the Lighting Master Plan (Steensen Varming). The role of artificial light in the preparation of the audience extends beyond the simple visibility necessary to navigate the site. Light provides a linking element that guides an audience member along their ‘journey’ through several phases of transformation from the physicality of the city on the forecourt to “another world–a make believe atmosphere, which will exclude all outside impressions and allow the patrons to be absorbed into the theatre mood, which the actors and the producers wish to create” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 2) in the theatres. Utzon conceived of light as part of the storytelling process, expressing the building’s narrative in a way that allows illumination is to be so much more than signposts to points of activity such as cloaking areas, theatre entries and the like. The lighting was intended to delineate various stages on the ‘journey’ noted above, to reinforce the transition from one world to another such that the combination of light and architecture would provide a series of successive stimuli that would build until the crescendo of the performance itself. This supports the transition of the visitor from the world of the everyday into the narrative of the Sydney Opera House and a world of make believe. Yet, in providing a narrative between these two ‘worlds’ the lighting becomes an anchor—or an element held in suspension – a mediator in the tension between the city at the beginning of the ‘journey’ and the ‘other world’ of the performance at the end. There is a balance to be maintained between illuminating the Sydney Opera House so that it remains prominent in its harbour location, easily read as a distinct sculptural structure on the peninsular separate from, but still an essential part of, the city that lies beyond Circular Quay to the south. Utzon alludes to the challenges of crafting the illumination so that it meets these requirements, noting that the illumination of the broardwalks “must be compatible with the lighting on the approach roads” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 68) while maintaining that “the floodlit building will be the first and last impression for [… an audience] to receive” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 1). These lighting requirements are also tempered by the desire that the “night time [...] view will be all lights and reflections, [that] stretch all along the harbour for many miles” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 1) reinforcing the use of light as an anchor that provides both a point of reference and serves as a mediator of the Sydney Opera House’s place within the city.The narrative of the materials and elements that are combined to give the final, physical form its striking sensory presence is also told through light, in particular colour. Or, perhaps more precisely in an illumination sense, the accurate reproduction of colour and by extension accurate presentation of the construction materials used in the creation of the Sydney Opera House. Expression of the ‘truth’ in the materials he used was important for Utzon and the faithful representation of details such as the fine grains in timber and the smooth concrete finishes required careful lighting to enhance these features. When extended to the human occupants of the Sydney Opera House, there is a short, yet very descriptive instruction: the lighting is to give “life to the skin and hair on the human form in much the same way as the light from candles” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 67). Thus, the narrative of the materials and their quality was as important as the final structure and those who would occupy it. It is the role of light to build upon the story of the materials to contribute to the overall narrative of the Sydney Opera House.Building an Experience through IlluminationUtzon envisaged that light would do much more than provide illumination or tell the narrative of the materials he had selected – light was also to build a unique architectural experience for a patron. The experience of light was to be subtle; the architecture was to retain a position of centre stage, reinforced by, rather than ever replaced by, the illumination. In this way, concealed lighting was proposed which would be “designed in close collaboration with the acoustical engineers as they will become an integral part of overall acoustic design” and “installed in carefully selected places based on knowledge gleaned from experimental work” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 67). Through concealing the light source, the architecture did not become cluttered or over powered by a dazzling array of fixtures and fittings that detracted from the audience’s experiences. For instance, to illuminate the monumental steps, Utzon proposed that the fittings would be recessed into the handrails, while the bar and lounge areas would be lit from discreet fittings installed within the plywood ceiling panels (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 16) to create an experience of light that was unified across the site. In addition to the aesthetical improvements gained from the removal of the light sources from the field of view, unwanted glare is also reduced reinforcing the ‘whole’ of the architectural experience.During the time that Utzon was conceptualising the illumination of the Sydney Opera House, the Major Hall (what is now known as the Concert Hall) was envisaged as what might be considered as a modern multipurpose venue, one that could accommodate among other activities: symphonic concerts; opera; ballet and dance; choral concerts; pageants and mass meetings (NSW Department of Local Government 24). The Concert Hall was the terminus for the ‘journey’—where the actors and audience find themselves in the same space, the ‘other world’—“a make believe atmosphere, which will exclude all outside impressions and allow the patrons to be absorbed into the theatre mood, which the actors and the producers wish to create” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 2). This other world was to sumptuously explode with rich colours “which uplift you in that festive mood, away from daily life, that you expect when you go to the theatre, a play, an opera or a concert” (Utzon Utzon Design Principles 34). These highly decorated and colourful finishes contrast with the white shells further highlighting the ‘journey’ that has taken place. Utzon proposed to use the illumination to reinforce this distance and provide the link between the natural colours of the raw materials used outside the theatre and highly decorated colours of the performance spaces.The lighting treatment of the theatres extended into the foyers and their public amenities to ensure that the lighting design contributed to the overall enhancement of a patron’s visit and delivered the experience of the ‘journey’ that was envisaged by Utzon (Dwyer “Utzon’s Use” 130-32). This standardised approach was in concert with Utzon’s architectural philosophy where repetitive systems of construction elements were utilised, for instance, in the construction of the shells. Utzon clearly articulated this approach in The Descriptive Narrative, noting that “standard light fittings will be chosen […] to suit each location” (67), however the standardisation would not compromise other considerations of the space such as the acoustical performance, with Utzon noting that the “fittings for auditoria and rehearsal rooms must be of necessity, designed in close collaboration with the acoustical engineers as they will become an integral part of over acoustic design” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 67). Another parallel between the architectural development of the Sydney Opera House and Utzon’s approach to the lighting concepts was, uncommon at the time, his preference for prototyping and experimentation with lighting effects and various fittings (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 67). A sharp contrast to the usual practices of the day which relied upon more straightforward procurement processes with generic rather than tailored solutions. Peter Hall, of Hall, Todd & Littlemore, discussed the typical method of lighting design which was prevalent during the construction of the Sydney Opera House, as a method which “amounted to the electrical engineers laying out on a plan sufficient off-the-shelf light fittings to achieve the desired illumination levels […] the resulting effects were dull even if brightly lit” (Hall 180). Thus, Utzon’s careful approach to ensure that light and architecture were in harmony as “nothing is introduced into the scheme, before it has been carefully investigated and has proved to be the right solution to the problem” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 2) was highly innovative for its time.The use of light to provide an experience was not necessarily new, for example RSL Clubs, theme parks and department stores all used light to attract attention to their products and services, however the scale and proposed execution of these concepts was pioneering for Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. Utzon’s concepts provided a highly experiential unified design to provide the patron with a unique architectural experience built through the careful use of light.Building the Scenery with LightArchitecture might be considered set design on a grand scale (for example see Raban, Rasmuseen and Read). Both architects and set designers are concerned with the relationship between the creative designs and the viewers and both set up opportunities for interactions between people (as actors or users) and structure. However, without light, the scene remains literally, in the dark, isolated from its surroundings and unperceetable to an audience.Utzon was acutely aware of the relationship between the Sydney Opera House and the city in which it stands. The positioning of the structure on the site is no accident and the interplay between the ‘sails’ and the sun is perhaps the most recognised lighting feature of the Sydney Opera House. By varying the angle of the shells, the reflections and the effects of the sunlight are constantly varying depending on the viewer’s position and focus. More importantly, these subtle variations in the light enhance the sculptural effect of the direct illumination and help create the effect of “matt snow and shining ice” (Commonwealth of Australia 51): the ‘shimmer of life’ so desired by Utzon as the sunlight strikes the ceramic tiles. This ‘shimmer’ is not the only natural lighting effect. The use of the different angles ensures variation in the light, clouds and resulting shadows to heighten interest and create an ever-changing scene that plays out on the shells as the sun moves across the sky, as Utzon notes, “something new goes on all the time and it is so important–this interplay is so important that together with the sun, the light and the clouds, it makes it a living thing” (Utzon Sydney Opera House 49). This scene is enhanced by the changing quality of the sunlight; the shells appear to be deep amber at first light their shadows long and faint before becoming shorter and stronger as the sun moves towards its midday position with the colour changing slowly to ‘pure’ white before the shadows change sides, the process reverses and they again disappear under the cover of darkness. Although the scene replays daily, the relative location of the sun and changing weather patterns ensure infinite variation in the effect.This changing scene, on a grand scale, with light as the central character is just as important as the theatrical performances taking place indoors on the stages. With a mobile audience, the detailing of the visual scene that is the structure becomes more important. The Sydney Opera House competes for attention with shipping movements in the harbour, the adjacent bridge with the ant-like procession of climbers and the activities of the city to the south. Utzon foresaw this noting that the “position on a peninsular, which is overlooked from all angles makes it important to maintain an all-round elevation. There can be no backsides to the building and nothing can be hidden from the view” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 1). The use of natural light to enhance the sculptural form and reinforce isolation of the structure on the peninsular, centre stage on the harbour is therefore not a coincidence. Utzon has deliberately harnessed the natural light to ensure that the Sydney Opera House is just as vibrant a performer as its surroundings. In this way, Utzon has used light to anchor the Sydney Opera House both in the city it serves and for the performances it houses.It is not just the natural light that is used as such an anchor point. Utzon planned for artificial lighting of the sails and surrounding site to ensure that after dark the ‘shimmer’ of the white tiles would be maintained with an equivalent, if manufactured, effect. For Utzon, the sculptural qualities of structure were important and should be clearly ‘read’ at night, even against a dark harbour on one side and the brighter city on the other. Through the use of artificial lighting, Utzon set the scene on Bennelong Point with the structure clearly centred in the set that is the Sydney skyline. This reinforced the notion that a journey into the Sydney Opera House was something special, a transition from the everyday to the ‘other’ world.ConclusionFor Utzon light was just as essential as concrete and other building materials for the design of the Sydney Opera House. The traditional bright lights of the stage had no place in the architectural illumination, replaced instead by a much more subtle, understated use of light, and indeed its absence. Utzon planned for the lighting to envelope an audience but not to smother them. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete his project and in 1968 J.M. Waldram was eventually appointed to complete the lighting design. Waldram’s lighting solutions—many of which are still in place today—borrowed or significantly drew upon Utzon’s original illumination concepts, thus demonstrating their strength and timeless qualities. In this way light builds on the story of the structure, reinforcing the architecture of the building and extending the narratives of the construction elements used to build the Sydney Opera House.AcknowledgementsThe author acknowledges the assistance of Rachel Franks for her input on an early draft of this article and thanks the blind peer reviewers for their generous feedback and suggestions, of course any remain errors or omissions are my own. ReferencesCommonwealth of Australia. Sydney Opera House Nomination by the Government of Australia for Inscription on the World Heritage List. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2006.Cleaver, Jack. Surface and Textured Finishes for Concrete and Their Impact upon the Environment. Sydney: Steel Reinforcement Institute of Australia, 2005.Dwyer, Simon. A Backstage Biography of the Sydney Opera House. Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference of the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (PopCAANZ) 2016: 1-10.———. “Utzon’s Use of Light to Influence the Audience’s Perception of the Sydney Opera House”. Inhabiting the Meta Visual: Contemporary Performance Themes. Eds. Helene Gee Markstein and Arthur Maria Steijn. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary P, 2016.Hall, Peter. Sydney Opera House: The Design Approach to the Building with Recommendations on Its Conservation. Sydney: Sydney Opera House Trust, 1990.NSW Department of Local Government. An International Competition for a National Opera House at Bennelong Point Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: Conditions and Program (“The ‘Brown’ Book”). Sydney: NSW Government Printer, 1957.Raban, Jonathan. Soft City. London: Picador, 2008.Rasmuseen, Steen. Experiencing Architecture. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology P, 1964.Read, Gary. “Theater of Public Space: Architectural Experimentation in the Théâtre de l'Espace (Theater of Space), Paris 1937.” Journal of Architectural Education 58.4 (2005): 53-62.Steensen Varming. Lighting Master Plan. Sydney: Sydney Opera House Trust, 2007.Utzon, Jørn. Sydney Opera House: The Descriptive Narrative. Sydney: Sydney Opera House Trust, 1965.———. The Sydney Opera House. Zodiac, 1965. 48-93.———. Untitled. (The ‘Red’ Book). Unpublished, 1958.———. Untitled. (The ‘Yellow’ Book). Unpublished, 1962.———. Utzon Design Principles. Sydney: Sydney Opera House Trust, 2002.

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