After arriving in Boston very late on Thursday night, the first speaking engagement fellow cci postdoc John Banks and I had was the Convergence Culture Consortium one-day symposium at MIT. C3 is a research collaboration between Comparative Media Studies at MIT and a range of mostly media industry partners.
The event was organised around the theme ‘Collaboration 2.0’, and it was certainly interesting to experience some of the many possible ways that academic-industry alliances could be negotiated, especially in such a different institutional (and national) context from our own. I came away more convinced than ever that the disjunctures and disagreements between and within both industry and academia were often just as productive of insights as were the shared assumptions – perhaps even more so – as long as they were mobilised in a spirit of mutual respect, and if genuinely shared objectives can be shaped in that context, then all the better. From my own perspective, given my work on Flickr I was especially pleased to make connections with the representatives from Yahoo!, and I’m looking forward to seeing where that might lead.
The sessions were a mix of invited academic presentations and snapshots from the industry partners. I spoke about the social value of vernacular creativity, and discussed Flickr as an example of best practice, while John explored the ways that user agency is being navigated in co-creative industry contexts, using his work with Brisbane game developer Auran as a case study.
Other highlights: Kevin Sandler’s presentation on Scooby Doo as a brand was one of the most entertaining academic presentations I’ve ever seen. As possibly the pre-eminent collector of Scooby Doo memorabilia, I think perhaps Kevin’s ulterior motive is to help Scooby re-take the world 😉 I also really enjoyed Rob Kozinet’s presentation about the cultural and economic distinctiveness of the Star Trek fan community. And it was good to get a look at the research being done by frighteningly hard-working CMS grad students Sam Ford (who writes most of the content on the C3 blog) and Ivan Askwith. And props to Josh for inviting us and organising everything…more to come.