Friday, April 21, 2006

BLog is here now

Yes just click here. It will take you to the new blog .....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I think I am about to move here


Labelling(and getting the measure of) the world

At the weekend I went to two Flickr meets.

Firstly met Moufle from NYC who came into London; she was joined by Bingo Little and .danimal from Bristol, as well as .Danny from Cambridge. Quite a brigade . We had lunch in Bloomsbury and took a little walk down to Shoreditch where we went to the Eagle on City Road. (See its mention in this nursery rhyme here.)
There we met the London Flickr group and did half their walk with them. (We left early as had to do other stuff).
It was grand to meet people and cemented the idea that while it is great to communicate on a global scale there is never anythung quite so humane as being in aface to face situation.
On Sunday we had our own Sheffield Flickrmeet in The Showroom. It ws our fourth meeting and a couple of new people came along which is good. We voted on the winer of the Cathedral shot competition and have set up a series of new projects. We are also planning an exhibition of our work and want to show it somewhere central. Bristol have done something similar. It is interesting again that while we enjoy the mixing on a global scale we relish the idea of meeting new people in our locality ... all people we would never otherwise have come into conatct with. Fascinating. (However there are those who do NOT come to the meets and so we cannot run far with that idea.)

And finally, in checking out arrangements for when we go to NYC in a couple of weeks, we found that the New York group is using Wayfarer to show aspects of their city as they see it. I love this idea of bringing a personal perspective on the maps available and labelling the world in this manner. You add a photo and a description to a wayfarer map. This is Niznoz's work .. must have taken him ages. (Small world, Niznoz is Moufle's cousin.) TT also had a go here.

We have come a long way since the ol metaphysicals drew up maps and discovered the world was round .. but that really was quite a discovery!

Here is Moufle:


and here are TT and Little Bingo (thankfully in the controlled zone):


Oh yes. One more thing ... I got chucked out of a Flickr group today ... have yet to discover why. Now I am over the trauma (do I look like I care?) I am amused by all this and must consult Iona and Peter to check out why some kids on the playground feel compelled to set up rules so that they have hardly anyone left to play with... (the group has gone down to only 8 members now - from loads and loads)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Semiotic saturates

From Tampen we have familiar looking exotic images:



The images are ones I would expect to be able to see in many locations in my home town.

While the exotic exotic images today come from Rigamarole:



I would not expect to be able to see these scenes anywhere in the UK.

So the first two, taken by Tampen of his daughter, show me somethng from my everyday world but with the feel of the exotic - they are richly semiotic. And the second two photos show us Rigmarole's images from Bombay. These are sights which belong to 'other people's' everyday experiences and are probably mundane to them, but unfamiliar to me. I think that both the pairs of photos show us images which are 'strongly cultural'; they seem more heavily saturated with semiotic stuff than many other images from the same culture may have been. They tell me all sorts of things about how life goes on, values etc. That is to say the images say so many things about the culture from which they come and I think that this is why I find both pairs very powerful.

I like the way I can see such a rich cultural mix of images on Flickr, and looking at the images side by side like this, we can see the primitive roots of aspects of western fashion. Photographs from less technologically advanced countries are the ones which seem the most exotic and 'othered' on Flickr however. i think this must be because they are mainly (but not exclusively) brought to Flickr by people from technologically advanced cultures. This is 'the norm' of the Flickr perspective.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gum blondes

Click on gum blondes in the title and you will see art work made of chewing gum.

we have bananas

here in san fran sheffield:


in here:


and in here.

Not quite the same as san fran. Hope you are having a lovely time drk.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

If you are a teenage boy

or if there is a teenage boy near you, you could do worse than clicking here as it will make the teenage boy laugh a lot. (You have to watch an episode)
If you are a witness to this event, you will laugh too as you will see what teenage boys are really like.
And if you are the teenage boy then you will be happy too.


I am sorry to have disturbed you.



Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Knox Salad Book: To Market...

Knox Salad Book: To Market...
Originally uploaded by wardomatic.
this is for Jennifer. Inspiration ... as if she needs it!!

Flickr in the classroom

If I were a teacher in school I would use Flickr a lot. (CB has been doing stuff with his kids - see here.)

At first I might have to make photos accessible only to those who were part of the class - and maybe their parents, to get them 'on side'. In fact I think I would have a Flickr evening to show them how to do it all). That's for starting off when people are scared and go on about weird stuff like having your identity/soul stolen.

For some projects I would invite a teacher from elsewhere to involve her class - and then do a joint project on say - 'places I like to go' or 'interesting angles of everyday life and objects' or 'guess what this is?' type stuff. Or whatever. They could then all be 'friends and family' and see the photos but others may not. (This would be in the run up to going totally public with the photos.) This activity would be great as a way of making tentative online links etc but mainly just fun and would make the kids look more carefully at the images if they were from another class.

Eventually my projects would all be public and we would see if we got comments from everywhere. (But I would tell other teachers to have a look and see if I could get their kids involved in commenting. A bit of off line coercian in other words.)

I would be interested in doing things like:

  1. Getting the kids to produce a narrative with five separate shots.
  2. Asking the kids to look at different pages on Flickr to get ideas for groups and sets. Ask them to set up sets themselves which the whole class could try to contribute to. Talk with them about the affect of bringing together lots of photos with similarities. I would ask them ' What are we learning about people?' 'What can we learn about ourselves?''What choices do people make when they take a photo`?' 'What do we think about the choices people make?' (Cultural stuff; stuff to do with visuals).
  3. Use the notes function to get kids to label stuff in a photo a bit like this. The kids from another class could look at them and could be encouraged to comment (nicely of course.) on the stuff each other is showing. They can ask questions; describe; offer information. Guy did a project where kids brought in stuff from home in shoeboxes. That would be good to get them to photograph a shoebox of their stuff and label it. I can't find his article (where is it Guy?) but this is another similar thing I guess:
    Boxing clever: using shoeboxes to support home-school knowledge exchange by Greenhough, Pamela - Scanlan, Mary - Feiler, Anthony - Johnson, David - Yee, Wan
    Ching - Andrews, Jane - Price, Alison - Smithson, Maggie - Hughes, Martin (from here.)
  4. Get kids to look at titles across the Flickr site and give their own photos titles. Ask pupils to make suggestions through the comments facility for new titles for all the photos. The owner of the photo decides which is the best title and why.
  5. Introduce them to tags. Show them the Flickr tag cloud and how you can search for photos. We could discuss what is popular and what is not. Get them to tag their own photos and to find particular tags. Make cultural comparisons about 'weddings', and even things like 'reading' .
  6. Get kids to be photographers on sports day (yukky) and on trips out etc. They can then comment in captions giving recollections and memories.
  7. Get kids to be photographers showing positive images of the school to show everyday life there.
  8. Sets of photos showing a 'typical day' in their school life. Make comparisons. Get the kids to caption these and to comment on each others.
  9. Gather photos of current events across the world or important places that may be relevant to other classroom work.
  10. Look carefully at composition and framing. In a drama lesson get kids to produce freeze frames. Take photos from a range of angles and think about how the meanings may change.
  11. Get them to look at Flickr toys and produce magazine covers of the magazine they would like to read themselves.
  12. I would get them to look at the 'interestingness' pages and see if they agree that the photos are interesting.
  13. We would have lots of conversations about images and what is missing from them (sound, moveent, words) and what you get 'extra' - opportunity to look again, see in detail, see in greater relief, use of different effects (photoshop).

I see here that Brooks and others have beaten me to a list like this, and I really like this bit on Edu-gadget:

The thing I like about getting images from flickr is the students can see that there are real people behind the images, not some generic, faceless website. Real people, like them, have created the pictures, shared them with everyone else, and usually only asked to be credited. There are all kinds of lessons to be taught in those actions.

Mister teacher has got a lot of excellent ideas here in his technorati stream.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sorry Flickr

but I just found a website with other new toys like this one:

and here:

I got the link here.

Following a trail

from litrate's site took me here and here.
Blogs by people into literacy and digital stuff at that.
Also went over to the other side of the pond, to Day in the life and Flaneuse.

(Did I ever tell you how marvellous all the people were , who I met in Miami? Dana and Sarah are so funky and funny and clever. And DrKate will meet them here soon I guess. )

I would love to spend all day reading blogs and papers and writing.
Oh hang on a minute. That IS what I have done all day.
And now I fear for my schedule.

Before I hop off and get back down to it, let me say ...

I am really looking forward to going to this:

Digital cultures, informal learning and school practice

Wednesday 5 July 2006

Bishop Grosseteste College
where Vic Carrington will be talking about this image like this:
The ‘Trapped underground.jpg’: Why did this image become iconic?
In this presentation, I plan to use examples drawn from a range of digital technologies to explore what strikes me as two interesting social phenomena: the emergence of new forms of civic participation; and, shifts in our view of play and creativity. It seems to me that an exploration of these two currents might tell us something useful about the influence of digital technologies on the everyday life of our society and as a consequence, their significance for school-based literacy practices.
So clever. No wonder she is a professor.
I am not going to tell you what the other two papers are about. Of course they are VERY GOOD but you cannot include EVERYONE all of the time now, can you?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Domesticity on Flickr


I am going to write something for a journal about representations of domesticity and the everyday on Flickr - which will feed into a paper I hope to present at a conference next January.

The abstract I sent off is this:

‘Slicing with Vinegar’: Online Enactments of the Domestic

Prior to the invention of digital cameras, amateur photographs depicting aspects of domestic life were always material artefacts traditionally reserved for restricted viewing within the confines of the home. Photographs representing ‘family life’ have been the most common type shown within the home, reflecting, highlighting, even shaping aspects of the lives from which they are drawn – often accumulating narratives of family identity within that domain (Hirsch, 2002; Kuhn, 1995).
Drawing on a study of a photosharing website (, this paper explores ways in which domestic life is represented and talked about through online screen based images, where traditional boundaries between the public and private spheres are being extended, challenged or eroded. The paper reflects on the presentation and subject of the images; the narratives around them, and at how new digital tools and practices are impacting on the ways in which we see and represent ourselves within the domestic setting. Third space theory (Soja, 1996) is invoked to explore aspects of the global/local practices on Flickr, and to reflect on the processes of online social learning, with particular reference to the domestic.

So that is what I want to present about for the conference but I want to write a fuller paper for a journal. Here are a few examples of the kind of thing I am interested in:

  1. Every day aspects of life dignified, or made arty here. This is a kind of home as museum approach. Cultural studies stuff. This is in fact from 'The New Domesticity group' which describes itself like this:
    Domestic life has changed drastically in the past 50 years. What does your domestic life look like? Sewing, cooking, houseplants, crafts, aprons, I'd love to see photos of anything that fits into your domestic life. My hope is
    to showcase a younger generation\'s style and shape of domesticity.
  2. Another example of life as art is here and I notice that this photo is also in the set up shots/not quite a still life pool as well as the 'everyday life pool'. I love this kind of example which asks people to share in their life, with a descriptions saying, 'this is not about the photography but the content (apple pie).
  3. In the kitchen allows people to show off their cooking a bit or again there is a kind of museum/cultural studies approach. And I love this which is also in the 'experimental' group. By looking at the cross sections of groups that people put their photos in, you get an idea of the intention behind the photo. Similarly the group: 'Domesticity: artful photos from around the house' concentrates on things looking good. Very self conscious presentations of identity in the images like this washing up one. or the pegs.
  4. And here is a really interesting glimpse into habitual ways of living and cooking (with a bowl resting on a cheese grater.) Note the sets this photo is in - it is in one to do wth 'family' and one to do with travel. Here the associations run through strongly with family, holiday and food. I feel like this one is a bit less like a 'good house keepings' photo.
  5. I love this one which gives me ideas of what to get for dinner. Here is a delicious meal. A million genre of cookbook and magazine can be seen here.
  6. An insight into life alone from the apartment life group. There's a whole load of stuff to do with food issues again resonating here.
  7. Hapakorean has been a contact of mine for a long ,long time and I saw the toddler in this photo from ultrasound shots even before he was born. HK documents the lives of her kids in detail and has just started enjoying vimeo. Here she has a movie of her son feeding his grandma 'numnums.' Just an episode of a few minutes showing the great American dream; the ideal family here with beautiful children and home. In addition I have traced through the story of how HK met her sister for the first time through Myspace. A lot revealed in these lives here through Flickr and HK has quite a following. Completely fascinating all this stuff as life moves seemlessly through the wrinkled binaries of life online and offline. (HK went to a Flickr meet a short while ago. )
  8. Of course festivals like Christmas, weddings and Mother's day are all excellent areas for me to look at in terms of representations of the domestic. So far a quick glimpse shws me they display things carefully. Apart from this exceptional photo of a 'divorced grandparents' domestic'.
  9. And so is 'what's in my cupboard?' , 'what's in your bag?' , 'inside your drawers', 'deskspace', fridge and so on.
  10. I want of course to also look at representations of family other than the type HK has shown - which are really quite traditional despite the new medium. I find this a brave image - showing a choild looking pretty uncared for - but I am sure this is not so, it is just the presentation has not been 'cleaned up.'
  11. I love the groups which try to emulate particular photographers. So this photo of a Dad and uncle (twin brothers) is in the Diane Arbus group. So the display is mediated through what is known about a photographer.
  12. This one is presented like a social history display in a museum again, using artefcats of identity to represent something of character and time.
  13. And also I want to look at the comments people are making, since this is often at least as revealing as the photo and more stuff is shown of the domestic through the comments quite often.

Lots of data huh? Whoever said that blogs were a waste of time?? I am finding a structure for this paper I think. And some questions.

I am wondering as I am looking at these photos whether the images themselves break down any boundaries? Are they pretty stereotypical of other photos we see in magazines? Family photos? Are we presenting family and domestic life in new ways? Or are the photos the same as they ever were? (Just more of them?) ... while the nature of Flickr is allowing new conversations and new insights into our lives? Hmm those are things I will think about. Maybe it is the community and the talk around the photos that are bringing in the new?

Shall I submit this article to Visual Communication or somewhere else?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

For Rebekah!

Happy Saturday!!

Rock stash

About Me

My photo
Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.