Category Archives: News

Week 8: Locative Writing / Ambient Literature

This week we’ll be looking at forms of digital writing that take advantage of the locational  and contextual possibilities offered by contemporary technologies. We’ll be meeting in Bath to try out a piece of “ambient literature”.

Assigned Reading

Dovey, Jon. 2016. “Ambient Literature: Writing Probability.” In Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity and Culture, edited by Ulrik Ekman, Jay David Bolter, Lily Diaz, Morten Søndergaard, and Maria Engberg, 141–54. New York, NY: Routledge. [An online copy of this book is available through the Bath Spa Library website.]

It Must Have Been Dark By Then. This is a hybrid work which combines a smartphone app with a physical book. You can download the app for Android or iOS. We’ll be doing this in class this week.

Additional Reading

Ambient Literature

Janet Cardiff

The Cartographer’s Confession and interview with James Attlee (You need to be in London to actually do this one, but you can still experience the content through the “armchair” mode.)


Week 4: Writing for Social Media

This week we’ll focus on writing for social media platforms, both in fiction and non-fictional settings.


Assigned Reading

Theory / Criticism
Andersen, Tore Rye. 2017. “Staggered Transmissions.” Convergence 23 (1). SAGE Publications Ltd: 34–48. doi:10.1177/1354856516675256. [GET THIS FROM THE BATH SPA LIBRARY WEBSITE]

Crown, Sarah. 2012. “Twitter Is a Clunky Way of Delivering Fiction.” The Guardian, May 25.


Additional Reading

Segar, Emma. 2017. “Blog Fiction and Its Successors.” Convergence 23 (1). SAGE Publications Ltd: 20–33. doi:10.1177/1354856516678369.

A [S]creed for Digital Fiction by Alice Bell et. al.

The RIght Sort by David Mitchell

Jellybone by Kate Pullinger

Social media has turned Republican & Democratic Parties into host bodies for 3rd party candidates by Clay Shirky

Anselm Berrigan’s Twitter


Set up a (free) site

  • The blog is a medium
  • It can be any kind of site (blog, webpage, etc.)
  • It should fit with the writing you produce (eventually)
  • It should make clear what is going on (or not)

It should have (at least):

  • Theme
  • Title
  • About
  • Picture (look at Creative Commons or Wikimedia)

Post a link to your site in the discussion forum in Minerva

Activity for next week

Write a nice piece of social media content

Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or drama

Include some other media with it.

Target whatever platform you want. Make sure to attend to the affordances of the platform.

Can be in the platform itself or just drafted.

We’ll be workshopping these next week.

Be sure to think about
Timing / Temporality
Interactivity (the invitation)
Reading in the present vs the archive
Cognitive model of the platform
How to lead readers in from your blog / website

Week 6: Participatory Culture and Derivative Works

This week we’ll expand our exploration of Storyworlds and Transmediality into Participatory Culture and Derivative Works. How do fans contribute to storyworlds? What are the different kinds of derived works and who defines them? How does the law treat transformative and derivative works? We look at the relationship between creators and those who participate in their worlds.

Fanfiction Exercise With a partner, choose a fandom. Each of you write a fanfiction drabble based on that work. Afterwards, discuss the pieces – how the source material is used, variations in interpretation, etc…
Collaborative Novella Exercise Using the elements given, the class will collaborate on a novella set in the Shared World.
Shared World Exercise 4: Create a place in our Alt version of Victorian Bath, write it up for the wiki, and plot it on the shared map.
Webseries Assignment Sign up for a webseries. Further instructions to be given in class.
Selected Works

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Storyworld
L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Gregory Maguire’s Wicked
Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles
Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton and Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton
Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series and E.L James 50 Shades

Readings / Viewings

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (Jenkins free pdf)
Hamilton is Fanfic, and its Critics are Totally Missing the Point
Jill Bearup – Virgil was a Homer Fanboy: History of Fanfiction Part 1 (YouTube)
Jill Bearup – Feel the Berne (Convention): History of Fanfiction Part 2 (YouTube)
Clay Shirky: Cognitive Surplus (Ted Talk)

Week 5: Mediated Reality

This week we take on mediated realities: virtual reality, augmented reality and alternate reality gaming. We’ll expand our study of storyworlds by looking at virtual worlds. And we’ll consider how we might superimpose media on reality, or infuse and support mundane reality with inspiring narrative.

Reading/Experiencing List

Pokemon Go!
Karen (Blast Theory)
Zombies, Run!
World of Warcraft
Second Life
Perplex City
I Love Bees

Augmented Reality: Extraordinary Things: Use objects to convey a story in pieces.
Alternate Reality Exercise: Expand on AR and develop a simple Alternate Reality game.
Shared World Exercise 3: Create a precious/magic item and write a story for it in the wiki.
Shared World Exercise 4: Create a place in our Alt version of Victorian Bath, write it up for the wiki, and plot it on the shared map.

Christine Wilks to Keynote at ELO 2016

Our very own PhD student Christine Wilks has been invited to keynote at ELO16, the annual conference of the Electronic Literature Organisation.

ELO16 is a key event in the digital literature calendar, inviting papers across a variety of sub-topics, including games, digital publishing, fan-fiction and more.

Christine will present on the second day of the conference, held at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada, showcasing her work on Stitched Up, an interactive digital text-based psychological thriller. This will dive deeper into how audiences interact with non-linear narratives, and the issue of choice, asking how best to steer readers through ‘possible worlds’.

Joel is a ‘dude in distress’, placed in a precarious position by Hannah, the antagonist. It is up to Sarah, Joel’s wife, to save his proverbial bacon, in a reversal of typical video-gaming tropes. A psychological thriller rather than an action adventure, Christine’s work is part of a new wave of digital fiction, challenging old stereotypes and forging new paths.

Supervised by Kate Pullinger, Naomi Alderman and Hongji Yang, Christine Wilks is a digital writer, artist and developer of playable stories. Her digital fiction Underbelly won the New Media Writing Prize 2010 and the MaMSIE Digital Media Competition 2011. Those wishing to learn more, and to experience her interactive narratives, digital poetry and artworks can do so here.

ELO 2016 will be held 10-12 June, 2016.

knole Prototype #1a – The BOD Architecture

This is a cross-post from Rob Sherman’s blog about the ongoing development of his practice-based PhD Project knole, investigating the application of the principles of artificial intelligence to interactive storytelling.

I’ve just released another prototype of knole‘s titular landscape god, but there is nothing new for you to see. It still just sits on its own neck and watches, breathing and blinking slowly, and I still question whether or not a god even should breathe. My placeholding art is still holding the place, though hopefully I will soon feel confident enough to show some other concepts; many people to whom I’ve shown it even like the clean lines and demarcated, symbolic biology, and feel that I should keep it that simple and abstract throughout. This would certainly irrigate my theories (cribbed from others) concerning the power of human imaginative abstraction, and significantly lower my workload.

Continue reading knole Prototype #1a – The BOD Architecture

PhD Studentship in Digital Publishing and Reading

Bath Spa University’s Graduate College and the British Library invite applications for a fully funded AHRC PhD studentship on the topic of ‘Digital Publishing and The Reader: Interactions between Readers and Writers of Creative Texts in Digital Environments’.

Closing date for applications is 23:59 (GMT) Monday 2 May, 2016.

Interview date is Tuesday 17 May, 2016.

Interviews will be held at Bath Spa University’s Graduate College at Corsham Court.

The studentship will begin on 1 October 2016.

About the Collaborative Doctoral Award

This studentship is for three years full-time study at doctoral level, with the option of an additional six months training or placements. The student will have all fees paid, will receive a bursary for living expenses, and will also be supported in necessary travel and conference costs. The student will be jointly supervised by Stella Wisdom, Digital Curator and Ian Cooke, Head of Contemporary British Published Collections, of the British Library, and Kate Pullinger, Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media, and Dr Laura Little at Bath Spa. At the British Library, the studentship will be located in the Digital Scholarship and Contemporary British Publications teams. The student’s investigation will operate within Bath Spa University’s regulatory framework for research degrees.

The purpose of this collaborative research project is to investigate the changing nature of publishing in digital environments, with particular emphasis on examples which encourage interaction between readers, texts and authors. The research focus of the project is located in library and information science and publishing. Through focused case studies, it will provide policy-relevant research for the British Library on issues related to collection-building and representation of cultural activity in Britain. This project fits within the AHRC ‘Digital Transformations’ research theme, in particular examining emerging media and ‘communication and creativity in a digital age’. Its focus is on examining the interaction between readers and authors, and the role of new technologies in shaping these interactions. The changing nature of UK publishing is central to this research, and it fits firmly within the RCUK’s ‘Digital Economy’ theme, including topics such as: the reproduction and dissemination of knowledge; new forms of expression; changes in publishing; and notions of authorship. The project would address three specific questions:

1. Technology change in digital publishing, including new technologies and reuse of existing technologies to support interaction between readers, texts and authors;

2. The impact of technology change on behaviours of readers and authors and their interaction with texts;

3. The significance of these changes for memory institutions, in particular questions on collection building and other activities to represent these changes in reading and authorship behaviours and technologies.

Digital technologies are transforming reading, writing and publishing, creating multiple opportunities for writers and readers interested in experimentation and innovation. Within a few years, all emerging writers will be expected to be engaged with new forms and/or platforms as well as new ways of connecting with audiences. But what does it mean to write text for a screen? What happens to literature once it moves off the page and into a web-browser, onto tablets, mobiles and other devices? As the digital and physical merge, what territories will literature explore? As interaction between readers, writers, and texts becomes more fluid and pervasive, existing across multiple platforms and modes, how will the life of a text be captured and represented by memory institutions like the British Library? Currently, reader-writer interaction is seldom captured and archived alongside the text, though engagement with writers and their texts online is a hugely popular activity with large and vibrant communities and networks already existing.

Any research project that addresses questions around technological change in reading and publishing must also address the impact of these changes on authors and texts. Situating this collaborative doctorate within Bath Spa’s creative writing department – a department that is unusual in its in-depth engagement with digital technologies – will give this researcher unprecedented access to researchers and practitioners in this field. For instance, within the time period of the doctorate the student will be able to run in-depth on-going case studies looking at the writing process, pre-publication, publication, and post-publication reader engagement of books by award-winning literary writers like Prof Tessa Hadley, Prof Philip Hensher, Prof David Almond, Prof Maggie Gee, and Prof Fay Weldon. Case studies could examine the role of technology plays in all these key stages, from writing to reader engagement across book festivals, social media, social reading and whole ecosphere of publishing currently. As well as literary texts, case studies could be built around the work that Prof Kate Pullinger and Prof Naomi Alderman do in the field of digital fiction, games, participatory writing projects, and collaborative texts.

Benefits and training opportunities for the student:

Locating this research at the British Library provides a means of framing it within a national cultural and collecting context. From the point of view of research-informing-policy, it will enable the researcher to tackle questions that could not be practically addressed elsewhere. The British Library is both a major publisher of digital works, through large-scale digitisation projects and the creation of online learning platforms (such as Discovering Literature), and has been involved in collection management of digital objects at large scale. In addition, recent work on data, digital scholarship and the creation of BL labs has created an environment of innovation in new digital publishing, well-suited to the themes of this project. The student would be located in the Contemporary British Publications team and work with colleagues in Digital Scholarship and Web Archiving. The student would draw on staff expertise and experience in developing and delivering an online learning course, crowd-sourced projects, and managing born-digital collections.

The UK Web Archive, which the British Library manages, could be used as a source of longitudinal information on recent change in online publishing. There would be scope to develop a themed collection within the Web Archive to reflect digital publishing technologies in a context relevant to the PhD research project. The project would also be a close compliment to the ‘Academic Book of the Future’ programme, in which the British Library is a partner. There are strong thematic links between this project and the CDP on issues such as: author engagement with new technology platforms; how changing social and technological environments impact on research and publishing; and the opportunities and challenges raised by new collaborative practices in research. The duration of the studentship provides a time period within which to identify change in digital publishing, and to see specific publishing projects develop. More generally, the student would be encouraged to contribute to the cultural engagement activities of the Library through development of an interactive and collaborative text project. At Bath Spa, the student will have access to research training via the Researcher Development programme, which consists of a suite of courses, workshops, activities and online materials informed by the work of Vitae and their Researcher Development Framework.They can attend staff development sessions organised by the Academic Staff Development Centre. The School also sponsors a range of events and activities, including visits from publishing industry professionals and writers.

Supervision, management and procedure

Supervision will be carried out by Pullinger and Wisdom, with monthly joint supervisory meetings at either the British Library or Corsham Court, where Bath Spa’s Graduate College is located. Additional involvement from Cooke and Little will take place at regular intervals throughout the academic year. The PhD will be hosted by Bath Spa University and will conform to Bath Spa’s doctoral regulations, including the award of the final degree.

The research timetable of the PhD student will be confirmed at the approval of the student’s Research Plan, which must be submitted within three months of the start date.

Funding details

The duration of the PhD studentship is three years, full time, subject to satisfactory progress, with an additional funded six months for industry placements or research training. The stipend will be paid at the standard research councils’ rate. For 2016/17 the annual stipend is £14,296, plus an extra £550 that is added to the stipend for AHRC CDP students to help towards additional costs incurred by the need to work across two institutions. The British Library will provide financial support for research-related costs of up to £1,000 a year. If the PhD is not submitted for viva within 3.5 years, the student will become liable from that date onwards for Bath Spa’s pro-rata fees and/or continuation fees.

Person specification
Undergraduate degree in related discipline.
Masters level qualification in related discipline or professional equivalent.
Proven ability to work independently

Experience of working with digital publishing or archiving
Demonstrable knowledge of the current landscape of digital reading
Experience of working collaboratively with individuals and organisations

How to apply
Full details of how to apply may be found here:

Prospective candidates wishing to informally discuss an application should contact Prof Kate Pullinger at or Stella Wisdom at the British Library

Enquiries about the application process may be directed to

Ambient Literature: Post-Doctoral Research Assistant Job

Post Title – Post-Doctoral Research Assistant: Ambient Literature

School/Department – College of Liberal Arts – Writing and Performance
Location – Corsham Court
Line Manager – Prof Kate Pullinger
Contract – Fixed Term for two years
Hours – Full time
Closing Date – 12 midnight GMT, Thursday 3rd March, 2016
Interview Date – Friday 18 March, 2016
Post start date – 1st May 2016

About the project
‘Ambient Literature’ is a two-year research project funded by the AHRC, a collaboration between Bath Spa, UWE and Birmingham University. The overarching research question is ‘What new forms of literary experience are afforded by locative and pervasive media technologies?’ The main outputs will be three new creative works, a series of ten public seminars and three major public events, as well as a scholarly book.

About the role
The PDRA will undertake research under the guidance of Co-Investigators, Bath Spa Profs Kate Pullinger and Ian Gadd, in collaboration with the UWE-based Ambient Literature core delivery team, Dr Tom Abba, Research Fellow Amy Spencer and Principal Investigator Jon Dovey, and Birmingham University Co-I, Dr Matt Hayler. The PDRA will work in collaboration with all investigators across all three universities, though Bath Spa’s Graduate School at Corsham Court will be the home institution. The Ambient Literature research project involves a combination of historical and theoretical research; tangible practice-led inquiry; and building a generative network of writers, publishers and creative technologists. It employs and builds on Knowledge Exchange methods and perspectives from previous AHRC research including the Knowledge Transfer Fellowship into Pervasive Media and the REACT Hub Books and Print projects.

About you (requirements)
Candidates are expected to have a PhD and research experience in a relevant area, which includes digital writing, creative technologies, pervasive media, participatory media, and/or locative narratives.The PDRA will be based at Bath Spa’s Corsham Court campus and will need to attend fortnightly meetings in Bristol. For an informal discussion regarding this post, please contact Prof Kate Pullinger at

How to apply
For further information and a downloadable job description, please visit Please note that CVs will not be considered and those included with application forms will be removed. Any queries regarding the application process or our website should be emailed to

MIX Digital 3: Writing Digital – 2-4 July 2015

Mix 03

20 April 2015

Writer Naomi Alderman, theorist Florian Cramer, and performers Blast Theory set to appear at this year’s Writing Digital: MIX DIGITAL Conference 2015

The new Commons building at the Newton Park campus of Bath Spa University will be the home of this year’s MIX DIGITAL conference. Following the success of the last two MIX DIGITAL conferences, held at Corsham Court, the University’s School of Humanities and Creative Industries continues to be at the forefront of both research and teaching of creative practice across many forms.

This year’s conference will take place from 2 – 4 July 2015 and will take advantage of the features and interactive spaces in the new Commons building where it will host a vibrant mix of academic papers, practitioner presentations, seminars, keynotes, discussions, workshops and an exhibition of the work by conference participants.

The full schedule of keynote speakers is yet to be finalised but confirmed speakers are Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media Naomi Alderman, theorist of the post-digital Florian Cramer, and adventurous artists’ group Blast Theory.

Naomi AldermanProfessor Alderman is a prize-winning author; in 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers, and in 2007 was named as Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and one of Waterstones’ 25 Writers of the Future. In 2012, she co-created the top-selling fitness game and audio adventure Zombies, Run! which has been shortlisted for a Develop award for narrative and the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain best videogame award.

Florian CramerFlorian Cramer is an applied research professor at Creating 010, the research unit affiliated to Willem de Kooning Academy and Piet Zwart Institute at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. He also works for WORM, a Rotterdam-based venue and production house for DIY avant-garde culture. Recent publications include the essay collection Anti-Media, and the paper What Is Post-Digital?

Blast TheoryBlast Theory is renowned as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media for creating new forms of performance and interactive art. Blast Theory will appear at the conference to discuss their current kickstarter project entitled ‘Karen’.

Conference Co-Chair, Professor Kate Pullinger, Bath Spa University, says ‘MIX Digital 3 gives participants the chance to catch up with artists, writers and academics who are working at the forefront of where arts practice meets technology, where the artificial division between the digital and the analogue no longer exists. This year’s conference will be push the discussion forward into new and challenging territories, from new digital literary forms to our analogue futures.

MIX DIGITAL is an established, innovative forum that features the discussion and exploration of writing and technology. The conference attracts a cohort of local, national, even international attendees with contributors coming from the UK, Australia, Europe and even North and South America too. After this year the conference will become biennial event and will be one of the flagship conferences for Bath Spa University.

The MIX DIGITAL partners, The Writing Platform, will also be showcasing their two winning projects from the competitive bursaries that they awarded earlier in 2015 to Victoria Bennett and Adam Clarke, and Kelly Jones and Linda Sandvik who each entered as a team of two for their new creative writing and technology projects.

Everyone is welcome to the conference but booking in advance is essential where tickets can be purchased on the Bath Spa Live website via this link. All tickets include access to all of the conference activities and conference-related public events as well as food but vary in price depending on whether you require accommodation and conference tickets or conference tickets only.