United Kingdom, Bedfordshire

UNESCO Chair in New Media Forms of the Book

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Description and Mandate of the Chair

Summary

The Chair aims to widen access to knowledge and provide accessible, affordable and multiplatform knowledge resources. It analyses trends in the use of electronic media as a cost-effective and borderless means of sharing book resources and focuses on the cultural implications of the book’s adaptation to the new media environment. Finally, the Chair develops models to aid in the understanding of the role of the book as a source text for other contemporary media industries.

“We must always listen out for the stories that are not being heard. No voices should be lost.”
by Professor Alexis Weedon

The thoughts and ideas that change humanity, by breaking down assumptions, barriers and prejudices, are co-created between individuals and communities. Although these stories advance development, western book publishing systems do not support such co-creation of knowledge between writer and reader. The University of Bedfordshire’s Chair in New Media Forms of the Book is responding to this need for a platform to share all stories, by changing publishing practices and widening humanity’s access to knowledge.

About the chair

Professor Alexis Weedon leads a diverse programme of projects, publications and events that examine how forms of collaborative authorship can break down assumptions and change publishing practices.

Drawing comparisons between fairy tales retold in different countries, this research-led programme has evaluated the importance of storytelling in a shifting society. As globalization brings pervasive, branded identities to different cultures, fairy tales such as Cinderella and Robin Hood often manifest themselves as stories of a person transforming their society. Through this onslaught of new media there has been increasing in the displacement of local and indigenous creative authorship.

Her team works with researchers, artists, writers, SMEs and policymakers to broaden global access to knowledge. Storytelling is a powerful method of communicating ideas that requires a range of cultural literacies and skills. From oral retelling and visual communication, to digital literacy and knowledge of IT, however they are told, stories inspire change across generations and actively combat injustice.

Chair’s Research

Having worked with partners across hugely diverse industries, Alexis works to bridge gaps in understanding and unite people through storytelling via innovative formats. With the Cinderella Project, for example, Professor Weedon and colleagues worked to identify and retrace it’s retellings throughout different countries and cultures. As it has become humanity’s shorthand for the unexpected success of the disregarded, Alexis explores how a story can be appropriated and reinterpreted to articulate how social and family relationships are adapting to modern society. Men as well as women, companies as well as people.

Sherwood Rise: A Transmedia Story Experiment…

The Robin Hood legend is often mistaken as a clear-cut discussion about the divide between rich and poor, yet the main character remains wholly ambiguous. Whether good, bad or evil, Robin’s ambiguity gave Professor Weedon the opportunity to tell one story from multiple perspectives and through different voices. Her version of the story, Sherwood Rise, is told through a range of media including printed newspapers, emails, hacker websites, sound, music and smartphone AR.

(UNESCO No. 967)
(Ver. PBe 06-2022)

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