Upcoming Talk at #MLA14: “Fashioning Alternative Publics: Student Maker Spaces”

A Giannetti painting of a lounging woman, onto which Mike Licht has superimposed a laptop

“A Pompeian Beauty, Blogging, after Raffaele Giannetti” by Flickr user Mike Licht

In just a few weeks it will be time to bundle up and head to Chicago for the 2014 meeting of the Modern Language Association. I will be presenting at the convention on Saturday in a panel called “Making Digital Counterpublics.”

I am very excited to be presenting alongside folks from JustPublics365, Beautiful Social, and Ed Reforms for Undergrads. Our moderator, David Parry from Saint Joseph’s University, will begin with an introduction, which will be followed by a 5-7 minute presentation from each project. Then Dr. Parry will have some discussion questions for the panel before it opens up to audience participation. The abstract for my talk reads,

 Knight will discuss Fashioning Circuits, a project in the Emerging Media and Communication program at UT Dallas. Coursework for Fashioning Circuits is completed through independent studies in which students read and discuss theories of fashion, gender, and global labor. Students perform critical analysis of wearable media on a group blog (fashioningcircuits.com) and produce wearable media objects, most commonly with the open source Lilypad arduino. Knight’s presentation will focus on how the project helps students envision themselves as makers. The supportive and inclusive environment in which all participants are amateurs dedicated to co-learning fashions an alternative public that draws upon the ideals of Pierre Lévy’s “collective intelligence” while challenging dominant discourses of hyper-masculine brogrammer culture

Knight suggests that students are learning through processes of experimentation and failure while in a state of distraction, similar to that described by Walter Benjamin in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In addition to their own practice, students extend the project beyond the classroom by participating in community workshops and summer camps introducing young girls to making and coding through electronic fashion.

I decided to sacrifice the last two minutes of my talk and do an Ignite-style presentation. I enjoy this format though it does present a challenge in terms of limiting one’s content.  My goal was to briefly touch on a few major concepts that can be elaborated on during discussion. You can download the preliminary slides and notes for  “Fashioning Alternative Publics: Student Maker Spaces” as a .pdf or as a .zip containing all of the keynote 6.0.1 files.  (.pdf) (.key) If they change radically I will upload new ones after the conference. The presentation material is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

If you would like to read a longer talk that expands on these points and includes many others, you may be interested in the talk “Fashion and the Threads of Digital Literacy” that I gave in October.

For the panel overview and information and materials on all of the talks in our panel, visit http://outsidethetext.com/main/making-digital-counterpublics/

Cross-posted at http://fashioningcircuits.com

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