Public Event – Community Media

Staff and students from Film and Media at Bath Spa University are hosting an evening showcasing community media projects (short films and interactive media) at the Museum of Bath at Work (Thursday 29th May 6-8pm). Dr Dan Ashton will be facilitating a panel discussion with Sara Strickland (Suited and Booted), Stuart Burroughs (MoBaW), and Dani Landau (Digital Storytelling Projects) who will be offering their responses and reflections on the showcase, and participating in a wider discussion on community and participatory media projects. Please see the event page for further details.


New Book – Cultural Work and Higher Education

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Debates on cultural work are garnering more interest than ever before and this volume presents critical discussion based on research findings from academics and policy-makers in the fields of media and cultural studies, enterprise, employability, psychology, and education.

Hardback | September 2013 | 9781137013934

You can order online from Palgrave Macmillan.

New Book – Videogames – second edition


The updated second edition of Videogames by Prof. James Newman, Director of the Media Futures Research, is available now from Routledge.

In the few decades since they first blipped their way onto television screens, videogames have become one of the most culturally, socially and economically significant media forms. Newman’s volume considers how we might approach videogames as media texts to be read, experiences to be played and played with, systems and simulations to be decoded and interrogated, and performances to be captured, codified and preserved.

The updated second edition examines the emergence of new platforms as well as changing patterns of production and consumption in its analysis of Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and mobile gaming. The new final chapter explores recent developments in games scholarship with particular focus falling on the study of gameplay as socially situated, ‘lived experience’, and on strategies for game history, heritage and preservation. In drawing attention to the fragility and ephemerality of hardware, software and gameplay, this new edition encourages readers and players not only to consider how games might be studied but also what can, will and should be left behind for the next generation of games researchers.

For more information, visit the Routledge page.

Public engagement series 2013




Thanks to everyone who came along to the first of the 2013-14 series Modern Playing shows last week at the Midlands Arts Centre Birmingham and BFI Southbank. We had a great time and thanks are especially due to the makers who came with work for the rest of the audience to play. We’re very grateful to all of you who tweeted and wrote reviews of the events – comments range from ‘exquisite storytelling’ to ‘creative non-fiction, emotional tributes, and wholesome doses of indie gaming’.

This was the first time out for us with the new show and as usual we left them both with lots of ideas and thoughts about how they went and how they should go in the future. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway) if you were there and had any thoughts you wanted to share, they’d be really welcome.

Right now, we’re getting our heads down into delivering the horribly close GameCity festival, but will be posting some notes from last week and dates for the upcoming shows in the next few days.

Modern Playing is a public engagement project run by Prof. James Newman and Iain Simons. It delivers events at major arts and cultural venues across the UK including a quarterly residency at BFI Southbank. It draws on Newman and Simons’ ongoing research and projects focusing on media preservation, oral history and performance. For more information, visit

EKC2013 media performance

A few months ago, Prof. James Newman and Iain Simons of NTU were asked to produce an audiovisual performance piece as part of the EKC 2013 conference in Brighton (that’s the ‘EU Korea Conference on Science and Technology: Open Innovation, Science and Technology Closer to Humanity’ for detail fans). We were given a fairly open brief save for the fact that what we produced had to be participative, engaging as many of the 650 distinguished scientists, politicians, students and researchers as possible, and could communicate only through light and sound. After some prototyping and a few false starts that were either too complicated or simply not engaging or fun enough, we alighted on a two part solution. For the first, using Ableton Live and the Max for Live programming environment, we created a multi-person musical instrument controlled by a series of Novation Launchpad pad controllers where five performers at a time could create an original composition with no previous musical knowledge or training. For the second, we created a giant game of Simon using LED torches where everybody was simultaneously performer and audience.




Creative Work Exhibition

The Creative Work exhibition takes a look behind-the-scenes into a range of creative roles, including film and television production; creative writing; and marketing and advertising, and looks at motivations and different ways of working. The exhibition has been developed in partnership between the Museum of Bath at Work, Bath Spa University and local creative industries organisations.

logoThe exhibition will be hosted at the Museum of Bath at Work and will run for four days. It will include an evening of screenings and discussion (5th June), a ‘Write Now’ workshop in collaboration with the Department of Work and Pensions (6th June), and be part of Local History Day (8th June).

For further details, please see the exhibition’s web page.

Professor James Steintrager talk 17.04.13

The Media Futures Research Centre will be hosting a research seminar with Professor James Steintrager (University of California, Irvine), ‘The End of Cinema: Digitization, Globalization, and the New French Extremity’ on Wednesday 17 April at 2pm in MH.G10.

This paper focuses on apocalyptic theoretical discourses about cinema at the turn of the millennium in relation to the so-called new extreme films made at the same time. It presents a reading of Olivier Assayas’s 2002 film Demonlover—which deals with animated Japanese erotica and the Internet—as an allegory of the rapid consolidation of media corporations at that time.

James Steintrager is Professor of English and Chair, English, at University of California, Irvine. His research has focused on eighteenth-century literature, philosophy, aesthetics, and visual culture in Britain, France, and Germany (Cruel Delight: Enlightenment Culture and the Inhuman, Indiana UP, 2004); the conjunction of radical materialist philosophy and libertinism in the 1740s through the French Revolution (The First Sexual Revolution: Libertines, License, and the Autonomy of Pleasure, forthcoming from Columbia University Press); and most recently a project that looks at the rise of digital media, national branding, and the system of world cinema—with a particular focus on action cinema—at the turn of the millennium.



Before it’s too late: digital media preservation

Media Futures Research Centre Seminar Series 2012-13

29 October 2012 | Newton Park Campus | Castle 101, 1-2pm

Four years ago, the National Videogame Archive was launched. In this session, James Newman, one of the co-founders of the NVA, talks about the challenges of preserving games and gameplay and what the team have learned about preserving games as part of the national cultural heritage. What can we save, what should we save, what should we forget, who should decide, what are the impacts of digital distribution and the second hand market, what is the value of emulation, and does any of this stuff really matter anyway?

For more information, see Best Before (Routledge, 2012).

MFRC Seminar series 27/6/12

The role, responsibility and impact of media research
Wednesday 27 June 2012 | Newton Park Campus | Newton G13, 12-2pm

The media landscape is dynamic and fast-moving, and understanding the social, cultural, economic and political impacts of those changes and developments is a critical challenge. With this in mind, the Media Futures Research Centre will consider the roles, functions and responsibilities of researchers in this field, and will explore the impact of the team’s research in the areas of health, media preservation, and social policy. We invite you to listen to the following speakers and share your thoughts about their research and the ongoing work of the Centre:

Professor James Newman
Director of the Media Futures Research Centre
Before it’s too late. Digital media preservation and the National Videogame Archive

Dr James Nicholls
Reader in Media and Social Policy
Under the influence? Media discourse and alcohol policy

Dr Dan Ashton and Dr Rebecca Feasey
Senior Lecturers in Media Communications
Health reporting, the celebrity profile and charitable trusts

Outback and Beyond

Outback and Beyond techOn Friday 2nd December, the Media Futures Research Centre hosted ‘Outback and Beyond: A Live Australian Western’. The performance took place at Bath Spa University’s Newton Park Campus.

““Outback and Beyond” is a collaboration between Mike Cooper and Grayson Cooke. It is a meeting of cultural and musical traditions as much as a melange of digital and analog media; to Mike’s soundtrack of deconstructed Blues, lap-steel guitar and processed electronics, Grayson performs a live re-mix of archival footage of the Australian outback, from titles held by the National Film and Sound Archive. Mike Cooper also recites a libretto, with text culled Burroughs-cut-up-style from a book written by journalist Alice Thompson, the great grand-daughter of Charles Todd, the man responsible for putting the telegraph across Australia in the 1870s.”

More information and promo clip.

Outback flyer