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Ana Laws and Stephen Barrass: “Media design for journalism”

August 25, 2016. Tid: 11:15 - 13:00

Bergen Journalism Lab invites you to a guest seminar on Thursday August 25th from 10.15 – 12.00. Our former colleague Ana Sanchez Laws, who now works at Volda University College, will be visiting us along with Stephen Barrass from the University of Canberra. They will each give a talk relating to media design for journalism.

We believe these topics will be particularly interesting for staff members who teach journalism, film and television, and new media, and for activities in relation to Media City Bergen. Please distribute this announcement to master students who might be interested.

Stephen Barrass: “Data Sonification as a Journalistic Medium”

Stephen Barrass

The public release of datasets on the internet by government agencies, environmental scientists, political groups and many other organizations has fostered a social practice of data visualization. The audiences have expectations of production values commensurate with their daily experience of professional visual media. At the same time, access to this data has allowed visual designers and artists to apply their skills to what was previously a field dominated by scientists and engineers. The ‘aesthetic turn’ in data visualization has sparked debates between the new wave and older more scientifically grounded schools of thought on the topic. Sonification is not as well known or commonly practiced as visualization. But sound is a naturally affective, aesthetic and cultural medium. The extension of the aesthetic turn to sonification could transform this field from a scientific curiosity and engineering instrument into a popular mass medium. In this presentation I will give some background on the history of data sonification, and play some examples where sonifications is used as an instrument for scientific observation, including the recent gravity wave chirp. I will then move on to describe the aesthetic turn in sonification and propose that there is a pragmatic aesthetics that distinguishes sonification from the auditory sciences and sonic arts. This proposal will be supported by examples where sonification has been appropriated as a medium for mass communication about social issues, such as the war in Iraq, the size of the US nuclear arsenal, the the uptake by BBC Radio that includes sonifications of the falling pound due to brexit, and immigration crisis. My final speculation is that a journalistic perspective may lead to a future where the general public tunes into sonifications as useful information about the world, and for listening enjoyment as well.

Ana Sanchez Laws: “Embodied learning for media design education”

Dr. Ana Laws
Dr. Ana Laws

In the summer of 2016, we began an initiative to strengthen research and teaching focus on the topic of web documentary at Volda University College. Two core activities were started. The first was a research project to investigate the changes in production processes and narratives at NRK P3 Dokumentar, originally an online podcast. NRK P3 is currently in the process of becoming a televised and multimedia offer, and we are documenting this transformation. The second activity was the launch of a web documentary course at Volda. The course was unique for the College in two ways: it involved close collaboration with industry partners, including NRK, Google and Sunnmøsposten, and it demanded cross-Faculty collaboration in team teaching of the course, which was co-taught between Journalism, Media Production, Media Design, Animation, and PR. These two activities, our research into NRK P3 and the teaching of web documentary, have come together through student’s work on the creation of webdocs for potential publication in NRK P3.

This short talk is about the media design education component of the project. VR and locative media demand that we get out in the field and start addressing the body as one of the components of media design. Exposing students to situations that make them aware of their full sensory experience seems an essential part of any multimedia course, yet it seldom gets included in the design of such courses. Hubert Dreyfus provides us with a framework for embodiment and expertise that is applicable to the question of becoming an expert media designer. Building from examples of work currently done at Volda University College, I probe the extent to which Dreyfus’ ideas can help us rethink the delivery of media design courses.


Auditorium 9. Etg, Institutt for informasjons- og medievitenskap, Det Samfunnsvitenskapelige fakultet
Fosswichelsgate 6
Bergen, 5007