The trAce Online Writing Centre at The Nottingham Trent University has received an Innovation Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) – a groundbreaking achievement which will help them to establish new media writing as an art form worthy of research.
Artistic Director of trAce Sue Thomas said: “At present even practical creative writing courses are fighting to be taken seriously in British universities. This award is a snapshot of a very specific evolutionary moment in the history of literature. It could be compared to the moment when painters first began to make use of the camera. Although photography did not come to replace painting, it altered the nature of the artistic visual experience.”
The trAce team will be working closely with published print novelist Kate Pullinger, whose novels include The Last Time I saw Jane, Where Does Kissing End and Weird Sister. She co-wrote the novel of the film The Piano and also writes for film and television.
The Innovations Award is a new scheme for the AHRB and competition for grants was intense. Due to commence in March 2002, trAce received £47,280 for their one-year research project, which will map the transition from writing for print to writing for the web.
Sue explained: “Online writing is poised in a very transitory moment in its own development. It currently stands outside English studies and at this point it is not yet known what contribution, if any, it will make to English Literature. Nor is it known how new media writing will affect the way writers approach the making of texts, or the way they are read.
“Our area of practice is new, experimental and largely unrecorded. We hope that this research project will help promote understanding and appreciation of new media writing.”
The research will involve defining the differences between print-based and web-based literatures. It will include identifying the common creative skills and qualities needed by writers moving towards writing for new media.
Kate, who has been an established print-based writer since 1988, currently teaches short fiction for the trAce Online Writing School at Nottingham Trent. While building her course online, she became fascinated by the web and developed an enthusiasm for investigating the potential of electronic literature.
She will be introduced to new media writing and taught how to create hypertexts and other Web-based narratives.
Kate said: “This year-long research project is a fantastic opportunity for me, a novelist, to explore what online writing offers for book-lovers and readers everywhere.
“There is an enormous amount of writing on the web – hypertext, web-based writing, ebooks, online magazines and writer’s forums. The potential for new forms of writing that fuse visual arts with text is also vast, as well as interactive narrative and experimental work. As digital media proliferate and the new technologies become increasingly familiar to the average user, the internet may well alter the way we read.
“However, despite the speed of change, many people feel that reading on the screen is in some fundamental way inferior to reading a book. Many print-based writers maintain that writing on the web is strictly for amateurs, and that publishing on the web is no different from vanity publishing, except cheaper.”
She added: “Through the support of the AHRB and the online writing community trAce, I plan to spend a year exploring what’s out there on the web. What is the state of narrative online? Can story-telling survive the transition from page to computer screen? Does the internet offer any potential for a good read?”
Note to News Editors:
Kate Pullinger’s online course Short Fiction can be found at http://tracewritingschool.com
The main trAce website is at http://trace.ntu.ac.uk
For further information about the project or about trAce please contact Sue Thomas, Artistic Director of trAce on Tel: +44 (0)115 848 3551 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about AHRB please contact Angela Murphy, Director of Corporate Communications on Tel: +44 (0)117 987 6775 or via email: email@example.com
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