19th January, 2022 / 13:00 - 14:00
8th February, 2019
Talk from Professor Bronwen Thomas of Bournemouth University
Debates about digital reading are beset by stereotypes such as those of the ‘digital native’, and crude binaries about print vs screen cultures. Two projects supported by the AHRC – Researching Readers Online (2012) and The Digital Reading Network (2013-14) – set out to provide more nuanced insights into the practices of digital readers and to explore new approaches to the study of readers based on the rich data about reading available to us thanks to the digital revolution.
A third project, Reading on Screen (2017-18), employed innovative participatory methods to create over 30 digital stories reflecting the complex and often contradictory experiences of contemporary readers from a variety of social backgrounds and ages.
In this paper, the speaker will reflect on the efficacy of the digital storytelling method for eliciting reader responses of a radically different kind to those we are accustomed to from academic studies reliant on interviews, questionnaires or textual analysis. She will also outline the main outcomes and impact of the project, both planned and unplanned, particularly focusing on group dynamics, benefits reported by participants, and follow on activities and creative projects initiated by them.
Bronwen Thomas is Professor of English and New Media at Bournemouth University and Director of the Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community. She has led three AHRC funded projects on digital reading, and has published widely on new media narratives, fanfiction and online communities. Bronwen is currently writing a book on Literature and Social Media.