Hi! I'm an academic in Australia. I teach English Education and my research interests include new literacies, digital fiction, fan fiction, blogging, identity, pop culture, computer games, systemic linguistics, feminism and young people online. Recently I have been teaching and researching in the virtual world of Second Life, where I am known as Anya Ixchel.
I’ve been meaning to blog this for a few days but life has been just crazy lately! My friend and co-writer at slatenight.comChristy Dena (aka Lythe Witte) was interiewed about Virtual Worlds - specifically Second Life - by ABC Radio National reporter, Cath Dwyer. The link to the mp3 is here.
Cath does a great job of covering an overview of MMORPGs, also interviewing people like Edward Castronova who explains the concept of persistent worlds, the blurring of reality and virtuality, and virtual economy.
Christy talks about Slatenight (yay!) and also the way she networks with business colleagues, and of course, socialises. I loved the description of Christy as “no geeky teen”
Anyway have a listen, its a great overview I think to help the general public understand what virtual worlds are about. It also features Julian Dibbell whose work I have been following for years, and covers other topics such as gold farming, power levelling and professional gaming companies (”sweatshops”) in China which I found most fascinating of all.
I couldn’t resist - in the regular University bulletin today came the following notice about some latest lingusitics research from the UK (what do you guys do over there??)
Cows ‘moo with a regional accent’
Cows moo with a regional accent, according to their farmers. Dairy farmers in Somerset noticed a local twang to the sounds made by their animals, and experts confirmed that different herds made different sounds. John Wells, Professor of Phonetics at the University of London,
said: “This phenomena is well attested in birds. You find distinct chirping accents in the same species around the country. “This could also be true of cows. In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations which are most affected by the immediate peer group.” Dr Jeanine Treffers-Daller, reader in linguistics at the University of the West of England in Bristol, said the accent may be learned from relatives.
(Apologies to anybody offended by the “b” word in the comic)
Today I had the great pleasure of introducing my third years to a very special guest speaker, Chris Best (one of my long time faithful blog commentors and former student now teaching in London). Chris talked about Visual Literacy in his classroom, and gave a fabulous lecture!
It’s such a joy for me to have a former student return to speak to my current students, and to see Chris as a professional now speaking with such confidence and experience and handling difficult questions without hesitation. A huge public thank you to Chris, whose lecture was fun, knowledgeable and inspiring. Also, it provoked spontaneous applause at the end - they loved you Chris!!
I am so delighted to be able to announce that a pdf version of Slatenight magazine is available, thanks to the great work of our layout, design and artist team (Dell Wilberg, Scarlet Singer, Richie Waves). Dell has spent countless hours on this and it shows, it is a stunning visual masterpeice! Once again I am humbled by the talented people I work with in my new moonlighting career
Meanwhile, thanks to power blogger Christy, we are featured at the following blogs and sites that I know of:
During the crazed rush to get everything finished, we did manage to enjoy an impromptu Friday evening party thanks to Lythe (again!) and the fabulous Cybster who was our fun live DJ. Here are some shots from the party:
The art easel you see in this final shot is our “kiosk” - a magazine dispenser in world with the virtual version of our magazine. The kiosk is located in the slatenight reception area, and I have also started placing them all over Second Life at infohubs, friend’s spaces, and some of the SL libraries. Just click on the easel with the Slatenight sign and you get a free copy of the magazine
You might also be able to make out some special gift bags on the boardroom table there - these have the magazines in them as well as some info cards, landmarks and free gifts. If you want one, just ask me
Tonight we held the launch party for Slatenight - a magazine about the Arts, education, culture and entertainment in Second Life. We had live musicians streaming through the land: Jaycatt Nico and Frogg Marlowe, and the sim was packed full - so full that some people could not make it in!! It was a lovely event and the first of many like it I hope
Here are some shots I took, though I was rather busy organising things a lot of the time so didn’t get any shots during the busier times. But while relaxing and dancing I took some photos of the party scene.
I had some party pontoons out in front of Dell’s amazing floating aquashell stage, and a floating dance floor in the middle of the river delta:
Here’s a close-up of Frogg Marlowe with the guitar and Jaycatt Nico on the piano (man those guys were so cool, I loved their music!!)
Here’s me relaxing for the first time in a bit, with the wonderful Dell:
Here is Codalisa, who kindly entertained us with a Cello performance following the live radio stream:
Here’s Mathieu and partner dancing on the floating dance floor:
Thanks to all my friends and guests who shared in the fun
Well, the launch party for slatenight.com is being held this weekend (see info here) and I was thrilled to see this lovely write-up of the magazine here (thanks to Linda Zimmer). Jokay has also blogged about it, and Danielle also mentioned it here on the NMC Observer.
Life seems to have taken off and entered the crazy lane right now, with so many deadlines, writing contracts, classes, students and projects going on but hey, why not launch a new magazine in the middle of it!! smiles…
I thought this Slatenight project would be a great outlet for creativity and fun, and maybe it would even sustain my SL fashion habits later down the track… but I also thought it would be as easy as writing on a group blog. Ummmm… I was wrong, it’s much more complex, with a lot to learn and consider. I am sure I am making tons of mistakes and that as a business woman I had better not give up my day job… but hey, as long as it remains fun and people enjoy it, I will be very happy indeed.
If you haven’t read the online version, go and have a look!! The website architecture, design, and general technical wow factor is all due to my wonderful partner in crime, Dell Wilberg. We are hoping to have a stunning pdf version finished shortly, and an in world version to follow. With a group of volunteers (who all have very busy “first” lives), no funding or budget, and ad hoc resources, I am actually amazed at what we have been able to accomplish. My thanks in advance to all involved.
I loved the reference to the radio show as being “radio 6.0″ I wonder what web 6.0 might look like - honestly once we measured history in moments of centuries, now we seem to measuring it in internet moments - maybe technology has become you the new organising principle of human existence?
And my favourite line from Suzanne Vega was the analogy she drew between music and virtual spaces, she said this:
“It’s a way to draw away from the real world, and also to connect with it”
How profound, and yet how simply stated - I love it! I think I am going to be using this line for many lectures, papers, and talks to come. Beautiful.
Well some of you may be wondering why my blog has quietened down a little lately, and besides the usual writing deadlines, semester beginning, art classes, and general life as usual, I have also embarked upon a little project in Second Life with some friends, and that is *drum rolllllllllllllllllllll* developing a magazine which focusses on the Arts, education, culture and entertainment in Second Life.
Although there are some great magazines about fashion, some great podcasts about SL, some great forums about dducation, some great news-like blogs…. I think this is the first magazine catering explicitly for the Arts and education and entertainment in a virtual world.
So we have an online version, a pdf version, and an in-world version, and our big launch party is in just under two weeks!!! Everybody is welcome and we will have the fabulous Jaycatt and Frogg streaming live music at the event.
Ummmm…. and we are looking for advertisers (you can go here for information) and sponsorship so if you want to support the arts and education in virtual worlds, please let me know! Hope to see many of you there.
Also, I am still looking for enthusiastic writers on any of these topics (see the website for examples of all the content covered), so if you are a Second Life citizen who enjoys writing, can manage to take snapshots and is reasonably familiar with blogging software (and wants to earn a few extra Lindens) please let me know - just im me - Anya Ixchel - in world.