Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Looking for Research Assistants for Fall 2015

Copyright © 1969 Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc.

As the new school year is fast approaching, I am now focused on assembling new research teams for my two, ongoing projects: Kids DIY Media [NOTE: July 22, 2015: site temporarily down for maintenance] and Playing at Making. I will be hiring RAs at the Master's and PhD level (and possibly undergraduate as well) for both projects, as per the terms and job descriptions contained in the ads below.

For both projects, I have a certain number of hours of work that need to be completed, but am somewhat open as to how these get divided up (i.e. I will either hire fewer RAs working a greater number of hours, or a larger number of RAs working a smaller number of hours). The deadline for applications is August 14 (2015). Interviews will be scheduled in the later part of August and/or early September.

Please distribute these ads widely! And if you have any questions, just shoot me an email at: sara[dot]grimes[at]utoronto[dot]ca.

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Fall 2015 RA Positions
RESEARCH ASSISTANT
KIDS’ DIY MEDIA PARTNERSHIP

Professor Sara Grimes, Faculty of Information, has a number of Research Assistant (RA) positions available for qualified students, at both the Master’s and PhD levels. Qualified applicants must have full-time student status for the duration of the RAship (or be within six months of completion/graduation), and be available to complete a majority of their duties in person at the  University of Toronto St. George campus. Preference will be given to University of Toronto students, but qualified students from other recognized post-secondary Canadian institutions may also be considered. Similarly, preference will be given to graduate-level students, but undergraduates are also welcome to apply if other criteria and qualifications are met.

The RAs will assist with research and activities relating to Year 2 of the Kids’ DIY Media Partnership, a three-year, SSHRC-funded project aimed at bringing together academics, industry stakeholders and policymakers to discuss and analyze emerging issues associated with children’s online media making and sharing. Ideal candidates for these RA positions posses previous research experience  and/or formal training in common qualitative and/or quantitative social science research methods (especially content analysis, focus groups, and policy analysis), have excellent written communication skills, and are able to work independently, as well as in a team.

General responsibilities of Master’s level RAships may include:
- Assisting in qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis
- Assisting in the writing and dissemination of research reports
- Assisting in community outreach (e.g. translating reports into popular press articles, fact sheets for children and parents, materials for teachers and child advocates, etc.)
- Assisting in promoting project events and activities (e.g. writing blog posts)
- Assisting in the creation and facilitation of project events (e.g. moderating a group discussion at a daylong workshop)
- Some literature review

The PhD level RAships may include additional responsibilities, such as:
- Assisting in the design and coordination of qualitative and quantitative data analysis
- Assisting in the writing of academic papers based on project results, including conference presentations and journal submissions
- Assisting in the supervision and coordination of Master’s  and undergraduate level RAs
- Assisting in coordinating, communicating and liaising with project partners (e.g. ensuring partner access to project documents, providing timely feedback to and from partners on project deliverables, etc.)

Other or more specific tasks can be prioritized according to successful applicants’ interests and strengths. The specific responsibilities and nature of the work associated with these positions will vary depending on the experience and academic level of the students who are ultimately selected to fill them. Salaries are similarly pre-set and scaled based on the level of the student’s current academic program (e.g. undergraduate, Master’s, PhD).

To apply, email a CV and cover letter to Dr. Sara Grimes at sara[dot]grimes[at]utoronto[dot]ca by 4pm, Friday August 14, 2015. More information about the project can be found here: http://kidsdiymedia.com [NOTE: July 22, 2015: site temporarily down for maintenance]


These RAships will ideally run for the duration of the 2015-2016 academic year (September 2015 to May 2016), with initial contracts covering a three-month trial period (e.g. September 15 to December 15, 2015) with possibility of renewal.  Please note that only successful candidates will be contacted for an interview.

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Fall 2015 RA Position
RESEARCH ASSISTANT/EVENT ORGANIZER 
KIDS’ DIY MEDIA PARTNERSHIP


Professor Sara Grimes, Faculty of Information, has one  (1) Workshop and Events Research Assistant (RA) position available for a qualified University of Toronto PhD-level graduate student.

The RA will assist with events and activities relating to Year 2 of the Kids’ DIY Media Partnership, a three-year, SSHRC-funded project aimed at bringing together academics, industry stakeholders and policymakers to discuss and analyze emerging issues associated with children’s online media making and sharing. This position is focused specifically on assisting Professor Grimes and her partners with the development and coordination of a daylong workshop, as well as events and presentations associated with the 2016 TIFF Kids International Film Festival. The ideal candidate possesses strong research skills, excellent written communication skills, previous experience with event planning, and is able to work independently, as well as in a team.

General responsibilities will include:

- Coordinating and communicating with project partners
- Organizing, designing, preparing and managing a transdisciplinary workshop, as well as the project’s 2016 TIFF events and contributions
- Facilitating and coordinating other RAs during the workshop(s) and associated events
- Assisting with analysis of the workshop results and feedback
- Preparing written reports and debriefs on the events and their results.

Other or more specific tasks can be prioritized according to the successful applicant’s interests and strengths.

To apply, email a CV and cover letter to Dr. Sara Grimes at sara[dot]grimes[at]utoronto[dot]ca by 4pm, Friday August 14, 2015. More information about the project can be found here: http://kidsdiymedia.com [NOTE: July 22, 2015: site temporarily down for maintenance]

This RAship will ideally run for the duration of the 2015-2016 academic year (September 2015 to May 2016), with an initial contract covering a three-month trial period (e.g. September 15 to December 15, 2015) with possibility of renewal.  Please note that only successful candidates will be contacted for an interview.

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Fall 2015 RA PositionS
RESEARCH ASSISTANTS
PLAYING AT MAKING PROJECT

Professor Sara Grimes, Faculty of Information, has a number of Research Assistant (RA) positions available for qualified students, at both the Master’s and PhD levels. Qualified applicants must have full-time student status for the duration of the RAship (or be within six months of completion/graduation), and be available to complete a majority of their duties in person at the  University of Toronto St. George campus. Preference will be given to University of Toronto students, but qualified students from other recognized post-secondary Canadian institutions may also be considered. Similarly, preference will be given to graduate-level students, but undergraduates are also welcome to apply if other criteria and qualifications are met.

The RAs will assist with research and activities relating to Year 2 of the Playing at Making project, a two-year, SSHRC-funded study of the opportunities and challenges for inclusive play presented by popular child-friendly game design titles. The ideal candidates for these RA positions possess strong skills and/of formal training in common forms of social science research (quantitative and/or qualitative), excellent written communication skills, and are able to work independently as well as in a team. Firsthand research experience with children, or other relevant experience working with children, as well as formal training and/or previous experience with survey distribution and data analysis, are considered to be particularly valuable assets for these positions.

General responsibilities of Master’s level RAships may include:
- Assisting in survey distribution and data analysis
- Assisting in content analysis
- Assisting in the writing and dissemination of research reports
- Assisting in community outreach
- Assisting in the creation, management and facilitation of focus group “game jams” involving children aged 6 to 12 years and their parents (and subsequent focus group data analysis)
- Some literature review

The PhD level RAships may include additional responsibilities, such as:
- Assisting in the design and coordination of qualitative and quantitative data analysis
- Assisting in the writing of academic papers based on project results, including conference presentations and journal submissions
- Assisting in the supervision and coordination of Master’s  and undergraduate level RAs
- Assisting in comparative policy analysis of the terms of use and privacy policies of relevant child-friendly game design titles, within broader Canadian and US communication and information policy contexts.

Other or more specific tasks can be prioritized according to successful applicants’ interests and strengths. The specific responsibilities and nature of the work associated with these positions will vary depending on the experience and academic level of the students who are ultimately selected to fill them. Salaries are similarly pre-set and scaled based on the level of the student’s current academic program (e.g. undergraduate, Master’s, PhD).

To apply, email a CV and cover letter to Dr. Sara Grimes at sara[dot]grimes[at]utoronto[dot]ca by 4pm, Friday August 14, 2015. More information about the project can be found here: http://playingatmaking.wordpress.com

These RAships will ideally run for the duration of the 2015-2016 academic year (September 2015 to May 2016), with initial contracts covering a three-month trial period (e.g. September 15 to December 15, 2015) with possibility of renewal. As these positions will involve interacting with children in focus group scenarios, a police background check will be mandatory upon hiring.
Please note that only successful candidates will be contacted for an interview.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cool CFP Alert: Child and Teen Consumption 2016 Conference in Denmark (April 2016)


Copy+Pasted from the Exploring Childhood Studies mailing list:

Child and Teen Consumption 2016 Conference website is nowopen for submissions.
 You can submit your abstract at this address:http://www.en.cgs.aau.dk/research/conferences/ctc-2016/submission-abstracts/ The strict deadline for abstract submission is 1 September 2015.
 Submitted abstracts can be max 1000 words and must contain a brief abstract of 50-100 words.Submitted abstracts must present original work, and must explain the use of methods and theory and the contribution of the work. The conference language will be English. ** NEW** Call for papers special session  « Children’s and teenagers’ food practices in contexts of poverty and inequality » PhD workshop will take place on the 26 April 2016 so do encourage your PhD students to submit a paper. *Travel and accommodation information is already available on the CTC 2016 website so that you can plan your trip early.*  A copy of the two calls for papers are attached and you will find all the information you need on the CTC 2016 website: www.ctc2016.aau.dk

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Heads up: CBC Article for Parents on Kids and Coding

Just popping in for a quick link to a story by Erik Missio that I read on CBC News today. The article itself is kind of sappy-sweet and disturbingly uncritical (zero mention of access/digital divide issues, etc.) but it does also include a number of great points about the enormous value of teaching kids to code at a very young age. I personally LOVE that the fact that it's fun is included as a benefit...this is way too often overlooked in the standard, overly-instrumentalized narrative of why kids should engage with tech (or literature, or any activity) at a deeper level. And it does indeed provides some good tips about where and how to start, including links to Scratch and Raspberry Pi.

Here's an excerpt:
Four- and five-year-olds can learn the foundations of coding and computer commands before they can even write and spell words. Older kids can learn to code through classes, mentors and online tutorials (see below for learn-to-code resources for all ages).
Learning to code prepares kids for the world we live in today. There are tons of jobs and occupations that use code directly, like web designers, software developers and robotics engineers, and even more where knowing how to code is a huge asset—jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology or information sciences. However, for most kid-coding advocates, reasons for learning to code run much deeper than career prep.
That last sentence is really key. Missio goes on to highlight how understanding code "helps explain the world." I'd add to that that of equal importance is that it empowers kids, enables them to start questioning and challenging the status quo, and to think more deeply and critically about of how the code (programs, etc.) they encounter in their leisure, at school, etc. affords and constraints particular activities, ways of being, types of use and users. 

Full article here: Why Kids Should Learn To Code (And How To Get Them Started)

Saturday, April 04, 2015

CFP: The Child in Popular Culture

Copy+Pasted from the original posting sent out to the childhoods-net mailing list earlier today:

CFP:  The Child in Popular Culture

Red Feather Journal (www.redfeatherjournal.org), an open-access, peer-reviewed, international and interdisciplinary journal, has expanded its scope to include the child in all aspects of popular culture.  Red Feather Journal seeks well-written, critical articles for the Spring 2015 issue (deadline April 25, 2015) on any aspect of the child in popular culture.  Some suggested topics include: children in film, television, the Internet; children in popular literature or art; the child in gaming, cosplay or cons; children dan social media; childhood geography or material culture; or any other aspect of the child in popular culture.  

Red Feather Journal welcomes international submissions.

Submissions to Red Feather Journal are accepted on a rolling basis. Red Feather Journal is published twice a year. Authors are welcome to submit articles in either MLA, APA, or Chicago citations systems. Red Feather Journal is indexed through EBSCO host and MLA bibliography.

Interested contributors please submit the article, an abstract, and a brief biography (with full contact information) as attachments in Word to debbieo@okstate.edu 

Deadline for submissions for the Spring 2015 issue is April 25th, 2015.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Let's Kickstart Riftworld Chronicles!

While I've been insanely busy these past five months caring for and getting to know my amazing new baby, my partner has had the additional pleasure (and challenge) of creating a new web series, The Riftworld Chronicles. Based on his short film, The Portal, they shot the first season in December and are now hard at work on post-production. Since this is a sci-fi/fantasy/comedy, there are visual effects a plenty to add in at this stage, among various other expensive things they'd love to do...and so they've launched a Kickstarter Campaign to try to make this new show wow and awe (and hopefully get picked up for a second season, or even as a network series).

While not STRICTLY children's media and games related (which is otherwise the primary theme of this here blog), the series plans include all kinds of awesome, future transmedia intertextuality ventures and tie-ins; including comics and digital content, and perhaps even a game or two along the way. It's also a project that's - obviously - very near and dear to my heart.

And yes - it DOES star Tahmoh Penikett (Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica) and Erin Karpluk (of Being Erica), who just so happen to be two of my favourite actors.

Anyhow, if you like wizards, cross-dimensional travel, witty nerd humour and strong female protagonists, please check out the campaign and consider pitching in. Most importantly, if you like what you see, be sure to spread the word far and wide. There are only a couple of weeks left before the Kickstarter deadline, and the series still needs a big push in interest if it's going to reach its goal.

Here's a link to the Riftworld Kickstarter Campaign page, now with new, even more awesome funding incentives. Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

CFP for next year's CCA conference is live, deadline Dec. 12

Cut + paste and abridged from the original, as posted to the CCA mailing list last week:

Call for Papers
Canadian Communication Association (CCA) Annual Conference 2015
June 3, 4, 5 2015.
University of Ottawa,
Ottawa, Ontario

“Capital Ideas” is the theme of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) 2015 Congress within which the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) will hold its Annual Conference, June 3-5 at the University of Ottawa, Ontario (http://congress2015.ca). We are calling for proposals that explore, critique and extend this theme as well as for proposals on any other themes relevant to Communication Studies.
We invite scholars and professionals to submit proposals that develop the range and depth of scholarship in communication studies. Proposals may take the form of:

Deadline for Submission of Proposals

  • Single-paper presentations – Regular stream: December 12, 2014
  • Panels (maximum of 4 papers): December 12, 2014
  • Roundtables or Workshops: December 12, 2014
  • Single-paper presentations – Graduate Master’s Sessions (Optional for Master’s students only): December 12, 2014. NOTE: Deadline for Submission of Completed Papers (Graduate Master's Sessions ONLY): May 1, 2015

In order to facilitate discussion and debate about the changing university and the realities of precarious employment at universities in general (part-time, Contract Academic Staff, adjunct, limited term, etc.) and in Communication Studies in particular, we encourage submission of proposals for panels, individual papers, or roundtables on this topic.

Submission Details
In order to present a paper at the conference, you must be a member of the Canadian Communication Association. Membership dues must be paid by March 2nd 2015 in order to be included in the final program. If you are not already a member and wish to join the CCA, please visit the Membership section of the CCA website (http://www.acc-cca.ca/onlineapplication/)

Proposals can be submitted online at https://www.openconf.org/CCA2015 or http://www.acc-cca.ca

[...]

Important Deadlines
Submission of proposals: December 12, 2014

Beaverbrook Media@McGill Student Paper Prize:  April 1, 2015
Nominated papers should be sent electronically (.pdf format) to Prof. Penelope Ironstone, CCA President (pironstone@wlu.ca). Title page must indicate paper’s title, the author’s name, contact info, university affiliation, and degree status.

Gertrude J. Robinson Book Prize: March 2, 2015
Nominations should be sent electronically to Prof. Penelope Ironstone, CCA President (pironstone@wlu.ca), and must indicate the book’s title, author, publisher, date of publication and author’s complete affiliation and contact information.

[NOTE from SMG: Additional, detailed info and submission guidelines can be found in the original CFP, and on the conference website(s) listed above.]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Configuring the Child Player: New Article Out, Online First, in Science, Technology & Human Values Journal

I am super excited to announce that I have a new article appearing in an upcoming issue of Science, Technology & Human Values journal, entitled "Configuring the Child Player." In the meantime, the article has already been published on the journal's website through the publisher's "Online First" program. Subscription to the journal, publisher or database is required to access the article in full, but anyone can view the abstract here (which I've also reproduced in full below :).

I'm extremely pleased and honoured to have had one of my articles accepted in STHV - it's a journal that I regularly read and have enormous respect for, and it's widely considered to be THE journal for science & technology studies (STS) research and theoretical contributions, which is particularly important for this piece (which engages very directly with STS theories).

Abstract:
Scholars from various disciplines have explored the powerful symbolic function that children occupy within public discourses of technology, but less attention has been paid to the role this plays in the social shaping of the technologies themselves. Virtual worlds present a unique site for studying how ideas about children become embedded in the artifacts adults make for them. This article argues that children’s virtual worlds are fundamentally negotiated spaces in which broader aspirations and anxieties about children’s relationships with play, technology, consumer culture, and the public sphere resurface as “configurations” of an imagined, ideal child player. The article begins with a brief overview of the children's virtual worlds phenomenon, followed by a discussion of related research on children’s play and play technologies. Findings from a case study of six commercial, game-themed virtual worlds targeted specifically to children are then presented, with a focus on how these artifacts configure their child players in highly ideological and normative ways, wherein play is narrowly defined in accordance with a neoromantic, consumerist ethos. The article aims to uncover the hidden politics inscribed within a particular genre of children’s technology and to explore some of the implications for children’s digital play.