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 ( 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 (

Proposals can be submitted online at or


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 ( 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 (, 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).

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.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Game Curious? The Hand Eye Society + Toronto Reference Library Has Just the Program for You!

Mostly Cut+Paste from the original announcement: This September, the second run of GAME CURIOUS will take place at the Toronto Reference Library, featuring another lively mix of presentation, group discussion, socializing and of course PLAY! 

While the program is open to just about anyone, it is especially aimed at self-described non-gamers or people who want to learn more about the medium but aren't sure where to start. There will also be a 6-week game-making component for select participants following the main program. Here are the details:

Saturdays 1-3 PM
Sept 13 - Oct 18 2014 (6 weeks)
Toronto Reference Library
(Browsery, Main Floor)
789 Yonge St. (Bloor-Yonge subway station)
Recommended for ages 16+
FREE! Drop-ins welcome.
GAME CURIOUS is a 6-week program exploring the untapped art of video games, for people who don’t necessarily identify as “gamers”. It’s a no-pressure learning environment of discussion, discovery and play, with the opportunity to connect with local storytellers who love the medium. While the direction of the program will be participant-driven, games to be played and discussed will include everything from classics such as Mario and Zelda, to independent games about relationships, queer identity, political satire, work, life, and more. The program also aims to promote diversity within gaming culture by encouraging participants from a variety of backgrounds to engage with games in a way that is personally relevant to their own lives. All are welcome to apply, whether you’re an artist, an activist, a parent, or haven’t picked up a controller in years. It’s like a book club… with buttons

Monday, August 18, 2014

CFP Alert: Society for the History of Children and Youth

Cut and paste from the Childhood Studies mailing list, the CFP for next year's Society for the History of Children and Youth Conference, which will be held in beautiful Vancouver, BC (in June, no less!). Note that the deadline for paper proposals is September 15, and panel proposals are due October 1.

CFP: Society for the History of Children and Youth SHCY Eighth Biennial Conference*Date*: June 24-26th, 2015*Location: *University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Description: “Relationality and the global circulation of children’s literature and culture” We invite papers for a prospective panel that explores the global circulation of children’s literature and concepts of childhood, particularly along paths determined by the processes of history and imperialization and colonization. The historical importance of children and children’s literature in the colonial context cannot be denied. Children are the future of the nation, and thus, what children read, and what is written for them, becomes an important part of the nation building process. And when artifacts of children’s culture travel across geographical spaces they create relationships between people, places, and ideas that shape children’s relationships with themselves and the world. The literature imported to and produced within the colonies has a direct influence on not only the subjectivity of the colonial child, but also, on the concept of childhood within the colonized nation. For instance, Enid Blyton, whose works are immensely popular in India and African countries, has provided images of play and companionship which have affected the worlds of hundreds of children living far away from the English culture and countryside described in her books. In turn, the presence of the colonies and images traveling back from the colonies affects the literature written for children, as well as the worlds and professions for which children are reared. Historical research into the circulation of children’s literature will expand our understanding of the wider network of relationships between geographical spaces as well as children’s relationships with the modern world. Possible topics include: --Circulation of children’s books within a colonial or imperial context--The role of children’s literature or culture in the colonization process--Colonial children’s texts that respond to children’s literature of the colonizing nation--The development of ideas about childhood within a global/colonial context--Depictions of colonization and/or globalization in children’s literature and culture--Relationality as a theme in colonial or imperial children’s texts 
If you’re interested in being a part of such a panel, please send a 250-word paper proposal by September 15 to Courtney Weikle-Mills ( and Sreemoyee Dasgupta ( A complete panel proposal will be submitted to SHCY for consideration on October 1.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Survey for Kids (& Parents) Who Make Things with Games

The survey for my Playing at Making project is now live and we need everyone's help in getting the word out and ensuring we receive a sufficient number of responses. I've included the ad above (we also have one aimed directly to kids), and Copy+Pasted the text from our project website below. 

Basically, we're looking to get the survey out to kids aged 12 years and under who create content in/using digital games, anything from a Minecraft server, to costumes in Stardoll, to mini-games in Scratch or LittleBigPlanet. Details below - any questions can be directed to me. 

Thank you all!


Do you have a CREATIVE child? Does your child like to BUILD THINGS? Do they like VIDEO GAMES? If so, we’d like to hear from you! We’re surveying children who like to play creative games (and their parents/guardians). From Minecraft to Little Big Planet and everything in between, we want to know more about what kids are creating and making while they play today’s popular video games. We want to know more about how kids make things with video games, and why video games are so important to kids’ creativity and play. And we need your help!
If you think that your child (or a child you know) might fall into this category, please let them know about our survey. The survey itself only takes about 20 minutes to complete, and all of the answers we collect will be kept anonymous. We’ll also be sharing our results with the public once the survey is done, so if you’re interested in finding out more about kids and game-making, be sure to keep an eye on this space in the coming months.
Please click here to take the survey, which includes a section for children and one for parents.
Additional Info and Next Steps:
While we’re encouraging everyone to complete the survey asap, it will remain open for most of Fall 2014. That said, if necessary, we will keep it running a bit longer to ensure that we’ve collected a large enough sample to do some rigorous analysis and draw compelling conclusions.
But the study itself will continue on after the survey (Stage 1) is complete. During Stage 2, we want to look at some game creations made by actual kids! Instructions on how to participate in Stage 2 are included at the end of the survey. But if your child has made something in a game that they’d like to share, and you’d like to find out more about this phase of our research, you can also email us via the Contact Page!
Also, be sure to send us an email if you and your kids would like to be invited to future Playing at Making workshops and learning events, or if you have any questions or concerns about the survey or any other aspect of the project.
Please note: This study is being conducted out of Faculty of Information’s Semaphore Lab at the University of Toronto. It has been reviewed by the University of Toronto Research Ethics Boards (REB).

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Postdoc Opportunity on Parenting and Childhood in the Digital Era, at the LSE!!

For those of you researching children & media/digital culture, and nearing the end of (or have recently completed) a PhD, this postdoc opportunity working with the amazing and prolific Sonia Livingstone sounds like a dream come true. I spent an all-too-brief semester working with Sonia at the LSE during my doctoral training, and can't endorse it or her enough -- it's a fantastic, vibrant place, filled with brilliant and collegial people, and Sonia's research is of a caliber we should all aspire to. 

Deadline for applications is August 4th, 2014. Full original job posting cut&paste here:
Postdoctoral Research Officer, Department of Media and Communications
Full-time for two years
£33,450 to £36,520 per annum

The Department of Media and Communication at the London School of Economics and Political Science is advertising for a postdoctoral researcher to work on a timely and original research project into parenting and childhood in the digital era. Applications are invited from outstanding candidates with a PhD in the fields of media and  communications, education, childhood studies or allied social sciences.

The appointee will play a key role in conducting original ethnographic and case study research, project management and research dissemination, under the direction of Professor Sonia Livingstone. The project, ‘Preparing for a Digital Future’ is part of the 'Connected Learning Research Network' (CLRN) led by the University of California, Irvine, together with partner projects across the US, and part of the Digital Media Learning initiative funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The main fieldwork will comprise a series of qualitative case studies which variously examine how parents approach the task of bringing up their children in the digital age. Going beyond the question of how they manage digital media technologies at home, it will ask more broadly how parents conceive of the changes in society since their own childhoods, how they manage them, and what vision of a digital future they have for their children? The project will also identify relevant international projects in order to compare and contrast parenting strategies and practices in the digital era. The appointee will also play a key role in constructing a lively public face for the research in terms of blog posts and social media to engage a wider public of policy-makers, parenting groups and youth/learning practitioners. 
Candidates should have a developing record of excellent quality publications in refereed journals, an ability to write for and communicate with a range of audiences and experience of research management and administration, including workshop/seminar organisation. The other criteria that will be used when shortlisting for this post can be found on the person specification which is attached to this vacancy on the LSE’s online recruitment system. In addition to a good salary the benefits that come with this job include a defined benefits pension scheme, generous annual leave and excellent training and development opportunities. 
To apply for this post please go to ‘ at LSE’ and select “Vacancies”. The direct link is  Applications must be received by 4 August 2014 (midnight UK time). Regrettably, we cannot accept any applications received after this date. Interviews are likely to take place in late August. Informal queries may be addressed to Sonia Livingstone,

Monday, July 07, 2014

CFP Alert: Meaningful Play Conference

Cut & Paste from the email announcement for this year's Meaningful Play Conference, with a warning that the deadline for submissions is next week! Also, please note the publication opportunity with Games and Culture journal. Very cool.

Meaningful Play 2014October 16 - 18, 2014East Lansing, MI, USA
Call for Submissions (Deadline July 14, 2014) 
Whether designed to entertain or to achieve more "serious" purposes, games have the potential to impact players' beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, emotions, cognitive abilities, physical and mental health, and behavior.  

Meaningful Play 2014 is a conference about theory, research, and game design innovations, principles and practices.   Meaningful Play brings scholars and industry professionals together to understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade in meaningful ways.  

Paper, Panel, Poster, Roundtable, Workshop, and Game submissions are sought from both researchers and practitioners in academia and industry. Graduate and advanced undergraduate students are also encouraged to submit either jointly with an academic/member of industry or alone. 

The conference includes thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry, peer-reviewed paper presentations, panel sessions (including academic and industry discussions), innovative workshops, roundtable discussions, and exhibitions of games and prototypes. 
Meaningful Play 2014 and the Journal of Games and Culture have partnered to bring a Games and Culture special issue containing top papers from the Meaningful Play 2014 conference. The Journal of Games and Culture Culture is a peer-reviewed, international journal that promotes innovative theoretical and empirical research about games and culture within interactive media. 
Details on the conference, including the call for submissions, is available at:

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Summer Hiatus? Not Quite...

Just a quick update to note that while I haven't had much time to update Gamine Expedition this summer, it's not from a lack of research activity or dearth of interesting kids' digital media-related things going on. My research team and I have actually been hard at work getting as much data collected and as many findings written up as possible before Fall 2014 (when I go on hiatus for real for several months on maternity leave). No need to wait for updates on all of that activity here, however. You can already find news about our research and related stories on my project-specific research blogs, regularly updated courtesy of my diligent and hard-working research assistants.

For news on (and relating to) the Kids DIY Media Partnership, click here!

For news on (and relating to) the Playing at Making project, click here!

For news on my Adaptive Gaming & Inclusive Play project, click here!

 I'll do my best to start updating Gamine Expedition again soon - but with all the projects, data collection and writing assignments I've got going on right now, it's been extra tough to juggle and give adequate attention to all three of my beloved sites.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

New Resource Alert: "Tweening the Girl" - new book by Natalie Coulter

Peter Lang's (publishing house) "Mediating Youth" series is filled with valuable gems, including a number of books that focus specifically on girls, media, technology and culture. Today I found out about a new addition to the series that I'm really looking forward to reading - Tweening the Girl:  The Crystallization of the Tween Market, written by Canadian children's studies guru Natalie Coulter. Here's the official description:

Tweening the Girl, challenges the accepted argument that the tween market began in the mid-1990s.  It was actually during the 1980s that young girls were given the label, “tweens” and were heralded by marketers, and subsequently the news media, as one of “capitalism’s most valuable customers”.  Tweening the Girl, expertly traces the emergence of tween during this era as she slowly became known to the consumer marketplace as a lucrative customer, market and audience. It clearly illustrates how ‘tweenhood’ which is often assumed to be a natural category of childhood is actually a product of the industries of the youth media marketplace that began to position the preteen girl as a separate market niche that is notched out of the transitory spaces between childhood and adolescence. Relying predominantly upon a textual analysis of trade publications in the 1980s and early 1990s the book eloquently maps out the synergistic processes of the marketing, advertising, merchandising and media industries as they slowly began to take interest in the girl and began to define her as a tween; an empowered female consumer who is no longer a child but not quite a teen.

Natalie Coulter is an assistant professor of communication studies at York University.  She is a founding member of ARCYP (Association for Research on the Cultures of Young People) and has published in a number of journals including the Canadian Journal of Communication and Juenesse.
Big congrats to Dr. Coulter!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Job Opportunity Alert - Work-Study Position in Web Content Management for the Kids DIY Media Project

Work-study position: Content Management Assistant

Professor Sara Grimes, Faculty of Information (that's me!!), has one work-study position available for a qualified University of Toronto student. If you are an undergraduate taking at least 1.0 credit (40% of a full course load) continuously from May and August (e.g. one 0.5 F course between May-June and one 0.5 S course between July-August, or 1 Y course from May to August), or a graduate student registered in at least 40% of a full course load from May to August, then you are eligible to apply.

Content Management Assistant

This research assistant (RA) will assist the Kids’ DIY Media and Playing at Making research projects in maintaining their websites and generating data visualizations for reports and project publicity. The ideal candidate possesses strong web and multimedia design skills, excellent written communication skills, and is able to work independently as well as in a team.

General responsibilities may include:
  • Track performance of our current website
  • Continue to enhance website content
  • Generate data visualizations for web and project reports
  • Actively engage and build relationships with the project’s social media community
  • Assist in promoting project events
  • Some literature review
  • Some data analysis
Other or more specific tasks can be prioritized for the applicant’s interest and strengths.
To apply, email a CV and cover letter to Dr. Sara Grimes at by [Note: Deadline has been EXTENDED!!!] 4pm, Friday 2 May, 2014.

Interviews will be scheduled sometime during the week of 5-9 May, 2014. Please note that only successful candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Coming up: TIFF Kids Industry Conference (at the TIFF Kids Film Festival)

As part of the Kids DIY Media project's partnership with TIFF Kids, we're participating in several exciting events this month, as part of this year's TIFF Kids Film Festival.

For starters, we're exhibiting a table at this year's digiPlaySpace, within the Mini Maker Space. Very exciting stuff. We had the opportunity to go and visit digiPlaySpace last week, and were uber impressed with this year's collection of interactive, multi-media displays and activities. The paint with water wall, was a particular favourite. Our area is called "Creative Play Online" and features computers running some of the most popular kids' DIY media sites, including Scratch and Minecraft. Here's the official description from the website and program:
Create your own worlds in Minecraft, make your own games with SCRATCH, and learn how easy it can be to remix the web with Mozilla's Hackasaurus. These computer stations are presented in partnership with the University of Toronto and Utah State University's research project Kids Do-It-Yourself Media: working towards best practices around children's increased participation in creative cultural production online.
"Today, children's DIY media creation increasingly takes place online, using digital tools that allow them to not only produce and share their ideas with the world, but also develop many of the skills they'll need to be participants, innovators and leaders in the digital economy" (Kids Do-It-Yourself Media).

The exhibit can be found on the first floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, and runs from March 8–April 21, 2014.

The next major event for the Kids DIY Media project will take place at the TIFF Kids Industry Conference, which runs from April 14 to 17, in conjunction with the TIFF Kids Film Festival. During the conference, we'll be participating on a panel titled "Kids' DIY Media Project: Opportunities and Challenges of Supporting Kids' Making and Sharing Media Online," featuring talks by yours truly, Deborah Fields (Utah State University),  Jason Krogh (one of our industry partners, and CEO of Sago Sago), Brian Alspach (E-Line Media), and moderated by David Kleeman (PlayCollective).

We'll also be running a workshop on the 17th, on "Kids' DIY Media: Best Practices for Creating Online Sharing Environments for Children." Should be a jam-packed and fun-filled 4 days!!

Here the blurb from the press release with links for registration, etc.:

[T]his year's TIFF Kids Industry Conference will feature a diverse group of guest speakers from around the world, ranging from filmmakers, writers and animators to researchers, interactive producers and funders. The programme consists of one day of keynote sessions and panel discussions on April 15, and three days of roundtable sessions and workshops. 
This year’s line-up of over 60 guest speakers includes Graham Annable, co-director of the upcoming 3D movie The Boxtrolls by renowned animation studio LAIKA (Coraline, ParaNorman); legendary puppeteer and actor Caroll Spinney, who has been the heart and soul of Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969; leading transmedia producer Caitlin Burns who has worked on multi-platform marketing campaigns for blockbuster franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar and Transformers; Brian Lovell, founder and CEO of digital marketing agency RED Interactive and developer of the Hunger Games Explorer, the massively popular online hub for fans of The Hunger Games; and the groundbreaking Kids' DIY Media Project lead by researchers Sara Grimes of University of Toronto and Deborah Fields of Utah State University. 
The full line-up and schedule of industry programming can be found here. Accreditation pricing starts at $150 for professionals and $50 for students. For more information on accreditation options and how to register, click here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Job Opportunity Alert! Postdoc position with DML Research Hub

This announcement just came through on the dmlhub mailing list, and they've already started accepting applications! Cut and paste directly from the original - direct any questions to them, not me!

Postdoc opportunity at DML Hub's Connected Learning Research Network 
Here's the recruitment page:
Please distribute the opening to your networks! If you are interested or know anyone who might be, please do send them our way.

More information:
Open Mar 11, 2014 through Apr 11, 2014
One postdoctoral position is available in the Digital Media & Learning Research Hub, at the UC Humanities Research Institute, based on the Irvine campus. The postdoctoral scholar will collaborate in a MacArthur Foundation-funded research network on Connected Learning, investigating how new digital and networked media can support interest-driven and socially connected forms of learning. The postdoctoral scholar will be responsible for conducting ethnographic research on interest-driven learning with digital media, with a focus on parental involvement, analyzing research findings and working collaboratively with principle investigators and others involved in the research network. 
Requirements – Candidates should have a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline and research experience with contemporary developments concerning youth, digital media and learning. Preference will be given to candidates with experience in ethnographic and online research with families and youth and expertise in learning theory, Internet research, game studies, and design research. Evidence of collaborative and mixed methods research will also be valued. Travel may be required in this position to perform research and meet with collaborators. 
Position is dependent on extramural funding. Initial appointment is for one year and renewal is based on performance and is contingent on receipt of project funding. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue through application deadline of April 11, 2014.
The appointment may begin as early as August 1, 2014 and would continue until July 31, 2015, renewable pending review and available funding.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kids DIY Media Project Workshop on Sharing FTW

I haven't had much time to blog lately, due in no small part to all the exciting things that have been happening with the Kids DIY Media and Playing at Making projects. Last month, we held our first workshop, which in my humble opinion was a smashing success - a fantastic group of people participated, and shared with us their invaluable insight and thoughts on our preliminary findings, next steps and a number of the broader ethical/social issues involved when kids make and share content online. We've just released a Communique about the workshop, which I've reproduced below. Stay tuned for additional updates, as well as exciting news about an upcoming Playing at Making event soon!!!


10 March, 2014: The Kids DIY Media Partnership, a SSHRC-funded initiative housed at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, is pleased to note that on February 4th, 2014, they hosted the first in a series of cross-sector workshops aimed at exploring emerging issues, opportunities and challenges associated with children’s increased participation in creating online content. We greatly appreciate the participation and feedback of all of our project partners and invited attendees for making this a deeply insightful and extremely valuable event.

The recent influx of online, do-it-yourself (DIY) media tools aimed at kids have allowed them to produce and share their ideas with the world and also develop many of the skills needed to be participants, innovators and leaders in the digital economy. Despite children’s growing participation as producers of online media, however, these activities have not yet been extensively researched or well understood.  The Kids’ DIY Media Project, a cross-sector, cross-national research venture funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant program, addresses this gap through a multi-sited project led by Dr. Sara M. Grimes (Faculty of Information, University of Toronto) and Dr. Deborah A. Fields (Utah State University). Project partners include media producers, not-for-profit organizations and child advocacy groups from both Canada and the United States:  Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, Common Sense Media, Toronto International Film Festival Inc., MediaSmarts, Gamercamp Jr., Storybird Inc., foundry10, Untold Entertainment Inc., and Zinc Roe Inc., as well as academic researchers from Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto,  Utah State University and the kidsmediacenter at Centennial College.

Last month’s workshop featured a preview of the findings from Stage 1 of the Kids’ DIY Media project research, which includes an in-depth content analysis of online tools used by children to make and share drawings, stories, games and other creations online.  Workshop participants discussed the issues and questions these activities raise, including the ethical, legal and policy implications of children’s online production, as well as opportunities for literacy development and children’s cultural rights. Stakeholders discussed potential solutions and best practices to ensure inclusivity, and support children’s creativity, freedom of speech, and privacy online. The day-long workshop, which included presentations by the research team and break-out discussions, was designed to solicit feedback from project partners and other participants to guide and support the ongoing collection and analysis of data as the project unfolds over the next two years. Through research and additional workshops, the project aims to produce a set of best practices for developing kids’ DIY media tools and supporting kids’ DIY media practices.

“From the outset, our major goal for this project was to produce cutting edge research in a context that fostered dialogue and input from the various sectors and groups most directly involved in supporting the kids’ DIY media movement,” said Dr. Sara Grimes, professor at the Faculty of Information and Principal Investigator of the Kids DIY Media Project. “This first workshop got us off to a fantastic start. The discussions and feedback from the different participants provided invaluable insight into the present and future of kids’ media-making, and the special challenges that kids face in finding accessible tools and supportive venues for sharing their creations online.”

Over 30 stakeholders participated in the event, including project partners and other experts in children’s media production, broadcasting, advocacy and research.  In addition to the project partners, other invited participants included: MakerKids, Mozilla Foundation, PlayCollective, GamingEdus, TVO Kids, PBS Kids Interactive, and researchers from York University, University of Pennsylvania, University of New Hampshire, Rutgers University, and University of Toronto.

Materials from the workshop, including presentations and summaries of discussions, will be available in the coming weeks on the project website at . The findings from Stage 1 of the Kids DIY Media project research will be published later this year.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cool Opportunity Alert: ALA approves new "Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity"

Via ALAnews, an announcement that needs to be shared far and wide - a new award aimed at recognizing the hard work and dedication of children's/youth [correction: i don't see this qualifier in the press release, so i was likely mistaken about that part] librarians committed to defending intellectual freedom: The Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity." The award is sponsored (funded?) by children's author Daniel Handler who writes and does most things under the nom de plum/twisted persona of Lemony Snicket. Here's an excerpt from the ALA press release:
The award, which ALA intends to present at its Annual Conference in Las Vegas, recognizes a librarian who “has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact.” It will be given annually to a deserving librarian. If a suitable candidate is not found, the award will not be presented that year.
The $3,000 prize will be given from Snicket’s “disreputable gains, along with an odd, symbolic object from his private stash, as well as a certificate, which may or may not be suitable for framing.”
I've read some of the text (that appears to come) from the award proposal, which is itself delightful and hilarious, written in the usual Lemony Snicket style. Handler often gives interviews in character, and the quotes included in the ALA announcement are no different:
According to Snicket, it is his hope that, “The Snicket Prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them.” About his sponsorship of the award, Snicket said, "This seems like a better way to channel money to librarians than my previous strategy, which was incurring exorbitant late fees."
Here are the nitty-gritty details about applying for the award itself:
The award jury will consist of five people: a chair and four jury members. The members of the jury will consist of ALA members with at least one member from any of the youth divisions (ALSC, AASL, YALSA) and at least one member from the Intellectual Freedom Committee or the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. 
The nominee must be a librarian. The deadline for candidates to be nominated for the first year is May 1. In subsequent years, the deadline will be Dec. 1
The following information must be addressed in the application: 

  • A narrative describing the adverse incident the librarian faced and a description of their response, result and resources utilized; 

  • Name and contact information; 

  • If applicable, name and contact information of the nominator Other supporting documentation, if applicable. 
To find out more information about the award, including how to nominate candidates, visit