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Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
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DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



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Monday, November 28 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
From Real to Virtual: The Case of Digital Theft :: 2A12

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Maria Takolander: Theft as creative methodology: A case study of digital narratives

Creativity is often still Romantically conceived and valued in terms of its purity and originality. However, this paper argues that theft – or revisionism – has been a fundamental methodology of creative practice from ancient times through to the digital age. Creativity is visionary only insofar as it is revisionary, and this is because, as common sense confirms, it always emerges from within a cultural domain. The first section of this paper outlines a revisionary theory of creative praxis that contests the Romantic concept of the auto-intoxicated creative practitioner. Following the work of Pierre Bourdieu, I advance a theory of revisionary creativity grounded in the ‘field of cultural production.’ The second part of the paper explores how literary revisionism manifests itself as a central methodology of creative practice in the digital era. The paper concludes with a brief study of an interactive digital narrative project that draws attention to theft or revisionism as its central methodology. We Tell Stories is a collaborative venture between Penguin Books in the UK and the digital games developer Six-to-Start, which consists of a series of six interactive digital narratives, each one of which revises a literary genre or classic story. In line with David Jay Bolter’s and Richard Grusin’s theory of remediation, this project of theft or appropriation illustrates the revisionary interplay and competition between different media in the cultural field. Certainly the revisionary methodologies of We Tell Stories, as this paper argues, are inextricable from a transitional publishing economy in which the digital both threatens conventional literary publishing and embodies its commercial future.

Rhett Davis: Author/Developer, Reader/Player: games in experimental fiction and experimental fiction in games

In the twentieth century many writers experimented with the form of the novel, from the Modernists James Joyce and Virginia Woolf; to the Oulipo group of Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino and Georges Perec; to contemporary writers such as Jennifer Egan, Mark Z. Danielewski and Robert Coover. Despite their attempts the overall shape of fiction narrative has not been significantly altered in the popular consciousness. Meanwhile, an entirely new and extremely popular medium for narrative has emerged in recent decades—that present in interactive digital entertainment, or video games—and its writers and developers are grappling with many of the experimental narrative techniques previously attempted by many fiction writers. In this paper I compare the works of B.S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates and Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style to the games Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and The Stanley Parable, and argue that there are significant parallels in their use of randomness and narrative repetition and revision. I conclude that significant narrative experimentation is now being played out in the minds of many game writers and designers around the world, and suggest that a popular revolution in narrative form anticipated by writers such as Queneau and Johnson might not take place in the novel at all, but in games. 

Brooke Maggs:  The Writer Between: Thieving Literary Plot to Design Game Narrative

This paper will trace my creative process as I move from writer of traditional literature to digital literature. This proposes a number of challenges for the traditional writer moving into game writing. They must understand the reader is a player with motivations related to gameplay (solving puzzles, achievement, progression). Narrative can provide a context (a game world) and incentive (reward) for gameplay, but challenge is to communicate the motivations of the characters within the story to the player. These challenges are tied to the ability of the writer to communicate the story to the development team and work with them to articulate it in the game.
       Facing these challenges meant shifting to a design approach to storytelling as a narrative designer. An approach with a revisionist methodology: thieving the voyage and return plot structure and retelling it with a game narrative toolbox. This analysis of my writing practice shows that literary theft was crucial for considering the wider possibilities of interactivity that move beyond read-response theoretical understandings (Iser 1976) of how the reader constructs their understanding of the text. Given a game is an ergodic text, the player will construct the meaning of the narrative in this way and also construct their game experience.  I argue writing for games requires the author to also imagine the reader’s and the player’s interactions, and this paper investigates the implications of this on the creative writing process.


avatar for Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams

Associate Professor of Creative Writing, University of Canberra
Associate Professor Jordan Williams is a poet and multimedia artist who teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Canberra. She researches the materiality of poetry and the use of ‘play’ in creative writing interventions for wellbeing and health. She has led the creative writing stream of two Defence ARRTS programs designed to promote the health and wellbeing of injured and ill Defence personnel.


Rhett Davis

Deakin University
Rhett Davis is commencing his PhD at Deakin University in Geelong having recently completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His research focuses on combining traditional fiction and digital forms. His short fiction has been published in Australia and North America, in places like The Big Issue, The Sleepers Almanac, Page Seventeen and The Dalhousie Review.
avatar for Brooke Maggs

Brooke Maggs

PhD Candidate, Deakin Univeristy
Brooke is a co-director of Burning Glass Creative where she uses her skills in writing, narrative design and production to support a variety of projects in games, book publishing and other creative industries. She helps others tell stories and chart the course for their creative work, drawing on over seven years of experience teaching games studies, user experience design, cultural studies, and project management at a tertiary level. A PhD... Read More →
avatar for Maria Takolander

Maria Takolander

Associate Professor, Deakin University
Associate Professor Maria Takolander has published numerous papers theorising creativity. She is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, The End of the World (Giramondo, 2014) and Ghostly Subjects (Salt 2009), which was shortlisted for a Queensland Premier’s Prize. The winner of the inaugural ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, Maria is also the author of The Double (and Other Stories) (Text, 2013), which was shortlisted for... Read More →

Monday November 28, 2016 2:30pm - 3:30pm
2A12 Building 2, UC

Attendees (9)