Media studies changing performing arts

by | Mar 10, 2015 | A&E

Corey Brehaut

The Transmedia Fellowship is transforming the way Humber does media studies.

The fellowship is a new initiative from the college that involves students from media studies and performing arts programs, challenging them to tell a story through multiple media platforms.

The program is a paid summer fellowship offered through the school.

“It’s part of an initiative for the school seeing that transmedia is the new sort of direction that media’s heading,” said Sean Doyle, a professor in the School of Media Studies and Information Technology who teaches web development and is a facilitator of the fellowship.

The first project, “Remember the Tardigrades,” had a four month schedule which ended in August last year.

“It was the most real world work in a school setting that you could get,” said Jennifer Ferris, a third-year theatre performance student.

The project was a science fiction story of Lily, a teen who lives in a world where people can download memories directly to their eyes and music festivals are outlawed.

The story plays out in a series of scripted videos, clickable prompts, and documentary segments of an actual music festival.

“It helps us comment on the cultural relevance of something today by looking at it in the future,” said Ana Cronkite, a fourth-year film and media student.

The goal of the project is to showcase how social media affects people’s lives as well as examine the importance of music festivals. Lily learns along with the viewer how technology affects our lives, Cronkite said.

“We were looking at the culture behind music festivals too,” Ferris said.

“One of the ways you understand what it adds to society is when it doesn’t exist or if you take away what elements get missing.”

The theme that brings these ideas together is human connectedness, said Cronkite.

“I think that bringing the story back to a theme as big as that helped us get our message across to the audience,” she said.

Two facilitators, Doyle and Susan Murray, whose job was to run weekly meetings and act as resources for the team, oversaw the project.

They also ran workshops for the students, said Doyle.

“One of the challenges that I know our supervisors fought with a lot was getting us out of our own little work silos,” said Ferris.

“Because we come from different programs we all have a different way of communicating project ideas and creativity or work in different ways.”

“What all of these students had in common is that they were good at creative thinking,” said Cronkite.

The second version of the fellowship will run this summer. Applicants must submit a 500-word essay on their eligibility by March 23.