Skill, deskill, reskill. Media uses as labour protocols

17th NECS Graduate Workshop
University of Gdańsk
Gdańsk, 12 June 2019


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Is media interfaces development together with “user experience” discourse an emblem of deskilling economy? Is user-friendly technologies design – from semi-professional cameras to image and sound post production software – a distant cousin of Frederick Taylor’s ergonomics?

Classic Harry Baverman’s perspective sees labour history as a process of manufacturing knowledge monopolization through workflow advanced control. Modern history of craftsmanship decline has been fueled not only with mechanization and technological progress, but first and foremost, with the emergence of effective mind-body-tool relationship designing. Fifty-five years after Baverman’s Labour and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century and after many debates on his thesis we need to raise the question – in times and terms of cognitive cultural economy when everyday media users are digital content providers – in what way are media uses designed to be effective in profit-making?

The above raised issue of media use “productivity” brings up the issue of how “conducers” are acquiring skills necessary for their effective work. How dispersed are legitimized “prosumption” habits and protocols of use? How does mediainterfaces design help to learn handling competences? What are the conditions of corporeal unlearning and reskilling? This concerns not only mind-body-device dynamic relationship but social practices and competences as well. The evolution of dispositifs, of viewing and listening social practices challenges old habits and forces users do readapt. What are the technological and social instruments for these learning/unlearning/relearning processes?

We welcome papers that address the overarching theme of the workshop, including those that consider, but are not limited to, the following topics:

● media design and corporeal discomfort
● media design and how-to-use learning experience
● using media in public and the question of proxemics
● media use and affect learning
● binge watching economy
● movie going savoir-vivre
● dispositifs evolution as a challenge to user’s daily routine
● media multiuse as multitasking
● learning VR and AR technologies
● media literacy as consumption habits proliferation
● media literacy and cultural normativeness
● media interactivity and its protocols
● learning interactive storytelling
● media users as beta testers
● digital technology and new production workflow learning
● media devices ergonomy and deskilling economy
● media content production and craftsmanship
● media use as helping machines to learn
● media reuse and détournement
● collecting habits and the protocols of reuse.

Please address abstracts (max. 200 words) along with institutional affiliation and a short bio (max. 150 words) to

Deadline for submission: 31st January 2019. Notification will follow shortly thereafter. Participants will then have to hand in full papers (approximately 2000 words) prior to the workshop. The workshop language is English.

The University of Gdańsk will not provide refunds: participants will cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Travel information, as well as a list of affordable hotels and other accommodation, will be provided at the beginning of March.

Call for papers

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