Spring 2013

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Off to London

by Teresa Lynch

Although many members of the department will be travelling to London, England this summer to attend ICA, several graduate students – Senia Borden, Dan Levy, Gabe Persons, and Garrett Poortinga, to be specific – will be travelling there for a different reason. After a quick stopover in Iceland, the four will be meeting up with Susan Kelly to take her specially designed production course. Last summer, Susan took only undergraduates for her course abroad, but this year, the opportunity was offered to graduate students, as well.

The Tower Bridge in London. Photo courtesy of Susan Kelly.

The Tower Bridge in London. Photo courtesy of Susan Kelly.

Susan says the theme of the class is twofold. “One [portion] is to show that there are other ways of storytelling than the American way. The American way is purely driven by the bottom line. The British system is driven by a cultural mission. New voices are funded by the citizenry who actually pay a licensing fee – a tax – to fund new voices and make stories specifically about British culture. They actually have a mission statement about what their media should aim for. You’ll never find that in America.” The other portion of the class will focus on storytelling in film and story analysis. Susan has also lined up guest speakers for the class including a BAFTA recipient and an employee of the BBC. The group will also tour sets from the Harry Potter films, James Bond, The King’s Speech, the BBC Sherlock series, and Sherlock Holmes.

While they’re in London, the group will all be residing in Nido, a student housing complex in the Spitalfields neighborhood.  Class will take place in facilities provided by the International Education of Students. Susan has also planned to hold class in the early afternoon so students can enjoy the walk from Nido to the IES if they choose. “It’s a beautiful walk, an amazing walk…it’s through the Bloomsbury neighborhood – the same neighborhood that housed the modernist literary movement.”

In addition to class and working with the 15 undergraduate students, the graduate students are hoping to make the most of their time professionally. Garrett has already been in touch with department alum Lora Speers. “I’ve been talking to [Lora] through email about actually producing a short form on one of her [underground hip-hop] connections,” said Garrett. “I’m hoping to go to some shows, film some interviews, and cut it together to align with the course.”

The London Eye. Photo courtesy of Susan Kelly.

The London Eye. Photo courtesy of Susan Kelly.

Gabe and Susan are the only members of the group who have been to London, but it’s safe to say that every member of the group is very excited to be hopping the pond. Listening to Susan tell it, London is a city of incredible depth, heaviness, and beauty. She said one of the things she is most looking forward to, “the light in London in the spring is spectacular. It’s clear and the buildings are made out of limestone…some of it’s gold, some of it’s buttery, and some of it’s rose…and when the sun hits [the buildings], if you have any aesthetic bone in your body, you have to stop in your tracks and just be bathed in northern  light. In London you will get scudding clouds, huge cumulus clouds that are white with some dark grey underbellies with this beautiful light that slants through and casts shadows that make designs on the ground and you are bathed in the light.” And getting to see her students experience London is an experience of pure joy for Susan. “I get to experience that, to watch students take it all in. Sometimes I have to remember this is my job.”

Signing Off for Summer

by Edo and Teresa

As another academic year comes to a close, we’re wrapping up the blog for the summer break. We wanted to take a moment, though, to thank you (dear readers) for reading and supporting the blog by giving us your thoughts, ideas, and sharing your stories with us. Notably, as we wrap up for summer, we are also bringing the third year of the blog to a close. In that time, the blog has hosted six writers. We’ve all contributed different styles and flavors that have now mixed to become something representative of the department in and of itself.

We’ve tried new ways to present Telecom graduate life this year. We took the silly road and the visual road. If you have any suggestions for new things to experiment with here, feel free to tell us.

Finally, we’re proud to announce the winners of our first photo contest!

The winning photo for the category “Life in the Department” was submitted by Garrett Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga

For the category “Life in Bloomington,” we had not a two-way, but a THREE-way tie! The winning photos were submitted by Garrett Poortinga, Ashley Kraus, and Nic Matthews.

Photo submitted by Ashley Kraus.

Photo submitted by Ashley Kraus.

Photo submitted by Nic Matthews.

Photo submitted by Nic Matthews.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks again to all who submitted, you all made the blog better this semester! Starting next week, we’ll have an interactive collection of all the photos submitted this semester hosted here for you to click through.

From both of us here on the grad blog, have a great summer!

Photo Contest

Photo submitted by Mona Malacane.

Photo submitted by Mona Malacane.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Mona Malacane.

Photo submitted by Mona Malacane.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Photo submitted by Garrett J. Poortinga.

Music and Cameras – A Fruitful Collaboration

by Teresa Lynch

This past Friday, Studio 5 on the ground floor of the Radio-TV played host to 60 musicians from the Jacobs School of Music (JSoM), JSoM audio engineering students, and students enrolled in the T436 Multi Camera Performance Production (MCPP) course.

An MCPP student operates a camera during the orchestral performance of Bohemian Rhapsody

An MCPP student operates a camera during the orchestral performance of Bohemian Rhapsody

The reason this creative bunch descended on Studio 5? To collaboratively record a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody for orchestra – originally by Queen, but arranged and conducted by JSoM student Nick Hersh.

“[The T436 students] have spent a lot of time in the Musical Arts Center working, but not in the studio. Recording 60 musicians in Studio 5 and interfacing with an audio crew and the musicians was pretty challenging. I basically just facilitated communication and kept everything moving along,” said Matt Falk, the course’s AI.

“There’s a fun dynamic in the class because we’re working with John [Walsh] and Konrad [Strauss] from the music school and a couple of the directors from over there and all of our teaching styles and attitudes are really different. John’s a problem solver, but without being in people’s faces. Konrad is the director of the audio program and he’s really laid back. Then there’s me and I’m constantly freaking out trying to prevent mistakes,” said Matt with a laugh.

This is the first semester our department has offered this course. Dreamed up by John and Konrad, the course draws on each program’s area of expertise to create a collaborative course between Telecommunications and JSoM. “When you’re in the audio production program in Jacobs, you have to spend 80 hours a semester doing professional work like running sound to maintain your enrollment,” said Matt. “[The JSoM] has been doing these live streams of operas to the internet for a few years now – Konrad pioneered that – and it’s pretty cool, they get hundreds of thousands of viewers all around

MCPP students working diligently on the live production

MCPP students working diligently on the live production in Studio 5

the world tuning in.” The problem was that many of the positions for these live-streaming events involved camera work, assistant director, and other non-audio roles that didn’t give beneficial hands on experience for audio production students. “We have students [in Telecom] who know switching, who know camera work, who want professional experience to build their resumes and put on their demo reel. We also have advanced students who want experience directing, but don’t have opportunities. [The JSoM students] don’t want to do those parts, so the course covers these events and gives everyone more applicable opportunity,” said Matt.

The students not only do the live recordings, they also provide supplementary materials on the internet such as 3-5 minute vignettes with historical information about the productions or auxiliary content such as interviews with cast and crew of the productions. The collaboration has improved the production quality of the recorded performances making them distributable and of value to the undergraduate students’ demo reels. For Matt, the teaching experience of working with the students on a professional quality production has been invaluable. “It’s really awesome that [the Telecom department and JSoM] went out on a limb with this collaboration because it’s risky. There’s a lot of money and time invested and it’s all stamped with the JSoM brand. If something goes wrong, it’s on us as the instructors because the students are there to learn, but everyone’s really come together to make something we’re all proud of.”

Photo Contest

Submitted by Mona Malacane

Submitted by Mona Malacane

Campus Quacks. Submitted by Nic Matthews.

Campus Quacks. Submitted by Nic Matthews.

 

Submitted by Travis Ross

Submitted by Travis Ross

Tech, Amish Style

by Teresa Lynch

Amish admiring NiagaraRecently, the Graduate and Professional Student Organization (GPSO) reviewed applications for its 2013 Research Awards. The GPSO uses a rigorous and competitive, double-blind, peer review process to select award recipients. This year, Doctoral Candidate Lindsay Ems received the competitive funding for her dissertation “What’s in a boundary? Exploring the subcultural dynamics that protect the Amish way of life in a high-tech world.”

Linsday says “[her] dissertation focuses on understanding how Amish people draw boundaries around their communities through their technology use. Rules governing technology use for the Amish, in general, are the result of a set of compromises. They must maintain financial viability in a competitive, modern economy in order to sustain their community over the long term. And, at the same time, they do not want the outside world to influence their moral, ethical and religious values/practices or their intimate human relationships.”

In order to perform her study, Lindsay will need to visit Amish communities around the US to conduct interviews and do observations. She plans to use the Research Award primarily to cover travel costs. Of her chosen locations, Lindsay says “[Lancaster County, PA and Shipshewanna, IN] are the largest and third largest populations (respectively) of Amish people in the country. Daviess County [IN] is an Old Order (more conservative) community to which I could drive and come back in the same day. And, Kalona [IA] is a unique community in Iowa, known for their more progressive approach to technology adoption.”

In particular, she’s interested in addressing the role of digital technology in identity and protection of subcultures. Because of their balance in using tech at work, but not in other aspects of their lives, the Amish provide an excellent opportunity for Linsday’s research area. She says, “this conflicted arena, I think, will reveal some of the complexities of balancing technology use and the preservation of morals, ethics and intimate human relationships. These, obviously, are issues all of us face on a daily basis. Through talking to Amish people about their technology use and observing them at work, I hope to gain some insights into how they are drawing community boundaries and achieving balance (if they are) between technology use and the preservation of their community values and intimate relationships.”

Aside from carefully and thoroughly describing all of the theoretical, logistical and methodological details, Lindsay suggests being concise and focusing on the greater relevance and contribution of the research. “All of us are concerned about the impact of communication technologies on our intimate social relationships,” said Lindsay. “I made the connection between this and my research. I think writing about your work with that in mind is a good way to help your application stand out.”