Call for Applications – Cologne Summer School on Virtual Children’s Media in a Global Perspective

As literary channels of communication are increasingly digitalised and virtualised, the study of children’s and young adult literatue should be recalibrated towards a more encompassing concept of children’s and young adult culture and media studies. So far, however, this has been limited to isolated endeavours often limited in scope, lacking a more systematic approach. Further complications arise from the fact that many relevant products on the German market are translated from other languages.

While this ›transnational flow‹ has well been recognised, its processual logics have yet to be charted in detail. Both aspects – a transnational flow and a transmedia expansion of narrative worlds – fundamentally alter the experiential worlds of children and young adults, including new practices of appropriation and consumption such as booktubes, online collections of solutions for computer games, or the integration of narrative computer games and social media. Existing academic work based on comparative transmedia and/or transnational paradigms provides first steps towards a more fundamental shift of perspective, paving the way for children’s and young adult culture and media studies.

These approaches form the bedrock of our summer school. Tracing the transdimensional quality of changing mediascapes, we propose a research design which combines perspectives from traditional philology, studies in children’s and young adult fiction and transmedia narratology as well as transnational and visual culture studies. The summer school thus aims to foster a deeper understanding of globalised virtual media worlds as targeted at children and young adults, and simultaneously, to sharpen the theoretical profile of studies in children’s and young adult literature research in an age of transnational media convergence. In this vein, it will bring together accomplished experts, excellent junior researchers and students.

We intend to synthesise and present our results in a basic handbook, to be published in both digital open access and print-on-demand mode. Compiled by means of a collaborative book sprint, six longer essays based on the keynotes will be complemented by around twenty shorter articles.

Confirmed keynote speakers include Prof.Dr.med. Benjamin Beil (Games Studies, UzK), Prof.Dr. Michael Staiger (Visual Children’s and Young Adult Media, UzK) and Dr. Emer O’Sullivan (Comparative KJL Research, Leuphania Uniservity Lüneburg). In addition, we are planning a full-day workshop with the transmedia artist Christoph Niemann (Berlin).

We invite applications from graduate and PhD students as well as excellent BA students doing (or planning) transmedia or transnational work on children’s and young adult media. While the general focus is within the humanities, the summer school aspires to a cover as broad a range of topics as possible, including aspects which have previously been neglected. We are thus not including a predefined list of possible topics.

Applicants are expected to provide proof of their academic excellence, and will have to submit a letter of motivation (one page), a CV and a detailed proposal (three pages) outlining their ongoing or planned project as relevant to the summer school.  In accordance with the general profile of Cologne Summer Schools, there should be an equal number of national and international students. Participation is limited to twenty places. Conference languages will be English and German.

We might be able to cover travel expenses, contingent on funding. While accommodation will be organised privately by the participants, we will try to arrange couch-surfing options with Cologne students.

Please submit your application (Transcript of Records, Letter of Motivation, Curriculum Vitae and project proposal) by 31 March, 2018: Imke Pitro-Riedel (imke.pitro-riedel@uni-koeln.de). Successful applicants will by notified by the end of April.

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