UNESCO Chair in New Media Forms of the Book, University of Bedfordshire (2012)

Purpose/Objectives of the Chair/UNITWIN Network

The Chair promotes an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation in the fields of new media forms of the book. The specific objectives of the Chair are to:

  • Use appropriate technologies to improve access to knowledge and provide accessible, affordable and multiplatform knowledge resources, in order to contribute to the objectives of Education for All, as well as to other UNESCO strategic objectives, particularly in terms of communication, information and culture;
  • Analyse trends in the use of electronic media (mobile media and Internet technologies) as a cost-effective and borderless means of sharing book resources and providing knowledge transfer opportunities via industry links, as well as conduct research on the levels of access to electronic texts and their use across a variety of platforms;
  • Focus on the cultural implications of the book’s adaptation to the particular media environment of different societies and preserve the heritage of national book cultures in new e-book developments, by selecting culturally significant case studies providing evidence of book publication across multiple platforms; and,
  • Develop models that will aid in the understanding of the role of the book as a source text for other contemporary media industries.

Chairholder/Coordinator: Professor Alexis Weedon

Address: UNESCO Chair in New Media Forms of the Book, University of Bedfordshire, University Square, Luton, Bedfordshire, UK, LU1 3JU
Email: alexis.weedon@beds.ac.uk

Web page

Alexis 2014Professor Alexis Weedon is co-editor of Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies and has recently published some results from the UNECSO Chair work with David Miller, Claudio Pires Franco, David Moorhead and Samantha Pearce, ‘Crossing media boundaries: Adaptations and new media forms of the book’, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 20: 108-124. She has recently published Elinor Glyn as novelist, moviemaker, glamour icon and businesswoman (Ashgate 2014) co-authored with Vincet L. Barnett which was an out put of the ‘Cross-Media Practices in Britain the 1920s and 1930s’ – a project she lead that researched the role of authors in the early days of writing for radio and film. The project was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

She has written about British book publishing in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and is a specialist in the use of quantitative methods in the study of the industry. She has a chapter in Blackwell’s Companion to Book History on the topic and a historical essay on the economics of publishing in The Oxford Companion to the Book. She was General Editor of the five volume collection The History of the Book in the West (Ashgate 2010).

Alexis Weedon is on the advisory boards of two AHRC funded projects: the Royal Society: Publishing the Philosophical Transactions: the social, cultural and economic history of a learned journal, 1665-2015 (PI Dr Aileen Fyfe) and “Communities of Practice: The Academic Book of the Future.” (PI Dr Samantha Rayner).

Her current projects investigate specific issues in the ongoing redefining of ‘the book’. The definition of the book is moving from one bound by its material form to one determined by its function as a means of communication.  Sophisticated systems of conveying meaning in other media challenge the books social function as the high status vehicle for communicating new ideas and cultural expressions. These are being investigated by the ebook publication and reader forum collaboration by Claudio Pires Franco and Duncan Pile for Nature Mage and the transmedia augmented reality (AR) fiction Sherwood Rise by David Miller.