May 15, 2008
C3 Spring Retreat: Wrap-Up

Finally, our afternoon last Friday at the C3 Spring Retreat was spent discussing how academia and industry might work together and putting that discussion into action through a series of breakout discussions built around topics of particular interest to some of those working with the Consortium: advertising and marketing, audience measurement and metrics, participatory culture, global media flow, and gaming.

The discussion started with a conversation led by a panel of C3 Consulting Researchers. I moderated the conversation, joined by Lee Harrington, Grant McCracken, Jason Mittell, and Kevin Sandler. Each talked about their own research and how it intersects with industry, and we had a conversation across the room about what academia has to offer to media industries companies, what type of insight they would like to have from media industries companies in return, and both the potentials and the difficulties in work between academia and industry, taking into account the differences in the approach and interests of each type of research.

This moved into a series of individual discussions that I think reached the pinnacle of what an event like this retreat can accomplish, fostering conversations across this industry/academia threshold. As I've said to many people in the past, it's what I found most energizing about Futures of Entertainment both of the past two years, and it's what I think an organization like C3 can help foster.

As a final note, I wanted to point you toward a few reactions from attendees about the two-day event. First, C3 Consulting Researcher Grant McCracken writes about his chance to meet Ira Hochman from Untravel Media while he was in for the retreat. He begins:

Thursday night at the C3 MIT event in Cambridge, I met Ira Hochman, the CIO of Untravel Media. He was there, I think, to bask in the reflected glory and the greatness that is Henry Jenkins, but he ended up talking to me.

And I couldn't quite escape the sense that listening to Ira was my chance to experience what it was like to listen to Walter Disney in the late 20s, early 30s.

Ira was talking about his Untravel and the "tours" it gives of Boston through mobile story telling. Untravel Media lets us use a cell phone or a PDA in the streets of Boston to listen to a "voice over" narrative. We can travel the West End of Boston and listen to historical matters otherwise obscure.

He goes on to write about Untravel and Ubiquity Interactive as two particularly innovative models. We had the chance to meet Leora Kornfeld from Untravel Media at FoE2, and Michael Epstein from Untravel is a CMS alum. We're glad to have groups like this at Consortium events and feel this type of community is part of what energizes our own work on innovation in the media industries and with digital technologies. Be sure to check out Grant's full post.

Meanwhile, C3 Consulting Researcher Nancy Baym responds to Henry Jenkins, Ana Domb, and Xiaochang Li's work on spreadable media, and Jim DiStefano writes his responses to the retreat here and here.