Call for applications: TRANSMEDIA USE(R)S – 20th International Summer School in Cultural Studies (Jyväskylä, Finland 13−15 June 2016)

Deadline for applications: Tuesday, March 15

University of Jyväskylä, Finland, 13.−15.6.2016
Society for Cultural Studies in Finland and the Research Center for Contemporary Culture

Transmedia storytelling refers to the increasingly popular way of delivering media content over a combination of media platforms. Cinema, games, tv series, novels, webisodes, podcasts, comics, fan fiction and many other media forms all come together in creating a rich, fictional storyworld. The best known transmedia productions are science fiction and fantasy, such as The Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars sagas, but there are many examples in other genres as well, eg. the franchise built around the tv series 24. It is of great importance that transmedialisation is also taking place in the children and youth oriented media, which is paving way for new practices in media use. There is much to do to gain a better understanding of transmedia audiences on the basic level of reception. How do people make sense of the transmedia stories, what are their strategies in covering the multi-platform distribution, and how does the media interweave with everyday practices?

Transmedia storytelling relies on active, participatory audiences which feed the fictional universe with their own creations such as fan art, machinima, game modifications etc. Participatory culture has been seen as a characteristic of devoted fandom only, but social media practices of creating, sharing, commenting and circulating content have contributed to increasingly making participatory culture a part of media use for larger audiences as well. The rich cross-fertilization of transmedia storytelling and participatory culture provide an important field for cultural and media research. A new kind of media literacy has been developing especially within the fan communities, and this should be put in use in media education as well.

Transmediality and transmedia storytelling are inherently multidisciplinary phenomena. They may be approached through various perspectives, such as narratology, semiotics, fandom research, communication studies, game studies, reception studies, economics and media production etc. Most of the transmedia related research so far has been basic research aiming at conceptualizing the central characteristics of the phenomenon. Research has mainly focused on the transmedia stories and worlds, not so much on the user practices.

This Summer School in Cultural Studies takes as its starting point the fact that our understanding of transmedia users and uses is badly incomplete. In the Summer School, the attention will be focused on such questions as: How do people make meaning out of transmedia storytelling?, What kind of strategies the users have in covering the various elements of transmedia wholes?, How do people interpret fictive multimodal transmedia stories? Also wider questions are taken into consideration: What is the role and significance of transmedia storytelling in contemporary media landscape? How do people allocate their time between different media forms?, What are the best tools and methods when conducting research on transmedia use? The user generated content has its own field of problematics and critical standpoints, related to immaterial property rights, the redefinition of authorship, the limits of modification etc.

The Summer School addresses transmedia users and uses through lectures and seminar presentations, based on the latest research. Three acknowledged experts serve as teachers, and they  will deliver open lectures on the topic, and provide commentary and feedback to the student papers presented. The Summer School is a three-day intensive period of supervising doctoral candidates and discussing research projects in a multidisciplinary group, within the joint framework of cultural studies in a broad sense of the term.

All papers will be commented upon, and discussed by the distinguished Summer School teachers:

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Evans (University of Nottingham, Film and Television Studies, Faculty of Arts). She is primarily interested in the relationship between technology and the experience of narrative. Her research focuses on film and television audiences, in particular in relation to the development of cross-platform narrative forms. She is concerned with issues such as interactivity, agency and immersion. Her first book, Transmedia Television (2011), explores the attitudes, opinions and values of audiences towards the development of the internet and mobile phone as extensions and alternatives to the television set.

Associate Professor Lisbeth Klastrup (IT University of Copenhagen, Digital Communication and Culture Research Group). Her research mainly focuses on digital cultures and user-generated content, with a particular interest in mundane social media uses. She is about to publish an introductory book on Social Network Media (March 2016). One of her interests is studies of and theory on transmedial worlds, and she is known for the development of the concept ‘transmedial worlds’ in several articles (together with Susana Tosca). Klastrup is currently heading a research project related to the use of social media during the 2015 Danish parliamentary election campaign.

Professor Raine Koskimaa (University of Jyväskylä, Department of Art and Culture Studies) directs the Research Center for Contemporary Culture. He conducts research in the fields of digital textuality, programmable media, and game studies. Koskimaa has published widely around the issues of digital literature, game studies, and narratology, and his writings have been translated to several languages. He is the co-founder and co-editor of the Cybertext Yearbook. Currently Koskimaa directs two research projects, “Ludification and the Emergence of Playful Culture” and “Transmedia Literacy: An International Comparative Study”.



Please send your application by Tuesday, March 15 to


Or by post to

Kulttuurintutkimuksen seura, PL 35, 40014 Jyväskylän yliopisto Society for Cultural Studies in Finland, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Your application should include

  1. An abstract of 500 words, based on the paper you will be presenting.
  2. A short presentation of yourself and your research topic with its theoretical orientation, methods, and materials.

The applicants will be notified of the decision by Thursday, March 31.

Deadline for papers is June 1. Length of the papers is 10−15 pages. More information on them will be sent out later.

There is a participation fee of 90 EUR per person. Fee covers coffee/tea and snacks during the seminar.


For more information e-mail minna.m.nerg[at]jyu.fi, phone +358 (0)50 599 8842 or visit http://kultut.fi.