Unconference in Critical Failure

Image courtesy of Pat Allan

Image courtesy of Pat Allan

On Sunday the Wheeler Centre extended its Critical Failure week with an unconference looking at bloggers and online writers.

Unconferencers set the agenda on the day of the event so it kicked off with a discussion of the “amateur” status of bloggers. This was inspired in part by Alison Croggon’s article “The Return of the Amateur Critic” asking why bloggers are often thought of as amateurs. This led into a discussion of money and how bloggers can monetise their places on the web.

Games writer Paul Callaghan led a discussion of how criticism could be applied to video games, including concepts such as establishing what makes a “good” game and how appropriate it is to create a canon of games or get non-gamers to review games because they bring ideas from film or arts criticism. Reference was made to a New Yorker article by Nicholson Baker in which he looks through the eyes of a gamer and non-gamer.

Angela Meyer led the discussion on Twitter and how it can be employed as a critical tool. She’s had some success getting followers to write reviews and then retweeting them.

After a lunch break, Richard Watts raised the idea of sustainability of blogs wondering if some blogs have a natural lifecycle and how do you continue a blog when other work calls. Ben Eltham brought some insights into the cultural economics of blogging particularly how the cheap technology of blogging has democratised publishing. There was a discussion of commenting before Estelle Tang led the last session about blogging as an individual or institution with reference to her recent experiences of blogging for the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Many thanks to Pat Allan from Trampoline for facilitating the event.

Other Reports on the Unconference

WH Chong's sketch of unconferencer Alison Croggon

WH Chong's sketch of unconferencer Alison Croggon

Mel Campbell

Lisa Dempster

Nikita Vanderbyl

Paul Callaghan

Ben Eltham

Daniel Wood

WH Chong’s sketchbook

Mark Holsworth

Estelle Tang

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