Professor Alexis Weedon, University of Bedfordshire
Convergence of publishing and media: Insights from the present into the past
The revolution in communication technologies of the past 30 years has caused us to look into the history of the media for historical antecedents, to earlier periods when there was an upheaval in the forms of communication and storytelling. For me this is the interwar epoch when the technologies of film, radio, and television changed rapidly and challenged the ascendency of print. Reconstructing the struggles of some of the early pioneers of authorship across media who had to learn the requirements of different media, to work collaboratively foregoing literary acclaim, and who strove to retain property rights and manage income streams, I will draw insights relevant to contemporary media publishing and illuminate the cross-currents which contemporary professionals have to navigate. In the talk I will explore the continuities and change in media convergence by comparing the 1920s and 1930s with the New Media (1995-2012) and authorship in the twenty-first century.
Alexis Weedon is Professor of Publishing and UNESCO chair of New Media Forms of the Book. She co-founded and co-edited Convergence: the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies from 1995 to 2017, and is author of Victorian Publishing: The Economics of Book Production for the Mass Market (2008), Elinor Glyn: Novelist, Glamour Icon and Businesswoman with V. Barnett (2014) and editor of the five-volume History of the Book in the West series (Ashgate). Her research articles range from quantitative analysis of the historical costs of book manufacture to the history of media conglomerate publishing in Britain, and the psychological and cultural function of storytelling in society. More recently she has focused on unearthing the stories of lesser-known authors who were pioneers of cross media storytelling and is currently writing The Origins of Transmedia Storytelling. She is Director of the Research Institute for Media, Art and Performance at the University of Bedfordshire, UK.