Dec 202014

Media Mutations 7. Space Invaders. The impact of digital games in contemporary media ecosystems.
Bologna, Dipartimento delle Arti, Salone Marescotti, May 26th and 27th 2015

Confirmed keynote speaker: Tanya Krzywinska (Falmouth University) and Geoffrey Long (Annenberg Innovation Lab – University of Southern California).
Final remarks by Peppino Ortoleva (Università di Torino)

Organized by: Paolo Noto (Università di Bologna), Riccardo Fassone (Università di Torino), Claudio Pires Franco (University of Bedfordshire)

In the past years digital games have progressively become more visible in the media ecosystem, and now occupy a prominent position, economically and culturally, in the mediascape.
As a consequence, scholars in TV and Film Studies have been incorporating the study of video games into their field of interests, working in particular on the aesthetic and narrative relationship between digital games and other media. Scholarly production has extensively focused, on the one hand, on issues such as intermediality, narrative aspects in digital games as well as on modes of representation and enunciation and, on the other hand, on playful aspects of the cinematic and televisual narration.

What seems to be nearly absent in this field of analysis is a more structured reflection on the impact of digital games in the contemporary media ecosystem. In particular, we would like to foster a further exploration of the spaces traditionally occupied by cinema and television that have been significantly modified, both by the pervasiveness of digital games and by the design of gameful products. Moreover, we encourage an exploration of current and potential technological developments that determine interactions and convergences in the different aspects of production between video games and other media.
Coherently with its previous editions, Media Mutations 7 encourages ecosystemic analyses, encompassing games and play and their role within the wider space of media, of the aspects listed below. We accept proposals for 20 minute papers on:

  • Space of creation and production: What kind of unprecedented products emerge from the coexistence between games and other creative objects? What types of products have been subject to mutations triggered by the increasing presence of digital games in the media ecosystem?  How might models of production and creative work migrate between games and other media? How does the increasing importance of games affect the organization of contemporary media franchises? To what extent the need to engage viewers through playful elements influences the styles of writing and filmmaking? How has this changed the professional routines as well as the geography of workplaces? What are the potential educational applications of video games and how do they relate to the use of other media in the same context?
  • Space of delivery and consumption: How are games showcased and sold in physical as well as digital stores, in competition (or in collaboration) with other items, such as films and TV series? What are the forms of monetization and the marketing strategies they adopt in the competition for the limited resources of users’ money and time? How are promotional practices and discourses of games affected by other media, and vice versa? How are forms of interactive technology and distribution contributing to the development of new cross-media experiences, such as second screens, mobile media , augmented reality and the like?
  • Space of discussion: How have games achieved a culturally legitimate status? How are games brought into traditional spaces of exhibition? What is the meaning of buzzwords, such as interactive, immersive, gamification and transmedia according to the contexts in which they are employed (in academia, marketing, industry, etc.)?

We will also consider proposals on the following subjects:
serious games, advergames, interactive Web-docs, educational games, amusement parks, gamification of blockbuster movies and TV, Alternate Reality Games (ARG), casual games.

The official languages of the conference are English and Italian. Abstracts (250-1000 words for 20-minute talks) should be sent to [at] by March 5th 2015. Please attach a brief biography (maximum 150 words) and an optional selected bibliography (up to ten titles) relevant to the conference theme. Notification of paper acceptance will be sent to proponents between 15-30 March.

A registration fee will be requested after notification of paper acceptance (€40 for speakers; admission to the conference is free for students). Papers will be published in the online repository of the University of Bologna and a selection will be included in an edited collection to be submitted to an international publisher (a volume based on the proceedings of Media Mutations 5, The Politics of Ephemeral Digital Media is forthcoming by Routledge). For more information on the previous editions of Media Mutations, please check the conference’s website,

Apr 292014

Modes of Production and Narrative Forms in the Contemporary TV Series
organized by Luca Barra, Leora Hadas, Veronica Innocenti, and Paolo Noto
Bologna, Dipartimento delle Arti, Salone Marescotti, Via Barberia 4
May 27th-28th, 2014

Live streaming available on this website from 11.30am.

May 27th

14.30 Introduction and greetings

15.00 Keynote address
Catherine Johnson (University of Nottingham), Beyond Transmedia Storytelling

16.00 Panel 1 – Transmedia storytelling in practice
Chair: Peppino Ortoleva (Università degli Studi di Torino)
Maria Engberg and Jay David Bolter (Georgia Tech), Weak Narrativity in Transmedia. Storytelling in The Walking Dead
Deborah Toschi and Federica Villa (Università di Pavia), The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Melanie Bourdaa (University of Bordeaux), Re-inventing the Space Opera as an Endless Universe. The Case of Battlestar Galactica
Marco Cucco (Università della Svizzera Italiana), Understanding Fiction by Looking at its Business. The Sky Italy Case Study

17.15 Coffee break

17.30 Panel 2 – Images of the audience
Chair: Giovanni Boccia Artieri (Università degli Studi di Urbino “Carlo Bo”)
JP Kelly (Royal Holloway, London), From Searching to Sifting. Television Ratings in the Age of Social Media
Çiğdem Erdal and Orçin Uzun (Marmara University), What Do They Want? Turkish Television Audience and The Future of Television
Cecilia Penati and Anna Sfardini (Università Cattolica, Milan), Serial Visions. Models of Complex Storytelling and Italian Audiences’ Perceptions

May 28

9.45 Panel 3 – Industrial conditions and narrative
Chair: Roberta Pearson (University of Nottingham)
Paola Brembilla (Università di Bologna), Straight-to-Series in Broadcast TV. Causes, Issues and Consequences
Amélie Chabrier and Yoann Hervey (University Paul Valery, Montpellier), Writing a Bottle Episode. “Fly”, from Breaking Bad
Basil Glynn (Middlesex University), The Tudors, the National Past and the Re-shaping of Generic Traditions in Contemporary TV Costume Drama
Leora Hadas (University of Nottingham) presents the project Industrial Approaches to Media

11.15 Coffee break

11.30 Keynote address
Derek Kompare (Southern Methodist University), Digital Distribution and the Erratic Expansion of Television

12.30 Lunch

14.30  Panel 4 – European fiction and global circulation
Chair: Francesco Casetti (Yale University)
Roberta Pearson (University of Nottingham), A Case of Identity. Sherlock and Elementary,
Giancarlo Lombardi (College of Staten Island and Graduate Center/CUNY), Cultural Imperialism, Redefined. New Modes of Crossnational Television
Marco Cucco (Università della Svizzera Italiana), Understanding Fiction by Looking at its Business. The Sky Italy Case Study
Catherine O’Rawe (Bristol University), Romanzo criminale, la serie. Complex TV and Male Melodrama,

16.15 Coffee break

16.30 Panel 5 – The wider context of narrative production
Chair: Enrico Menduni (Università degli Studi Roma Tre)
Nikola Stepić (Concordia University), Looking Back on the News. Conceptualizing Television in HBO’s The Newsroom
James Hay (University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign), Reality TV & Entrepreneurial Citizenship after the Financial Crisis
Sara Zanatta (Fondazione Museo Storico del Trentino), Pawn History Worldwide. How Antiques Dealers Have ‘Restored’ Television Factual Series

Jul 102014

The full video of Media Mutations 6 is finally out! Click here, browse the conference programme and watch the papers, the Q&A and the keynote addresses of Catherine Johnson and Derek Kompare.

Special thanks to Enrico De Stavola, Maurizio Morini and Fabio Regazzi for the streaming and for editing the video.

May 262014

This is the last abstract we post. See you tomorrow at the conference! (Also in live streaming:

Pawn History Worldwide. How Antiques Dealers Have ‘Restored’ Television Factual Series
Sara Zanatta (Fondazione Museo Storico del Trentino)

The paper aims to discuss the recent popularization of factual television about antiques and auction; it considers the appeal of the ‘new’ genre as mainly tied to its hybrid form, in which fiction and nonfiction narrative codes and production strategies are merged. In particular, the discussion takes into consideration the case of Pawn Stars, History flagship programme, debuted in July 2009 as part of a major channel’s rebranding. The half-hour show tells the everyday life of a 24-hours pawn family business set in Las Vegas and it has shortly become a top-rated series sold worldwide, contributing to refresh the channel’s ‘identity’ as well as the antiques show formula.
The analysis draws upon three main lines of research: an overview of the narrative main features (the engaging characters, the serial dynamic of their relationships, the episodic ‘cases’, etc.); a description of the related cross-media offer (games, books, DVD box sets, clothes, etc.); a discussion of some production strategies, particularly in terms of scheduling and promotion. The study is part of a larger post-doctoral project about History on television: it is methodologically based on textual analysis of the show and other media outputs and a collection of secondary materials (such as newspaper reviews and press releases); furthermore, in-depth interviews with different media professionals (involved in commissioning, programming, marketing, acquisition) will be considered as they discuss how the ‘Pawn phenomenon’ has affected the editorial line and the related programming strategy also in the Italian television arena.

Sara Zanatta obtained her Ph.d in sociology and social research at the University of Trento (Italy); she currently holds a Marie Curie post-doc fellowship at Fondazione Museo Storico del Trentino. She also worked as visiting scholar at Queen Mary University of London (2011-2013) and University of California, Santa Barbara (2009). Her main research interests concern the production mechanisms in the media system, particularly the Italian television industry. She is co-author of Una galassia rosa (2009, Franco Angeli) and editor of Le donne del fumetto (2009, Tunué); she authored many articles and essays for Italian sociological journals and collected books. Contact: