SpokenWeb Team Meeting #16 Notes

Posted by Aline Lemay

SpokenWeb Team Meeting – September 19, 2013, 12:15 P.M. – 1:15 P.M.

Jason Camlot (PI), Ian Arawjo (RA, Ugrad, Computer Science), Ashley Clarkson (RA History), Lee Hannigan (RA MA English), Steven High (Co-Applicant, History), Michael Nardone (RA PhD, Doc Hum), Aline Lemay (RA MA English), Christine Mitchell (Post Doc, English and Comms), Elena Razlogova (Co-Applicant, History), Max Stein (RA Electroacoustic Music), Darren Wershler (Co-Applicant, English), Jared Wiercinski (Co-Applicant, Libraries and Special Collections)

Introduction of new team members, overview of activities underway and possible areas of development for this year

Work already underway this year:


Oral literary history interviews continue.  Jason Camlot has recently interviewed Stephen Morrissey (audience member) and Frank Davey (SGW writer in residence 1969-79, reader in the series) in Montreal.

Christine Mitchell is presently engaged in oral history interviews with members of the Education Technology unit that was in place during the period of the Poetry Series and oversaw the recording and post production of the Poetry Series tapes.  Christine’s interviews represent an expansion of the purview of the oral history axis of spokenweb beyond Poetry Series participants, audience members and organizers, to include media and technology characters involved.  This is an exciting expansion of our contextualization of the Poetry Series from the perspective of its media context.


Special spokenweb issue of Amodern

The issue is emerging nicely from materials first developed at the “Approaching the Poetry Series” conference held last spring.  Contributions from Gregory Betts, Jane Malcolm, Daniel Snelson, Michael Nardone, Steven High and Ashley Clarkson, Karis Shearer and Lee Hannigan, Cameron Anstee, Christine Mitchell, Al Filreis, Marjorie Perloff, and Brian Reed, plus an editorial by Jason C and Darren are confirmed, and some already submitted These contributions all engage directly with audio from the spokenweb corpus. Dean Irvine and Steve Evans may still also contribute.  We will also try to seek out one or two interviewees that engage with questions of poetry readings, recordings and reading series in a broader sense.  Hillel Schwartz and/or Douglas Kahn were mentioned as possibilities for this.

-Christine and Michael will meet next week to set up a plan for starting the refereeing process with articles already received.



Fall: Two connected events partially sponsored by spokenweb on October 28th and 29th.



Tanya Tagaq is a contemporary performance artist who uses the ancient traditional Inuit art of throat singing. She has released two critically acclaimed albums – Sinaa and Auk/Blood – both of which were nominated for Juno Awards.

Christian Bök is the author not only of Crystallography (1994), a pataphysical encyclopedia nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, but also of Eunoia (2001), a bestselling work of experimental literature, which has gone on to win the Griffin Prize for Poetic Excellence.

Jaap Blonk is a self-taught composer, performer and poet from Holland. He has performed around the world, on all continents. With the use of live electronics the scope and range of his concerts has acquired a considerable extension. His book/CD “Traces of Speech” was published in 2012 by Hybriden-Verlag, Berlin.

WHERE: Hall Building, Room H-767 (1455 De Maisonneuve W. Blvd.)

We will look into having the Memory Clinic set up on-site for the reading event on Sept 28th.


October 29th

A 2-hour workshop featuring both Bok and Blonk, 9:30 am – 11:30 pm.


9:30 – 10:15 Blonk talks and performs.

10:15 – 11:00 Bok talks and performs.

11:00 – 11:30 Dialog and improvisation between Bok and Blonk

In that time, we will cover a few separate topics:

-Darren Wershler’s students (55 of them) are reading Bok’s Eunoia and will be in the room. They’ll have questions, so he’ll need to address them.

– Jason Camlot would like both Bok and Blonk to pick one piece from the SpokenWeb audio archive (https://montreal.spokenweb.ca/) and respond to it in some manner.


Planned Spring Event:

– Interview, reading and panel that approaches ideas about the interrelation between audio poetry, performance and oral history.  We will bring in Daphne Marlatt (who read in the Poetry Series, and whose work often involves oral history), and possibly Stan Persky (who produced the literary component of The Oral History of Vancouver in the 1970s).

-Jason C and Steven High will develop ideas about a joint spokenweb/COHDS sponsored panel or panels on the topic of Oral Literary History, and possibly also on questions of copyright and fair use in relation to recordings (audio and video) of poetry readings and oral history interviews.

If you have other ideas for such an event, send them to either Jason C or Steven.


Integration of Visual Materials into the spokenweb site

– We will survey the digital files of visual materials we have accumulated over the past two years and develop a plan for how to integrate them into the website

-Max and Aline will take the lead on this.



– We will work on developing a robust calendar that displays exactly when all of the readings took place.  A calendar that can be searched just like iCal, and, ideally that its other visualization options connected to it (timeline, etc.)   We will fill in the precise dates of all the readings we have the data for, first, and then, over time, add readings that took place elsewhere in Canada and North America, as well as significant historical events (both local and international).  The items on the calendar will also have links that bring you to audio or other materials related to that specific event.  This will be a great way to visualize our own series over time, to see it in relation to other readings etc., and ultimately to link our own series up to other web projects out there.  Lee Hannigan will take the lead on this in collaboration with Max and Jason C.


spokenweb App(s)

–       Christine will serve as lead designer and Ian will be programmer and co-designer for this project, which will entail the conceptualization, development and completion of a first spokenweb mobile media application.

–       We are aiming at a collaborative process for this work, and anyone on the team can be involved in tasks from start to finish, under Christine’s direction.  Possible initial ideas are for a geo-location ‘soundwalk’ app, and/or for a more ludic close-listening puzzle app.  Some of the funds for this work will come from Jason’s NCE envelope.  And work will be pursued partly through AMP Lab and partly through the TAG Lab in the EV building (where there are many game designers and coders we can consult with).  Beta testing can be organized through TAG.


Meta Data Aggregation

– We will do some initial research on the approaches to metadata used by other large scale DH projects, including the EMiC site (Dean Irvine to consult) and BRANCH and NINES (Dino Felluga to consult)

Lee Hannigan will take the lead on exploring approaches and solutions to such problems, with the assistance of Christine.  Lee will report back to us at a future meeting and we’ll decide what to do next.


Grant for next phase

– Jason C will begin drafting out a plan for a larger Partnership Grant to continue work on this project in collaboration with other individuals, universities and memory institutions.  Jason will spend time consolidating relationships already established with such places as SFU, UBC(O), U Calgary, U of Toronto, U Penn (PennSound), National Library of Canada, British National Sound Archive, U Queen Mary London (Archive of the Now, SonicVisualizer).  All team members will be asked to review and comment upon iterations of the grant proposal during the course of the year.


Usability studies

– Jared Wiercinski and Annie Murray are in the process of completing an article that touches upon questions of usability.  These are important matters to think about as we have yet to do a single formal usability study for spokenweb, albeit we’ve done lots of informal activities.  In order to better understand site use and access needs from the perspective of various kinds of users Jared and Annie (and Jason) will think further about how best to explore this.



– Elena, in consultation with Darren and Christine (and Jason) will spend some time thinking about and possibly drafting a kind of editorial or position paper on matters of copyright surrounding public digital audio, and digital spoken word archives in particular. Christine has found some print materials relevant to these questions.  We think it might be an interesting idea to integrate questions of copyright into the oral history audio poetry events planned for the spring.

– notes by Jason and Aline

Filed under Meeting Notes