Position: Head of School and Researcher in Digital Media
Personal website: Parnassus Musings
Phone: +44 (0)1248 388628
Location: John Phillips Hall
I began my academic career working with folklore, mythology and cinema to understand how we use stories and storytelling to make sense of our past and our history. I had the opportunity to apply that understanding to the study of creativity and learning while working for the Research Institute for Enhancing Learning when I first came to Bangor University in 1999. My research and teaching now revolve around three areas of interest: the space of the book, practice-research, and digital media storytelling.
'The future of reading – possibilities in a world of speculation' presented at the SfEP Conference 2015
My current research looks at the changing relationships between books, the people who consume or produce books, the places that books are found and shared, and the institutions that try to order those relationships. Digital innovations have driven the book industry since 1971 when Michael Hart used a multi-million dollar computer to digitize the Declaration of Independence and founded Project Gutenberg. In many ways this has moved the industry forward with innovations like Booktrack's soundtrack for reading or multimedia crowd-written books like Atavist . But the technology has done just as much to send book reading and writing back to older models including serial publication or chapters as television-style episodes. Books and writers may now read us as much or as often as we are read them.
I come from a bookselling family and am part-owner of a bookstore in New England. I make regular trips to bookstores in the states and in the UK, interviewing booksellers and publishers about how the space in which they work and their working practices have evolved to meet changes in technology and society. In 2016 I co-founded Bangor University's Stephen Colclough Centre for the History and Culture of the Book which promotes research into the printed book and its cultures from its earliest forms to the forms that are only now being developed.
Dr. Eben J. Muse in his bookstore
The interviews I conduct often focus on practice and expertise, and the way we develop and transfer skills and understanding between contexts. Practice-based and practice-led research are new paradigms for understanding creativity and innovation. Practice-research allows a creative practitioner (film maker, game designer, teacher, artist, performer) to study the nature of their own expertise, a knowledge which is often intrinsic to themselves and not documented or articulated for others.
In the modern world, digital media and digital practices integrate into all works of life. As co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds I am able to take a leading role in the study and development of digital and interactive storytelling and practice. My teaching includes modules in digital communication, game theory, game design, e-publishing, animation and creative programming.
My other recent research has included a study for the Welsh Books Council of social media use in the Welsh Book Trade, working with Welsh book stores to take advantage of digital tools and methods, exploring the use of hypermedia storytelling in social situations, and studies of the use of hypertext and game rules in the writing and reading of the once and future book. I apply my understanding of virtual reality and social media (an understanding bred from professional practice and academic research) to study of the space of the book and the shifting nature of the experience of reading. I am interested in working with book dealers, writers and publishers to work for a better understanding of how these technologies can be used, not just to stream-line existing practices but also to develop new ways to understand reading and the book.
I arrived in Wales in 1991 after completing my doctorate from the English department of SUNY at Buffalo. Upon arrival in Wales I established a computer consulting company in the hills of North Wales, providing some of the earliest desktop publishing provision here. Since 1999 I have worked as a lecturer, project manager, and researcher at Bangor University, where I now am now the Head of the School of Creative Studies and Media. In the summer of 2016 Bangor University honored me with a Bangor Teaching Fellowship for my work in the School.
I am interested in working with other researchers and PhD students in the fields of digital media, the book and the book trade, and creative practice. I am always interested in conversations about discourse, game theory, expertise, or our relationship to space and place.
My responsibilities in the School of Creative Studies and Media include
- Head of School
- Delivery of the overall academic programme, ensuring the delivery of module programmes; enhancing the student experience; ensuring the appropriateness of staff-student relations and interactions; and dealing with issues and problems expeditiously.
- Ensure the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of work across the school.
- Ensure that with respect to all academic matters [including the planning of course structures, syllabuses, the admission of students, examinations, delivery of teaching, provision of pastoral care etc.], appropriate quality assurance mechanisms, procedures and structures are in place.
- Development, teaching and assessment of Welsh and English language modules in digital development, game studies, and digital publishing. Modules I teach include Digital communications, Developing new media, Games and virtual environments, Digital publishing, Programmed media and Creativity and Research.
- Development and teaching of Game Design pathway
- Development of knowledge exchange projects between School and Industry
- Future Space of Bookselling Conference 2-day international conference bringing academic and booksellers together. Funded by Academic Book of the Future (AHRC) project (2016)
- 'Creating Second Lives 2011: Blurring Boundaries', Bangor University, September 9th-10th, 2011 (co-organised with Dr Astrid Ensslin).
- 'Creating Second Lives: Reading and Writing Virtual Communities', Bangor University, October 24th-25th, 2008 (co-organised with Dr Astrid Ensslin).
- Muse, EJ (2016) "Academic Book Week". Presented at the Independent Publishing Group Autumn Conference, London.
- Muse, EJ (2016) "The Future Space of Bookselling". Presented at the University Press Redux conference, Liverpool University
- Muse, EJ (2015) "Technologies of Reading". Presented as part of the Shankland Lecture Series, Bangor University.
- Muse, EJ (2015) "The future of reading – possibilities in a world of speculation" Presented at the Society of Proof-readers and Editors Conference 2015: Collaborate and innovate. York University.
- Muse, EJ (2012) "Let loose the players of games" Presented at Under the Mask 2012 Conference, University of Bedfordshire.
- Muse, EJ. (2012) Invited Speaker. JISC Panel event, National Library of Wales, Aberystywth, 22 May.
Dissemination and Impact
- Muse, EJ (2014) "Living with Uncertainty in Virtual Worlds" Presented at Videogame Cultures and the Future of Interactive Entertainment 6th Global Conference, Oxford, 17-19 July.
- Muse, EJ (2014) "Social networks and the space of bookselling" Presented at Social Media and the Transformation of Public Space Conference, Amsterdam, 18-20 June.
- Muse, EJ (2011) "Requisite Variety in Augmented Reality" Presented at Creating Second Lives 2011: Blurring Boundaries, Bangor University, 8-9 September.
- Muse, EJ (2010). "Technology for Marginal Communities" Presented at Cyfrwng 2010, Coleg y Drindod, Caerfyrddin, 13-14 May.
- Ensslin, A and Muse, EJ (2008) "Creating Spaces for Virtual Communities: The Role of Architecture in Second Life" presented at Creating Second Lives, Bangor University, 24-25 October.
- Muse, EJ (2005) "EuroRubik and the Learning Organisation". Presented at the EuroRubik International Conference 2005. CESPIM, Rome.
- Muse, EJ (2005) "Designing a networked e-guidance system". Presented at GO Wales e-Guidance Conference 2005, University of Wales, Glamorgan.
- Muse, EJ (2000). "Information systems analysis techniques for learning systems development." European Conference on Educational Research, University of Edinburgh, 20-12 September 2000.
- New E-Tools (NET) e-Learning System (2008). Roma, Italy.
- Reflective Practice in the Workplace tool (2007) on-line tool to teaching reflective practice.
- NeGES e-Guidance System (2007) on-line tool to assist the delivery of on-line careers guidance.
- Ghid Practic e-learning system (2004). Iasi, Romania
- Rural Enterprise Development Learning System, 2000.
Current and recent projects
- Space of Bookselling project. Santander Mobility Grant and Academic Book of the Future (AHRC) grant (2016). Research trip to USA to interview booksellers on the changing space of bookselling
- Future of Reading Workshops. Co-taught book production workshops for academics and booksellers as part of the Bangor University-ESRC Impact Acceleration Award.
- "Using social networks for bookselling in Wales" Strategic Insight Program
- Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS): Sain Cyf. (2011-2014) In partnership with the Bangor Business School, assist the company Sain, successful in recording & distributing music of Wales in physical format (CDs), to cope with the threats & opportunities of digital distribution of music over the Internet to a worldwide market.
- Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS): Mentor Môn (2010-2013) "Utilizing Digital Technologies To Enhance Educational/Cultural Tourism to North Wales"
- Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS): GeoMôn: Anglesy Geopark (2010-2012). The Anglesy Geological Sensoria Project
- Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS): Dafydd Hardy Estate Agents (2009-2010). Crowdsourcing, community building, and property markets: leveraging knowledge and community capital
- Knowledge Transfer Partnership: Sain Cyf. (2009-2011). In partnership with the Bangor Business School, assist the company Sain, successful in recording & distributing music of Wales in physical format (CDs), to cope with the threats & opportunities of digital distribution of music over the Internet to a worldwide market.
- Cronfa Adnoddau'r Cyfryngau Newydd (2008-2009). This project will result in the provision of a Welsh language learning platform for multimedia and new media students across Wales. Funding of £10,000 by Datblygu Addysg Uwch Cyfrwng Cymraeg.
- Innovative System Improving teachers inter-cultural Skills (ISIS) (2006-2008). We are working in partnership with five other European countries to develop a model, methodology and tools to support teachers and trainers in understanding and managing multicultural learning environments. Funding of €54,000 to Bangor by ESF as part of the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
- The value of literary analysis to City financial institutions (2008). This project asked a small sample of English graduates now in senior and junior positions in accounting, investment, project or systems management, tax advice and merchant banking three principal questions: whether and how the study of English increased their efficiency, what they think creativity is in their profession, and how English academics might be of use in extending their business or providing training. Funding of £5,000 from the English Subject Centre, HEA.
- Diversity awareness training study (2006-2007). In partnership with the Butler Training Group, we are investigating the effect of multimedia-based training materials for developing diversity awareness in the workplace. In particular, we are studying the effect of these materials on the affective domain. Funding of £60,000 by contract from the Butler Training Group.
- New E-Tools (2006-2008). We are working in partnership with other European countries to develop new blended learning tools and methodologies for to develop technical skills of low qualified SME's workers. Funding of €42,000 to Bangor from ESF through the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
- Reflective Practice in the Workplace (2006-2007). As part of the Graduate Opportunities Wales partnership, we developed an on-line tool to assist the development of reflective practice skills. The tool is used by students who are undertaking work placements as part of their degree work or other professional development.
- Networked e-Guidance Exchange System (NeGES) (2006-2007). As part of the Graduate Opportunities Wales partnership, we developed an on-line tool to assist the delivery of on-line careers guidance. The software system allowed staff from different institutions to collaborate in the delivery of guidance to students, sharing resources, forwarding clients, or covering staff absenses.
- Shareable learning materials within a community of practice (2004-2006). As part of the Graduate Opportunities partnership, we developed a methodology for development of learning materials that can be re-used by partners with common teaching and learning goals but differing learning cultures and levels of technical sophistication. The methodology is being developed in a iterative fashion that incorporates the development of a pilot set of learning materials.
- Knowledge Transfer Partnership: Conway Centre (2005-2006). During this two-year project we developed an on-line presence for a large residential activity centre on the Isle of Anglesey. The project involved developing a commercial presence, an on line booking service, and a learning environment for the pupils attending short courses at the school.
- PANGLOS (2005-2006). The project seeks to improve the international potential of small companies by improving the company's ability to use English as a commercial language. The project team has developed a methodology to establish training paths for employees, as well as supporting management in establishing its training priorities. We are now building a software system to implement that methodology. The project partnership is composed of TEFL companies across Europe. Funded by ESF as part of the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
- EuroRubik (2005-2006). Working within a multinational partnership to define guidelines and recommendations which could be validated at a European level for work based training. The guidelines will be flexible and personalized, dedicated to workers with low qualification, without professional perspectives, working in metal - mechanical SMEs, with non more 50 employees. Funded by ESF as part of the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
*ICT-Net (2003-2004). The four-nation project team developed a practical course in ICT and e-commerce for use by entrepreneurs in Romania. An innovative online learning environment was developed and learning activities and modules were created for use within the system. The environment is currently being operated in Romania as part of a program of business development. Funded by ESF as part of the Leonardo da Vinci programme.
- Sgiliau2 (2003-2004). As part of a project promoting ICT literacy in North Wales, we are researching business attitudes, pre-conceptions, and requirements for using multimedia and on-line learning in the workplace. Companies are being interviewed and allowed to try a multimedia learning tool about business fundamentals. Feedback from this initial phase will be used to develop a multimedia tool to teach aspects of e-commerce. Funded by the Objective One Fund.
- e-Entrepreneurship in Schools (2004). Multimedia learning tools in entrepreneurship and innovation are being piloted amongst secondary schools and university students to develop a framework for promoting entrepreneurship in schools and for using multimedia learning materials in schools.
- Learning and Business (Adapt) (2000-2002). Developing quality measures of learning within ICT based learning and business environments with an emphasis on assessing those aspects of environments and tools that facilitate innovating learning (IL). Developing and evaluating an IT based tool that learners can use to assess their problem solving skills and to assess their capacity for innovation.
- Wales e-Business Base (RETEX II) (2000-2001). Developing an on-line business centre and community for a geographically defined business community in order to assist small business start-ups and to measure the effect of increased Internet activity on business productivity.
- Training for Rural Communities (Interreg II) (2000-2001). Working in partnership with Ireland on a learning system for professional development that integrates a multi-media training CD-ROM with a virtual classroom on the Internet.