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General information about this project

Page history last edited by Joanna Zylinska 13 years, 4 months ago



This project is intended to problematise the one-way, closed form of knowledge transfer in university education that is encompassed by the static, photocopiable ‘course reading pack’ - typically designed by course leaders and handed out to students. It engages media students in a dynamic process of devising instead a fluid, open-access, online ‘reader’, whose content and form are being negotiated, updated and altered by students themselves, under the guidance of the course leader. Using the freely available media platforms (online archives, educational wikis, YouTube), students are able to both link to the already available textual and audio-visual material (essays, books, video clips) and upload their own documents and designs to which they can then provide links. New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory The outcome is an innovative, student-centred, customisable learning tool which engages students in curriculum design. Via an involvement with the Open Humanities Press’ Liquid Books Series, the project promotes the socially significant ‘open scholarship’ and ‘open learning’ under the open access agenda. Such liquid readers can be easily disseminated, free of cost, across the media community locally, nationally and internationally.




One recent development that draws on this idea of the inherent liquidity of culture is the Liquid Book Project initiated by Gary Hall and Clare Birchall in collaboration with the Open Humanities Press, an international open-access publishing collective whose mission is to make leading works of contemporary critical thought freely available worldwide. Liquid Books is a series of experimental digital “books” which are published under the conditions of open editing and free content. As such, readers are free to annotate, tag, edit, add to, remix, reformat, reversion, reinvent and reuse any of the books in the series – and, indeed, they are encouraged to do so. This project “is decentering the author and editor functions by making everyone potential authors/editors”. It also raises broader questions about the extent to which “the ability of users to remix, reversion and reinvent such liquid ‘books’ actually renders untenable any attempt to impose a limit and a unity on them as ‘works’”. Moreover, it makes us query what the potential consequences of such “liquidity” are “for those of our ideas that depend on the concept of the ‘work’ for their effectivity”: those concerning attribution, citation, copyright, intellectual property and so on. The reader cannot therefore “finish” and hence claim to “know” such a liquid book in quite the same way as he or she perhaps can with a conventional print-on-paper text.


Open Humanities Press:http://www.openhumanitiespress.org

Liquid Book Series:



TECHNICAL DETAILS, OR WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO? (instructions initially issued to Goldsmiths students; but also open to anyone else who would like to get involved)


Our task is to come up with a version of a ‘liquid reader’ for our MA course, Technology and Cultural Form. I’ve put together a skeletal reading list based on our course, just to get us started. We will then expand on it, change it, add texts/links/videos/comments, etc. etc. We will be working on this edition of the reader from now on until May 2010 – so that the reader becomes useful for you when writing your essays, dissertations etc. You’re all invited to have a think, explore and play. The overall outcome of the project is open-ended – and will depend on your ideas, inventiveness, creativity and willingness to participate...


The web platform – a free educational wiki (kind-of like Wikipedia) called pbworks - I chose for this particular book is quite limited technically. This is a conscious decision – to encourage more conceptual experimentation rather than just tinkering with fonts and colours ;) There is also a page for comments.


To become part of this project:

1. Go to this website:



2. Register via ‘Create an account’ in the top right-hand corner. Then log in.


3. To be able to edit the reader, you then need to request access from the wiki’s owner. After logging in, click on the following phrase on the right-hand side of the screen: ‘To join this workspace, request access’. The owner of the Liquid Books wiki will allow you access and send you an email confirming this (within 24 hours).


Joanna Zylinska, Goldsmiths, University of London

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