Codec Research (A Brief Overview)


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A quickly prepared presentation to give an insight into the range of projects CODEC (Durham University) is involved in, for a networking event on Digital Humanities

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  • Biblical literacy survey – keen to repeat in 2014, as in 2011, year of ‘Biblefresh’ were lots of Bible related activity, and we focused particularly on the digital … came my partic 2 part focus – biblical literacy/digital literacy…
  • How can we communicate a 2000 year old message relevantly? Mix of Biblical (Pete) and digital literacy (Me), also preaching (Kate) .. Now termed ‘digital theology, digital discipleship and preaching in a digital age’ - how being human in a digital culture will affect church life, discipleship and ministry. Interactivity, social media and open access to vast quantities of knowledge bring change to every aspect of life, and not just for young people. The digital environment is increasingly accessible and influential in all age groups, changing both lifestyle and social engagement. Increasingly, our national institutions will engage digitally by default. Digital culture cuts across age profiles, social strata and ethnographic groups. Already, churches and church leaders have moved into podcasting, blogging, on-line churches, evangelistic and discipleship web sites. A few theologians and parachurch organisations are using the opportunities of the web to make the Bible accessible in new and imaginative ways. This month’s Churches New Media Conference saw nearly 600 attendees, triple the number of just 3 years ago.
  • 130 writers, about 60 currently active – trying to up the academic context – mix with pew, pulpit … encourage Lent reading – but people still tend to use as a resource by default, rather than engage…
  • Interested in efficacy of preaching in a digital age (so of interest to lecturers also) – found people were keen for substantial content in an age of soundbites…
  • How can the chuch be heard in a post-modern world, where it’s not at the centre of people’s lives, and where there are many other things competing for people’s attention…
  • Network building, BA/MA supervision, finding those with expertise not in academia, attaching as research fellows, encouraging them to undertake a research seminar…Built up links with Universities of Yale, Texas A&M, Lugano, Graz, Glasgow, Lancaster, Anglia-Ruskin, Hull and Greenwich with further conversations ongoing - and also with number of Christian organisations - House of Lords, Church of England, Methodist Church, Premier Christian Media, Bible Society, Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Evangelical Alliance, SPCK . Constantlyapproached by AHRC, Leverhulme, Laing etc.
  • … re started research seminars this year – over lunch – but gaining an interested crowd = good for the College students to have access to this knowledge, but also livestream. Also MediaLit – intensive week on media literacy (which we’re seeking ways to turn into an MA on Theology, Media and Digital Culture).
  • Publications starting to emerge in the field, including from our own Andy…
  • This book written to help fight against ‘moral panics’ – we’ve survived every other technological development … and we need to think what differences it makes to our lives … but not be over-awed by it all… Covers a lot of digital culture, designed to take the fear out of using it – seen as the biggest sticking point for most… so useful for all, but with particular focus on those aspects that affect kids
  • Other work projects from Third Sector organisations, government agencies or think tanks, but this was one of the first we thought of (e.g. Twitter emotions) – data centre info could assess what people reading (interfaith texts), emotional readings, etc.
  • Note: All my interest in the digital kicked off from blogging about my PhD … so encourage students to share their knowledge – benefitted at the time from people responding to it, and gained a huge amount of press coverage, which sent traffic…
  • Codec Research (A Brief Overview)

    1. 1. CODEC @CODECUK; @BIGBIBLE Dr Bex Lewis, Research Fellow in Social Media and Online Learning, CODEC, St John‟s, Durham University
    2. 2. ngSheet2.pdf
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    5. 5. 0/01/view-from-the-pew.html
    6. 6. Commissioned Research, Methodist Church Anonymity • Anonymous vs Pseudonymous • Theology of anonymity, including questions of power: “If the weak use anonymity to try to level the playing field against the powerful or wealthy (basically the Arab Spring argument) then few of us have a problem with that. When the powerful (or relatively powerful) use anonymity to reinforce their inherent power then we see it as wrong.” Privacy • As such, the key fact to remember is that your data, your church‟s data, and the Church‟s data is unlikely to represent a level of abnormality which would be of interest even in a “surveillance-addicted” society. If we lived in a police state where religion was prohibited, then the algorithms would highlight the Church and its officers and members as targets. But we don‟t.
    7. 7. The Church Front Door? For many churchgoing is no longer the „cultural norm‟. People don‟t actively ignore the church: they don‟t even think about it. Matthew 5:13-16 calls us to be salt and light in the world, and for thousands in the „digital age‟, that world includes social networks such Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. With literally billions in the digital spaces, the online social spaces presented by churches need to be appealing, welcoming, and not look like they are just an afterthought: they are now effectively the ‘front door’ to your church for digital users, and you ignore those spaces at your peril. rowing_churches_in_the_digital_age Image Credit:
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    11. 11. Published by Lion Hudson 21 February 2014
    12. 12. Regional Projects http://www.goodnewsforeveryage.
    13. 13. Data Centre with iARC Religion in a Digital Age • provide a cache and storehouse of data not • • • • • • • held elsewhere give access to a network of remote data sites offer search and retrieval processes for both archived and remote data promote cross pollination of data resources discover or create new data sources and syntheses develop new ways to visualise and analyse data searches and findings enable management of data resources and technology and, where appropriate manage intellectual property rights applicable to that data secure the preservation and guardianship of data and to share some of the innovative methods from data-trained researchers at the centre. Work Package e.g. Our Photoshopped Selves? • Increasingly first contact is being made online, and Turkle refers to the „second self‟ or „photoshopped self‟ that we produce online – a deliberately created self in which we share only those things that make us look good (or part of the crowd), and those that are easy to share, without taking the time to think.
    14. 14. Emotion Wall, Propaganda Exhibition, British Library 2013
    15. 15. As with other communication revolutions, the church needs to be encouraged and at times cautioned by the opportunities and challenges for the gospel by its transmission in a new media. For example: • How do we theologically support young people who want to use the • • • • • web to share their faith – they have no problems with the technology, they want some help with the apologetic approach and personal security issues. What does discipleship and accountability look like for the person who spends much of their working and leisure time on-line? How do help Christians understand, interpret, critique and use the media dominated culture in which they live? Can the web do more for education, evangelism and empowerment than simply broadcasting a video of someone giving a lecture? How do the expectations of the person in the pew differ when encountering a sermon in a digital age? As we become more and more dependent on technology to download our memories, extend our ability to communicate and to have our physical attributes enhanced – what does it mean to be human?
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    17. 17. HTTPS://WWW.DUR.AC. UK/CODEC/