Transmedia Fellowship gives students interactive edge

Published On March 5, 2015 | By Hailey D. Williams | News
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(Humber College website)

By Jessica Richard

The application deadline for this year’s Transmedia Fellowship is coming up on March 23.

Transmedia, also known as multi-platform storytelling, is “telling stories on multiple platforms to engage an audience in a different way. In effect the audience becomes a participant in the narrative,” said Basil Guinane, associate dean of the School of Media Studies and Information Technology at Humber College.

“We want to become a school that is identified with new forms of storytelling,” he said. Humber’s goal is to “become the leading centre for storytelling in Canada, if not North America.”

The Transmedia Fellowship is one of the ways Humber is doing this.

“What we’re doing is providing students with the opportunity to apply for a fellowship and actually study Transmedia to look at new forms of storytelling,” said Guinane.

The fellowship is 14 weeks long and takes place from May to mid-August. Six students will be chosen to participate in the project and will receive $6,000 for their full-time participation. They will have the opportunity to engage in this new form of storytelling with some direction from faculty.

“We’re looking for people who are collaborative, we’re looking for people who are interested in investigating this new form of story telling,” Guinane said. “We’re looking for students who have a wide range of skill sets. We’re looking for people who have creative ideas and bringing those people together.”

Last year was the first year for the Transmedia Fellowship.

“We want to become a school that is identified with new forms of storytelling” – Basil Guinane

One of the participants, Bachelor of Journalism student Stephanie Depetrillo, said she gained valuable experience that will hopefully stick with her throughout her career. She said she is better at time management since working on the project and has learned how to work with a new group of people. 

“It made me more well rounded I guess, with the different people that were there because of their skills and their suggestions,” she said. “To work with people that were from different fields of education it helped me to be able to think outside of the box, which I am hoping is going to be a good thing for me when I go into the field.”

She said that even though it was stressful at times, it was a lot of fun.

“We would get kind of short with each other but, in the end, once we all worked together and we realized what we had to do to make it go smoothly, it was just a good time,” said Depetrillo.

Ana Cronkite, a student in the Bachelor of  Film and Media Production program, was also part of last year’s project.

There was a diverse range of skills among us so we got to put what we learned in our respective programs to work. Ultimately having to deal with the hectic nature of doing everything ourselves, I learned a lot more about organization and scheduling of film shoots,” she said.

The biggest take-away for me is having an original project that uses cutting edge media tools and interactivity, that I can say I was a creator, director of photography and writer on,” Cronkite said. 

In addition to the fellowship, Humber is also launching some new programs, said Guinane. “We just launched the post-production program, with a heavy emphasis on training people to be able to basically take content and make it compatible with a variety of formats and hand held devices.”

“There was a diverse range of skills among us so we got to put what we learned in our respective programs to work” –  Ana Cronkite

“What we’re trying to do is train our students to basically be able to function in a very rapidly changing media environment. The way people actually take in stories, the way that they consume media is changing as a result of technological change… so we’re trying to give them the skills that will meet the demands.”

The fellowship is open to students in any program in the School of Media Studies and Information Technology and the School of Creative and Performing Arts who are in the third year of a degree program or final year of a diploma or certificate program.

For full details visit the Transmedia fellowship website here.

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