02 June 2010

Final seminar details

The final ESRC seminar, in the form of a conference at the British Library, took place on May 18th 2010. Abstracts are below. The project team is now working toward the final report, and is editing the Sage Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses to be published in late 2011 or early 2012.

18 May Keynotes

Gunther Kress, Professor of Semiotics and Education and Director, Centre for Multimodal Research, IOE

‘Social fragmentation and epistemological multiplicity: the doctoral thesis in an era of provisionality’

The linked forces of postmodern theory, neo-liberal economics and its associated ideologies (not to mention globalization, diversity and related phenomena) have worked with enormous effect to change the world: to undo certainties in all domains, not least among these that of ‘knowledge’. In the Humanities and Social Sciences there are signs of this everywhere, and multiplying. Among many others there is the pluralization of formerly singular terms – so much so that the singular form of the noun is in danger of becoming extinct in English and no doubt in other ‘western’ languages. There is the unsettling and negation of canonical forms – of genres, for instance but also of the means of representation: image is displacing word. Process(es) and practic(es) are the focus of attention; ethnography – a methodology with or without a theory? - informs, shapes most doctoral work. And, maybe particularly pertinently, over the last (half)decade or so, there has been a decided shift from theory to methodology /-ies. All this has left the PhD in the same state of uncertainty and provisionality as other social and semiotic phenomena and entities. In this radically provisional environment, I pose, bewildered, the question: what now of the PhD? what can/could/might it be? And, uttered with utmost trepidation, is it still serious to ask: what ought it to be?

Steve Benford, University of Nottingham

‘Interdisciplinary research in mixed reality performance - implications for the doctorate’

For over ten years I have been working with artists to create, tour and study mixed reality performances that combine real and virtual stages and also interaction with computers with live performance by humans. This session will reflect on how this experience has driven the evolution of an interdisciplinary approach to research that draws on Computer Science, Ethnography and increasingly the Humanities in an attempt to bridge between both practice- and theory-based approaches. I will consider the challenges that this raises for PhD students working in the field and explain some of the ways in which we are trying to address these in the Horizon Doctoral Training Centre (www.horizon.ac.uk).

Parallel sessions A (morning)

Andrew Brown, Dean of the Doctoral School, IOE

‘Professional doctorates, electronic theses and other challenges and opportunities in the evaluation of 'a contribution to knowledge in the field'’

The key criterion that has to be met for a candidate's work to warrant the award of doctorate is that it makes an original contribution to knowledge in the field of research. Over the past decade there has been a marked diversification in both the form taken by doctoral programmes and the means available for the (re)presentation of research. Professional doctorates have brought together academic research and professional practice in new ways. Performance and practice based doctorates have placed non-textual elements as the heart of the thesis. Electronic theses bring the potential of hypertext and multi-modality to the presentation of the process and outcomes of research. Digital technologies create new opportunities for the creation of communities of researchers and for more flexible modes of doctoral study. Along with these developments comes diversification in the community of postgraduate researchers, and changing expectations about what is gained from studying for a doctorate. In this workshop we will explore the implications of these changes for how we support doctoral candidates and the academic and institutional opportunities and challenges they create for how we recognise a contribution to knowledge.

Joanna Newman, Head of Higher Education, The British Library
‘Ethos: opening up research’

Since the beta launch of Ethos in January 2009, demand for theses has grown exponentially. The ethos website has received over 100,000 thesis requests and we now have 25,000 theses for download. There still remain a sizeable number of theses to digitise and as yet no sector wide agreement on mandating the production of theses in digital format. This session explores some of the challenges and successes of the project for the British Library and its higher education partners, and now as a service, its potential for opening up UK Phd research, and the issues and challenges facing researchers and their institutions.

David Durling, Birmingham Institute for Art and Design
‘Designing the doctorate’

Over the past two years of presentations around the theme ‘New forms of doctorate’, a number of new ideas, interesting opportunities and profound challenges have been raised by several presenters. This session will reflect upon some highlights from those previous events and - starting with a blank screen - explore how a research doctorate (a PhD) might be designed to maintain the requirements of a research degree at doctoral level whilst having sufficient flexibility for multimodal outcomes that may be examined rigorously and provide an enduring record.

Parallel sessions B (afternoon)

Jude England, Head of Social Science, The British Library

‘Preserving the present for the future’

‘E’ and digital publication has had a profound effect on the way we create and use information. More of it is available, it is easier to find and use, and we assume that it, and its links to supporting content, will always be ‘there’. At the British Library we are, conversely, all too well aware of the pitfalls of such assumptions and the myriad opportunities there are for material to disappear. This presentation discusses some of the challenges we face in securing the digital legacy for use by researchers in the future.

Myrrh Domingo, Doctoral candidate, New York University

‘Research into interactive multimodal texts’

While the global world in which we live is increasingly saturated with digital technologies, it can be argued that interactive multimodal texts have often been relegated to a role on the margins instead of being the main research text. In this talk, I will discuss my two-year ethnography of a group of adolescents to demonstrate the ways in which they extended the everyday functions of writing and speech by participating in digital communities. I will highlight features of their unique relationship with language as a pliable art form, and explain how they generated new ways of making meaning by designing ‘noisy and moving’ texts.

Lesley Gourlay, Learning Innovation Applied Research Group, Coventry University
'Virtual worlds, textual limits? Doctoral research into the multimodal, hybrid and posthuman’

This presentation will discuss the activities of the Leverhulme-funded 'CURLIEW' research project investigating the practices surrounding Immersive Virtual Worlds (such as Second Life) in UK higher education, involving three PhD students. Drawing on 'posthuman' theory it will explore the distributed, multilayered nature of these environments, and their enormously complex affordances for self-representations and forms of meaning-making. The session will go on to discuss the resultant tensions inherent in conducting research into a field of social practice which is fundamentally multimodal and highly complex in terms of semiotic resources, and the limitations of 'traditional' text-based doctoral theses to adequately capture these practices.

02 March 2010

Seminar 5 details

London Knowledge Lab
23-29 Emerald Street
London WC1N 3QS

Date and time
2 March 2010

About the seminar
The seminar on 2 March 2010 followed the pattern of our previous events in combining strategic overviews of key issues in the modern doctorate and case studies of particular forms of research practice. Again key themes were the kinds of knowledge created by research and how they can best be represented. The selection of participants was designed to give insights across discipline boundaries.

We were very fortunate to have leading the speakers Prof. Chris Rust, coauthor of the important AHRC Review of Practice-Led Research 2007, who is widely published on themes of tacit knowledge and the nature of design. Dr. Mine Dogantan-Dack considered practice-as-research in music performance; an internationally respected musician, she has recently directed an AHRC project, Alchemy, rooted in rehearsal and performance with the Marmara Trio. Dr. Anna Milsom completed her PhD in translation at Middlesex University with a highly innovative multimedia approach to representing her research knowledge.

Dr. Catherine Hill continued our theme from a previous seminar, considering professional doctorates as well as the PhD. She has a particular interest in enquiry which occurs in and for advanced level practice and which has effective action rather than published output as its main aim. Dr. Kristina Niedderer offered us a framework for the relationship between research methods, knowledge, and that so-tricky concept, rigour. Dr Nick Bryan-Kinns researches collaboration, engagement, and the design process. He had particular insights to offer in interdisciplinary studies, such as PhDs which veer towards the arts but which are located and examined in a science and engineering faculty. He contributes to a major EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre.

The speakers
Prof. Chris Rust
Professor of Design
Director, Sheffield Institute of Arts
Head of Art and Design Department
Sheffield Hallam University

Dr. Mine Dogantan-Dack
Research Fellow
Chair of Music Research Group
Music Department
Middlesex University

Dr. Anna Milsom
Senior Lecturer in Applied Translation
London Metropolitan University

Dr. Kristina Niedderer
Reader in Design and Applied Arts
Chair of Material Design and Applied Art Research Group
School of Art and Design
University of Wolverhampton

Dr. Catherine Hill
Programme leader, Professional Doctorate
Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Sheffield Hallam University

Dr. Nick Bryan-Kinns
Centre for Digital Music
and IMC Research Group
School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science,
Queen Mary, University of London

The series is led by Prof. Richard Andrews at the Institute of Education.

18 February 2010

The doctoral thesis in the digital and multimodal age

British Library, Euston Road, London – Conference Centre
Tuesday 18 May 2010 10.15am to 4.30pm

This is the final conference in the ESRC Research Seminar series ‘New forms of doctorate: the influence of multimodality and e-learning on the nature and format of doctoral theses’

Keynote speakers

Gunther Kress, Professor of Semiotics and Education and Director, Centre for Multimodal Research, Institute of Education, London
‘Social fragmentation and epistemological multiplicity: the doctoral thesis in an era of provisionality’

Steve Benford, Professor of Collaborative Computing, University of Nottingham ‘Interdisciplinary Research in Mixed Reality Performance - implications for the doctorate’


Andrew Brown, Director of the Doctoral School, IOE, ‘Professional doctorates, electronic theses and other challenges and opportunities in the evaluation of 'a contribution to knowledge in the field'’

Joanna Newman, Head of Higher Education, British Library, ‘Ethos: opening up research'

David Durling, Associate Dean (Research), Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, ‘Designing the doctorate’

Jude England, Head of Social Science Collections and Research, British Library, ‘Preserving the present for the future’

Myrrh Domingo, Doctoral candidate, New York University, ‘Research into interactive multimodal texts’

Lesley Gourlay, Learning Innovation Applied Research Group, Coventry University, ‘Virtual worlds, textual limits? Doctoral research into the multimodal, hybrid and posthuman’

There will be a launch of the guidance document New forms of dissertation: guidance for students, universities and libraries.

Attendance is free.
Coffee, lunch and tea included.

Please register with Richard Sheldrake, Institute of Education, London on r.sheldrake@ioe.ac.uk. We can accommodate up to 200 delegates, on a first-come, first-served basis.

The series and conference is organized by Richard Andrews, Erik Borg, Jude England and Stephen Boyd Davis.

17 November 2009

Seminar 4 details

London Knowledge Lab

  • Richard Andrews, Stephen Boyd Davis, Jude England, Erik Borg
    Universities of London, Middlesex, Coventry and the British Library
    Guidance for HEIs in the UK and internationally on regulations and procedures for the creation, supervision, examination and archiving of digital/multimodal theses and dissertations – the first draft

  • Anton Franks
    Institute of Education, University of London
    Performance, practice and research: modes of interrogating and presenting concepts and affects in the performing arts

  • Caroline Haythornthwaite
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Visiting Leverhulme Professor, Institute of Education
    Challenges and opportunities for doctoral work in an e-learning context. notes

  • Sophia Diamantopoulou
    Mapping meanings on children's drawings: A multimodal approach

19 May 2009

Third seminar details

Seminar 3

Organised by Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University, held at London Knowledge Lab.

Download the programme for the day (one-page PDF file, 40k).

Following the successful formula of the previous two seminars, the day combined personal case studies with in-depth investigations of key issues.

  • Prof. Stephen Scrivener University of the Arts, London
  • Prof. David Durling Art and Design Research Institute, Middlesex University
  • Prof. Carol Costley Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University
  • Dr. Stephen Boyd Davis Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University
  • Helen Bendon Lansdown Centre, Middlesex University
  • Dr. Ralf Nuhn Lansdown Centre, Middlesex University

Prof. David Durling Art and Design Research Institute, Middlesex University
Practice in the Design PhD: the debate so far.

With the ink still wet on his PhD certificate, [Dr] David Durling entered the academy in 1996 as a research director in a School of Art and Design. Umpteen research publications, several successful completions, two jobs and a wife later, he reflects upon more than a decade of rescue supervision and endless debates about researchy things, often confused and sometimes remarkably simple.

Dr. Stephen Boyd Davis
Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University. Defending the Thesis: why the written thesis is now a better idea than ever.

The written thesis is under attack. This presentation defends it against some of the principal objections popularly made. The argument is based on considering the "power of the word" in particular ways, above all that the written thesis is a visual medium (with the important affordances that this confers) and that the world digital environment in which each thesis is now situated means that the old objections to the unread dusty volume on the library shelf are a thing of the past.

Helen Bendon Lansdown Centre, Middlesex University.
Practice as Research: a personal account of a practice-based contribution to an ESRC project.

Helen undertook a creative residency with Vivacity2020 in 2006/7. This EPSRC funded research consortium engaged in a five year study of urban sustainability and the 24 hour city. One of two artists selected to work alongside academics, architects, town planners, social scientists and public agencies, Helen made a body of new video work. It was the intention that the inclusion of artists would assist in providing innovative and interactive ways of engaging the public with the research, and would broaden the perspective on issues of change and progressive urban developments. This presentation uses the experiences with the Vivcaity2020 project to explore issues around creative research methodologies and how these sit within a wider interdisciplinary research project.

Dr. Ralf Nuhn Lansdown Centre, Middlesex University.
Theory and practice in the PhD: a personal reflection.

This presentation focuses on my mixed-mode PhD in Media Arts, completed in autumn 2006.

I commence with a video recording of the key practical project for my thesis, UNCAGED, which is a series of six interactive installations aiming to bridge the gap between the screen-based worlds of computers and their immediate physical surroundings (see www.telesymbiosis.com). This is followed by a discussion of UNCAGED's contextualization within a broader theoretical framework ranging from aesthetic considerations, scientific and philosophical concepts, the particular role of sound to human computer interaction (HCI). I then describe how my critical engagement with the work, largely informed by Jean Baudrillard’s conception of the "real" and the "virtual", has resulted in a new heightened sensitivity regarding the role of digital technology in my artistic practice and has strongly influenced my subsequent artistic creations. (This is, at least, my argument within the narrative of my written thesis).

The subsequent part of my presentation problematizes two related notions regarding my sentiments about my own PhD as well as mixed-mode PhDs more generally. First, I (simply) question the adequateness of academic regulations concerning the actual format of mixed-mode PhDs, in particular the requirement for the thesis to fit on a library shelf, which inevitably seems to obscure the practical dimension of the work. Second, I discuss the relationship between the written and the practical part from a more theoretical perspective arguing that, at least in some cases, the former might just be an unnecessary "interface" narrowing the richness of the practical work within very clearly defined limits and, thus, becoming a mere academic exercise.

Prof. Carol Costley Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University.
On the distinction (if any) between doctorates which are research qualifications and those which are qualifications in advanced practice.

Since the early 1990’s work based learning (WBL) has been developing in UK universities within subject disciplines and also outside disciplinary frameworks as a field of study in it own right. Both forms of WBL (as a mode of study and as a field of study), have developed pedagogies that have moved away from more traditional approaches. In some part this can be attributed to the mature adult community who are attracted to part-time courses that incorporate study into their work rather than a learning experience unrelated to working life. However, the developing pedagogies also relate to a wider, more transdisciplinary reflection of a knowledge-based society.

Following the successful institution of WBL ‘taught’ degrees at Bachelor and Master levels the natural progression was to introduce work-based doctorates. Professional doctorates had already started to increase in the UK and in the late 1990’s the Doctorate in Professional Studies sometimes called Professional Practice (DProf. sometimes called Prof D.) was introduced. The DProf is aimed at the actual work activities and circumstances of people engaged in high-level professional practice. Candidates already have considerable expertise in their work and their work-based research and development projects are likely to draw upon knowledge from a range of fields and also on tacit and professional knowledge. The Candidates’ situatedness outside the academic sphere brings about a balance of activity, focus and control between the academic and the professional environments.

Drawing mainly on the DProf., the presentation explores how postgraduate WBL works in higher education and there is some consideration of its academic underpinning (Costley and Stephenson 2008). There is discussion concerning generic assessment criteria; the structure of the doctoral programme; the kinds of research and development projects undertaken by the candidates; and the learning and teaching processes which are ‘essentially concerned with the individual and their own practice’ (Scott et al 2004).

Prof. Stephen ScrivenerUniversity of the Arts, London.
Artistic and designerly research: articulated transformational practice.

Starting from a discussion of the conditions of research, as suggested by dictionary and institutional definitions, this paper identifies and elucidates the symptoms indicative of research that provide the grounds for criteria that function as rules or tests for judging something as research, and on that basis approving or disapproving of it as such. These conditions and criteria provide an inclusive framework that accommodates differences between interpretative frameworks and between the research method demanded by a particular research project and the given interpretative framework in which it operates. Artistic and designerly research, it is argued, should also exhibit these symptoms and hence be subject to the same rules and tests. This being the case, why qualify research by the term artistic or designerly? What might be the additional or special symptoms and associated evaluative criteria of such research? To explore this question three ways of thinking about the relationship between the work of art and design and works of art and design, as described by Frayling (1993), i.e., research into, through and for art and design, are explored.

It is concluded that neither research into art or through art and design merit the qualification artistic of designerly research. However, it is argued that research for art, i.e., cognitively surprising artistic and design interventions that expand knowledge and understanding of the nature and scope of art and design, does merit this distinction because it implies additional subject specific symptoms and criteria. Research for art and design, it is proposed, claims material interventions that transform what is apprehended as art and design, concurrent with claims to knowledge of the manner in which art and design has thereby been transformed. Consequently, four additional symptoms of research for art and design are identified: transformational art and design is claimed and produced such that correspondence is instantiated between the cognitive adjustment achieved in its apprehension and the claims made for that apprehension as yielding an expanded understanding of art and design.

Download the text Prof. Scrivener's talk here

You may be interested to see the kinds of PhDs undertaken at the Lansdown Centre.

23 March 2009

Second seminar details

Seminar 2: Coventry University
Coventry University

The role of typography in the presentation of PhD theses:

Migrating literacy transactions: reconceptualizing "text" in the doctoral thesis
Myrrh Domingo, New York University

This presentation calls for revising the doctoral thesis format given the variety of text forms associated with multimodal (Kress & van Leeuwen) and digital literacy studies. Drawing on my ethnography of a group of Filipino British youth, I theorize about their migrating literacy transactions—movement across physical spaces navigable by the body and imagined spaces negotiated in online communities—to redefine what counts as text. Aligned with critical literacy that teaches students to "read the word and the world" (Freire & Macedo), I am beginning to develop a new theoretical direction for studying multiliteracies (New London Group; Cope & Kalantzis). The proposed new direction will account for hybrid (Bhabha) texts and remix (Knobel & Lankshear) of cultural artifacts that the youth transact as they shape and are shaped by the embodied, digital, and multimodal resources they employ in their daily lives. From this perspective, students' reading and writing practices are seen as pluralistic and dynamic, actively engaged with a local and global audience. To display the multimodal, hybrid, and remixed literacy practices of the youth, an attempt must also be made at reconceptualizing text in the doctoral thesis. In a more traditional doctoral thesis format, isolated modal resources (e.g. image, video, music) beyond the written text often serve as additive ways of making meaning. In contrast, the layering of modal resources throughout the dissertation will generate new ways of making meaning to arrive at different ways of understanding students' multimodal and digital literacy practices.

From typewriter to flashdrive: a technological snapshot of the development of the PhD by research
Erik Borg, Coventry University

“The doctoral degree is old” (Noble, 1994, p.4). The doctoral degree is both old and new; although it has an ancient ancestry, the doctorate earned by research is less than two centuries old, and in Britain, less than one. It is a product of new institutions, the research universities, and both reflects and generates new tasks, in the creation of new knowledge. It has been supported over much of its modern history by a then-new technology, the typewriter. This talk will look at the confluence of institutions, tasks and technology in order to see if they provide any guidance on new forms that the doctorate might take.

Noble, K. A. (1994). Changing doctoral degrees: An international perspective. Buckingham, UK: SRHE & Open University Press.

Mark Evans (Coventry): A performing arts perspective

Mark Hill (Northumbria): Multimodal thesis presentation

It ain’t what we write it’s the way that they say it, but that’s not what gets (PhD) results
Jonnie Robinson, British Library

Jonnie Robinson will draw on recent experience to suggest possible alternatives to the ‘traditional’ PhD thesis in sociolinguistics. Drawing on prestigious collections held at the BL, such as the Survey of English Dialects and BBC Voices, he will illustrate how the wealth of data they provide has arguably provided the more important academic legacy than the PhD theses they produced. He will outline a number of recent and current BL initiatives that combine traditional analysis and interpretation with ways of presenting such data and making it more accessible to future researchers, exploiting the opportunities afforded by multimodality.

Resourcing the Third Space: a multimodal investigation of changes in learning priorities and modes of meaning-making
Christina Preston, Institute of Education, London

Multimodality is an emerging branch of socio-cultural semiotics that is increasing in importance in this digital age. The focus here is on a specific multi-modal, multi-layered, multi-authored and multi-media artefact defined as a multidimensional concept map (MDCM). This discussion about the multimodal assessment of learning explores the relevance of multimodality theory to meaning-making and its assessment.

The evidence in this doctoral study has been derived from MDCMs drawn by three cohorts of advisers in teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) in Information and Communications Technology (ICT). However, in this talk, the spotlight is turned onto multimodality issues that are relevant to the writing-up processes and assessment procedures undertaken by doctorate students. Firstly the value of mono-literate as opposed to multi-literate texts is discussed. Secondly, questions are asked about the role of the supervisor as the expert in a multimodal learning context.

Finally a digital Third Space is recommended where doctoral students can join a community of practice in order to share a lifelong process of collaborative knowledge creation.

10 December 2008

First seminar details

First seminar was held on
10 December 2008
10.30am - 4.30pm

at London Knowledge Lab

The main aims of the seminar were to:

  • Explore the intellectual and practical opportunities, problems and risks concerning the rise in digital and multimodal research presentation – particularly that of the PhD thesis

  • Provide a forum for the exchange of practice in this area

  • Inform thinking, including that on regulations and guidance, regarding new formats for the PhD in education and the social sciences

  • Provide better commerce between the creation of knowledge in the field and its dissemination to users

Seminar programme

Richard Andrews, Caroline Pelletier, Andrew Burn: A survey of existing practice

Part of this presentation looked at examples of alternatives to the conventional written PhD thesis, drawing particularly on traditions of practice-based, studio-based, options for doctoral study. Certain models, especially in the field of art and design, have long histories, and variations on these have proliferated in recent years, addressing the interests and professional contexts of researchers, artists and designers in multimedia, games and virtual worlds. Recurrent themes in the discussions of these models include practical questions about the balance of different elements of the doctoral submission, epistemological questions about the nature of knowledge and the function of research, methodological questions about the relationship between investigation and design. These were briefly reviewed and opened up for discussion: a number of institutions currently running practice-based programmes were represented at the seminar.

Peter Halfpenny: The problem from an e-social science perspective

e-Social Science aims to harness innovations in digital technologies to enable social science to advance in ways not hitherto possible. Its drivers are the abundance of digital data, the availability of immense computer power and the ease of collaboration over time and space. e-Social Science affects every stage of the research life-cycle. As a consequence, it has numerous implications for the doctorate. Some of these were teased out in this talk.

Download Powerpoint file here.

Carey Jewitt: New multimodal and visual forms: what counts as knowledge in the doctoral thesis

Until relatively recently, the thesis has been a written form sometimes quietly ‘illustrated’ with visual evidence. The noise of audio files and multimodal media has been allowed to live in the appendix of the doctoral thesis. This separation of writing, image and multimodal forms is, however, challenged by the rise in research on and through digital media. Visual and multimodal perspectives, technologies and the data these generate in combination, put writing, image and the multimodal into new relationships. Further this has led to new forms of transcription and representation of data and findings and the re-thinking of what counts as knowledge. Contemporary multimodal texts will be used to explore the opportunities and problems of rethinking the relationship between writing, image, and other modes in order to comment on the possible futures for the PhD thesis. How might image and writing be put into more dynamic conversations within a thesis to move beyond the written comment on the visual or multimodal? What might visual and multimodal dialogues and arguments look like? In short, how might the multimodal move out of the appendix?

Claire Robins: Artists’ interventions and the doctoral thesis

This paper discussed the role of art practice within my doctoral research in which I examine the interpretive role of contemporary artists’ interventions in galleries and museums. I do this in part, by staging an intervention, An Elite Experience for Everyone, at the William Morris Gallery, London. Artists’ interventions draw on multi-modal means of communication, bringing together text, image, object, display technologies and performances, in this instance, set within a parodic frame. I propose that the potential of this element of practice allows for a close (embodied) examination of disruptive and parodic methodologies which are common to many interventions. My concerns are to gain insights into how parodic and confrontational practices can be understood to ameliorate years of sedimented privilege within cultural institutions promoted as panaceas for achieving social goals. In order to reconcile parody and irony’s somewhat denigrated status in education I draw on the writings of Bakhtin (1966), Hutcheon (2000) and Kierkegaard (1841), to explore the effects of distraction and disruption.