Steps Taken

It’s a busy time around the Praxis Lab. At the moment our attention is divided between conceptual thought on the future of Ivanhoe, and practical education in the basic tools we’re going to need to carry out any of our concepts—plus, of course, the little external distractions of classes, comprehensive exams, job applications, etc.

As a result, everything feels very baby-steppy at this point, such that I think it’s worth considering and celebrating the steps we have taken and realizing that they may not be so small as they seem.

First, we have now delivered our charter. This document showcases the collaboration and camaraderie we have developed in these opening months, between movie viewings, foodie chat, and coffee machine queues. While the charter is important of itself, it’s also something we know that we can revisit as needed; it’s the interpersonal bonds we will be relying on to carry us through the project development.

Second, we have all established a web presence, including rudimentary personal websites (my own of which I’ll link once I’m a little more confident about it…). This shows off an initial development of skills in HTML, CSS, and Git that will strengthen with use over the Praxis year and beyond.

Third, we are already making plans for presentations about aspects of Ivanhoe, especially for next summer—while many deadlines are still several months off, DH2015’s just hit a few days back, and we put in a poster-presentation abstract in hopes both of having it approved, and also of figuring out over the next 6 months what we’ll actually have to show in Sidney.

Finally, we’re all coming to grips with our thoughts about what Ivanhoe is, and what it could be—between lots of talks about the nature of play, the differences between games and platforms, and the pitfalls of gamification (that may just be me, more in a future post).

Andrew Ferguson is a 2014–15 Praxis Fellow and a Ph.D candidate in English at the University of Virginia, working in the texts and media of the last hundred years. His dissertation, “The Game and the Glitch: Narrative Strategies and the Playerly Text,” uses modes of videogame play to explore alternate methods of textual engagement in…

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