Success: Theory Into Practice

On Monday I spoke at Simmons College (my alma mater) and Suffolk University on political remix video and putting new media and feminist theory into practice. The talks provided students with the inspiration and resources to create a viable vision of what a new and more just media looks like, because no matter what the economic climate is, our power comes from being creators. I want to share my notes from those experiences – they illustrate what I hope to be a sea change in the way we talk about media, representation and sustainability of online content.

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No one questioned the feminist perspective – it was accepted as a legit theoretical basis from which to make work from. Obvious to most of us but not always accepted by students in college classrooms. A turning point? I hope so.

Of the students who came up to speak with me, most were male. I debated for a while about how to talk about feminism to college-aged men. I used to do an “intro to feminism” preamble in my talks. I nixed it this time around and dove right into putting theory (feminist, film, queer, new media) into practice, giving a foothold for everyone. Those not familiar with feminist or queer theory can use context clues to fill in the rest. It worked! Male audiences were just as engaged and female.

The questions after focused on money and long-term sustainability: Not surprising considering the lack of jobs and the economic climate. Students were interested in negotiating paid vs. creative work. How do I make money? Can I remix for a living? Is there a way to be financially independent AND create critical work? All good questions. For women and artists, especially, it’s important to talk about money and share tools for survival. I always recommend a series of books which helped me think more clearly about economic sustainability (although, like everything these days, it’s still a work in progress.)

Suggested reading for sustaining sanity*:

  1. Over Coming Under Earning, Barbara Stanny
  2. Young, Fabulous and Broke, Suze Orman
  3. Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi
  4. Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting, Lynn Grabhorn
  5. Nice Girls Don’t…:101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, Lois P. Frankel
I’m happy to announce that I’ll be speaking more about subverting pop-culture through video remix at SXSW’s Interactive Festival in March. Thank you to everyone who voted!
Also, I’m excited to release a new line up of visiting artist talks for the 2012 Spring semester. Last year was such a success that I hope you’ll check out the new menu and bring practical applications for putting theory into practice to your students this Spring.

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