In August 2013, UMD Art & Design faculty and students traveled to Bergen Norway to participate in Collaborative Creativity in New Media. The one week course brought together diverse students and faculty from 5 Universities to work in teams developing multi-modal digital narrative projects. The experimental work was informed by innovations in electronic literature, multimedia art, surrealist games, and computer generated narratives. As students explored the landscape and culture of Bergen, their projects evolved to integrate mapping, photography, illustration, video, graphic design and digital storytelling in their designs. Interdisciplinary creativity and experimental tools were central to the learning. UMD participants were Art & Design faculty Joellyn Rock and Rob Wittig, and their students Dane Pedersen and Jordyn Swenson. The joint course, Collaborative Creativity in New Media was funded by a grant from SIU: The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, a public Norwegian agency promoting international cooperation in education and research. The group included students from University of Bergen Digital Culture and students from American partner institutions: the University of West Virginia, Temple University and the University of Minnesota at Duluth.
Upon arrival in Bergen, each student received their identity through the project online character generator . (Each time the page reloads, a new character is generated with a different name, age, home, profession, strange incident, and an item in his or her bag.) A mysterious message from Archibald Baker III called them each to Bergen to investigate a “strange event”. Soon students were divided into small groups, and it was up to each team to shape their own narrative, incorporating evidence, images, events, local landscape and anecdotal details. Every team included both Americans and Norwegians, and engaged students with different disciplinary backgrounds and skill-sets. Student projects from the 2013 course have been located on the fictional Archibald Baker III’s database archive computer.
In Dane Pedersen’s team, the fictional characters were: Jackson Sullivan, who awoke on an island in his hometown to find strange ruins tattooed onto his arm. He heads to Bergen to decipher them. There he meets David Butler, an older gentlemen possessing the diary of his explorer grandfather. Inside is information regarding Norse ruins. Aurora Berg, a British spy doing her best to warn the world of potential harm. Liam Omar, a scuba diver who notices the strange rise in water levels in Bergen. What can it mean? The video story Five Days includes the voices of each of these characters.
Jordyn Swenson’s team narrative included the high-stakes drama of assassination and conspiracy on the waterfront. They worked to interweave their narratives on a joint website: Fear the Water
Character, Illustrations, and Web Story by Jordyn Swenson
Most of the resulting team products included aspects of locative media and maps in their final forms. UMD students Dane Pedersen and Jordyn Swenson also worked together to develop an iBook that shared embedded videos, photography, websites and maps.
Interconnected narrative map by one team of Collaborative Creativity students:
And the website for the Gærningene group:
We were given tasks and clues to how to develop our artwork through the mystical character Archibald, and through this we developed the four superheroes that are presented on this page. Our group was called “Gærningene”, which is Norwegian for “the Crazies”. It is a suiting name, considering how we mixed media types we’d never even heard of before we started. Our task was to save Bergen…
Another Team created a pair of parallel blogs: A Tale of Two Suns
Showcase /Archibald Baker III + Bergen installation by Dane Pedersen and Jordyn Swenson