Change ahead: A Fulbright in Norway!

While we have been taking our Spring Break “breather” in #NetNarr, I have been making plans for a major transition of my own.  I am happy to announce that I have been awarded a Fulbright Foundation grant in Digital Culture for the academic year 2017-2018.  Next year I will be a visiting scholar at the University of Bergen, Norway.  My Fulbright research project is entitled Networks & Narratives: Participatory Culture and Digital Storytelling.

As a faculty leader and networked scholar at Kean University, I have always been committed to encouraging lifelong reading and writing.  My passion for both writing studies and literature is rooted in my belief that writing and reading are essential to communication, learning, and global citizenship. My current scholarship in the field of Electronic Literature focuses on participatory culture, generativity, and the convergence of networks & narrative (i.e. #netprov = networked improvisational narrative).  Ultimately, my scholarly identity is founded on a well-honed iterative practice of pedagogical innovation followed by reflection/analysis.  In other words, what I “make” with my students as an inventive teacher and co-learner is in turn the inspirational “fuel” for my ongoing research inquiries into digital culture.

The work planned during my time away in Norway is a continuation of the #NetNarr ( journey jump-started this Spring 2017 with my wonderful co-conspirator Alan Levine.  As I continue to research and reflect on the growth of networks in an international context, I know the opportunity to collaborate and design with scholars and students from a Norwegian context will highlight for me the many challenges of cultural translation that might manifest in a global storytelling network.  A central question is how we may read and write our collective stories when we come from such different cultural contexts, and we are navigating profound differences?

Like all transitions, there is the excitement and embrace of adventure that comes with new horizons, mixed with apprehension due to change (which I must admit can sometimes be uncomfortable).  I think of my wonderful Kean students.  Even though it is just a year, I will truly miss them, and the continuous inspiration they add to my life.  I am blessed that my husband James and our two young sons Jude & Henry will be sharing this experience.  Our temporary relocation to Norway (at such a critical and tender time in the US political-scape) should yield new insights for each of us.  It is plain to see that it is also a time of transformation for the US (in the eyes of the rest of the world).  So we will be adjusting to new surrounds and new relationships while bearing the diplomatic representation of an America in the midst of a fraught process of global redefinition.  And we are keenly aware that Norway is arguably one of the most beautiful countries on earth, so Mother Nature will rejuvenate our hearts for sure.  We will trapse up magic mountains and bask in the midnight sun.  We will explore the majestic fjiords and gaze at the scintillating aurora borealis.

This special Fulbright year will bless us with new energy and new perspective as we continue to discover and grow.  And as a true collaborator at heart in the age of the digital network, I am keenly aware of how truly connected we really are.  In many ways, I will be just a click away.