Special Issue of Visual Ethnography published

Visual Ethnography v5, n2 is out!  Visual Ethnography is an international, peer-reviewed journal, and this special issue features articles by Lori Walters and Robert Michlowitz; Bartley Argo, Nicholas DeArmas, Amanda Hill, Sara Raffel, and Shelly Welch; Pavel Borecky; Tammy Clemons and Timi Reedy; and Natalie Underberg-Goode and Carolyn Hopp.  Proud to say that former students from my Ethnographic Storytelling and New Media and Applied Interactive Story classes are authors of one of the articles!


New Chapter in ICH Volume Published

I was happy to learn this week that The Routledge Companion to Intangible Cultural Heritage is out.  It was edited by Michelle Stefano and Peter Davis, and I contributed a chapter on “Conveying Peruvian Intangible Heritage through Digital Environments.”  The volume itself features a wide array of work on ICH from scholars and practitioners in diverse disciplines and professional contexts.  I’m looking forward to receiving a copy of the book soon, and hope my library picks up a copy too!



Science of Storytelling Summit at University of Florida

A couple weeks ago I had the honor of attending the Science of Storytelling Summit at the University of Florida.  Organized by the UF College of Journalism and Communications, the event was held October 27-28. Inspired by the work of cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, the summit brought together a group of interdisciplinary scholars from the United States, Canada, and England to consider questions such as what makes stories effective and why they affect us.

The summit was intended to foster new ideas, insights, and interdisciplinary research collaborations among storytelling researchers from diverse fields.  Sessions included discussions facilitated by journalists from NPR and Fusion and “synthesizers” from UF’s Journalism and Communications program who shared insights from each session with the larger group.

Wonderful group, stimulating ideas for research!


CAA 2017 workshop on Mechanics, Mods, and Mashups!

Please consider applying to this workshop at CAA 2017! Deadline is Friday.

Here’s the link to submit an abstract:…

Mechanics, Mods and Mashups: Games of the Past for the Future Designed by Archaeologists

Are you a fan of Assassin’s Creed but upset over how it could have made history exciting without having to employ and manipulate central historical characters? Love Lara Croft: Tomb Raider if only the tomb-raiding (stealing) mechanics could be replaced by something more meaningful? Wish that the Total War Series allowed you to employ agent modeling to test competing archaeological theories of migration, colonization and invasion or just to improve its historical accuracy? Dream you could use the language, graphic vision and immersion of Far Cry Primal in the classroom to explain (through engaging interaction) the Mesolithic rather than primarily use it as a backstage to fight semi-believable creatures? Then this workshop is for you. Correction. This workshop is BY you.

Archaeologists and people of a historical persuasion:
• Either take a game with an inspiring concept, technique or mechanic:
• OR extrapolate a current or past game to a game or simulation of the future
• OR they share their vision of a game or simulation that reveals, expresses or augments their own research.
At the workshop the writers will either:
• Bring their own designs, video cut-scenes, and illustrations and media depicting what this new vision would look like
• OR have some form of play-testing demonstration, cards, or illustrations or physical play-throughs (preferably involving the CAA workshop audience) revealing how this new level, mod or gameplay episode COULD be experienced or how it could be revealed.

The writers will:
• Ask the audience to play through or role-play the actions that would be in the creative piece.
• The audience will:
• Give the writers feedback ideas and nominate the best presentation in terms of fun and engagement, imaginative ideas, and archaeological relevance (in promoting archaeology, teaching archaeology or extending archaeological scholarship).

Potential tools:
Gameplay cards, game prototyping tools, scenes or videos from a 3D editor or game editor (Unity, Unreal, Blender), board games as prototypes, playing cards, physical artifacts that are role-played by the presenter, illustrations, slideshows, game editors (like the SIMS: used to make films (Machinima), roleplaying videos, flowcharts, interactive fiction (like We will provide a fuller list of tools and examples to potential attendees before the workshop.

PC with sound and display, some floor space to move around in for physical re-enactments. Tables or some form of desk to provide written or graphical feedback.

Participants: 26 maximum (ideally) where 6 present. We require half an hour a presenter so three hours for 6 presenters, 6 hours a whole day if we want to go to 12 presenters.
Ideally the non-presenting audience is not too large, preferably up to 20.

We will approach a creative publisher (Liquid Books, University of Michigan Press or other) to provide an online or printable output of the demonstrations and the audience feedback.
We would also like to invite presenters – if they can make it – to a workshop at DIGRA2017 Melbourne Australia to test out their demonstrations and play-throughs to game academics.

Champion, E. (Ed.) (2012). Game Mods: Design, Theory and Criticism. Entertainment Technology Centre Press.

Lowood, H. and Nitsche, M. (Eds.) (2011). The machinima reader. MIT Press.

Exhibition on Peruvian Folk Arts and Health

I was excited recently to learn that my good friend and colleague Norma Ledesma (UCF-Modern Languages and PeruDigital language and cultural consultant) will be able to collaborate on a project with another UCF faculty member from COPHA related to the PeruDigital Website ( The grant was received by Latin American Studies director Consuelo Stebbins, and Norma Ledesma and I are leading projects within this grant, titled “America:  Believing in Cultural Diversity.”  The project will involve a collaboratively-designed online exhibition of Peruvian ceramics from Cusco that will bring together folk artists and medical practitioners in an online dialogue about the connections between arts and health.  Here’s a link to more information on the grant and UCF Latin American Studies:  (


Advanced Challenges in 3D Modeling of Cultural Heritage Sites

What I did on my summer vacation post #2:  I was grateful to have the opportunity to participate in a NEH Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities symposium at UCLA on Advanced Challenges in 3D Modeling of Cultural Heritage Sites, where I presented a paper entitled “Virtual Cultural Rehearsal:  Addressing Digital Humanities Concerns in the Design of Mixed-Reality Cultural Immersion Projects.”  The paper considered three main issues in developing mixed-reality cultural immersion projects:  affordances and constraints of mixed-reality, “authentic” non-verbal communication, and rehearsing cultural interaction and learning.  The symposium took place over the course of four days at UCLA, and was led by Alyson Gill and Lisa Snyder.



Digital Data Management for a New Generation

What I did on my summer vacation post #1:  It’s a new school year and I’m back to posting updates on the site.  Over the summer I was honored to be invited to participate in a workshop on Digital Data Management for a New Generation.  Sponsored by the American Anthropological Association and supported by a National Science Foundation grant, the workshop brought together a group of scholars and practitioners to discuss strategies for bringing data management methods into research methods courses.  Look for the updated information soon on the American Anthropological Association Website.


Digital Stories about Peru’s North Coast

The following digital stories about cultural heritage and tourism on Peru’s North Coast are based on my sabbatical research made possible by the University of Central Florida. Thanks to all the archaeological site directors, community development professionals, artists, culture and tourism representatives who shared their time and wisdom and insights with me.

Culture and Tourism on Peru’s North Coast