Dene Grigar is Professor and Director of The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver whose research focuses on the creation, curation, preservation, and criticism of Electronic Literature, specifically building multimedial environments and experiences for live performance, installations, and curated spaces; desktop computers; and mobile media devices.
She has authored 16 media works such as “Curlew” (2014), “A Villager’s Tale” (2011), the “24-Hour Micro E-Lit Project” (2009), “When Ghosts Will Die” (2008), and “Fallow Field: A Story in Two Parts" (2005), as well as 71 scholarly articles and six books. She also curates exhibits of electronic literature and media art, mounting shows at the British Computer Society and the Library of Congress and for the Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA), among other venues. With Stuart Moulthrop (U of Wisconsin Milwaukee) she developed the methodology for documenting born digital media, a project that culminated in an open-source, multimedia book, entitled Pathfinders (2015), and book of media art criticism, entitled Traversals (2017), for The MIT Press. Her forthcoming book, Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities, co-edited with James O'Sullivan, will be released on January 21, 2021 by Bloomsbury Press.
Grigar served as President of the Electronic Literature Organization from 2013-2019 and Associate Editor of Leonardo Reviews since 2003. In 2017 She was awarded the Lewis E. and Stella G. Buchanan Distinguished Professorship by her university. She also directs the Electronic Literature Lab at WSUV.
For the last 15 years I have directed the CMDC Program, doubling the number of faculty lines and growing the number of students from 44 in 2006 to 250 in 2020. With a tag line of “Learn, Think, Build” we specialize in game studies & design and making media objects like mobile apps, video, 2 & 3D animation, games, etc. The program is now one of five Signature Programs on the WSUV campus. I also direct the Electronic Literature Lab and serve on the Board of Directors of the Electronic Literature Organization as its digital preservationist.
Rebooting Electronic Literature, Volume 3 is an open-source, multimedia book that documents five early works of electronic literature held in the Electronic Literature Lab's (ELL) library at WSUV. Written and produced by the 2020 ELL Team—Dene Grigar, Holly Slocum, Kathleen Zoller, Nicholas Schiller, Moneca Roath, and Mariah Gwin—the book features Traversals of Michael Joyce's afternoon, a story, Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden, M. D. Coverley's Califia, Megan Heyward's of day, of night, and Mark Bernstein's Those Trojan Girls. Released August 2020.
Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities: Contexts, Forms, and Practices, co-edited with James O'Sullivan and forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press (2020), is a collection of over 30 scholarly essays by some of the top names in the fields of electronic literature and digital humanities. The book argues that electronic literature is central to the humanities, particularly one focusing on questions relating to digital culture and "the symbolic representation of language, the graphical expression of concepts, and questions of style and identity" (Burdick et al 12) and the logical object of study for digital humanities scholars who have, by the second decade of the 21st century, cut their teeth on video games, interactive media, mobile technology, and social media networks; are shaped by politics of identity and culture; and able to recognize the value of storytelling and poetics in any medium. Coming January 21, 2021. ISBN-13: 978-1501363504.
This course The course focuses on theories, methods, and practices relating to born digital literature. Topics include history of the form and field, trends, and challenges. Hands-on experiences are planned.
This course explores narrative from a variety of approaches for computing devices, including desktop computers, smart phones and tablets. Students will learn how to analyze digital narratives with an eye toward understanding how best to produce their own.
This course teaches the principles of multimedia design and includes theory and practice for visual, sonic, movement, gestures, and interactivity. The final project involves the development of an interactive piece that utilizes projections and the Kinect Game System to tell a story.
"Language, Texts, and Technology" explores "the relationship between technology and communication; writing [re: authoring] practices from a historical point of view" ("WSU Catalog"). It is understood in this context that these three concepts refer specifically to computer language, computer-based texts, and computer technology.
The Senior Capstone course prepares DTC majors for careers in digital media or entry into graduate programs in digital media or a related field. Attention is given to providing a hands-on experience with directing and participating in a large digital media project; teaching how to engage in a critique of digital work; and helping with the preparation of requisite materials, like proposals, portfolios, resumes, cover letters, and writing samples needed for a professional career. Here are examples of the kind of real-world projects I have guided them through in my classes.
This special topics course focuses on how to curate exhibits for galleries and other venues, working specifically with electronic literature, or "e-lit"––that is, born digital "works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer."
A required core course for all DTC majors in The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program, DTC 475 "Digital Diversity" teaches crucial information about "the cultural impact of electronic media, especially the World Wide Web; issues of race, class, gender, and sexually online." My course uses video games as the lens by which to study diversity.
I have curated 19 exhibitions for venues such as the British Computer Society, the Library of Congress, and the Paul Walkins Gallery at Winona State University, for organizations including the ACM Hypertext, the International Symposium on Electronic Art, Modern Language Association, and the Electronic Literature Organization, and events like the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. I also participated in the one-week intensive course, "Curating after New Media," offered by Dr. Beryl Smith (University of Sunderland, UK) in February 2015 in London.
Making is not separate from thinking. This basic concept suggests that creation lies at the heart of my scholarship. The writing I do generates from the art and design I produce and results in new theories and approaches to my work and potentially have impact on the work of others. Over the course of my academic career, I have published 55 articles, averaging over two or more per year, and four books.
While grants help to fund research projects, they also serve a more important role in showing value and impact of my work. Likewise, receiving external support for my program and students make it clear that they are valuable assets to the community. Since 2010 when my program became an independent unit, I brought in approximately $100K per year in donations for student fellowships and grant funding, which also provides support for students.
Before COVID-19, I shared an office suite with the CMDC faculty in The Digs (VMMC 24) on the ground floor of the multimedia building. When I wasn't there, I could be found in the beautiful Skybox where ELL is located (VMMC 211A). Now you can reach me on Zoom, by email or via a text message. I also love Facebook and Twitter, so Friend me and Follow me.