Using the academic peer review and publishing model advocated by the Common Ground Research Network, our aim is to widen the scope of academic research around multimedia and media literacies. To help develop a supportive network of researchers and research culture around multimodal approaches to scholarly activities and to help democratise the peer review process by acknowledging technological and cultural shifts relative to twenty-first century global academic/teaching & learning environments.
Since it’s emergence in 1998, the video essay has been used in academic research, teaching and learning activities as a valid and recognised method of audio-visual scholarship. Eric Faden focused on only using this method via his video stylo approach at UCLA in 1998 when he renounced and abandoned monomodal academic activities. Previously in 1996, the ‘New London Group’ developed a manifesto for media literacy through their paper on multiliteracies which promoted the concept of multimodalities where multimodality is the combined use of several modes together audio, video, text, image, web etc., and intentionally using the specific function of a mode to create a message for a purpose and an audience. Bergstrom can be traced using video essay as a teaching method in 2004 again at UCLA in California, and the concept gained academic support from notable academic and film theorists such as Grant, Keathley, Bordwell, Thompson, Brenerg, Shambu, Rombes.
In the UK the video essay was treated with caution with one notable exception in the early stages through the work of Laura Mulvey in her ‘Male Gaze BOND edition’. However, the University of Sussex and Hertfordshire have been pioneering discussions and debates around the form with valuable information on both websites. In Scandinavia, the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University, publish an online academic journal ‘Audiovisual Thinking’. In Australia, the approach is embedded through media literacy strategies as a scholarly method to deliver teaching and learning based on the multimodal concept where the modes are viewed as a trans-mediation between written text to digital forms. Edith Cowan University would seem to be a pioneering institution that focuses on this multimedia literacy approach.
From these initial beginnings, the method has slowly developed with the establishment of more academically focused websites rather than printed journals, featuring audio-visual works on multimodal communication, multimedia compositions, digital storytelling and scholarly video. The core critical perspectives in these new approaches centre around the limitations of traditional academic methods to adequately respond to the massive critical shift in media literacy. This journal seeks to promote the video essay form as a robust academic research method focused on audio/visual research approaches to critical debates around multimodal production methods.
Roy Wallace ‘From Documenting Subcultures to Academic Video Essay‘ (2020).