I had the cool opportunity of attending the first ever Flow Conference, sponsored by the University of Texas Department of Rado-Television-Film (RTF), this past weekend. The conference organizers did a fantastic job of taking advantage of RTF’s industry connections, sponsoring a special screening of a couple of virtually unseen TV pilots, which were shown at the Alamo Drafthouse, a local theater that serves beer and snacks while screening art house, indie, and cult films, which is about as close as it gets to paradise for me.
In addition to those perks, the conference itself was an interesting–and mostly successful–experiment. Instead of panels featuring three or four scholars reading twenty-minute papers, the Flow panels placed emphasis on dialogue, with panelists submitting short 1-2 page position papers in advance of the conference that were designed to provoke conversation. The panelists would begin a roundtable by briefly summarizing their position papers, followed by an extended discussion of the panel topic. The result was a much more energetic and lively conference, with many of the conversations continuing long after the panels themselves had concluded.
Because my blogging software was malfunctioning over weekend, I didn’t get a chance to blog any of the panels, but Tim Anderson liveblogged many of the panels including my own and two panels I wish I coudl have attended, including panels on Technologies of Transport and Communication and Television as ‘Cultural Center’ in an Age of Audience. Oh, and the “New Technologies” Panel I missed because of a four-hour detour my flight took through Beaumont, Texas, because of delays at the Houston airport.
Also worth checking out, Kathleen liveblogged her own panel on Academic Publishing in the Digital Age, where this humble blog even scored a brief mention and her liveblogging of the “Watching Television Off Television” panel, which I also wish I could have attended.