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Turk Receives Imagine Fund for Vidding Research

Posted by Pengxeu Thao '15, Roseville on Thursday, Jul. 17, 2014

Tisha Turk, associate professor of English, is one of 14 professors to receive a 2014 All-University Imagine Fund Award. Turk will use the award to present at conferences and publication subvention to fund printed images in her book on vidding. This is Turk’s fourth Imagine Fund Award for her vidding-related research.

Turk’s research focuses on vidding, the practice of creating fan-made videos using clips from television, movies, and other visual media and setting them to music. These videos, referred to as vids, demonstrate the many ways in which fans analyze, critique, and celebrate their favorite television shows and movies. This approach to media contains parallels with literary criticism, allowing viewers to engage digitally with narrative.

“Vidding allows fans to express their interpretations of a movie or TV show, and it lets them do so in the same multimedia format of its source material,” says Turk. “It has an analogous relationship to research on writing. How do people use pieces of writing—or in this case, clips of movies or shows and—to explore the work?”

Despite the fact that vidding has been around for decades, little academic scholarship exists on the subject. Turk’s work will explore the rhetorical effects of images and music in vids, expanding and contributing to an underrepresented area of fan studies. Her findings will lead to a greater understanding of how media fans critically interact with digital entertainment.

“This is a fascinating way of communicating ideas about media we are exposed to everyday,” she says. “This area of fandom is not only interesting and beautiful, but it also contains a very critical or analytical component to it.”

Turk has published four articles on fan culture, three of which focus on vidding. She recently submitted a draft of her first scholarly book, The Ecology of Vidding, to University of Iowa Press. She plans to submit presentation proposals for upcoming conferences such as the Computing and Writing Conference in Wisconsin and the Association of Internet Researchers Conference 2015 in Arizona.

This project is supported by generous funding from the University of Minnesota’s Imagine Fund Award Program.