Readers, Digital Fiction, and Immersion

We’ve had a great summer, presenting our research on immersion at three international conferences: the Electronic Literature Organization conference in Victoria (Canada), the Mind-Media-Narrative conference in Warsaw (Poland), and the Poetics and Linguistics Association conference in Cagliari (Sardinia).

Using empirical methods to explore the way that readers experience Judi Alston and Andy Campbell’s digital fiction WALLPAPER, we’ve found that immersion isn’t as straight-forward as current theories suggest. Rather than immersion being something that is completely totalising or enveloping, we’ve found that it can actually be intermittent with readers’ attention switching between different aspects of the fiction. We thus see immersion as a multidimensional experience in which the reader is pushed and pulled inside and outside a fictional world. We’re planning to publish two articles on this work. Watch this space for details.

Photos of Alice Bell and Isabelle van der Bom at the PALA conference, July 2016.

Taking our show on the road

Astrid Ensslin and Jen Smith will be giving a paper titled “Exploring Methodologies for Studying Readers of Digital-born Fiction” at the “Real, Ideal, or Implied? The Reader in Stylistics” Symposium at the University of Nottingham on 24th June 2014.

We look forward to discussing the development of our methodology with real and ideal symposium delegates, and we welcome constructive feedback.

Hope to see you in Nottingham!