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Call for Works “Avenues of Access: A Juried Exhibit & Online Archive of New ‘Born Digital’ Literature”

Call for Works  “Avenues of Access:   A Juried Exhibit & Online Archive of New ‘Born Digital’ Literature”

Call for Works

“Avenues of Access: 
A Juried Exhibit & Online Archive of New ‘Born Digital’ Literature”

January 3-6, 2013

Boston, MA

Exhibit Website:

Curated by
Dr. Dene Grigar, Vice President, Electronic Literature Organization; Associate Professor and Director, The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program,,; and

Dr. Kathi Inman Berens, Visiting Professor of Communication, Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California,;; @kathiiberens



“Avenues of Access:  A Juried Exhibit & Online Archive of New ‘Born Digital’ Literature” is a media art exhibit that will be held in conjunction with the MLA 2013 Convention and feature new works of born digital literature.  In particular, we are looking for works in five different categories:

  • Multimodal Narrative
  • Multimodal Poetry
  • Literary Games
  • E-Essay
  • Mobile/Locative Works

The length of works (e.g. videos, animations) should not exceed 20 minutes viewing time per entry. Because of the limitation of space, all works must be able to be exhibited via a computer screen or mobile device. We cannot accommodate live performances or large installations requiring projections at the exhibit site.  We will accept no more than two works per author.

Special Note:  All submissions must be accessible via the web.  If accepted, desktop works must be made available via CD or DVD. Because we are asking for new works, submissions must not have been previously published. Mobile works submitted to the show must be made available for free to jurors.  The MLA will not purchase works for this exhibit.

For insights into the kind of work to submit or for examples of born digital work, visit the website for “Electronic Literature:  MLA 2012” located at  Archived at that site are 160 works featured at last year’s conference.


Born Digital Literature Defined

Born digital literature, or what is also referred to as “electronic literature,” is an emergent literary form and academic field, within the digital humanities, whose genesis in the U.S. can be traced to the 1989 work by Michael Joyce, afternoon:  a story.  Defined as works created with the use of a computer in such a way that they cannot be experienced without the mediation of an electronic device and, so, is considered “born digital,” electronic literature may feature sound, images, animation, and video––along with “the written word.”  As a field it has been built through organizations like the Electronic Literature Organization (, which sponsors meetings and conferences, publishes works, and leads projects for developing, archiving, and promoting this genre of literature; online journals like The New River  (, Drunken Boat( ) and Hyperrhiz(; print publications like N. Katherine Hayles’ Writing Machinesand Electronic Literature, Nick Montfort’s Twisty Little Passages, and Jan Van Looy and Jan Baetens’ Close Reading New Media; and online sites like ALTX ( and Authoring Software(

Exhibit Features

The 2013 exhibit will feature:

  • A rich, online archive of the event that will make resources easily accessible for research and teaching
  • Undergraduate docents who will help visitors to the exhibit with access to the technology and works
  • A special evening of readings and performances by artists selected for the show
  • A formal launch party that will build excitement for the exhibit and build community among MLA members

To gain a better understanding of  the way this exhibit will be organized, visit last year’s exhibit website at

Exhibit Dates and Times

Friday, 4 January, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, 5 January, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 6 January, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The exhibit closes on Sunday afternoon.  It will not be open on Thursday.

Visiting the Exhibit/Membership

All visitors to the exhibit must pay appropriate conference fees. As in the case of presentations at the conference, all authors who have work accepted to the exhibit must become members of the MLA (or have their membership waived by special petition) by April 7, 2013.

From "Convention Participant FAQs"

“At the discretion of the executive director, waivers of the membership requirement may be granted for nonscholars (e.g., medical doctors, visual artists, etc.) and scholars who work in disciplines other than language and literature. An individual may be granted a waiver once every five years. Waived nonmembers cannot organize or chair a session. If you are not an MLA member and think you are eligible for a waiver of membership, contact your session organizer as soon as possible. The request for a waiver of membership must be made by the session organizer and must be submitted on the Request for a Waiver of Membership form by 1 April for the following January's convention. If a waiver is not granted, the prospective participant may still become an MLA member by the 7 April membership deadline to participate in the session.” 

Jury Process

The jury for this exhibit will be comprised of experts of born digital literature drawn from the MLA membership.  They will be organized into teams and assigned to evaluate a category relating to their own areas of expertise.  Works chosen will reflect excellence in several categories, including originality, professional quality, compelling content, accessibility, and appropriateness to the categories outlined in the call for works.  Authors who have works accepted will be required to provide 1) description of work, 2) thumbnail of the work, and 3) author bio for each work accepted for the exhibit website.


No funds are available to cover authors’ expenses. Authors are responsible for shipping CDs and DVDs.  Authors who want materials returned must provide a SASE.

Guidelines for Submissions

Submissions will be taken beginning February 25, 2012 and are due April 15, 2012, by 11:59 p.m.

To submit, send URLs to Please do not email work samples. No work will be considered if it arrives via email. Works must be finished at the time of jurying.


Submission:  April 15, 2012, by 11:59 p.m.
Materials in for Web Archive:  September 1, 2012


For more information, contact:
Dr. Dene Grigar & Kathi Inman Berens


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