reflecting on the future of my work

I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about narrative listening techniques over the past few months. In my previous experiences with career-driven discussion, there seems to be an overwhelming focus on skills, qualifications and assertiveness. Although this is great for many ambitious, go-getter types, it can be discouraging for many less-so individuals. Be it a feeling of anxiety, uncertainty, a lack of direction or passion, self-doubt, or frustrated feelings, we all feel like we have shortcomings in the workforce. Not to mention difficulties with social identity that discourage us from being assertive, confident workers. Narrative therapy techniques take these various feelings, experiences and emotions to focus on professional values and assets, making a meaningful analysis of perceived shortcomings and significant stories. It helped me to find out areas of myself I need to work on improving, but also highlighted many perhaps covert strengths in a workplace environment that I hadn’t yet acknowledged. It also allowed me to link my own qualities and skills as an employee to real, meaningful moments and experiences throughout my life. This puts into perspective just how much knowledge and invaluable experience I have gained over the years, putting to rest a fear of stagnation. Through various moments of disruption, challenges and learning I have began shaping my own professional values and gaining important insight into my career path when leaving university. Watching my peers’ narrative interviews with various individuals has shown the many different paths we can take in employment, and both the commonly shared and unique experiences these entail.

The most valuable take away for me has been interviewing my narrative subject about their professional experiences. This discussion made me consider the possibility of working freelance in the near future, something I hadn’t considered previously as it seemed too difficult to pull off successfully. I felt encouraged and inspired by the stories they shared with me about becoming a freelance worker after their internship. This also informed my creative essay topic, as I looked further into freelance work and flexible workplaces as they relate to the digital and social media management/marketing role.

Narrative Interview with Mel: Working Freelance in the Live Music Industry

When searching for an interview subject, I wanted to choose a person with experience relevant to my desired career so that I could gain meaningful insight into that field of work. With this information, I can start developing my own professional values in preparation for transitioning from my university to full-time work. Mel works in the live music industry as a freelance manager for creative projects. I am passionate about Wollongong’s local creative arts scene. My long-term partner is a musician, plus I have many friends and family members are also keenly involved in live music. Mel’s job combines this field of interest with an array of digital media and marketing skills that are relevant to my studies, meaning she was a perfect candidate for this interview. Mel and I connected through a mutual friend whose band she is currently managing as one of her clients.

I prepared a list of four questions for Mel. Firstly, I asked her about her professional journey so far including her qualifications, training and previous work experience. Next, I asked Mel to share a key learning moment in her career, followed by a time she dealt with disruption in the workplace. Finally, I asked Mel for some insight into the future of work as it relates to her industry. When approaching Mel with my questions, I explained to her where and how her responses would be used and encouraged her to give detailed, narrative-focused answers for each question.

Once I had Mel’s answers, I used narrative listening techniques based on Michael White’s practices to try and uncover any implied professional values she may have gained from each recounted experience. I utilised the double listening method to determine Mel’s preferred experience of confidence, assertiveness, and control over her professional boundaries. This indicated that Mel values her autonomy as a freelancer and strives for confidence in her own abilities.

If we listen closely as people describe their problems, using what Michael has called ‘double listening’ (listening for the ground as well as the figure) we can hear the implications of the preferred, valued experiences that are the contrasting background for the present problematic and less valued experiences.

Jill Freedman, ‘Explorations of the absent but implicit’

I also approached Mel’s second story about disruption from the perspective of an outsider witness. I listened carefully to her experience and focused on what this recount told me about Mel from my third-party perspective. I determined that Mel cares about maintaining a level of professionalism with her clients and separating her role as a friend from her role in management.

Within narrative practice, an outsider witness is an invited audience to a therapy conversation – a third party who is invited to listen to and acknowledge the preferred stories and identity claims of the person consulting the therapist.

Maggie Carey & Shona Russell, ‘Outsider-witness practices: some answers to
commonly asked questions’

Interviewing Mel has inspired me to consider freelance work a viable option for the future of my own career, as the autonomy of being your own boss seems very appealing. When asked about the future of her industry, Mel noted the importance of digital and social media platforms in finding creative solutions to obstacles in live music. I believe that digital media and marketing is an area of work well-suited to freelance work, as the workplace is fluid and not tied down to physical space or limitations. In the face of the recent global pandemic, businesses will now more than ever want to be moving some aspects of their operation online and into digitised forms.


Freedman, J., 2012. ‘Explorations of the absent but implicit.’ THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NARRATIVE THERAPY AND COMMUNITY WORK, (4), p.2.

Carey, M. and Russell, S. Outsider-Witness Practices: Some Answers To Commonly Asked Questions. p.1.

Absent but Implicit: Wanting to be Independent

Michael White was an Australian social worker and family therapist known for his legacy in psychotherapy. Most notably, Michael developed the practices of narrative therapy (Carey et al., 2009) and contributed significantly to his field through rigorous discussions and the sharing of therapeutic concepts such as ‘externalising’ and ‘the absent but implicit’ (Carey & Russell, 2002).

“Externalising locates problems, not within individuals, but as products of culture and history. Problems are understood to have been socially constructed and created over time.”

— Maggie Carey & Shona Russell, 2002. ‘Externalising – commonly asked questions’.

‘The absent but implicit’ describes a desired outcome, or “preferred story”, indicating what people want for their lives and what matters to them (Carey et al., 2009). This story can be inferred by listening to people describe their problems and identifying the absent but implicit alternative story that contrasts the present problematic experience. Uncovering these implications is done through a therapeutic technique Michael White has called ‘double listening’ (Freedman, 2012).

“Applied to therapeutic practice, these understandings offer a range of possibilities for identifying and exploring preferred stories that are alternative to the problem story.”

— Jill Freedman, 2012. ‘Explorations of the absent but implicit’.

In reflecting upon a particular experience of disruption and frustration related to my work life, I can apply Michael White’s narrative practices and concept of ‘the absent but implicit’ to better understand the situation and gain some insight about myself.

I am fortunate enough to have been working since I was 14 years and 9 months old, as early as I possibly could. Because of this, I’m very comfortable and confident in my own abilities as an employee. It also helps that I’ve been working in the same industry, hospitality, since starting all those years ago. I’ve been at three different workplaces with four different bosses and countless managers above me, and I’ve learnt my fair share about conflict resolution and dealing with disruption from each job. In fact, I’d say that problems associated with my work life have occurred less and less as I’ve grown older. Although this may be the case, unfortunately there has been a recently frustrating and disruptive experience related to my work.

For most of last year, I had been living away from home for the first time in a sharehouse with some close friends. The initial move was intimidating but once I had settled in I felt the happiest I’d been since commencing my tertiary studies. Paying rent was a new expense for me to deal with though I was sure that my income was stable and my savings sensible enough to not have to worry about that.

However, when the time to renew our lease rolled around during the summer holidays, my work hours dropped off dramatically and almost inexplicably. I hadn’t been spoken to about my performance, so I could only wonder, “why?” until I asked and was told that there weren’t enough hours to go around at the time. At first I accepted this answer, but later became anxious when I realised I’d have to make a decision: should I renew my lease? What if I don’t ever get back these hours? After more consecutive weeks of sparse rosters piled up, I again asked my manager why I was getting less shifts than usual when other employees in the same role as myself were getting almost double my hours. I explained my frustrations further, bringing awareness to my living situation, asking why the hours weren’t being distributed among employees fairly. I was foolish enough let my frustration show when talking about the issue, feeling hopeless after enduring vague answers and being scolded for my attitude. Ultimately my hours stayed the same and I moved back home in November to much dismay.

I’d been working at this job for around two and a half years at the time and had never experienced this much friction before when dealing with management. By externalising these feelings of frustration and hopelessness and reflecting upon them through narrative practice, I’m able to infer an implicit “preferred story” in this situation. This story confirms how much I value being independent and in control of my own life.

Thinking back to my formative years, I was (and in many ways still am) someone who keeps to myself. I never wanted to accept help from my mum with schoolwork, or almost any other task where she offered a hand. I also would feel especially guilty when I did need her help and had to ask. As well as this, I often took it upon myself to deal with my own feelings and problems internally. Rarely did I feel comfortable asking others for help or advice. I’d say that I’m to still like this to some degree. Even now I feel ashamed about being on my leaner driver’s license and try to get myself around without inconveniencing others for a lift best I can. That said, at least now there are a few people in my life that I’m comfortable asking for help in various situations.

When I felt threatened by potentially having to move back home, I was scared of losing my valued independent living situation. This caused me to react in an adverse way to the change and disruption experienced at work. I responded by taking the path of least resistance: I didn’t look for new work, I moved back home, I did not take the perceived risk that I should have taken to live my preferred story. By reflecting upon this situation through narrative thinking, I was able to learn something new from my experience of disruption that I hadn’t previously considered. With this knowledge I can work towards my preferred story by confidently taking the difficult but necessary steps needed to be happily independent. At the same time, I can hopefully work on being less hard on myself by asking for and accepting help whenever I need it.

Maggie Carey & Shona Russell, 2002. ‘Externalising – commonly asked questions’. The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community.
Maggie Carey, Sarah Walther, & Shona Russell, 2009. ‘The Absent but Implicit: A Map to Support
Therapeutic Enquiry’. Family Process.
Jill Freedman, 2012. Explorations of the absent but implicit. The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.

cyberculture [digital artefact report]

My Digital Artefact — Future Neon, an artistic exploration of cyber-culture



Concept — The future from the perspective of cyber-culture and transhumanism

“Transhumanism is the belief that science and technology can allow us to transcend the limitations of human life.”
— Geraci, 2011. There and back again: Transhumanist evangelism in science fiction and popular science.

Originally I intended to do a broader exploration of the future in the next 20-30 years from the perspective of cyber-culture, but recently decided to narrow my focus to transhumanism in cyberpunk/sci-fi media. Some of the ideas that I tried to convey through my digital artefact were: the relation between transhumanism and spiritual concepts/religion, where religion is defined as the “negotation of what it means to be human with respect to the superhuman and subhuman” (Geraci, 2011), the morality of artificial intelligence, immortality through transferring consciousness into machine or cloned bodies, and integrating machines into human bodies. I was inspired and informed by popular cyberpunk texts that I’ve featured in my digital artefact. Cyberpunk being a product of dystopian futurism meant that I took a speculative approach to discussing the future of cyber-culture based on concepts from these texts.

“Cyberpunk married high technology with a dystopian future of corporate power and underground criminal activity, simultaneously glorifying life on computers while casting suspicion upon the promise that the technology would resolve earthly problems.”
— Geraci, 2011. There and back again: Transhumanist evangelism in science fiction and popular science.


Methodology — Digital edits featured on Instagram

I wanted to take an abstract approach to exploring these ideas, so I decided early on that I would be make visually interesting digital edits paired with music for a ‘mood-board’ effect. I chose Instagram as my primary platform, due to it being a visual-based medium with a clear feedback loop based on passive engagement. It also allowed for easy growth of engagement through the hashtag system of sharing content. Initially, I was also sharing my digital artefact on TikTok, though eventually decided that the content was not well-suited to that platform (discussed in more depth below). To create my content, I used a few different programs and resources;
— Adobe PhotoShop: arranging and creating the visuals
— Adobe Premiere Pro: adding music to transform the content into an audio/visual format
PHOTOMOSH: enhancing the content with dynamic visual effects
LingoJam: generating special fonts for the Instagram captions



Audience and Utility — Established fans of cyberpunk and futurists

The digital art created for my artefact appeals to fans of cyberpunk aesthetics. I also incorporate a variety of popular texts with this theme to draw in and engage with audiences already familiar with those works. Referencing these works also aims to increase engagement by utilising my audience’s nostalgic feelings relating to the texts.

“Reliving positive memories and beloved icons from the past feels good. Alongside hectic work schedules, unrelenting responsibilities, and more, fond memories make us smile — and that leaves us open to brand messaging. When we feel or care for something, we’re much more likely to act.”
— Friedman, 2016. Why Nostalgia Marketing Works So Well With Millennials, And How Your Brand Can Benefit.

The captions are speculative explorations of transhumanism, and will therefore appeal to futurists and philosophical thinkers. I feel as though cyberpunk being a speculative genre of fiction means that there is an overlap between fans of cyberpunk texts/cyber-culture and those interested in speculative future-thinking. I’m hoping that my captions can provoke thoughts about possible futures in relation to transhumanism and how it may affect society, be that positively (Utopian) or negatively (Dystopian).


Background Research

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K. Dick, 1968), The Shockwave Rider (John Brunner, 1975), Neuromancer (William Gibson, 1984)

Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982), Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995), The Matrix (The Wachowskis, 1999), Alita: Battle Angel (Robert Rodriguez, 2019)

News Media
Neon Dystopia (for information about the cyberpunk genre), Forbes Magazine (for information useful to social media marketing and audience engagement)

Academic Articles
Geraci, R.M., 2011. There and back again: Transhumanist evangelism in science fiction and popular science. Implicit religion, 14(2), pp.141-172.
Hollinger, V., 1990. Cybernetic deconstructions: Cyberpunk and postmodernism. Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, 23(2), pp.29-44.


Feedback Loop & Iterations

Firstly, here is an update on the posts that were featured in my digital artefact beta:

As previously observed, the edits prominently featuring media texts related to my concept received more engagement than the one that did not. Moving forward with my project, I made edits featuring popular and recognisable characters/texts.

My initial content was spread across both Instagram and TikTok, with static versions and dynamic audio/visual versions of the digital edits respectively. I was not receiving substantial engagement on TikTok with this content, and after considering this and reading feedback from my peers I decided to move the audio/visual content onto Instagram and see how much better that would perform. TikTok favours short sketch-like clips and memetic trends, which was not similar to my content

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The result has been a significant increase in initial engagement, with the audio/visual edits posted to Instagram matching and sometimes surpassing my previous three posts in engagement in a much shorter amount of time. I find that sharing my posts to the Instagram page’s story and continuously networking by engaging with similar accounts has also helped to boost my overall followers. I also feel that the quality of my posts increased significantly after switching to Adobe PhotoShop to create my edits (previously I had been using the free online editor pixlr).

“Battle Angel Alita is a fantastic vision of the future, in more ways than one. Blending cyberpunk with incredible character growth and a dash of space opera, the manga is a unique read with a level of innovation on par with Star Wars, creating an immersive world fairly innovative for its time.”
— Shadowlink, 2019. Saga Of The Killing Angel: A Review Of Gunnm.

“If memory is indistinguishable from manufactured data how can one be deemed more valuable than the other? And if those memories a person holds to be true and immutable, are no more or less authentic than fantasy, what good are they when it comes to informing a person’s identity? Oshii believes that the whole of humanity struggles with these questions in a world of advanced technology, and he uses his protagonist to explore them in a way that attaches some universality to his philosophy.”
— Rodriguez, 2017. Ghost In The Shell: The Value Of Reality And The Evolution Of Humanity.

“The rise of this subgenre is no coincidence–as the potential for humanity’s spacefaring days draws nearer, it becomes more and more obvious that we will need to rely on advancing our technology in order to colonize worlds that are not suited for our biology, whether that be artificial intelligence that can make astrophysical calculations much faster than the human brain for interstellar navigation, or genetic engineering to inoculate us from xenobiology and harsh living conditions.”
— Shadowlink, 2019. Decrypting Dystopia: How Cyberpunk Corrupted The Space Opera.

View this post on Instagram

A̴̺̬̯̟̔̌̑̈̃̃̐̂͠ͅǵ̴̗̗͇̰̰̰͖̄͝ͅé̵̡̗̮̥̮͚͉̃̒̄͋̋̕ͅn̴̜͓̠̬̊̅̉ṱ̸̢̡͚͙̻͖̗̉͗̉̒̈́́̐ ̵̰̝̗̉͊̾D̴̠̻͔̱̞͓͎͎͇̣̄̓a̶̢̮̠̤̖͔̙͉͗͆̒̈͆̌͜r̶̹͖̙̈́̀̓͐̇͘͝ķ̴̛̝͓̮͖̫͇͓̄̍̓̃̽͝ ̷̡̤̳̙͙̝͋͛͗i̷̬͙͓̥̱̲̤̮̓̾͂̓͆̔̽̏͠n̵̻̔̏͂̔̍̽͜ ̷̠͎̯̪̹͚̓̄͐̒̀͋͗͘͝p̵̜̱͊́̽̂̔̊̕̕o̶̡̦̮̝̍̀̈́̿̀́̅̚ŝ̶̯̯̩̝̲̪̖͓̂̀ͅͅi̶̢̫̤͕̺͐́́̍͊͆͛͛t̶͓̬̱̟͖̃̽̓̿̆̃͑̑͂ȋ̷̛͇͎̋̍̉̚͠o̴̩͒̑̂͒̚n̵͍̾̊̑͆͘̚ . . . There's a character in Perfect Dark called Dr Caroll, he's an AI program run through an airborne laptop computer. Although he was made by the DataDyne corporation, his intelligence allows him to develop morals and go against the wishes of his creators. One of my favourite moments from this game is when he chooses to sacrifice his own 'life' by destroying the Cetan ship and mega weapon while still inside. His actions were motivated by very human emotions, leaving us to question whether or not AI will be capable of processing complex human emotions in the future. . . . #perfectdark #joannadark #n64 #nostalgic #nostalgiawave #nostalgia #aesthetic #aestheticart #aesthetics #aestheticedits #aesthetic #scifiart #scifi #sciencefiction #cyber #cyberpunk #secretagent #cybergoth #cyberart #digitaledit #digitalart #chicago #rareware #fps #firstpersonshooter #agentdark #90s

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Reflection — measuring success and limitations

I was not entirely satisfied with my content when writing up my project beta, but after adjusting and iterating upon my digital artefact I feel very proud of the content I have produced and engagement I have procured on my Instagram account. I think that this is something I will continue to explore beyond the subject from time to time, because it’s a topic I am interested in. My biggest failure is that I did not meet my time management goals. I think if I had posted more regularly on a schedule I could have increased my audience engagement by exploring analytics and patterns from a larger sample size over a longer period of time and applying any observations made. I feel like by moving my focus to transhumanism in the near future as informed by cyber-culture I was able to explore the course concepts and take a futurists approach to my captions in a more effective way than previously before. From here onwards I would continue to make content on this trajectory and possibly explore more innovative ways to utilise Instagram’s story feature to enhance my overall engagement.

Friedman, L., 2016. Why Nostalgia Marketing Works So Well With Millennials, And How Your Brand Can Benefit. Forbes. 
Geraci, R.M., 2011. There and back again: Transhumanist evangelism in science fiction and popular science. Implicit religion, 14(2), pp.141-172.
Rodriguez, D., 2017. Ghost In The Shell: The Value Of Reality And The Evolution Of Humanity. Neon Dystopia. 
Shadowlink, 2019. Saga Of The Killing Angel: A Review Of Gunnm. Neon Dystopia.
Shadowlink, 2019. Decrypting Dystopia: How Cyberpunk Corrupted The Space Opera. Neon Dystopia

live tweeting [part 2]


Week 6 – Ghost in the Shell (Oshii, 1995)

I was already very familiar with this film, so the quantity of my tweets was naturally very high. I referenced cyberculture, transhumanism, cyborgs and a few other concepts from the subject materials in my tweets. I compared the film to a few previous screenings, and also had a few tweets sharing relevant sources/articles.

Evidence of live-tweeting and engagement in discussion

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Week 7 – The Matrix (The Wachowskis, 1999)

I missed out on the live-tweeting session for this film, but still engaged with other tweets and made a thread of my own tweets. Because of this my own contributions lacked engagement, though the tweets themselves were I feel of higher quality than any I had done before. This is probably because I was less distracted by reading and engaging with other people’s tweets while watching (I did so before my own viewing). I had a great spread of multimedia and sources of information. I also referenced the subject materials pertaining to cyberspace. This week was a good exercise in writing high quality tweets, and I tried to bring that into my next live tweeting session.

Evidence of live-tweeting and engagement in discussion

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Week 10 – Ready Player One (Spielberg, 2018)

This week I made sure to include a lot of embedded articles and sources of information about the movie. I referred to similar concepts as explored in ‘The Matrix’ (cyberspace). I also talked about the themes of this film; nostalgia, pop culture, and escapism. Although I had seen this film, I don’t think my tweets this week were at a satisfying quality and quantity.

Evidence of live-tweeting and engagement in discussion

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Week 11 – Alita: Battle Angel (Rodriguez, 2019)

This week of live tweeting was immensely successful as we managed to engage the #AlitaArmy fanbase through the BCM hashtag. I think that this week I applied my experience from week 7 most effectively as my tweets were engaging and interesting with various multimedia. I referred again to cyborgs and scifi novums. This was another film I had seen before which made the process much easier.

Evidence of live-tweeting and engagement in discussion

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Week 12 – 2040 (Gameau, 2019)

This weeks live tweeting was very different to each of the last. Being a docudrama meant that the discussion was less focused on literary analysis/themes, and more on talking about real-world issues and current events. Although I didn’t have any engaging multimedia to go with my tweets for this week, I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue and discussion that occurred while watching this film. I referred to the technological sublime and think tanks from the subject materials.

Evidence of live-tweeting and engagement in discussion

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Final thoughts and reflection

Regrettably I missed a few of the live tweeting sessions towards the last half of this semester, but I still feel as though I engaged with the discussion and applied course work to each screening I attended. The quality of my engagement and content definitely increased between the first and second half of the course. This platform is a great way to facilitate discussion and analysis of relevant texts to digital media, and I hope that I am able to practice and apply the live-tweeting skill again in the future.

game beta; the adventure begins

Familiar Territory, Unfamiliar Experience

As I explained in my previous post, my game design project is a campaign module for the renowned tabeltop RPG — Dungeons & Dragons, using the Fifth Edition ruleset. Because this is my first time at the other side of the table as Dungeon Master, I’ve enlisted the help of experienced friends and online resources to inform my design. In this post, I will outline my progress in designing this adventure so far.


Theme and Narrative; you all meet in a tavern…

I chose a setting that I’ve wanted to explore in a fantasy RPG for a while; a group of outcast adventurers in a travelling circus troupe that tour from city to city for money, while also encountering different subquests along the way. This general plot may sound familiar to Critical Role’s Mighty Nein campaign, and that’s because it is in a way. However, I want to set it apart as its own story by making the many quests and encounters within the module have narrative depth and weight that affects each character in the party significantly. In order to achieve this, I decided my module would come with pre-made character sheets that are highly recommended to use in the adventure. Each city on route for the tour of Mahléza Miserion’s Travelling Menagerie will have a plot hook directly relating to each character’s backstory, something that a DM usually does not know much about for a player-made character until their first play session. I spent a lot of time developing different characters based on circus acts and performances, while brainstorming a cultural conflict for my adventure world that would place them as outcasts within the game world. For this story, that conflict would have the mixing of different races be a taboo topic, leaving half-human children rejected by society and living on the outskirts of privileged lifestyles.

>>Click here << to see the finished (tentative) character sheets for this module

While I’ve made significant progress in my narrative by finishing each pre-made character sheet (using modular, class-based character sheet templates from DM’s guild), I’m yet to begin fleshing out the world around them and giving names to different places referenced in their backstories. I plan to now begin my write-up about the world as an introduction to the campaign, as well as develop a continent map for the game world. There are many resources online about map-making for fantasy RPG’s that I will make use of for this task. Once this is done, I can start creating encounters and quests to fill out each town on the character’s tour route.

Game Mechanics and Rules; proficiency in homebrewing

“A thematic mechanic, or a thematic mechanism, is one that is so integrally tied to the theme of the game that if you were to remove it, it would change the experience of the game itself. If you want to retain your theme, try to tie it in as tightly to the mechanics of your game as possible.”

Scott Rogers, designer of Rayguns and Rocketships.

First and foremost, I decided to adopt a milestone level system for this module rather than the default experience point system in D&D 5e. My reason for this is the narrative pacing of my campaign; there are certain story beats that require the heroes be a certain level to experience them fairly. In order to allow the players freedom to move the plot forward without needing to grind experience points first, they will level up to pre-determined milestone levels when reaching specific locations on the tour.

Something else that will set this adventure apart from the Critical Role campaign is that the circus troupe’s performances will be more integrally tied into the game mechanics with a few homebrewed rules and systems of my own. Each performance on tour will have a result determined by pre-requisite quests and a rolling system. This means the players will gain a different income and quest opportunities in that area based on how they go in their acts.

Apart from this planned feature, I have already homebrewed five new character backgrounds to fit the narrative and character backstories in my adventure module. I determined proficiency bonuses in two skills and two tools for each background, except for the Troupe Acrobat background designed for the character Lucia which instead has two skills, one tool, and one language. This is another example of designing my game mechanics with their relationship to the adventure’s theme and narrative in mind.

Troupe Leader
— Skills; Performance, Persuasion
— Tools; Land Vehicles, Thieves’ Kit

— Beast Tamer
— Skills; Performance, Animal Handling
— Tools; Leatherworker’s Tools, Herbalism Kit

— Troupe Brawn
— Skills; Performance, Athletics
— Tools; Cook’s Utensils, Drums

— Musician
— Skills; Performance, Sleight of Hand
— Tools; Dice Set, Calligrapher’s Tools

— Acrobat
— Skills; Performance, Acrobatics
— Tools; Weaver’s Tools
— Languages; Celestial


Initial Playtest and Feedback; my plan from here onwards

I put my newly designed character sheets to the test with a small one-off play test. It involved about 30 minutes of general character roleplaying, then 1.5 hours of a test encounter with bandits ambushing the troupe’s caravan. The footage above is a small taste of that session, which was done over discord using a dice-roll bot and microsoft word as an encounter map with character tokens to keep track of combat. My playtesters commented that they really loved the characters, both in their gameplay/mechanics and backstories. Some advice I received as a first-time Dungeon Master and module designer was to reduce the number of enemies in the encounters to avoid lengthy and confusing combat. I was also told I needed to flesh out the starting village, which I fully intend on diving into now that I’ve sorted out my characters and general plot points. I think that for my next session of playtesting I will enlist the help of a more experienced Dungeon Master and see if my module is sufficient enough to be easily picked up and used by someone other than myself, especially one with the skills and game knowledge to make the most of the material given.

To summarise, my main agenda right now is this;
— Create a continent map for the adventure that names and outlines all significant locations from the narrative.
— Start fleshing out each town and village with NPC’s and sidequests to be done, including those relevant to character backstories.
— Homebrew a rolling system for the troupe performances that helps determine degree of success and income for the party in each leg of their tour.


List of sources and resources used;
Stackexchange: ‘Is homebrewing D&D okay?’
Board Game Design Lab: ‘Intertwining Theme and Mechanics with Scott Rogers’
DM’s Guild: ‘Class Character Sheets Bundle’
Avrae Discord Bot
Critical Role Wiki: ‘The Might Nein’
WASD20: ‘How to Draw a Fantasy Map (Part 1: Landmasses)’

critical self-reflection of comments (part 2)

BETA 1; The Future of Online Fitness

After receiving feedback and a lack of engagement, Tahlia has changed her original DA idea from content creation on TikTok to analysing the future of online fitness, specifically with group routines and training. Tahlia has been doing online workouts with her friend and researching the impact of internet technologies on the fitness community. She plans to create a Facebook group for sharing workout tips and routines.

In my comment, I shared an academic article about online fitness culture as seen on social media, and some of the negative impacts on the body image of young women it may have. I suggested that Tahlia could take this into account when branding her Facebook group, creating a fitness page for sharing routines but also uplifting other women and being a judgement-free support group for all body types. I referred Tahlia to the subject materials in which the social responsibility of futurists is discussed.

[Tahlia’s Blog]




Julia’s DA is a series of video essays about the future of social media and trends in these platforms. Her introduction and first episode have been uploaded, but she has received minimal engagement and feedback so far, so hopefully my comment can help. She hopes to incorporate more subject materials into her videos in the future.

In my comment I suggested that Julia read the subject materials about forecasting as a method of prediction, using data and the scientific method to speculate possible futures. I shared a source about Netflix and how it makes predictions about what content will interest users based on their data profiles. My idea was that she could touch upon the shift from retail-style online services to subscription based streaming in entertainment media. Unfortunately looking back on this comment, I think I misunderstood Julia’s topic; her primary focus is the future of social media rather than entertainment media. I hope my feedback still helps in some way.

[Julia’s Blog]




Isabella’s DA is about the future of feminism as a social movement. She is observing this through two main case studies in a blog post format; feminism in film (James Cameron) and feminism in celebrity advocation (Beyonce, Emma Watson). She has done extensive research on the topic of feminism, and also her own primary research on various subreddits.

In my feedback I shared a short analysis of the character Rose from James Cameron’s film Titanic. It looks at the character in terms of feminism and the ‘hero’ mythos within fiction. I hoped it would be useful for her blog post about James Cameron’s films and how they relate to the future of feminism. I also linked Isabella’s topic to the subject materials, in particular Wendell bell’s perspective about futurists.

[Isabella’s Blog]



Critical Reflection

I definitely improved my comments this time around, leaving feedback that related to subject materials AND expanding upon the sources shared by explaining how they potentially relate to each project. However, I think that for Julia’s DA I could have shared a source more useful to her topic. Overall I’m much more happy with my comments for these project BETAs.

group game pitch contribution

My group is designing and pitching a party game about crazy conspiracy theories under the working title That’s Whack! We were inspired by Cards Against Humanity and other similar party games involving cards such as What Do You Meme?, Search History, and New Phone Who Dis? We want our game to encourage players to make each other laugh and have fun, while being simple enough to quickly learn and play in large groups.


We have separated the presentation of our design into four different categories and will tackle one each; genre (party game), theme (conspiracies), mechanics, and the game rules. We plan to do our own research, writing, and presentation slides for our section, then come together before presenting to combine our work and make sure it flows from start to finish. Our aim is to finish our own individual contributions by week 10, and then bring them together into a presentation in time for the due date in week 11. My contribution to the presentation will be researching and determining the core game mechanics.

What are mechanics? Miguel Sicart defines game mechanics as “methods invoked by agents, designed for interaction with the game state.” Those that are repeatedly used by an agent to achieve the game’s win condition are considered “core mechanics.” Basically, they are the parts of a game that allow a player to interact with and change the state of the game itself, and therefore are key to the process of game design. That’s Wack! is based on the system of mechanics in Card Against Humanity, but with some slight tweaks that set it apart as its own game. Here is an outline of my contribution to our game design presentation, identifying and discussing the game mechanics;

Drawing and Playing Cards — the means of taking actions on a turn

There are five card piles; one big pile of prompt cards containing blank spaces, and four smaller piles of answer cards separated into the categories people, places, events, and things. Players will draw answer cards and play them in response to prompt cards to fill in the blanks. The cards work well as a game mechanic because randomising the prompts and answers is made easy by shuffling the piles, they are re-usable without needing pen and paper, rounds are quick as players do not need to come up with their own answers (instead selecting from pre-made ones), and the modular design of the cards allows for future expansions.

Card Czar Role — determining unique actions for specific players

Players are sequentially assigned this special role each round. The Card Czar, or in this case Master Conspiracist, draws and reads aloud the prompt card for that round. They do not participate in drawing and selecting answer cards for that round. The Master Conspiracist can reward just one of the other players with a point for that round. Allowing this role to be rotated through all players helps to reduce biased voting that favours a specific sense of humour.

Point System — facilitates the game win condition

The first player to reach a set number of points wins the game.

Rounds and Turns — segments of the game in which predefined actions can occur

That’s Whack! Has three turn phases within a round;

— Turn 1; The new Master Conspiracist is appointed, the prompt card is played and read aloud.

— Turn 2; Players simultaneously draw and play their answer cards.

— Turn 3; The Master Conspiracist selects their favourite answer to the prompt, that player is rewarded with a point.


Research Bibliography;

Moore, C. and Hall, R., 2020. BCM300 Week Six – Game Mechanics. YouTube.

Sicart, M. (2008). Defining Game Mechanics. the international journal of computer game research, 8(2).


cyberculture [digital artefact beta]


My DA addresses the future of technology and cyberculture through digital picture edits. I hope to continue on this trajectory for future posts, where I will explore many more aspects of cyberculture while including references to cyberpunk media in popular culture. I aim to grow my presence on both Instagram and TikTok further by using networking strategies and techniques unique to each platform. My goal is to post at least one edit per week from now onwards.

To get a better look at each of my digital edits, please check below;