Thursday, July 30, 2009

Avatar Design Research - Call for Participation...

Here I am posing with a screenshot of my sample research participation consent form. This form has been modified on a template created by Tom Boellstorff (Tom Bukowski in SL). In fact, this picture was taken on location at Boellstorff's "Ethnographia" property.

My official thesis research is about to begin, please read the text below and if you are interested in participating, please let me know...


Do you like to make unique avatars? Are you interested in Modern Art? Have you ever wanted to perfect your design skills through the critical input of your peers?

A Graduate Student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada is studying avatar design in Second Life and is looking for participants who would be willing and interested in contributing a small portion of their time to developing this academic research.

Interested participants would be involved in a small 2-4 hour workshop session one day and a follow-up focus group for 1-2 hours involving an avatar design critique session with peers.

Both sessions will take place on Odyssey Island which is the home to many esteemed contemporary avatar artists, critics and designers.

The researcher plans to watch participants create avatars based on established Modern Art design guidelines borrowed from Art-History to see if they still translate into interesting and useful avatar design.

The research will be taking snapshots and video of the avatar creators during the building process so they can be critiqued during the peer review session.

At the end of this research, the researcher will write about the strengths and limitations of using Modernist guidelines to inform avatar design in Second Life and other next generation virtual worlds.

All participants will own the rights to their own avatar creations being generated during this workshop.

The researcher will only document these designs in order to visually illustrate their relationship to the theoretical frame-work.

Any potential participants must meet this criteria:

1 – Genuine interest in designing avatars – especially designing for themselves as well as for clients/friends/other people.
2 – Some arts background (including arts produced exclusively in SL)
3 – Relative fluency in navigating the building controls in Second Life.
4 – Reasonable fluency in English (written) and/or ability to use an in-world translator effectively.
5 - The willingness to allow their avatar designs made in this case-study session to be publicized, documented and researched by the author.
6 – The willingness to participate for the duration of the research project.
7 – Professes not to be a member of a captive population (inmate), psychiatric in-patient nor a youth under the age of 19.
8 – The willingness to sign a consent form (over the age of 19).

If you are interested, please reply with your name (SL name only is fine), background, contact information availability (including your local time zone) and specific design interests.

Please submit a notecard with your proposal to uuuuuuu Heliosense, or via email

Replies of interest must be received by August 10, 2009. Potential participants will be notified of the status of their participation by August 13, 2009 for sessions happening on the following week.

For more information, please contact uuuuuuu Heliosense in-world or Jeremy Owen Turner at

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