Collected Fictions Meetup
The Collected Fictions Meetup is a small monthly gathering of editors and writers in Montreal, working in independent publishing, content marketing, journalism and everything in between.
Founded by Rebecca West in 2016, the meetup aims to create a space for dialogue, knowledge sharing and inspiration in a rapidly changing field. What started as informal gatherings over coffee has evolved into slightly more structured events, with monthly themes and select readings for discussion.
Rebecca West is a freelance Copywriter and Editor based in Montreal, with a focus on projects at the intersection of tech, design and creativity. Her early obsession with reading led to an undergraduate degree in English literature from Concordia, followed by graduate studies at HEC in Communications and Marketing. In 2012, she started freelancing under the moniker Collected Fictions and has since built up a diverse network of clients amongst Montreal’s talented artists and innovators, such as Element AI, Moment Factory, e180, Dynamo, and EyeSteelFilm.
Connecting ideas, people, and media, Simon Hudson specializes in researching emerging topics and bringing them to a wider audience across all relevant media platforms. Formerly Managing Editor of Cloud & Co., Simon is currently Managing Editor at Montreal's hottest AI startup - Element AI.
Patrick curates ideas and patterns for his weekly newsletter Sentiers, and writes the Sentiers at Work monthly briefings on “technology and constant learning for organizations and careers.” In French he curates Repères for Atelier 10 / Nouveau Projet. He works as Thought Partner with select clients.
Previously he was Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine We Seek and its eponymous newsletter on the future of learning. He also co-initiated and edited The Alpine Review (now on hiatus), an award winning and critically acclaimed print publication.
Jory Mackay is an award-winning writer and editor based out of Montreal, Canada, currently writing for some of the web’s best and editor of The Startup. You can also find my writing on these fine publications: The Observer, The Next Web, Life Hacker, Business Insider and Quartz.
Michèle Champagne is a designer who moves between research, creative direction, and publication design across media. After a Master of Design at Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, in 2011, she has worked with Artexte, Droog, Mediamatic Foundation, Metahaven, Penguin Random House Canada, Strelka Institute, and VPRO, a Dutch public broadcaster.
Michèle works with publication as a public conversation, and meanders open source dynamics, collaborative authorship, and reader participation. Her research interrogates anti-criticism culture, positive psychology, happiness measurement, and their communication phenomena.
Dan levy is a journalist by training and a content strategist by accident. Over the past decade he’s built and led content teams at a number of global agencies and tech startups, including Bookmark (previously Spafax), Unbounce and Smooch, where he currently serves as Editorial Director. He holds a masters degree in journalism from Boston University and way too many mix tapes he made as a teenager.
Themes & Readings
Every month, one of our members choses a theme and readings for discussion. Here are some of the topics that we've covered so far.
The physicality of the internet: The people and places that keep us “connected”
Postcards from the end(s) of the world(s) a talk by Xiaowei Wang at IAM Weekend, March 23, 2019.How to Build a Low-tech Website? by Kris De Decker, September 2018, Lowtech Magazine. How the Internet Travels Across Oceans, by Adam Satariano, March 10, 2019, New York Times.Sand in the gears, by Ingrid Burrington, September 21, 2018, The Creative Independent.Rio Tinto scours for electricity to run giant Mongolia copper mine, by Barbara Lewis and Munkhchimeg Davaasharav, September 11, 2018, Reuters.Once poverty-stricken, China’s “Taobao villages” have found a lifeline making trinkets for the internet by Josh Freedman, February 12, 2017, Quartz.How Cheap Labor Drives China’s A.I. Ambitions by Li Yuan, November 25, 2018, New York Times.
Conversational Tech & Diversity
The Accent Gap: How Amazon’s and Google’s smart speakers leave certain voices behind by Drew Harwell, July 19, 2018, The Washington Post.I Don’t Date Men Who Yell at Alexa by Rachel Withers, April 30, 2018, Slate.Disability-themed emojis approved for use, February 6, 2019, BBC News.The five emoji skin tone options don’t accommodate a diverse world, Ashley Carman, December 12, 2018, The Verge.The Uncanny Valley Nobody’s Talking About, Matt Simon, March 18, 2019, Wired.
On Smarm by Tom Scocca, Gawker, December 5, 2013.1960s graphic design and architecture editions of Canadian Art magazine, launched but never repeated, effectively introducing but then cutting out design and architecture discourse, denying design and architecture much-needed criticism and denying ‘art’ the larger communities and lobbying coalitions it deserves. (available to view as part of the collection at Artexte).
The Future Book
The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected by Craig Mod in Wired, December 20, 2018.Towards the Future Book Tim Carmody's response to Craig Mod on Kottke.org, December 21, 2018.This tweet by Wired writer Antonio García Martínez, January 11, 2019.
The Internet & Optimism
Rethinking the Internet Metaphors: A Call for Critical Optimism and DIY Utopias, transcript of a speech given by Andres Colmenares during the opening ceremony of IAM Weekend 17: The Renaissance of Utopias on April 28th, 2017 in Barcelona.Techno-optimism by Cory Doctorow, Locus, May 2, 2011.Has Jonathan Franzen finally softened in his new essay collection The End of the End of the Earth? by John Semley, Globe And Mail, November 13, 2018.Killer robots? Musk and Zuckerberg escalate row over dangers of AI by Olivia Solon, The Guardian, July 25, 2017.The slow corrosion of techno-optimism by Jon Evans, Tech Crunch, November 21, 2018.China’s Orwellian Social Credit Score Isn’t Real - Blacklists and monitoring systems are nowhere close to Black Mirror fantasies by Jamie Horsley, Foreign Policy, November 16, 2018.Why Techno-Optimism Is Dangerous by Nicholas Agar, Huffington Post, July 31, 2016.Steven Pinker’s case for optimism: “Enlightenment Now” explains why the doom-mongers are wrong. The Economist, February 24, 2018.
The surprising disappearance of language
Mon travail ce n’est pas mon travail: Pierre Bernard. Design pour le domaine public by Pierre Bernard, Lars Müller Publishers, 2007.The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being by William Davies, Verso Books, 2016.Petit dictionnaire des idées reçues sur la folie et autres considérations by Suzanne Leclerc, Christine Martel, Yvan Pageau and Danielle Simard. Folie/Culture, 2003.Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power by Byung-Chul Han, translated by Erik Butler. Verso Books, 2017.We Know How You Feel: Computers are learning to read emotion, and the business world can’t wait by Raffi Khatchadourian, New Yorker, January 19, 2015.Mark Zuckerberg and the End of Language: At the heart of “smart” technologies is the idea that machines are better at detecting feelings than people are at describing them by William Davies, The Atlantic, September 11, 2015.Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? by Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, September 17, 2018.
Information overload and the responsibility of the writer
How Many Stories Do Newspapers Publish Per Day? by Robinson Meyer, May 26, 2016, The Atlantic. Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound. Maryanne Wolf, August 25, 2018, The Guardian.The Middle of Things: Advice for Young Writers by Andrew Solomon, March 11, 2015, The New Yorker.Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones, 2015, Bloomsbury Press.
The Skills Companies Need Most in 2018 – And The Courses to Get Them by Paul Petrone, January 2, 2018, LinkedIn. Create a collaborative culture to embrace digital transformation together Freeformers, July 20, 2017The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution World Economic Forum - Global Challenge Insight Report, January 2016.
Values in Editorial and Marketing
You are not a large corporation: A Manifesto for the Self-Employed by Paul JarvisBribes For Blogs: How Brands Secretly Buy Their Way Into Forbes, Fast Company, and Huffpost Stories by Jon Christian, December 5, 2017Hint: It’s About Your Brand - NiemanLab Predictions for Journalism 2018 by Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg, December, 2017 Brands up their game in ethical advertising by Marcie MacLellan, December 10, 2015Marketing Strategies for the Ethics Era [paywall - MIT Sloan Management Review] by N. Craig Smith, July 15, 1995Value vs. values and rejecting perfection by Zachary M. Seward, November 7, 2008
Working Out Loud
10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon, February 18, 2014Mozilla and Working Open [video] April 18, 2017Offscreen Mag Blog How Canada ended up on the cover of The Economist by Madelaine Drohan, November 4, 2016
Steemit Civil Why does journalism need blockchain technology? by Maria Bustillos, October 27, 2017Steemit for Dummies (like me) - Everything you need to know in simple terms by "mindover", 2016Block Zero Podcast by Kevin Rose: Covering Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Cardano and other blockchain technologies
Publications, paywalls, memberships, subscriptions, oh my!
Inside Patreon, the economic engine of internet culture by Adi Robertson, August 3, 2017Members don’t want a gate around the journalism they’re supporting by Kristen Hare, December 5, 2017Former Gawker employees are crowdfunding to relaunch a Gawker.com that’s owned by a nonprofit and funded by readers by Shan Wang, December 11, 2017Asking members to support its journalism (no prizes, no swag), The Guardian raises more reader revenue than ad dollars by Christine Schmidt, November 17, 2017‘Stratechery as a service’: Substack aims to streamline the creation of independent subscription news sites by Ricardo Bilton, October 5, 2017Medium Targets 10 Million Paying Members in 5 Years by Rob Reid, October 31, 2017As ESPN Falters, Sports Startup Chases Fans Tired of ‘Old Fluff’ byJoshua Brustein, July 24, 2017
#MeToo - Gender bias and discrimination in our work
Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far by Nellie Bowles, September 23, 2017Sarah Polley: The Men You Meet Making Movies by Sarah Polley, October 14, 2017Over half of women in advertising have faced sexual harassment: study by Susan Krashinsky, August 11, 2016Is Online Marketing Gender-Diverse? Insight from the 2015 Online Marketing Survey by Jackelyn Magwire, August 20, 2015Take the lead Video by TBWA\Africa, March 9, 2016
"Writing and …" - The modern landscape for media workers and the complementary skills needed (or expected) to succeed
Why we’re dropping the term ‘content marketing’ - Inside Intercom by John CollinsEditorial values cannot be an afterthought by Gregory CiottiWhy good, unique content needs to die - Moz by Rand Fishkin, May 22, 2015Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days by Brian Dean, last updated September 2, 2016How to start a blog in the most cluttered marketplace in history by Ali Mese, September 3, 2017
Editorial Independence within Branded Publications
Toward dumber by Seth Godin, July 20, 2017Can We Please Stop Using Branded Content? by Joe Pulizzi, October 6, 2015 The One Ingredient Your Content Marketing Program Is Missing by Joe Pulizzi, June 29, 2015Editorial Integrity for Long-Term Growth by Kathi Simonsen, October 25, 2016There are only two ways to tell your story: A Venn Diagram for Brands by Steve Bryant, September 13, 2017Copyranter: Everybody’s definition of ‘branded content’ is wrong by Mark Duffy, July 8, 2015
AI applications in writing and publishing
Adventures in Narrated Reality: New forms & interfaces for written language, enabled by machine intelligence by Ross GoodwinAdventures in Narrated Reality, Part II – Artists and Machine Intelligence by Ross GoodwinArt in the Age of Machine Intelligence by Blaise Aguera y ArcasWhy AI Can’t Write This Article (Yet): Machines are learning faster and better than ever, but they still have limitations by Walter Frick, Harvard Business Review.Maluuba - Our Year in Review infographic highlights our research work in 2016Romance Novels, Generated by Artificial Intelligence by Elle O'Brien
Giving up, closing projects, knowing when to quit
Perhaps you should give up, by Dan Norris.Kill Your Old Ideas So You Can Be More Creative by Nick Douglas.Arianna Huffington's decision to step down makes perfect sense when you hear her best productivity advice + Arianna Huffington on letting go + “I gave up on” + short vid on Youtube.Don't Play with Dead Snakes — Kill Projects Before They Kill You, by Richard Daly.The Lost Art of Quitting, by Mike Fishbein.
The gig economy, precarity, & mental health
Is the Gig Economy Working? Many liberals have embraced the sharing economy. But can they survive it? By Nathan HellerProzac Nation Is Now the United States of Xanax By Alex Williams. June 10, 2017Inside The Gig Economy’s New Wave Of Women’s Clubs by Molly Bennet, June 6, 2017How to Maintain Your Sanity (and Be Productive) When You Work Alone All the Time by Jocelyn K. GleiThe Advantage Of Being A Little Underemployed (On the 40 hour work week vs being creative and doing knowledge work) by Morgan HouselHow Freelancers Are Reinventing Work Through New Collective Enterprises by Christopher D. Cook
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