Digital Storytelling: Talks and Workshop featuring Steven Hammer and Steph Ceraso

These talks and workshops will explore issues surrounding the use of sound in composition practice and pedagogy. On Thursday, February 25, Steven Hammer (St. Joseph's University) and Steph Ceraso (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) will present talks. Professor Hammer's talk is titled "Composing/with/Noise." In his talk, he will describe a noise-centered approach to sonic composition, one that foregrounds materials and interfaces as coauthors, dispels technoCultural myths of noiselessness and perfection, and asks composers to carefully attune themselves audiences, conventions, and contexts. Professor Ceraso's talk, titled "Sound Never Tasted So Good," will explore how taking a more expansive, sensuous pedagogical approach can invigorate the role of sound in multimodal composition. Specifically, it will examine an experimental “multisensory dining event” which invited students to work with a chef to create original sonic compositions that complimented and enhanced the visual design, smell, texture, and taste of a prepared meal. As the talk will demonstrate, explicitly multisensory projects like this one enable students to become thoughtful, savvy consumers and producers of sound in digital composing environments and in their everyday lives.

On Friday, February 26, Professors Hammer and Ceraso will host a workshop entitled Sonic Object Design: Sounding Function and Failure in Everyday Things. This hands-on workshop will explore the sonic rhetorics of everyday objects. In teams, participants will design prototypes (or sketches) for an everyday thing that uses sound strategically to influence the ways in which people interact with and feel about the object. Additionally, using a digital audio editor, each team will create two different kinds of sonic experiences for their object: one sonic experience that indicates the object is working successfully, and another that alerts users that the object is failing in some way. We will be sharing and discussing these projects, as well as talking about what this experiment can teach us about sonic rhetorics more broadly. To prepare for the workshop, participants should bring their laptops with the open source digital audio editor Audacity (or another preferred audio editor, if you have one) already downloaded and ready to use. No previous experience with sound editing or design is required. All are welcome!

Steven Hammer is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Digital Media at St. Joseph’s University, where he teaches courses in digital media production, media ethics, and accessible design. His scholarly & creative work focuses on byproducts of technoculture, particularly noise and glitches, as well as composition methods that rely on the creative misuse of tools and technologies.

Steph Ceraso is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research and teaching interests are rhetoric and composition, pedagogy, sound studies, and digital media. In addition to coediting a special “Sonic Rhetorics” issue of Harlot, her work has appeared in College English, Composition Studies, Currents in Electronic Literacy, HASTAC, Sounding Out! Blog, Fembot Collective, and Provoke! Digital Sound Studies. You can find more about her research, media projects, and teaching at

These events are also sponsored by the Humanities Center, the Department of English, the Film Studies Program, the Digital Media Lab, the Smith Fund for Children's Library Services, the School of Information Sciences, and the Program in Composition: Rhetoric, Literacy, and Pedagogy. For more information, click here or contact Annette Vee at


Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 5:00pm

Location and Address

Cathedral of Learning 501