Naomi Hamer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, University of Winnipeg, affiliated with the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures. She holds a Ph.D in children’s culture and media from the Institute of Education, University College London and MA in Children’s Literature from the University of British Columbia.
Her current research examines the cross-media adaptation of picture books with a focus on mobile applications, and children’s museum exhibitions that offer mediated experiences with children’s literature, and fairy-tale narratives. She received the David Almond Fellowship for Research in Children’s Literature (2013) for archival research in the collections of Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books (Newcastle, UK). Dr Hamer is currently co-editor for two forthcoming publications, More Words About Pictures: Current Research on Picturebooks and Visual/Verbal Texts for Young People (eds. Nodelman, Hamer, and Reimer) and The Routledge Companion of Fairy-tale Cultures and Media (eds. Greenhill, Rudy, Hamer, and Bosc). She is on the editorial board of the journal Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, and serves as Vice President of the Association for Research in the Cultures of Young People.
“Enter through the Gift Shop: Story Museums, Children’s Book Exhibits, and the Cross-Media Experience”
Dr. Naomi Hamer’s keynote will focus on the diversity of media involved in adapting children’s literature across various forms through transmedia storytelling, and the engagement with these texts by young people across multiple modes, platforms, and tie-in merchandise. Her work considers the opportunities and challenges created by the adaptation of children’s literature across diverse media. She will highlight findings (and recent adventures) related to her current research project, an investigation into children’s museums and exhibits that focus on children’s authors and illustrators, fairytale narratives, and storytelling. Case examples from the UK, USA and Japan will illustrate how children’s story exhibitions critically engage children’s literature while also revealing tensions between interactivity, commercial franchising, and the cultural discourses articulated in children’s literature.
Key among Dr. Hamer’s aims is understanding how children’s story exhibitions may continue to reinforce historically entrenched discourses of gender, socio-economic class, and race. Accordingly, she troubles the ways in which curators, education directors, and researchers idealize stories by omitting or eliminating content that may be deemed controversial or inappropriate for young people.
The existing research on children’s museums is primarily confined to Museum and Curatorial Studies and Education, with much of the focus being on interactive play and informal learning in science museum contexts. Dr. Hamer’s project draws both on these fields as well as a larger interdisciplinary framework. She proposes to expand upon existing critical studies of children’s museums with the application of theoretical and methodological approaches from the fields of Children’s Literature criticism; Cultural Studies; Museum and Curatorial Studies; and Media Studies.