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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors

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UbuWeb: Funding & Accessibility

While most digital projects advertise their funding in order to legitimizing their work, UbuWeb boasts of the fact that they are not funded. For UbuWeb, funding would indeed deride their anti-establishment ethos, as they are committed to the democratization of and access to knowledge and artistic material. They blame their need for institutional alliances on the vast amount of bandwidth required by the scope of such a project, unavailable without this kind of association. Nevertheless, they acknowledge that these alliances are what allow their project to persist (while also performing the convenient side-effect of legitimizing them in the eyes of the academic community), and they provide a list of reputable partners and affiliates (both academic and artistic), including:  

Anthology Film Archives
Bidoun Magazine-- Art and Culture from the Middle East
Electronic Poetry Center
Primary Information
The Center For Literary Computing at West Virginia University

Their wide ambit of partnerships with academic and cultural institutions allows UbuWeb a diverse range of influence and intelligibility, as Ubu is then accessible to members of both communities: artistic and academic. Seeing as the website is free, and easily searchable, it is feasibly accessible to any user. In this way, they model perfectly Eileen Joy's vision of a para-academic collective that:

"might only endure for a short period of time, but which make[s] important things *happen*, nevertheless, that are self-enriching, *pleasurable*, and also contribute to the work of the so-called "university." I want to state this again because I believe in it so much: one has the RIGHT to fail. Failure is necessary. Try working on behalf of grandly visionary likely-to-fail projects. Otherwise, nothing is ever going to happen."

Indeed, as Goldsmith playfully points out in his introduction, although the site has managed to last for fifteen years, it may vanish at any point, and "by the time you read this UbuWeb may be gone." Because UbuWeb refuses to sell the site to any larger entity, its continuation is directly dependent upon its partnerships and its volunteers, thus exposing the ephemeral nature of such digital repositories. 

Author: Emily Smith
Word Count: 352
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