Jill Walker Rettberg is Professor of Digital Culture at the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Bergen and is running for the position of Vice-Rector for International Relations. Born to Australian parents in Oslo in 1971, Rettberg grew up in Norway and Australia. She studied at the University of Bergen and Stavanger University College before completing a cand. philol. degree in comparative literature in 1998 and her doctoral degree, also at the University of Bergen, in 2003. Since then she has been employed at UiB. During this time, Jill Walker Rettberg has also been a visiting researcher at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), the University of Western Australia and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
As a student, Rettberg was active as a journalist in Studentradioen and StudVest, and spent a semester as Editor for Music and Culture for Studentradioen i Bergen. Rettberg had her first daughter during her graduate years, becoming one of the many students who parents. Just after completing her degree, Rettberg won The Inaugural Ted Nelson Award for Best Paper by a Newcomer for a conference paper at ACM Hypertext 98.
Rettberg completed her doctoral degree in 2003 with the dissertation Fiction and Interaction: How Clicking a Mouse Can Make You Part of a Fictional World, which analysed the relationship between user and fictional world in electronic literature and digital art. She was hired as an associate professor in 2003, first temporarily and since 2004 in a permanent position. In 2007 she married fellow academic Scott Rettberg, who had moved to UiB from the United States, and after the births of a daughter and a son in 2008 and 2010, Rettberg qualified for full professor in 2011.
Jill Walker Rettberg was the Head of the Department of Humanistic Informatics from 2005-7. Humanistic Informatics later changed its name to Digital Culture and was reorganised as part of the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies.
While working on her PhD dissertation, Rettberg began writing a research blog, jilltxt.net, which has now been active for over twelve years. The blog has been an important networking platform throughout Rettberg’s career, and was key in developing an international research network. In 2006 Jill Walker Rettberg won the Meltzer Foundation’s Award for Excellence in Research Dissemination, largely for her pioneering work in research blogging.
Since becoming a blogging, Rettberg’s research has also turned towards blogging and social media. She published the first academic article on blogging with Torill Mortensen in 2002, and published the book Blogging on Polity Press in 2008. The book is forthcoming in a second edition in 2013. With her colleague Hilde Corneliussen, Rettberg co-edited an anthology of scholarly articles on the popular online game World of Warcraft on MIT Press in 2008.
From January 2012 Jill Walker Rettberg has been the University of Bergen’s Alumni Board Leader. The board consists of academics from each of the University’s six faculties, as well as student representatives, and as leader, Rettberg advises the University leadership on our alumni strategy. Through working on alumni relations Rettberg has become increasingly familiar with the larger organisation of the university and our outreach and community integration in particular. Rettberg has been involved in both international and discipline-level alumni work as well as strategy development.
Jill Walker Rettberg is a member of the Norwegian Arts Council’s Art and New Technology Committee (KNYT) and of Digitutvalget, a government-appointed committee tasked with mapping hindrances for innovation of and growth in digital content and services in Norway. Digitutvalget’s report will be published in January 2013. Rettberg has been on the board of Bergen elektroniske kunstsenter (BEK), a jury member for Fritt ord’s blog grants and a member of reference groups on new media for Bergen kommune and ABM-utvikling.
Rettberg has helped to organize a number of international conferences and workshops both in Bergen and abroad, and has been on the program committee for international conferences including Digital Arts and Culture and ACM Hypertext. She has been a reviewer for international journals and research councils. She has extensive experience with the media and has given many popular talks for industry and cultural groups. Rettberg was project leader for the Nordic research network ELINOR: Electronic Literature in the Nordic Countries (2004-6), and is currently a co-investigator in a European project on electronic literature.
Rettberg enjoys teaching and splits her teaching between first-year courses and graduate courses. In the spring of 2013 she is teaching an upper level undergraduate seminar on Critical Approaches to Technology and Society, with an emphasis on social media.
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