Brunswick Sanderson’s Letter to the Editor

Sept. 26: Letters to the editor


8:27 AM

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

SFU suffered a breach of security last week in which a disputed artifact was stolen from its museum.  There are several things that went wrong here, and someone should answer to this crime.  But I’m not only speaking about the theft itself, I’m talking about the crime of poor decision making that went into it’s assessed value and the expensive, untested security measures put in place to protect it.

We have a responsibility to protect artifacts and to educate the public about the nature and history of these objects, and to correctly declare its value financially, historically and academically. To inflate the importance of an object with whiffs of Dan Brown conspiracies and shadowy guardians is dishonest and it’s reckless.  We here at SFU need to debunk fake news, not create it.

So for all of its fanfare and invented prestige, there’s a disservice being done here. The SFU Dala Horse is a nice antique from Sweden.  It’s in great condition and it shows the cultural past of Scandinavia from 300 years ago, and it may or may not have been given to King Charles XII.  However, let’s be clear: it’s an older version of a carved wooden children’s toy; it’s not The Thinker or the statue of David here.  It’s decorated  in copper-based red Falun paint, not gold, not silver, and no, there aren’t any miraculous Trojan treasures waiting inside.

I should know what constitutes vital importance of artifacts.  I spent weeks in prison in Libya for defending and securing true artistic historical works from the fiery hands of war, looting and destruction at the end of Gaddafi’s bloody rule, and I’d do it again if I had to. Priceless ancient Greek Sculptures from Cyrene, Roman amphoras from Leptis Magna, assorted relics from all eras, now safe and secure.  And let me tell you this: The SFU Dala Horse is no Roman amphora. 

Prof. Brunswick Sanderson, SFU, Burnaby, B.C.


The Mystery of the Dala Horse

Who Stole the Dala Horse?

SFU has called upon our preeminent EMP Investigators to solve the case of the stolen Dala Horse.  The suspects are swarthy and shifty, each with their own motives and means to steal the Horse, but also with alibis to supposedly prove their innocence. When conducting your investigation, always remember to keep an open mind. There may be false alarms, red herrings, circumstantial evidence, incorrect suspects, incomplete evidence and several shades of truth and lies. Below you will find the background, the experts to be interviewed and, of course, the suspects!  Good luck.

Continue reading “The Mystery of the Dala Horse”

The Dala Horse and Transmedia Storytelling

Transmedia storytelling is a narrative that is told across various mediums, such as print, graphics, audio, social media, drawing and video. We in the EdMedia team have developed a transmedia story for the Educational Media Program called The Dala Horse, in which a centuries-old relic from Sweden has been found and placed in SFU’s Museum of Archeology and Ethnology – and then stolen by an unknown thief.   Continue reading “The Dala Horse and Transmedia Storytelling”

Transmedia Storytelling and The Quartz Parrot

What is Transmedia Storytelling?

Transmedia storytelling is a narrative that is told across various mediums, such as print, graphics and video. In The Quartz Parrot, the aim is to also involve the participants in the storytelling, as you learn skills and create pieces that in turn become part of the story.  In the end, the goal is to learn basic skills in producing media for your courses, while taking part in an engaging story where you (hopefully) solve the mystery of the missing artifact.


Each EMP session will involve creating pieces to help solve the transmedia mystery of The Quartz Parrot.

Session 1: Kickoff – Introduction to transmedia and The Quartz Parrot

Session 2: OER and Copyright – finding and modifying a Creative Commons picture of the Quartz Parrot

Session 3: Going Visual – creating drawings of suspects and a storyboard of the events of the crime

Session 4: Graphic – using a map of area where the Parrot was stolen and organizing pictures and text of the evidence, suspects and experts

Session 5: Audio and Podcasting – interviewing three expert witnesses in a scripted podcast to be recorded, edited and posted online

Session 6: Smartphone Video Production – interviewing the three suspects on video to be recorded, edited and posted online

Session 7: Reflections and Future Projects – the previous podcasts and videos will be watched together and participants will be able to discuss and solve the crime of The Quartz Parrot while reflecting on what they have learned and where they want to take their new skills.