A World of Pure Collaboration: a Look Inside the Signum Collaboratory

Humanities Summit blog bookshelf full of books. Can't make out any titles.

By Bronwyn Rivera

Officially launched on December 9, 2023, the Signum Collaboratory is an experimental platform that allows content-makers to publish their academic and artistic creations online. Yet it’s more than an outlet into the virtual void. Members of the Collaboratory can rest assured they will receive their hard-earned dues. Signum’s Director of Commerce, Robbie Park, speaks about the Collaboratory’s goals and the potential hassles that come with traditional publishing:

“It offers an alternate avenue for creators to get their names out there and make money from a much better royalty system than any publisher can offer. Unfortunately, authors simply aren’t paid what they’re worth, and even getting published is incredibly difficult. The Collaboratory helps eliminate a lot of those steps. I think creators on the Internet, whoever they are, all deserve to be properly reimbursed and acknowledged for their work. I hope the Collaboratory will serve that role as we move into this online, internet-based age.” 

For readers and viewers, the Collaboratory experience is not limited to the end product. Instead, fans are offered the chance to step behind the digital curtain and participate in a project’s ongoing development. Amy Troolin further emphasizes the platform’s communal, integrative nature: “It’s designed to be a space for interaction. Creators post their works in progress, and [the audience] can comment with questions, offer feedback, and so forth.” 

For those interested in supporting an author or other content-maker, access to the Collaboratory requires a monthly subscription. There are three levels to choose from: Essential ($8.99), Premium ($14.99), and Patron ($29.99). Each tier comes with unique perks and a certain degree of customization. You can change or cancel your membership whenever you’d like. 

The Collaboratory’s website boasts a wonderland of links to click. Not sure where to begin? No fear! Robbie provides a tour of operations:

  • The Circulation Library: This is the place where content is officially published. For example, if an author is working on a book in a Project Room and they are ready to publish, it will then go into the Circulation Library.
  • Project Rooms: This is where the sausage gets made, as they say! Project Rooms are places for any kind of work-in-progress. That means a book, documentary, TV show, etc., is made there. Usually, you’ll see creators posting chapters, videos, outlines, or other kinds of content there in the Project Room, so you can watch the project as it grows organically.
  • Production Halls serve as more of a “drawing board” area where folks have been invited to create projects and receive Beta reader feedback. The Project Rooms also have designated Discord channels where you can communicate with other members and the authors.
  • Creator Circles: These are supercharged Project Rooms because you can access all the content the creator is working on! For instance, if Dr. Corey Olsen is working on a book, a documentary, and a new project he’s still drafting, you will have access to all his materials. You’ll also have access to any updates or posts he makes, such as videos, recordings, blog posts, or any other content he shares with you each month.

Submissions to the Collaboratory are currently by invitation only. However, the Director of Signum Studios, Maggie Parke, is pleased to announce an upcoming open call for FanTracks. If you have expertise or background in a film and wish to offer your commentary in all its analytical, geeky goodness, we welcome you to send your track. If you have another idea in mind, we have Hall Curators for each content area who would love to meet you. 

“We’re thinking of this year as a beta,” says Maggie. “We’re all learning about how the Collaboratory can work, how it can grow, and how it can become more user-friendly. So this is the time to join and become part of the grassroots, ground-up building.” 

Please contact [email protected] for questions and further details.

All Signum Studios materials have been vetted by Merlin, a Very Good Dog indeed.

Merlin the Very Good Dog is sniffing and trotting up a very good footpath or a very narrow old dirt road in Wales, which is exactly as magical a picture as it sounds.
Maggie Parke's dog Merlin is a Very Good English Setter, posing nobly before a landscape of sea and steep hills.