PODCAST: [Book launch] Inhuman networks by Grant Bollmer

Please join us for the launch of Dr Grant Bollmer’s book Inhuman Networks: Social Media and the Archaeology of Connection. In a conversation chaired by Professor Gerard Goggin, Grant Bollmer will discuss some of the main themes of his book, with responses from Associate Professor Kath Albury of UNSW and Dr Margie Borschke Macquarie University. The panel will be followed by a brief reception.

Grant Bollmer is a Lecturer of Digital Cultures in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney.

Kath Albury is an Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Media at UNSW. Her current research focuses on young people’s practices of digital self-representation, and the role of user-generated media (including social networking platforms) in young people’s formal and informal sexual learning.

Margie Borschke is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Media in the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. Her first book, This is Not a Remix: Piracy, Authenticity and Popular Music, will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2017.

Gerard Goggin is Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney and an ARC Future Fellow.


PODCAST: The story behind the Brexit headlines by David Levy

On Thursday 23 June 2016, the UK announced its exit from the European Union following a referendum in which more than 30 million people voted, with those in favour of leaving winning by 52% to 48%. The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) partnered with media insight specialists, PRIME Research, to monitor press coverage of the lead-up to the vote, and in this presentation, the Institute’s Director Dr David Levy shares the results of that study. He examines the output of nine major national newspapers that covered the EU referendum across the four months of what became a highly charged and divisive campaign. The analysis focuses on the orientation and tone of the coverage, the main topics addressed and the voices cited. It draws on the research findings to show the degree to which press coverage was highly partisan and polarised, and asks to what extent that may have been significant in setting the terms of the wider public debate.

Dr David Levy has been RISJ Director since September 2008. Prior to this position, he was Controller, Public Policy at the BBC until 2007. He also has extensive experience working in journalism, first for the BBC Wor ld Ser vice and then for BBC News and Current Affairs; as a radio producer and reporter onFile on 4; as a TV reporter onNewsnight, and as Editor ofAnalysison Radio 4. Dr Levy’s recent publications include joint editorship with NicNewman of the annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report (Reuters Institute 2012-16), and joint authorship of the Reuters Institute 2016 report on ‘UK Press Coverage of the EU Referendum’.

PODCAST: Playful and playable locations by Kyle Moore

In July of 2016, the mobile gaming landscape shifted dramatically with the release of the highly anticipated and popular Pokémon GO. Opinion pieces rushed to offer critique, with the ultimate goal of understanding how such a game might alter our engagement with public space. In Pokémon GO, location isrepresented as a node within a vast map of the world, building on data aggregated from Google Maps and algorithmically filtered crowd sourcedlocations from Niantic Lab’s other two location-based applications Ingress and Field Trip. Whether they are Pokéstops, Gyms, or Ingress Portals, locationsbecome present in these games via the collective labour of mobile game players. In this seminar, Kyle Moore focuses on the specificity in which locations are constructed via this process of data overlay and broader sociocultural implications surrounding our understanding of playing in public. Drawing from preliminary ethnographic observations of Sydney based location-based game communities, this seminar offers a perspective on how we might reframe our engagement with location as a potentially playful one, and in turn also think of location as a playable object.

Kyle Moore is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney in the Department of Media and Communications. His doctoral research explores the way forms of urban mobile gaming are situated within urban environments, focusing on the sociocultural and material circumstance which frame our understanding of play. Kyle has previously published research on mobile, portable, and location-based games in journals such as M/C and Games and Culture.

PODCAST: Once a journalist, always a journalist by Penny O’Donnell

New technology, industry restructuring and jobs cuts are changing the conditions for journalistic work around the world and disrupting journalism’s claim to control the field of news work. In this presentation, Dr Penny O’Donnell (University of Sydney) critically examines the relationship between job loss and identity crisis, asking what happens to professional identity after redundancy, particularly to those who consider themselves ‘journalists at heart’? The analysis draws on the results of a national survey of 225 journalists laid-off from Australian newsrooms between 2012 and 2014. It argues attention to the twin experiences of job loss and job seeking offer a productive vantage point on this dynamic relationship because it prompts journalists to reconsider the nature of their expertise in achanging labour market, while at the same time reminding researchers to rethink traditional claims about ‘professional identity’to account for contemporary journalism’s more complex definitions, sites and populations engaged in news work.

Dr Penny O’Donnell is Senior Lecturer in International Media and Journalism at the University of Sydney. She is a Chief Investigator on the New Beats Project, responsible for industry liaison with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), and engaged in the internationalization of the project through collaborations with Canadian, German and Indonesian researchers. Recent publications appear in Journalism, Journalism Practice, Ethical Space, Australian Journalism Review and African Communication Research.

PODCAST: Measuring the digital divide by Julian Thomas

In this presentation, Professor Julian Thomas (Swinburne University ofTechnology) will discuss The Australian Digital Inclusion Index, ameasurement tool that addresses the need for informed public policy andprojects to enhance digital inclusion in Australia. As the Internet becomesincreasingly central to everyday life, the social and economic consequencesof digital exclusion also increase. However, the challenge of the “narrowingbut deepening” digital divide presents immediate problems for bothresearchers and policy makers. Although substantial progress has beenmade on understanding digital exclusion at national and community levelsin Australia, the absence of a sufficiently granular, longitudinal dataset hasbeen a continuing limitation across all disciplines. And without comparablemeasures of the digital divide, the benefits of interventions are oftenpoorly understood. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index is an ongoing,collaborative project which aims to address these issues. This talk outlinesthe Index’s objectives, design, main national and NSW findings, as well aspossible uses in research, policy and practice.

Professor Julian Thomas is Director of Swinburne University’s Institute forSocial Research. His recent publications include The Informal MediaEconomy (2015) and Internet on the Outstation: The Digital Divide andRemote Aboriginal Communities (2016).

PODCAST: Holding the memories by Bunty Avieson

In this seminar, Dr Bunty Avieson examines how death and success exacerbate the ethical dimensions of truth and representation using a casestudy of Timothy Conigrave’s memoir Holding the Man. The book waspublished in 1994 by Penguin Australia, who promoted it as a “tender andsexy” account of his 15-year love affair with schoolmate John Caleo. Theirromance flourished despite resistance from their middle class conservative Catholic families, various infidelities and relationship struggles, andultimately their shared battle with AIDS. It has been described as “soulshaking”,“one of Australia’s most beloved non-fiction books” and “Romeoand Juliet for the AIDS era”. Ten days after Conigrave delivered themanuscript to Penguin, he died, leaving the aftershocks of his personal revelations to reverberate in his absence. This might have been a small butcontained moment of attention for the two families, who could then have returned to privately grieve, except that the book became a bestseller, then a play performed in Australia, NZ, USA and London’s West End andan international feature film with Guy Pearce and Anthony LaPaglia. Holding The Man has become a “living” memoir and it is thefamilies left behind who carry its legacy in a plurality of ways.

Dr Bunty Avieson is a Lecturer in the Department of Media andCommunications at the University of Sydney. She has published three novels, a novella and two memoirs, which have been variously translated intoJapanese, German and Thai, and been awarded two Ned Kelly Crime Writing Awards for her crime fiction.

PODCAST: Mapping media waste by Kathleen Williams

In this presentation, Dr Kathleen Williams (University of Tasmania), explores the relationship between waste and media. Her work maps how media technologies are disposed of or recirculated in ad hoc economies and networks; creatively reused by hoarders and collectors; or destined for the scrapheap. Through interviews and site visits with waste management and community resource initiatives, this research charts how decisions are made around what becomes waste, how organisations seek to engage communities, and how the lifecycle of media objects can be extended or disrupted. Her work also turns to representations of waste in order to understand our mediatised relationship to it. As media objects become trash, how are these objects being used differently, and how does this influence everyday practice? Drawing upon work in waste studies, memory studies and media archaeology, this presentation combines theoretical understandings of media materiality and disuse alongside emergent community practice and engagement (image: chinatechnews.com).

Dr Kathleen Williams is a lecturer in media at the University of Tasmania. Her work looks at how media technologies can be co-opted from their intended or assumed uses, particularly through the relationship between screen and digital cultures, and nostalgia.

PODCAST: Understanding public service media value beyond the fifth estate by Jonathan Hutchinson

This presentation explores and outlines how we can use social media conversation and social media metrics to understand how citizens value their PSM organisations in real time. This research focuses on the Australian context, and its public service media organisation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which relies on government funding to perform its day-to-day activities, including content production as per its legislated Charter. The research findings indicate there are new agents emerging in these social conversation spaces, recalibrating how users act, communicate and produce content. These new agents are cultural intermediaries who demonstrate high social capital, and are able to interact between distinct stakeholder groups, while negotiating appropriate online governance models, especially with social media ‘ad-hoc publics’ (Bruns and Burgess, 2011).

Dr Jonathon Hutchinson (Ph.D. 2013, ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, QUT) lectures in Online and Social Media Communication at the University of Sydney. His current research explores everyday social media use, the role of social media influencers within co-creative environments, and how social media is used in cyber-terrorism. He is a trained ethnographer, has been published in many leading national and international journals, and is developing eResearch methodologies for social media network analysis. He tweets from @dhutchman.

PODCAST: Towards a model of locative journalism by Ivar John Erdal

Visiting Norwegian journalism scholar Ivar John Erdal is currently developing a model of locative journalism.

In this two-part lunchtime presentation, Associate Professor Erdal first discusses an innovative research collaboration between Volda University College located in western Norway, and Sunnmorsposten (smp.no), a regional newspaper, which introduced data journalism in 2012. The project, entitled, Situated technology – mediation, experience and journalism, sees selected students working with experienced SMP journalists and editors to develop new forms of digital storytelling; the news content is then co-published on both the newspaper and students’ websites. The next phase of the project includes experimenting with locative content for mobile devices.

In the second part of the presentation, Associate Professor Erdal examines recent conceptualisations of locative media, and journalism for mobile devices, by a range of scholars (Goggin et al., 2015; Westlund, 2013; Campbell, 2016) before sharing some preliminary ideas about his own proposed model. This theoretical inquiry is informed by recent empirical research on the journalism for mobile devices published by Scandinavian and English-language legacy media in Norway, and, in particular, efforts to classify this output in terms of locativeness.

PODCAST: How the world changed social media by Jolynna Sinanan

This presentation explores global variation in the uses and consequences of social media. The project involved nine anthropologists living in eight countries in communities as varied as an English village, a factory town in China, a town on the Turkish-Syrian border, an IT complex set in villages within South India, a low income settlement in Brazil, as well as sites in Chile, Italy and Trinidad. It offers a comparative analysis on the impact of social media on politics and gender, education and commerce. Some questions we asked are what is the result of the increased emphasis on visual communication? Are we becoming more individual or more social? Why is public social media so conservative? Why does equality online fail to shift inequality offline? How did memes become the moral police of the internet?

Jolynna Sinanan is a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communications at RMIT University. Previously, she was a Research Fellow in Anthropology at University College London with the Global Social Media Impact Study. She is the author of Social Media in Trinidad (forthcoming, UCL Press) and co-author with Daniel Miller of Webcam (2014, Polity) and Visualising Facebook (forthcoming, UCL Press).