Please Hold: Australia’s Communication Policy Response to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Thursday December 10, 3pm-4.30pm, Online via Zoom

This presentation evaluates current communication policies in Australia from a critical disability theory (CDT) framework and identifies the quality of those policies as they speak to people with disability. The research analyses three communications policy case studies to evaluate how Australia’s adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has improved disability access and inclusion. The case studies are: (1) access to the National Relay Service; (2) access to appropriate telecommunications equipment; and (3) access to online audio-visual media.

The study reveals that for many Australians with disability, there has been little in the way of increased access to digital communications since Australia’s 2008 adoption of the CRPD. The research finds that, despite an increasingly affirmative disability public discourse, along with a disability-inclusive political rhetoric, the adoption of the CRPD has done little to change the dominant ableism entrenched in Australia’s neoliberal communication policy framework.

Wayne Hawkins is Director of Inclusion with the Australian Communications Consumer Action network (ACCAN). Wayne has led ACCAN’s work on telecommunications access for consumers with disability, telecommunications affordability and emergency services. Prior to joining ACCAN Wayne was National Policy officer with Blind Citizens Australia. Wayne is a doctoral candidate at Sydney University researching Australian telecommunications and disability policies. Wayne has a Master of Public Policy from Sydney University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the City University of New York.

Semester 1, 2021

 

Stay tuned for up our upcoming program for Semester 1, 2021.

Seminars from Semester 2, 2020, are now available to view online:

Bunty Avieson: The Bhutan-Wiki Project: Global knowledge and minority languages

Wikipedia offers a bulwark for cultural resilience by oral cultures and this project investigates the experiences of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

Mark Johnson: The Lives and Careers of Professional Live Streamers

Drawing on five years of ethnographic research, this seminar focuses on the pasts, presents and (predicted or considered) futures of live streamers.

Justine Humphry, Chris Chesher, and Sophia Maalsen: Smart Publics – Imaginaries and discoveries of smart street furniture

This talk will present research findings from the Smart Publics project focusing on smart city user imaginaries and public encounters with media hybridised forms of smart street furniture.

Alana Mann: Food in a Changing Climate

This new book analyses land and labour relationships in the global food system and considers whose knowledge counts in science communication on health and climate issues.

Olga Boichak: Mapping the National Web: Spaces and cultures of diasporic mobilisation in the digital age

This seminar explores hyperlinking behaviours among Ukrainian Canadians to map geographic, linguistic, and political boundaries of the Ukrainian national web.

Jolynna Sinanan, Larissa Hjorth, Sarah Pink and Heather Horst: Digital Media Practices in Households

This new book explores practices through locative media, self-tracking and quantified self apps in households in Tokyo, Shanghai and Melbourne.

Wayne Hawkins: Please Hold: Australia’s Communication Policy Response to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

This presentation evaluates current communication policies in Australia from a critical disability theory (CDT) framework and identifies the quality of those policies as they speak to people with disability.

 

Digital Media Practices in Households: Kinship Through Data

 

Thursday November 26, 3pm-4.30pm, Online via Zoom

New book by Larissa, Hjorth, Kana Ohashi, Jolynna Sinanan, Heather Horst, Sarah Pink, Fumitoshi Kato, Baohua Zhou

Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Tokyo, Shanghai and Melbourne, this book provides the first comparative study of digital practices within intergenerational families. The volume explores how households are being understood, articulated and defined by practices through locative media, self-tracking and quantified self apps and their implications for maintaining care at a distance.

Jolynna Sinanan is a Research Fellow in Digital Media and Ethnography at in the School of Media and Communication at University of Sydney, Australia.

Larissa Hjorth is a digital ethnographer, artist, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Design & Creative Practice Platform at RMIT University, Australia. She is a Visiting Professor at the Center for Co-Design at Osaka University, Japan.

Heather Horst is Professor and Director of the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, Australia.

Sarah Pink is Professor and Director of the emerging technologies lab at Monash University, Australia. She is Visiting Professor at Halmstad University, Sweden and Loughborough University, UK, and Guest Professor at Free University, Berlin, Germany.

Free download from Amsterdam University Press

Mapping the National Web: Spaces and cultures of diasporic mobilisation in the digital age

 

Thursday November 19, 3pm – 4.30, Online via Zoom

National web is the idea that our online experience remains profoundly shaped by geographical, cultural, and political borders: online spaces emerge as series of country-, language-, and community-specific spheres, organized and structured by search engines, platforms, and devices used to access them. Just like diasporic collectives mobilise among those living outside their country of origin, national web is also an entity that emerges and exists in flux, through the production and circulation of culturally significant content and genres. This similarity between both entities – diasporas and national webs – make their relationship a novel object of empirical inquiry. A wealth of textual and visual data, produced in the process of mediated communication among diasporic actors, turn social media into a point of entry for studying national webs. In this talk, I explore hyperlinking behaviours among Ukrainian Canadians to map geographic, linguistic, and political boundaries of the Ukrainian national web. Shedding light on the spaces and cultures of diasporic mobilisation in the digital age, I identify distinct web spheres that mediate the Ukrainian Canadians’ relationship to their country of origin.

Olga Boichak is a sociologist of digital media and a Lecturer in Digital Cultures at the University of Sydney. Her primary interest lies in networks, discourses, and cultures of activism in the digital age; she fuses ethnographic and computational methods to study activist collectives in the deeply mediatized contexts of war, arts, and religion. Olga holds a doctorate in social science from Syracuse University (U.S.) and has published on digitally mediated identity building, diasporic activism, state legitimacy, and algorithmic surveillance. She is currently working on a book project that explores the role of digital cultures in decolonial geopolitics in contemporary Ukraine.

 

Food in a Changing Climate

Thursday November 5, 3pm – 4.30pm, Online via Zoom

Today’s responsible, ethical eater is bombarded with multiple framings of healthier bodies, food justice, animal welfare, and climate-stable futures. Many of these focus on plant-based diets. Strong counter-narratives have emerged from the livestock sector across mainstream media, blogs, social media, and public campaigns, leading The Observer to declare diet as the “latest front in the culture wars” (Anthony, 2019).

These contestations came to a head in 2019 with the publication of the report Food in the Anthropocene: EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy and sustainable food systems (Willet et al., 2019). The “digital backlash” against this report includes a popular counter-movement promoting #yes2meat. The Lancet claims this “new skeptical online community” is responsible for “intentional dissemination of misleading content” and disinformation. It argues for proactive avoidance of “manipulation and misinformation about issues of fundamental importance for human health and the planet” (Garcia, 2019).

Most pertinent to this debate is whose knowledge counts in science communication on health and climate issues? This question is central to Alana Mann’s analysis of a global food system embedded in racialized land and labour relationships in her forthcoming book, Food in a Changing Climate.

Alana Mann is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), University of Sydney, Australia, and a key researcher in the University’s Sydney Environment Institute. Her research focuses on the communicative dimensions of citizen engagement, participation, and collective action in food systems planning and governance.