ECREA Conference in Prague next week

e34109_a894f728926943c1ac5bcd07469a9d87mv2I look forward to the ECREA conference in Prague. It has been 7 years since my first ECREA involvement in the PhD summerschool in Estonia in 2009, which is a long time ago! I am stepping up to be elected as Chair of the Digital Culture and Communication Section this year, after 2 years tenure as Vice Chair and another 2 years as YECREA Representative prior to that.

I am also excited about our panel session Imagining Data Futures: Mediated (Dis)Continuities in Everyday Life and the Lab (on November 11th, 16:00 – 17:30, Meeting Hall 4/A), with Ryan Burns and Maria Sourbati, and with Stefan Baack. Prof Helen Kennedy (Sheffield) will be respondent.  

Join us in Prague, and if you are a parent maybe you are interested in the Academic parents group and information that we set up for the conference with Tereza.

Imagining Data Futures: Mediated (Dis)Continuities in Everyday Life and the Lab, on November 11th, 16:00 – 17:30, Meeting Hall 4/A

Chair: Helen Kennedy, United Kingdom
Panellist:  R. Burns, United Kingdom
Panellist:  M. Sourbati, United Kingdom
Panellist:  A. Fotopoulou, United Kingdom
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Where next in Digital culture & communication?

c20d3e7877Back from the festive Salzburg, where I co-organised the workshop of the Digital Culture and Communication section of ECREA, with the Department of Communication Studies, Center for ICT&S, University of Salzburg & partnered with the Centre for Research on Media Innovations (CeRMI) at the University of Oslo. Although initially I was sceptical about the theme Standards, Values and Disruptions, and had difficulty finding its relevance to my research, it turned out to be a good provocation – not only for me, but also for many of the participants. The workshop was a cosy two-days, with low key discussions and a few more challenging ones.

I enjoyed Helen Kennedy’s (University of Sheffield) keynote talk on Wednesday; she gave an overview of data visualisation initiatives (including hers and her colleagues’). When she mentioned interviewing people in businesses about their obsession with numbers and quantification, I couldn’t help thinking about my own auto-ethnographic experience using Fitbit – where my obsession and fetishisation of numbers and of diagrams hit an unfamiliar, to me, high. I write about this in detail in my peer-reviewed article ‘Training to self-care: Fitness tracking, biopedagogy and the healthy consumer’ (with Kate O’Riordan, under review at the moment). Helen linked numbers and quantification to proof of success; in my work, I link it to proof of my productivity, and drawing from Melissa Gregg’s key work, to a characteristic anxiety with productivity of the middle classes – particularly the academic middle class worker.

Helen also showed some examples of Stefanie Posavec’s creative work with data, which reminded me about how data means many different things to people and, like all things, they can be good, bad, ugly or beautiful.

The workshop was a good place to re-visit the scope of the Section. As Vice Chair of the Section, it was reassuring to hear the opinions of our Section members during the business meeting. It is true that social media is a thematic that pertains many ECREA sections (see for example the excellent Political Agency in the Digital Age workshop organised by the Communication & Democracy Section), and it is not a cutting edge development any more. So I agree with many who stated that the Section should maintain its cutting edge focus – currently around datafication & society – while at the same time maintaining its critical stance to all things that relate to digital culture and communication.

Looking forward to the next ECREA in Prague in November 2016!

Telling the story of the stories article

Telling the story of the stories: online content curation and digital engagement

The last (I think) of the research Outputs from the Storycircle project (Goldsmiths, University of London) that ended in July 2013, just got published online in the academic journal Information, Communication and Society. The title ‘Telling the story of the stories: online content curation and digital engagement’, is partly a quote from one of the participants in the study, a community reporter.

In the article, with co-author Prof Nick Couldry (LSE), we explore tensions between the imaginaries and material hindrances that accompany the development of digital infrastructures for narrative exchange and public engagement. Digital infrastructures allow civil society organizations to become narrators of their community lives, and to express solidarity and recognition. Often full development and implementation of such infrastructures result in drastic changes to an organization’s mode of operation. Drawing from empirical material collected during an action research project with an organization of community reporters in the North of England, here we examine the visions of ‘telling the story of the stories’ that motivated such changes, the experiments in web analytics and content curation that in practice realized these visions and the socio-economic contexts that constrained them. We attend to the wider social imaginaries about the digital as they help us understand better how social actors construct the worlds they want to inhabit within information society through mundane everyday practices. Examining how perceptions of digital engagement translate into such concrete practices is necessary in order to gain insight into the ways in which material infrastructures, such as resources and technologies, intertwine with social and cultural expectations about how life should be with digital technologies.

SUSNET website launch

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SusNet. Sustaining networked knowledge: expertise, feminist media production, art and activism

The SusNet network brings together feminist cultural production, art and activist practices and enables exchanges between different researchers, activists, artists and aims to contribute to knowledge exchanges across these areas and beyond.

 

Its primary nodes are the CCN+ Expertise Workshop in 2012, the 2013 Lesbian Lives Conference in Brighton, the May 2013 Queer, Feminist Social Media Praxis workshop (Sussex Centre for Cultural studies), the special edition of ADA Issue 5: Queer, Feminist Media Praxis, and the FemTechNet panel and SusNet launch after the event Postdigital: Critical Responses.

Outputs of NEMODE project

The NEMODE-funded research has now finished and has provided the following outputs (published at the NEMODE website):

Report on Research placement

The Final Report from the placement is available here: AFotopoulou_Nemode End of Placement052014

Slides:

‘All these emotions, all these yearnings, all these data’, a presentation on platform openness, data sharing and visions democracy. Slides available here: AFotopoulou NEMODE slides 01

‘Climbing Gotzilla with Fitbit: Apps, sensors and all these data’ presentation slides available here: AFotopoulou NEMODE slides 02

Forthcoming Outputs:

  • Participation now! section of Open Democracy (e-magazine) commissioned piece about the Quantified Self. Participation now is a platform co- ordinated by the Open University, which aims to facilitate debate and mutual learning among the many different actors involved, so that we better understand these new forms of public participation in the broader social and political context in which they are situated.
  • Article in The Conversation: Curated by professional editors, The Conversation offers informed commentary and debate on the issues affecting our world.
  • Academic Paper entitled Quantifying the Self: All these emotions, all these yearnings, all these data has been accepted by the Academic Committee of the 10T H IN T E R N A T I O N A L CO N F E R E N C E  CR O S S R O A D S I N CU L T U R A L ST U D I E S that will be held in Tampere, Finland, July 1-4, 2014.

 

Tracking biodata: sharing and ownership

The placement has now finished and has provided the following outputs (published at the NEMODE website):

Report on Research placement

The Final Report from the placement is available here: AFotopoulou_Nemode End of Placement052014

Slides:

‘All these emotions, all these yearnings, all these data’, a presentation on platform openness, data sharing and visions democracy. Slides available here: AFotopoulou NEMODE slides 01

‘Climbing Gotzilla with Fitbit: Apps, sensors and all these data’ presentation slides available here: AFotopoulou NEMODE slides 02

Forthcoming Outputs:

  • Participation now!section of Open Democracy (e-magazine) commissioned piece about the Quantified Self. Participation now is a platform co- ordinated by the Open University, which aims to facilitate debate and mutual learning among the many different actors involved, so that we better understand these new forms of public participation in the broader social and political context in which they are situated.
  • Article in The Conversation: Curated by professional editors, The…

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