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.

Starting at UCSC Science & Justice

This is my first weekend blogpost since moving to California from Brighton, for my research secondment at the Science and Justice Research Center, in Santa Cruz (while I still work on my postdoc in the EPINET project, University of Sussex). The programme of the Center looks really exciting, and I look forward to attending my first research event next Wednesday, January 22, with the President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Peter Yu, as well as UCSC-based David Haussler, which opens up a series of discussions about Science and Justice in an Age of Big Data. At a later date, there will also be a screening of the movie FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement, which was created and produced by UCSC Social Documentary alum Regan Brashear. I also look forward to events organised by Science and Justice Fellows Gene A. Felice II, Sophia Magnone and Andy Murray, entitled Justice in the More-than-Human World: Fostering Care and Affinity in Emergent Collaborations.

My contribution as Visiting Scholar to this fascinating research culture and community will be an interdisciplinary workshop, on March 5th, addressing key issues about the sharing of personal biodata today, which will be co-organised with the Digital Arts & New Media programme and OpenLab. I will post more about this here soon.

Before that, I will be presenting work-in-progress on my project Tracking personal data for use in research: sharing and ownership (funded by RCUK Digital Economy Theme (DE) NEMODE), on February 5th, at Center for Cultural Studies (University of California, Santa Cruz), entitled All these emotions, all these yearnings, all these data’: platform openess, data sharing and visions of democracy‘. All welcome!

CFP Queer, feminist digital media praxis Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology | adanewmedia.org Issue 4, May 2014

Call for papers
Queer, feminist digital media praxis
Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology | adanewmedia.org
Issue 4, May 2014

Editors: Aristea Fotopoulou (University of Sussex), Alex Juhasz (Pitzer College), Kate O’Riordan (University of Sussex/ University of California, Santa Cruz)

We invite contributions to a peer-reviewed special issue that brings together artistic, theoretical, critical and empirical responses to a range of questions around mediation, technology and gender equality. In particular we are interested in exploring what the concept of praxis could offer in our thinking about the intersections of gender, digital media, and technology.

Praxis in both Marxist and in Arendtian political thought brings together theory, philosophy and political action into the realm of the everyday. Inspired from this premise, and continuing the conversations that started during the workshop Queer, feminist social media praxis at the University of Sussex in May 2013 (queerfemdigiact.wordpress.com), we focus here on the conditions for a feminist digital media praxis. Media praxis, in other words the “making and theorising of media towards stated projects of world and self-changing” (mediapraxis.org), could be a vital component of feminist and/or queer political action. We are interested in the different modes of political action for social justice, enabled by digital technologies and social media, including theory, art, activism or pedagogy. What kinds of possibilities or impossibilities do these technologies and platforms offer for interpreting and intervening in the world?

The fourth issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology seeks submissions that explore the concept of feminist, queer, digital media praxis. We welcome unpublished work from scholars of any discipline and background, including collaborative, non-traditional, or multimodal approaches that can especially benefit from the journal’s open access online status.
Topics and approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Affect, desire and disgust
  • Diffractive readings
  • Digital storytelling
  • Herstories, archiving and remembering
  • Feminist pedagogy
  • LGBTQ Youth
  • New media bodies
  • Imaginaries, futures and technological utopias
  • Radical art practices
  • Science, technology and social justice


We invite submissions for individual papers on any of the above themes or related themes. Contributions in formats other than the traditional essay are encouraged; please contact the editor to discuss specifications and/or multimodal contributions.

All submissions should be sent by 15th August, to A.Fotopoulou@sussex.ac.uk. They should be accompanied by the following information in the email message with your submission attachment:

  • Name(s), affiliation(s), email address(es) of the person(s) submitting.
  • Title of the text
  • Abstract of 400-600 words

Please note that Ada uses a two-level review process that is open to members of the Fembot Collective. For more information about our review policy, see these guidelines: http://adanewmedia.org/beta-reader-and-review-policy/.

Important dates:

– Deadline for abstracts: 15th August 2013
– Notification of accepted papers: 1st September 2013
– Deadline for full essays: 5th December 2013
– Expected publication date: May 2014

About Ada:

Ada is an online, open access, open source, peer-reviewed journal run on a nonprofit basis by feminist media scholars from Canada, the UK, and the US. The journal’s first issue was published online in November 2012 and has so far received more than 75,000 page views. Ada operates a review process that combines the feminist mentorship of fan communities with the rigor of peer review. Read more at http://adanewmedia.org/beta-reader-and-review-policy/. We do not — and will never — charge fees for publishing your materials, and we will share those materials using a Creative Commons License.

Information about the editors:

Aristea Fotopoulou is postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, working at the intersections of media & cultural studies with science & technologies studies. She is interested in critical aspects of digital culture, emerging technologies and social change, and in feminist/queer theory. She has written about digital networks and feminism, and recently, on information politics and knowledge production, and on social imaginaries of digital engagement. She currently explores practices of sharing in relation to biosensors and other smart technologies, and also works with Kate to produce SusNet, a co-created platform of feminist cultural production, art and activism.

Alexandra Juhasz is Professor of Media Studies, Pitzer College. She has written multiple articles on feminist, fake, and AIDS documentary. Her current work is on and about YouTube, and other more radical uses of digital media. She has produced the feature films, The Owls, and The Watermelon Woman, as well as nearly fifteen educational documentaries on feminist issues like teenage sexuality, AIDS, and sex education. Her first book, AIDS TV: Identity, Community and Alternative Video (Duke University Press, 1996) is about the contributions of low-end video production to political organizing and individual and community growth.

Kate O’Riordan is Reader in Digital Media and Associate Professor of Art at the University of Sussex and the University of California Santa Cruz respectively. She is the author and editor of three books, most recently The Genome Incorporated: Constructing Biodigital Identity. Her interests and expertise range from gender, sexuality and digital culture to human cloning, genomics and other biodigital symptoms. She is currently engaged in work at the intersections of art, science and media about in-vitro meat, biosensors and smart grids and questions about sustaining knowledge in feminist art and activism.

http://fembotcollective.org/blog/2013/07/09/cfp-ada-issue-4-queer-feminist-digital-media-praxis/

Alex Galloway ‘In the Aftermath of the Cybernetic Hypothesis’

On the 16th of May I attended the workshop ‘In the Aftermath of the Cybernetic Hypothesis’, organised by the Digital and Social Media Research Theme at the University of Sussex. Guest speaker Alexander R. Galloway (New York University) proposed a way of thinking about the history of information and the emergence of computational systems which is interesting. Here is the abstract disseminated before the workshop:

“In an essay from 2001, the French collective Tiqqun speaks of what they call the cybernetic hypothesis: “[A]t the end of the twentieth century the image of steering, that is to say management, has become the primary metaphor to describe not only politics but all of human activity as well.” The cybernetic hypothesis is a vast experiment beginning in the overdeveloped nations after World War II and eventually spreading to swallow the planet in an impervious logic of administration and interconnectivity. What are the origins of the cybernetic hypothesis, and what are its futures? This talk offers a media archeology of cybernetics through an exploration of nineteenth-century chronophotography, the history of the pixel, developments in computer modeling, bit arrays and grid systems, and that most enigmatic cybernetic device, the black box. Instead of contributing to the many heroic histories of cybernetics that already populate the cultural imagination, this talk aims to uncover
an alternative history of digital systems via an examination of the aesthetics and politics of control”. Continue reading “Alex Galloway ‘In the Aftermath of the Cybernetic Hypothesis’”

Media power revolution at Goldsmiths in April

Last month, I attended the Media, Power & Revolution: Making the 21st Century which took place on 2, 3, 4 April 2012 at the Senate House in London.The event was organised by the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre (Programme).

In the opening address on Day 1, James Curran gave some interesting statistics about the role of the internet in politics. For instance, he noted how people still largely rely on television for news information – 79% of UK readers have never read a blog and only 24% of Egyptian population actually have internet connection. Continue reading “Media power revolution at Goldsmiths in April”