PODCAST: Rebooting smart cities for social justice and digital inclusion

Visions of the ‘smart city’ and ‘internet of things (IOT)’ drive an acceleration of the incorporation of digital technologies into the urban environment, directing the aims and agendas of government and large corporations at various levels in many cities around the world. Conspicuously absent in many templates for smart cities are the key issues of social justice, digital inclusion, and sustainability, for a range of people who live in cities. There is also little recognition in smart city discussions that vast numbers of everyday urban interactions and processes are already heavily mediated and managed, producing new forms and uses of data, urban experiences and social and digital inequalities. In this interactive workshop, we discuss how to reimagine and reshape the smart city agenda – and other digital city visions – for fairer, democratic futures, and better city life for all. A panel of experts from across research, planning, local government, and technology sectors will explore issues and map out priorities with attendees, such as new access barriers to sensors, platforms and infrastructures, dataveillance and profiling, differential mobilities, data exclusion, super- connected vs un/under-connected zones, digital labour and rights to the digital city.

Panellists: Kurt Iveson, Associate Professor of Urban Geography in the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney; Marcus Foth, Director of the QUT Design Lab, founder of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, and Professor in Interactive & Visual Design, School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology; Pauline McGuirk, Professor of Human Geography, University of Wollongong; Robyn Dowling, Associate Dean Research and Professor of Urbanism in the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney; Nathaniel Bavinton, Smart City Coordinator at the City of Newcastle; Jamie Cauchi, leads the Victorian Government’s Connected Cities and Public Wi-Fi program; Sarah Barns, Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University and Smart City advisor.

PODCAST: Mixed realities – Intersections in (cyber)space and the poetics of metadata

Mixed reality blends the real and the virtual both visually and semantically, challenging existing forms of representation, meaning, ownership, and agency. New technologies raise new questions – but will they necessarily reinforce the same systems of identity and control? Where the virtual collides with the real everything is up for grabs — again (Image: New Scientist, https://www.newscientist.com).

Mark Pesce is best known as co-inventor of VRML, which brought 3D graphics to the Web. Pesce has written six books and co-founded postgraduate programs at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema, and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. Since 2006 he has held an Honorary appointment in the Digital Cultures Program at the University of Sydney.

PODCAST: In Conversation with Jack Linchuan Qiu

What are the frontiers of emergent media and communication today? What are the cultural, political, and justice issues arising from the heightened role that technology plays in social life, particularly among people who are marginalized and disenfranchised? What are the unfolding concerns for media, especially in relation to digital rights and governance, across different global societies, especially in the Asia-Pacific? How do we make sense and intervene into the central predicament of communication now – the great potential and opportunities that the diffusion and take-up of digital technologies offer, yet the lack of democracy in communication and media themselves? What are the possibilities of global initiatives to reform and reimagine media for social betterment, such as the International Panel on Social Progress, the Internet Social Forum, the Justnet Coalition, or other endeavours? To explore and debate these issues, this event presents Professor Jack Qiu, a leading thinker on communication, social movements, and activism, in conversation with Sydney-based scholars, Professor Ariadne Vromen (USYD), Associate Professor Haiqing Yu (UNSW), Dr Benedetta Brevini (USYD), Associate Professor Kurt Iveson (USYD) and Professor Gerard Goggin (USYD), as well as attendees. Jack will open the conversation with his ongoing projects on digital capitalism, labour, and platform cooperativism in the contexts of Hong Kong, China, and Southeast Asia. He will also speak about his observations as a member of editorial teams for various academic journals such as Journal of Communication and Information, Communication & Society: the world needs a new praxis of digital media research. How can we all contribute to it?

Jack Linchuan Qiu (http://jack.com.cuhk.edu.hk/) is Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he serves as deputy director of the C-Centre (Centre for Chinese Media and Comparative Communication Research). His publications include Goodbye iSlave (Univ of Illinois Press, 2016), World’s Factory in the Information Age (Guangxi Normal Univ Press, 2013), Working-Class Network Society (MIT Press, 2009), Mobile Communication and Society (co-authored, MIT Press, 2006). He is on the editorial boards of 12 international academic journals, and is Associate Editor for Journal of Communication. He also works with grassroots NGOs and provides consultancy services for international organizations.

PODCAST: Tweeting trump – the alt-right and mainstreaming of white nationalism by Jessie Daniels

In this engaging talk, Jessie Daniels draws on 20 years of research to demonstrate that white supremacy is neither new nor an aberration, but rather a consistent feature of the US political landscape. Savvy white nationalists and members of the ‘alt-right’ movement use culture jamming tactics on Facebook and Twitter to inject racist memes like #WhiteGenocide into popular political and cultural discussions. And, @realDonaldTrumpretweets them all to his 5 million-plus followers. In response to this increased visibility and amplification of white supremacy in the mainstream of US political culture, white liberals express shock at what they perceive is a new development. It is not.

Jessie Daniels is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, New York City, and an internationally recognized expert in Internet manifestations of racism. Her visit to Australia is being supported by Western Sydney University’s Building Digital Antiracism Capacity collaboration. Jessie is the author of White Lies (Routledge, 1997) and Cyber Racism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), along with dozens of scholarly articles. Since 2007, Daniels has published Racism Review, a credible and reliable resource for anyone seeking evidence-based research on race, racism, ethnicity and immigration. Forbes named her ‘one of 20 inspiring women to follow on Twitter.’ She tweets as @JessieNYC.

PODCAST: Disability, mobility, and the frontiers of media by Gerard Goggin

The nature of media has significantly altered, with repeated calls to look beyond narrow accounts of nineteenth and twentieth century media, to recognize the complexity, breadth, depth, divergent social functions of media environments, infrastructures, social practices, formats, and technologies. In particular, the area of mobile communication offers a wealth of examples that prompt us to engage in such fundamental rethinking of media. In this talk, Professor Gerard Goggin provides a perspective on mobile communication and contemporary media, the ferment in the research field and its theories, its politics and policy coordinates, via the emerging area of disability media studies. He argues that the social and cultural movements of disability and critical disability research (as they intersect with other categories and movements) offer new ways of understanding societies and media. To illustrate his talk, Professor Goggin will draw on two case studies in the area of emergent mobile communication and media: the mobile phone as haptic media; and driverless cars as communication.

Professor Gerard Goggin is Professor of Media and Communications, University of Sydney, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, studying disability, digital technology, and human rights, and with a longstanding interest in Internet histories. He is currently working on two related books from this project, Reimagining Mobile Communicationand Communication Rights after Disability: Global Media Policy, Human Rights, and Digital Technology. Other publications include Digital Disability(2003; with Christopher Newell) and Disability and the Media(2015; with Katie Ellis).

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).