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[ecrea] 2018 DMRC Summer School

Tue Aug 22 22:52:51 GMT 2017

2018 DMRC Summer School

Applications are now open for the 2018 DMRC Summer School
5-9 February 2018, Brisbane, Australia | #dmrcss18

Building on the success of the 2017 DMRC Summer School and the 2015 and 2016 CCI Digital Methods Summer Schools, we are looking forward to welcoming another cohort of participants from all over the world to Brisbane next February. This diverse group of PhD students and early career researchers will come together to share their knowledge and to develop new skills and critical methods for studying for our rapidly changing digital media environments and increasingly datafied societies.

While some popular platforms, like Twitter, have been extensively studied by social science and humanities researchers and offer established methodologies, emerging digital media phenomena are creating new ethical, methodological, and conceptual challenges – from Instagram’s changing API access to the influence of algorithms, the dynamics of cross-platform cultures and private messaging, the black boxing of platform governance, and the growing prevalence of visual media. The summer school will inspire and challenge participants to seek new approaches to sociocultural research, and to engage critically and creatively with the practices, platforms, technologies and economies of digital media communication.

Digital methods workshops

Below are some of the digital methods workshops that will be offered in 2018:

Advanced Social Media Analytics – Axel Bruns (QUT)
Particularly when working with large social media datasets, quantitative and mixed-methods approaches that draw especially on visual representations of ‘big data’ are now an indispensable part of the the analytics process. This data analytics and visualisation workshop focusses on a number of emerging standard tools and methods for large-scale data analytics, using Twitter data to illustrate these approaches. It introduces participants to the open-source Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolkit (TCAT) as a capable and reliable tool for data gathering from the Twitter API, and to the high-end data analytics software Tableau as a powerful means of processing and visualising large datasets. The skills gained in the workshop are also transferrable to working with other large datasets from social media and other sources.

The App Walkthrough – Jean Burgess (QUT)
Software applications (apps) are the site of significant sociocultural and economic transformations across many domains, from health and relationships to entertainment and finance. As relatively closed systems, apps pose methodological challenges for digital media research. In this session, we will discuss a new approach, the walkthrough method, which combines cultural studies and science and technology studies (STS) as a lens for critical app analysis. Participants will learn how to establish an app’s environment of expected use by assessing its vision, operating model, and modes of governance. They will also gain hands-on experience using the walkthrough technique to systematically step through the stages of registration, everyday use, and discontinuation to identify the app’s embedded cultural meanings and implied ideal users.

Instagrammatics and visual social media – Tim Highfield (QUT)
Visual content is a critical component of everyday social media, on platforms explicitly framed around the visual (Instagram, Snapchat), on those offering a mix of text and images in myriad forms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr), and in apps and profiles where visual presentation and provision of information are important considerations. Making use of shared elements of social media content, such as hashtags, memes, and formal and informal conventions of communication, the methods used in this workshop position visual social media within the wider social media ecosystem. The workshop provides a hands-on means for approaching visual social media, giving participants the opportunity to interrogate what they might do with such data and what visual media and methods might contribute to research. The workshop will also elicit critical considerations around working with visual data, dynamic data, archival questions (and the challenges of collating such an archive in light of Instagram’s Terms of Use), and ethical issues, including privacy.

Encrypt all the things!!! Digital Privacy and Security for Researchers — Brenda Moon (QUT) and Felix Münch (QUT) The political upheavals of 2016 support Edward Snowden’s warnings of a turn-key surveillance state. As the aftermath of the military coup in Turkey shows, academics can be amongst the first targets of autocratic governments. Even in supposedly stable democracies, the passing of surveillance laws and indcrease in hacking attacks threatens the security of data and communication. In addition, researchers mostly do not enjoy the protection of information provided to lawyers, medical doctors, and clergy. Recognising these increasing risks, researchers need to become more aware of digital methods to protect their research and sources. In this hands-on workshop, we address threats a researcher should protect against, explain basics of computer security, the encryption of data and communication, and provide recommendations for existing tools.

Towards Feminist Digital Media Research Methods — Alison Harvey (University of Leicester) and Bridget Conor (Kings College London) Digital and data-driven research methods in media and communication have reignited old debates about positionality and positivism as well as objectivity, subjectivity, and situated reflexivity. In this workshop, we will discuss these questions in light of participants’ research projects and interests, and explore the relationship between big and small data, ethical obligations and an ethics of care, and the politics of (in)visibility in contemporary digital media research. Through this conversation we aim to illuminate existing best practices in our collective work and to collaboratively develop recommendations for more ethical, caring, and critical ways of engaging in digital media research.

Other activities

In addition to the week-long program of hands-on digital methods workshops, participants will be able to get feedback and mentoring on their own projects, to work on new collaborations, and to engage with industry, government and community stakeholders.

As the program and schedule develop, updates will be provided both on this page and via email to accepted participants. You might also want to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

The 2018 DMRC Summer School will be held in Brisbane, Australia, at Queensland University of Technology’s Creative Industries Precinct, part of the Kelvin Grove campus. The Creative Industries Precinct is a comfortable walk from the city centre.

Brisbane is the state capital of Queensland, on the Pacific coast of Australia. Queensland is home to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, the beaches of the Sunshine and Gold Coasts either side of Brisbane, and the rainforests and coastal adventures of far-north Queensland. February is summer in Australia, and if you’re based the northern hemisphere, we strongly recommend you shake off winter by coming to visit us for the summer school and staying to experience all the region has to offer.
Fees and accommodation

The fee for the week-long program is $750 (Australian dollars). The fee covers daytime catering and social events.

All participants will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own travel and accommodation, as well as for arranging visas if required. There is a range of affordable accommodation options, both on and close to the Kelvin Grove campus, which is a short drive or comfortable walk from the city centre. Specific information on accommodation options will be provided to successful applicants later in the process.
How to apply

Applications are now open to currently enrolled PhD candidates and recent PhD graduates (no more than 3 years out from PhD). To apply, simply complete the Google form by 30 September 2017. If you are unable to access the Google form, please contact us at (dmrc /at/ and we will help you to provide the information in a different way.
Key dates

    Applications open: 22 August 2017
    Applications close: 30 September 2017
    Applicants notified: 6 October 2017
    Registration and payments due: 31 November
    Summer School: 5-9 February 2018


Please contact us at (dmrc /at/ if you have any questions about the Summer School.

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