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[Commlist] cfp & workshops: First African Digital Media Research Methods Symposium

Fri Apr 05 10:32:24 GMT 2019


The First African Digital Media Research Methods Symposium
Dates: 5 - 7 June

Venue: The Africa Media Matrix, Rhodes University, Makhanda (Grahamstown),
South Africa

The School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University is excited to
announce the First African Digital Media Research Methods Symposium. Taking
a broad approach to Digital Methods, from more quantitative methods of
scraping and visualising social media communication, to immersive
ethnographic approaches of studying digital practices in the field, the
symposium promises two days of hands-on learning. Our guests will include
the Head of the Digital Media Research Methods Centre at Queensland
University of Technology (QUT) and author of many books on digital and
social media, including the recent YouTube: Online Video and Participatory
Culture (2018), Prof Jean Burgess, and the current president of the
Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR), also from QUT, Prof Axel Bruns,
the author of Twitter and Society (2014) and his influential new book
"Gatewatching and News Curation Journalism, Social Media, and the Public
Sphere". We will also be hosting leading South African digital researchers
Prof Tanya Bosch (UCT) author of "Rethinking media research in Africa", a
recent chapter in the Palgrave Handbook for Media and Communication Research
in Africa (Edited by Bruce Mutsvairo) and Indra De Lanerolle, from the
Network Society Research Project at Wits, who has headed up several research
initiatives in South Africa and on the continent.
These and other speakers will be delivering both keynotes talks and hands-on
workshops featuring various digital media research methods. South African
and African researchers and post-graduate students are invited to share in
the discussion and to submit an abstract for either a methodology paper or
workshop. We are looking for papers that focus on diverse topics relating to digital
research methodologies, incuding:
.	adapting digital methods for particular African and South African
contexts, . ethical dilemmas in terms of using digital methods in South Africa, . epistemological concerns such as to what extent digital platform reflect the South African public sphere, . debates on the validity of various methodological approaches to
understanding how digitality links to sociality in the South African and
broader African context
.	research stories outlining an experience of a research method and
how methods and concepts related to the digital intersect in the act of
We are looking for workshops that involve participants in a practical manner
on the following topics:
.	Hands-on digital workshops showcasing a digital research method
involving digital data, . Workshopping methodological dilemmas, involving participants in
discussing real-world and hypothetical situations

Submitting an abstract:
Please email your abstract to (digimethods /at/ with METHOD ABSTRACT in
the subject line. Deadline for abstracts is 12 April.

Symposium costs and bursaries:
Participants will be responsible for covering their own accommodation and
travel costs to Makhanda. A R700 conference fee will be payable to cover
catering for the conference. There will be a limited amount of bursaries
available for post-graduate students, which will partially cover travel
costs within South Africa. Please enquire about these as early as possible,
by writing to (digimethods /at/
International Keynote speakers:
Professor Jean Burgess
PhD (Queensland University of Technology), M.Phil (University of
Queensland), B. Arts (Hons) (University of Queensland), B. Mus (Hons)
(University of Queensland)
Jean Burgess is a Professor of Digital Media and Director of the QUT Digital
Media Research Centre (DMRC). Her research focuses on the uses, cultures and
politics of digital media technologies and platforms, as well as new and
innovative methods for studying them. Her co-authored and edited books
include YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (Polity Press, 2009;
2nd edition 2018), Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile
Communication, and the iPhone (Routledge, 2012), A Companion to New Media
Dynamics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), Twitter and Society (Peter Lang, 2014),
and The SAGE Handbook of Social Media (SAGE, 2017). She has worked
successfully with a range of government, industry and not-for-profit
organisations to address the practical challenges and opportunities posed by
digital and social media; as well as to deploy advanced digital methods to
understand and engage with the concerns of their communities.

Professor Axel Bruns
Doctor of Philosophy (University of Queensland)
Dr Axel Bruns is a Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at
Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, and was a Chief
Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and
Innovation (CCi). He is the President of the Association of Internet
Researchers. Bruns is the author of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and
Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008) and Gatewatching: Collaborative
Online News Production (2005), and a co-editor of Twitter and Society
(2014), A Companion to New Media Dynamics (2012) and Uses of Blogs (2006).
Bruns is an expert on the impact of user-led content creation, or produsage,
and his current work focusses on the study of user participation in social
media spaces such as Twitter, especially in the context of acute events. His
research blog is at, and he tweets at @snurb_dot_info.
See for more details on his current social
media research. Bruns has coined the term produsage to better describe the
current paradigm shift towards user-led forms of collaborative content
creation which are proving to have an increasing impact on media, economy,
law, social practices, and democracy itself. Produsage provides a new
approach to conceptualising these phenomena by avoiding the traditional
assumptions associated with industrial-age production models. His study of
these environments builds on his work in the area of participatory or
citizen journalism and blogging. For more information about produsage, see In 1997, Bruns was a co-founder of the premier online
academic publisher M/C - Media and Culture, which publishes M/C Journal and
M/C Reviews, and he continues to serve as M/C's General Editor. Bruns has
served as an Executive Member in the Association of Internet Researchers
(AoIR) and as a Project Leader in the Smart Services Cooperative Research
Centre. He is a member of the editorial boards of Information, Communication
& Society, New Media & Society, and Digital Journalism, amongst others. He
also publishes a column on social media at The Conversation. Bruns's main
research interests are in social media, 'big data' research methods,
produsage, citizen journalism, and online communities.

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