In the age of digital globalization, we are invested in learning more about the emerging forms of digital life that shoot up through the dominant structures of the global media industries--the "beasts" of the new digital ecology. In these critical media practices, we locate hidden spaces of digital creativity, the transposition of traditional cultural practices and aesthetics, and a kind of power-from-below for those marginalized by global development.

Researching and Making Emergent media

Digital media practices are an important site of emerging critical work in cultural studies.

Media Cultures

We believe that ethnographic approaches, qualitative research, cultural experience and aesthetic making are the foundation of new movements in media and cultural studies. Particularly, we are invested in the question of media ecologies and conjuncture. 

Digital and Media Subcultures we've Researched

  • Tween girls, online trolls, selfies and video blogging
  • digital hip-hop production in the US and Global Souths
  • Hip-Hop sound systems and safe space at predominantly white institutions
  • Dance music events and inclusive venues
  • Web 2.0 and practices of African self-representation
  • Culture-responsive digital production environments
  • African women and girls online
  • Social media and the Black Lives Matter movement

Projects We Like

1. Centre for Disruptive Media

"Disruptive Media is a term we have adapted from business where a disruptive media technology is one ‘that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network’ The Centre for Disruptive Media is looking to meet the challenge of such digital technologies: 1) by studying and researching disruptive digital technologies.  2) by experimenting with the development and use of disruptive digital media, including open source, open access, open data and open education resources, augmented reality, mobile and geolocative media. 3) by disrupting and displacing the existing market by creating and exploring new economic models and new economies."

2. Southside Stories

"South Side Stories aims to raise the voices of African American youth ages 13-24 living on the South Side of Chicago, and create an innovative body of social science research and education to better inform community members who work with youth.

Digital stories are created in a series of media-intensive workshops facilitated by educators. At a digital storytelling workshop’s core is its story circle, an empowerment-based process that elicits youths’ stories in response to a series of oral and written prompts. Participants craft a script and use video editing tools to integrate images, effects, and music, resulting in a short video akin to an in-depth interview, memoir or poem.

Digital stories are rich narratives relating critical life experiences through short multimedia videos. Digital storytelling has been used to document and preserve communal stories and histories, develop leaders, and to advance social causes. Using a community-building framework, Ci3 and its community partners will use digital stories and contextual research to inform the development of communications and interventions to create positive change in individuals, families, schools, communities and public policy."

3. StoryCorps Outloud

"StoryCorps recognizes the profound historical importance of capturing the stories of the LGBTQ community and the urgent need for this work to happen now. StoryCorps OutLoud is a multi-year initiative dedicated to recording and preserving LGBTQ stories across America.

OutLoud will honor the stories of those who lived before the 1969 Stonewall uprisings, celebrate the lives of LGBTQ youth, and amplify the voices of those most often excluded from the historical record. The end result will be a diverse collection of stories that will enrich our nation’s history."

4. TRANS*H4CK

"We shift the ways trans*, gender non conforming, agender and non binary people live by creating technology that economically empowers, improves access to social services, promotes gender safety and community sustainability, while bringing visibility to trans* tech innovators and entrepreneurs.

Since our launch in 2013, Trans*H4CK has become the hub for transgender visibility in tech and entrepreneurship. We've had over 600 transgender developers, designers, and aspiring coders present at our hackathons, producing mobile apps that are used by trans* and gender non-conforming people across the country. 

Additionally, our speaker series has featured the stories of leading transgender executives, innovators, and emerging leaders--stories which were previously absent from the tech landscape."

5. Digital Activism Research Project

The Digital Activism Research Project (DARP) was founded in the fall of 2012 in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington in Seattle. Since its founding, DARP has been committed to taking a rigorously empirical, social science approach to the study of global digital activism, civic engagement, non-violent conflict and citizen journalism. Its approach is open and collaborative, and the project has engaged students both at UQ and at other universities in tis work, as well as making all its work accessible to the public through Creative Commons licensing. We believe that the study of global digital activism can and must be accomplished through open access and cooperation.

Our central project is to construct the first large-N event database of incidents of in which digital media has been used for civic engagement, non-violent conflict, and political activism. The project has been successfully run as pilot project, and USOP support will allow us to complete the coding, build online analysis and visualization tools, and launch a public release of both raw data and key findings for use by foreign policy analysts, journalists, and the interested public.