Media@Sydney Seminars, Semester One 2015

For more information on any seminar, please contact

Digging the Data: How to Research and the Implications of New Media Data

Friday 17 April
10:00am - 5:00pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)
Entry off Manning Road

Co-hosted by Media@Sydney and ANZCA

Full program and event registration

The proliferation of data generated by new media devices has exploded within the last few years, leading to the development of new and exciting possibilities of connected, linked and deep data. The market place has seen new and emerging start-ups that operate in and around new media data, policy makers are unsure of how to govern and regulate this emerging area of activity, and finally, researchers and academics are especially interested in this field as it presents new ways of understanding the world around us. By being able to ask new questions of once exhausted research sites and to make sense of research data in new and exploratory ways, both opportunities and challenges manifest for those working and researching in this field.

Digging the Data explores the state of the field for digital research methods within the media and communication discipline. With a backdrop of the digital humanities, this preconference will explore the tensions between humanities scholars and computer scientists collaboratively working on digital media projects. Both research specialists have different expertise, vastly different scholarly trajectories and often speak different languages. However, when working collaboratively, the disciplines can develop novel research questions, unique research methodologies, focus on areas previously inaccessible and explore previously exhausted research environments.

Building on a developing digital methods field within the Australian context, Digging the Data seeks to align and build upon the existing work done in this area, namely social media research from QUT’s Social Media Research Group and Swinburne’s Grey Literature Strategies research. The University of Sydney’s contribution is to explore digital research methods for data generated by mobile devices, locative and mobile media, and emerging technologies such as GIS spatial data and sensory technologies.

Working with Big Data: Planning your eResearch

Friday 27 March
10:00am - 12:00pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)
Entry off Manning Road

Register here

As social data sources multiply, working with big data will is becoming a critical field of enquiry for humanities researchers and social scientists. Making sure your eResearch project gets off to a good start requires access to cross-disciplinary expertise as well as effective planning to determine what you will collect, how and where it will be stored and accessed, and how you might index, clean and analyse your corpus – and who you might share it with.

This seminar brings together eResearchers working on ARC funded projects, and staff from NSW Intersect and ICT to talk about you can best scope and budget your pilot studies. The seminar will cover other issues such as effective collaboration, infrastructure support services and research data management.


Working with big data: A guide to planning your project
Dr Fiona Martin (Dept. Media & Communications, University of Sydney)
Mr Aidan Wilson (now NSW Intersect)

Challenges in eResearch Collaboration
Dr Peter Sefton, eResearch Manager, UTS
Maureen Henninger, Senior lecturer in Information and Knowledge Management, UTS

Working with NSW Intersect and the National Computing Infrastructure
Jeremy Hammond, NSW Intersect, University of Sydney liaison

Developing Your Business Case and Research Data Management Plan
Justin Chang, ICT University of Sydney

Digital Domesday: Saturation Surveillance and the New Serfdom

Graham Murdock, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University

Friday 20 February
5:30pm - 7:00pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)
Entry off Manning Road

This seminar is presented by Media@Sydney and Sydney Democracy Network

William the Conqueror’s ambition to compile a total inventory of his kingdom in the Domesday Book attracted critical comment from contemporaries for its obsessiveness. Nothing as comprehensive was attempted again until the nineteenth century, when escalating official concerns with internal security and external defence found themselves in permanent tension with demands for the extension of citizenship rights and the rapid growth of new forms of communication.

This paper traces the development of the core institutions and ideologies of modern security and explores how the convergence of recent shifts in economic, political and communications landscapes have combined to shift surveillance from selectivity to saturation. Digital systems stand at the centre of this complex as both a primary target of state monitoring and the basis of a business model for the leading online companies that requires the total capture of users’ attention and activity.

The result is the reinvention of the Domesday project for digital times and rise of a new serfdom with citizens once again becoming subjects and toiling in the digital fields controlled by the new landlords.

Graham Murdock is Professor of Culture and Economy at the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. His work on the changing organisation and impact of contemporary communication systems ranges from studies of institutional structures to research on cultural forms and everyday practices but he is particularly well known for his work in the critical political economy of culture and communications, an area where he has played a major role in developing contemporary perspectives.

He has held the Bonnier Chair at the University of Stockholm and the Teaching Chair at the Free University of Brussels and been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of California, Mexico City, Leuven, Helsinki, Curtin Western Australia, and Bergen. He has taught at a number of Chinese universities and is currently visiting professor in the School of Arts and Communications at the South-Central University for Nationalities in Wuhan and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Cultural Studies Centre in Beijing International Studies University.

His work is available in 19 languages. His recent books include; as co-editor, Digital Dynamics: Engagements and Disconnections (Hampton 2010), The Idea of the Public Sphere (Lexington 2010), The Blackwell Handbook of Political Economy of Communication (2011) and Money Talks: Media, Markets, Crisis (forthcoming in 2015). His current research focuses on the struggle for control of the internet and the future of public culture in the digital age.

Health, Media and Society: Promoting Health in a Complex Environment

Thursday, 12 February 2015
4:00pm - 5:30pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)
Entry off Manning Road

Public communication on health concerns conventionally centre on models in which the existence of the condition is attributed to individual choices. These models advocate collaboration between government and the market to steer people’s choices toward a healthier life. However, by applying validated health psychology models many campaigns have been confronted with public apathy or resistance to the offered lifestyle change proposals.

In addition, a multitude of organisations, media, and stakeholders have created a cacophony of ideas and proposals that have made it difficult to sustain human health development, cultural sensitivity and organisational efficacy. Are the media and other (communication) systems themselves potentially contributing to the dilemma?

In this roundtable, distinguished scholars from the University of Sydney, Fudan University (China) and Nottingham University (UK) will discuss strategies towards a more integrated, community-oriented and humanistic approach to the relationship between media, communication and public health.

University of Sydney
Dr Olaf Werder, Department of Media And Communications
Professor Gerard Goggin, Department of Media and Communications
Dr Fiona Giles, Chair of Department, Media and Communications

Fudan University, Shanghai, China, School of Public Health Delegates
Prof Fu Hua, Director, Institute of Health Communication
Associate Prof Zheng Pin-pin, Fudan School of Public Health
Associate Prof Shi Hui-jing, Deputy Director, Dept. of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health
Associate Prof Qian Haihong, Deputy Director, Fudan Health Communication Institute (HCI)
Dr. Gao Junling, Department of Health Education and Health Promotion
Dr. Wang Fan, Assistant Director, Institute of Health Communication

University of Nottingham, UK, Faculty of Health Sciences
Prof Paul Crawford, Director, Centre for Social Futures and Nottingham Health Humanities, Fellow, Royal Society of Arts and Academy of Social Sciences

Towson University
Professor Beth Haller

Media@Sydney Seminars, Semester Two 2014

Is there a role for humour in the independent political media?

Julianna Forlano, City University New York, Brooklyn College

20 August 2014
5:00pm - 6:30pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)

Entry off Manning Road, near the 19th century machine sculpture

Register here

Is humour appropriate when political issues are serious and critical? In this talk, Professor Julianna Forlano, host of of the award-winning news parody series Absurdity Today, will cover the psychological, and psycho-social reasons why humour works effectively and study what happens when it does not. She will also discuss how media practitioners can harness humour effectively to increase audience engagement.

Julianna Forlano is a humorist, activist, writer and academic. She is the host of The Julianna Forlano Show on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City and The Progressive Voices Radio Network. She is also the host and creator of the award-winning syndicated political news parody Absurdity Today which can be found on DirectTV and Dish Network’s FSTV, The Young Turks Online Network and other outlets. Ms Forlano also produces The Laughing Liberally Lab, a live political humor showcase in New York City, and has appeared at Barack Obama’s Official Inaugural Ball, the Friar’s Club NY, on The Daily Showand Friends Show, at the Democratic National Convention, several Netroots Nation Conferences, and other venues in the United States. She is a popular guest commentator and appears regularly on TV and radio programs including Huffpost Live, The Randi Rhodes Show, Progressive Voices Radio, Current TV's Viewpoint with John Fugelsang, The Jimmy Dore Show, TYT Network’s The Point, RT and more. She is contributing writer for, The Huffington Post, and other outlets. Her writing can also be found in the Chicago Sun Times, in the book Letters to President Obama and in a forthcoming book on humor and elections. Ms Forlano teaches Media Ethics, Broadcast Journalism, Writing for Broadcast and New Media and Comedic Scriptwriting in the Department of Television & Radio at Brooklyn College.

The Cost of Contact: Mobile phones and the Internet in the lives of people experiencing homelessness

Dr Justine Humphry, University of Western Sydney

22 August 2014
3:00pm - 4:30pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)

Entry off Manning Road, near the 19th century machine sculpture

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This talk reports on the results of research on the use of mobile phones and internet services by people experiencing homelessness. It examines the digital challenges encountered and the strategies and innovations that users come up with to manage their information and communication needs. The research project, funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and carried out in early 2014, included 95 surveys and interviews with clients of specialist homelessness services in Sydney and Melbourne. Support and government department staff were also interviewed to find out about the role of online and mobile technologies in the delivery of services. The research revealed that despite many possessing mobile phones and smart phones, users go for lengthy periods without or with limited access due to credit shortages, service restrictions, handset loss and damage, and high call and data costs. The talk questions assumptions about ubiquity of mobile phone and Internet access in contemporary Australian society and argues for a need to recognise the cost of contact and the differential power relations and life circumstances that shape access and use.

Justine Humphry is a Lecturer of Cultural and Social Analysis at the University of Western Sydney and previously was a Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Digital Cultures Program in the Department of Media and Communication, University of Sydney. She has also taught media and communications, cultural studies and sociology of media at the University of Technology, Sydney and at Macquarie University. She researches and writes about mobile media and professional cultures, and issues of digital inclusion, participatory networks and service delivery. Her current ACCAN-funded research project, Homeless and Connected, examines mobile phones and mobile Internet in the lives of homeless families and young people.

The politics of online media in Vietnam

Dy Nguyen Quang

29 August 2014
3:00pm - 4:30pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)

Entry off Manning Road, near the 19th century machine sculpture

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Over the last few years, more attention has been focused on the impressive growth of online media in Vietnam, including social media and political blogging, as well as the government’s continued control and crackdown on them, which has slowed down the transition process. More recently, the government’s loosening of control on the online media has raised the question of whether this positive shift signals a real opening as a change of heart for long-term prospects or simply a tactical move to use online media for short-term objectives.

As there is some confusion and uncertainty about this shift, it is important not only to look at what’s going on, but also to understand how and why this has come about. For an explanation of the shift and some notions of future developments, we should put this complex issue in perspectives in order to see the deeper political dynamics and interplay of the relevant factors involved. Under certain conditions, the inconsistency and adhocracy of public policy decisions might have been influenced by factionalism, conflict of interests, pressure and fear. Sometimes, a new opportunity might be an unintended consequence of other events.

Dy Nguyen Quang graduated from the Diplomatic Academy in Hanoi with a BA (1971) majoring in English and international relations. He went to the ANU and graduated with a BA honours (1979) focusing on international and strategic studies at the Department of Political Science. He later went to Harvard as a Nieman Fellow (1992-1993). After three decades of extensive experience in foreign service, he retired in 2005 and worked as a senior advisor for the Fulbright School in Saigon (run by Vietnam Program at Harvard) and later for the public policy training program in Hanoi (run by ADB Institute in Tokyo). Now he lives in Hanoi and works as a part-time freelance consultant.

Social media as an alternative public sphere: Bhutan uses Facebook and phones to serve a 21st century democracy

Dr Bunty Avieson, University of Sydney

5 September 2014
3:00pm - 4:30pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)

Entry off Manning Road, near the 19th century machine sculpture

Register Here

The small Himalayan kingdom and new democracy Bhutan is traditionally an oral culture. Reading and newspapers are not part of their cultural habit and newspapers occupy just a small part of the new media landscape that is emerging. While the western world grapples with the loss of the old newspaper business model, to which western societies are economically and emotionally attached, in mainstream Bhutan newspapers are a new phenomenon. In the same decade that a newspaper industry has been launched in the country, so have television and digital communications technology, including mobile telephones. In Europe and elsewhere, the media revolutions of print then electronic and digital occurred over centuries, along with the political and social transformations they facilitated. In Bhutan these revolutions are occurring simultaneously. Even as literacy increases, rising approximately 10 per cent in the past decade to 63 per cent in 2012 (NBS 2014), it is possible that newspapers won’t ever become part of mainstream discourse.

In this presentation Bunty Avieson investigates the thoroughly modern, culturally distinctive media landscape that is developing in Bhutan, creating a dynamic public space for discourse to serve a 21st century democracy. She will show the crucial role that social media is playing in creating this space, which is so necessary for this young democracy. Bhutan offers a compelling case study for media scholars because the landscape that is emerging comes without the baggage of print capitalism which has influenced the development of media landscapes in other parts of the world. Further, the dynamic public space that is opening up via social media offers insights into the role of digital literacy, as distinct from print literacy, over the long term.

Bunty Avieson, a former journalist and author, spent a year in 2008-2009 in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan teaching journalists and editors, as well as advising media stakeholders and consulting to Reporters Without Borders. The way the media landscape is developing in Bhutan, an oral culture, was the subject of her PhD thesis and is an ongoing research interest. Avieson’s journalism practice includes news and feature writing in Britain, Australia and Asia for newspapers and magazines. In the 1990s she was editor of Woman’s Day, and editorial director of New Idea. She has published three novels, a novella and two memoirs, which have been variously translated into Japanese, German and Thai, and been awarded two Ned Kelly Crime Writing Awards for crime fiction.

Surviving the transition to Digital First: News Apps in Asian Mobile Internets

Dr Tim Dwyer, University of Sydney

19 September 2014
3:00pm - 4:30pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)

Entry off Manning Road, near the 19th century machine sculpture

Register Here

As part of an Australian Research Council (ARC)-funded project into the mobile Internet, the research presented in this talk assumes the enduring importance of media diversity, in particular news diversity, as a policy priority in a convergent media era. The purpose of the news diversity research component of this ARC project is to investigate the implications of mobile news content provision, including for the development of media diversity policies. These Asian news case studies (in Hong Kong, South Korea, the PRC and Japan) explore the dynamic relations between old and new media industries in these transformations. The research draws on industry interviews with key personnel (in senior editorial, IT and management roles) in selected news media organisations conducted in 2013 and 2014. In broad terms the research takes a political economy approach to industry change and draws on the rubrics of media convergence to explore cross-media/cross-platform evolution.

Tim Dwyer is senior lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney, Australia. Tim’s research focuses on the critical evaluation of media and communications industries, regulation, media ethics and policy. He is the author of Legal and Ethical Issues in the Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Media Convergence (Open University, 2010) and the co-editor (with Virginia Nightingale) of New Media Worlds: Challenges for Convergence (Oxford, 2007). In another ARC-funded project ‘Sharing News Online’, conducted with a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues and industry partners ninemsn and Share Wars, he’s investigating the practices of sharing news online to develop an analytical framework for monitoring, classifying and interpreting news-sharing practices.

Tales of the Digital Sublime: Tracing the relationship between Big Data and professional sport

Associate Professor Brett Hutchins, ARC Future Fellow, Monash University

31 October 2014
3:00pm - 4:30pm
S226 MECO Seminar Room, Level 2, John Woolley Building (A20)

Entry off Manning Road, near the 19th century machine sculpture

Register here

This talk outlines the relationship between Big Data and sport. Critiquing the hype associated with Big Data, it is explained that modern sport informs the historical rise of this technological phenomenon, serving as a social and cultural site where the accelerating privatisation and commodification of statistics and statistical information occurs. These developments deliver increased entertainment options for fans of many professional men’s sports and an unprecedented number of performance indicators for selected coaches, athletes and pundits. However, the information technology infrastructure and resources required to generate real-time data are adding to widening inequalities between elite ‘data-rich’ sports and comparatively impoverished ‘data-poor’ sports, including many women’s competitions. It is argued that a collective fascination with the digital sublime obscures the complex interaction between corporate power, digital data markets, history and culture, and contributes to inequalities that demand ongoing attention and critique.

Brett Hutchins is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Professor in the School of Media, Film & Journalism at Monash University. His most recent articles appear in Media, Culture & Society, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, and Journal of Sport & Social Issues. His books include the companion volumes, Sport Beyond Television: The Internet, Digital Media and the Rise of Networked Media Sport (co-authored with David Rowe; Routledge 2012), and Digital Media Sport: Technology, Power and Culture in the Network Society (co-edited with David Rowe; Routledge 2013).

Media@Sydney Seminars, Semester One 2014

All seminars will be held on the University of Sydney Camperdown Campus.

For more information contact

Challenging official propaganda? Public opinion leaders on Sina Weibo

Joyce Y.M. Nip

Friday 28 March, 2014
3:00pm - 4:30pm
S226 Seminar Room, Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney

John Woolley Building Level 2, entry off Manning Rd

This study seeks to understand the implications of the Internet on freedom of information and opinion in China by studying the mechanism of formation of public opinion in a series of corruption cases exposed after the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Congress in 2012.

Focusing on Sina Weibo, the study examines the prominence of various users as public opinion leaders in these corruption cases. The research found that ordinary citizens made the largest category that initiated the cases, whereas news organizations and online media were the main actors that set the agenda of and disseminated information about corruption. Reading the messages found that news organizations and online media mainly published similar content to that of official agencies, suggesting that the commonly-held view that the party-state has little influence on Weibo needs revisiting.

Among the most eye-catching cases, cultural and news workers played a significant role in getting messages reposted and commented upon. These findings suggest that while Weibo provides channels for citizens to publish information and opinion, the news media and online outlets remain as the main vehicle of agenda setting and public dissemination. Reputable individuals are able to triumph as public opinion leaders in certain cases. The party-state, with the media under its control, is able to maintain its general domination of public opinion on the Sina Weibo platform.

Register here

Joyce Y.M. Nip is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications and the Department of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney. She was a journalist before becoming an academic, and is an editorial board member of Journalism Practice and Digital Journalism.

Book Launch, Rupert Murdoch: A Reassessment

Tuesday 11 March, 2014
5:00pm - 6:30pm
S226 Seminar Room, Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney

John Woolley Building Level 2, entry off Manning Rd

Media@Sydney and the Department of Government and International Relations invite you to the launch of

Rupert Murdoch: A Reassessment by Emeritus Professor Rodney Tiffen

What is the truth about Rupert Murdoch and his audacious business practices? Tony Abbott thinks that Murdoch is one of the most influential Australians of all time and that we should support our 'hometown hero'. Conrad Black once described his fellow media tycoon as, like Napoleon, 'a great bad man', and said it would be as wrong to doubt his greatness as his badness. American newspaper columnist Mike Royko was cheekier: no self-respecting fish, he said, would be seen dead wrapped in one of Murdoch's papers.

In his landmark book, Rodney Tiffen provides a fresh assessment of a remarkable and controversial media proprietor – his journalism, his unparalleled expansion and his costly failures. It offers a new perspective on the development of Murdoch’s political ideas, his enthusiasm for campaigning, and the way he has transformed political support into policy favours in Canberra, London and Washington. Finally, it examines the phone-hacking and bribery scandals that have wracked Murdoch’s empire, and traces their roots to a corporate culture shaped by one man over six decades.

You are warmly invited to join Rod Tiffen for the launch of Rupert Murdoch: A Reassessment.

Register here

Rodney Tiffen is Emeritus Professor in Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and a leading international scholar of media. His books include News and Power (1989); Scandals: Media, Politics and Corruption in Contemporary Australia (1999); Diplomatic Deceits: Government, Media and East Timor (2001), and numerous other publications on mass media and Australian politics. His most recent book, with Ross Gittins, is How Australia Compares (2nd ed. 2009). He worked with the Media Monitoring Project as an observer during the 1994 South African election, conducted three reviews of Radio Australia, and worked with the independent Finkelstein Inquiry into the media in 2011-12.

Journalism and foreign policy: Covering the Middle East

Carol Giacomo

Monday 10 March, 2014
4:00pm - 5:00pm
S226 Seminar Room, Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney

John Woolley Building Level 2, entry off Manning Rd

Reporting on the foreign affairs agenda of a major world power can have extraordinary personal and political challenges. Veteran New York Times and Reuters journalist Carol Giacomo joins Media@Sydney to talk about the demands of foreign policy journalism and her strategies for dealing with contentious debates, such as the backlash against the recent academic boycott of Israel.

Register here

Carol Giacomo is a foreign affairs editorial writer for The New York Times. She is a former diplomatic correspondent for Reuters in Washington, where she covered foreign policy for the international wire service for more than two decades. As a Reuters correspondent she travelled over one million miles to more than 100 countries with eight Secretaries of State and various other senior U.S. officials. She joined The New York Times editorial board in August 2007. She won the Georgetown University Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting in 2009. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1999-2000 she was a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, researching U.S. economic and foreign policy decision-making during the Asian financial crisis.

In the fall semester of 2013 Carol was the Ferris Professor in Journalism at Princeton University, teaching editorial writing on international issues. She has been a guest lecturer at the U.S. National War College and other academic institutions. Born and raised in Connecticut, she holds a B.A. in English Literature from Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. She began her professional journalism career at the Lowell Sun and later worked for the Hartford Courant in the city hall, state capitol and Washington bureaus.

Media@Sydney Seminars, Semester Two, 2013

22nd August: 'Reviving the Art of Listening: Can We Use Online Methods for True Community Consultation?'

Victoria Parr (Australian Association of Social Marketing, Managing Director, Latitude Insights)

5:30 – 7pm, Woolley Common Room (N480), Level 4, John Woolley Building (A20)

When online qualitative research is viewed as a replacement for the well known face-to-face research methodologies that have comprised our research toolkit for the past decade, one of the key criticisms leveraged is of representativeness of our research sample. This seminar asks whether we should be looking at online qualitative research in a different manner. Instead of the question being one of representativeness, this seminar suggests that online qualitative methods could instead provide us with a new form of representation in government decision-making; that of a democratically elected government making decisions based on true consultation with its citizenry. It suggests that online qualitative research could provide us with the opportunity for a resurgence of the true consultative methodologies - the deliberative pollings, the citizens’ juries - that have slipped by the wayside. And, in doing so, can these new methods help us to address the perceived democratic deficit in our current system of government?

As a social and government research specialist for over thirteen years, Victoria Parr has extensive experience and specialises in strategic communications and segmentation studies and has conducted many large scale campaigns for federal and state government agencies. As a qualitative specialist, Victoria identifies online qualitative research is now an essential methodological tool for the research practitioner to have at their disposal along with the tried and tested face-to-face methodologies. Victoria’s presentation will look at how the newer research methodologies, which have yet to be embraced by government, should be viewed as an opportunity to expand the researcher's toolkit rather than be seen as replacement for existing methods. Victoria holds a Qualified Practicising Market Researcher accreditation and has a Bchelor of Social Science from Macquarie University.

29th August: 'Greeing the Media'

Professor Toby Miller (Professor of Media & Cultural Studies, University of California, Riverside; Professor of Cultural Industries, City University, London)

5 – 6:30pm, Woolley Common Room (N480), Level 4, John Woolley Building (A20)

Drawing on his new book with Richard Maxwell (Greening the Media, Oxford University Press, 2012) Toby Miller engages in an alternative history of the media, both past and present, that emphasises their paramount role in environmental pollution and worker exploitation. The talk will question today's prevalent cybertarian fantasies about a new, post-smokestack capitalism and the mythology of the new media.

Toby Miller is a British-Australian-US interdisciplinary social scientist. He is the author and editor of over 30 books, and has published essays in more than 100 journals and edited collections. His teaching and research cover the media, sports, labour, gender, race, citizenship, politics, and cultural policy, as well as the success of Hollywood overseas and the adverse effects of electronic waste. He taught at Murdoch, Griffith University, and the University of New South Wales and is currently a professor at New York University, University of California, Riverside, City University, London.

6th September: 'War Reporters as Literary Journalists: The Power and Pitfalls of the Story'

Professor Richard Keeble (Lincoln School of Journalism, University of Lincoln)

2 – 4pm, New Law Seminar Room 102, New Law Building (F10)

This presentation will focus on literary journalism as a hybrid concept embodying many of the uncertainties of the writer's predicament today. It will go on to explore the literary journalism of a number of war correspondents including George Orwell, the Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran and the late Michael Hastings, of Rolling Stone.

Richard Lance Keeble has been Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln since 2003. Before that he was the executive editor of the Teacher, the weekly newspaper of the National Union of Teachers and he lectured at City University, London, for 19 years. He has written and edited 25 publications on a wide range of subjects including peace journalism, literary journalism, journalism ethics, practical reporting skills, George Orwell, the coverage of US/UK militarism. He is also the joint editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics and the winner of a National Teacher Fellowship in 2011 - the highest award for teachers in higher education in the UK.

9th September: 'What is New about New Media?'

Professor Jostein Gripsrud (Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen)

2 – 4pm, New Law Seminar Room 105, New Law Building (F10)

The digitalization of new media and especially the introduction and developments of the Internet have been accompanied by a host of attempts to understand the implications of these innovations in social, cultural, political and economic terms. Some of them are of an academic or scholarly nature, others more journalistic or business oriented. The majority of contributions in both categories have, firstly, argued for the radicalness of the changes digital communication technologies represent, often proclaiming that other media, such as television, are facing an imminent death and that (global) society is entering a totally new historical stage. Secondly, they have also tended to estimate the impact of digitalization very optimistically as a historical leap in terms of democratization, freedom and egalitarian values. The challenge for a more critical appraisal of digitalization is to balance these discourses with some cooler theoretical, historical and empirical perspectives without denying the obvious and impressive gains and potentials of the new media and communicative forms. On place to start is the discussion of technological determinism, e.g. in Raymond Williams’ Television: Technology and Cultural Form and various contributions to debates on the work of Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan. As for historical perspectives, the transitions from theatre to film and then television as the most popular medium of dramatic entertainment is worth looking at when talking about the death of older media as new ones arrive. In this presentation, however, the emphasis will be on the implications of digitalization for the structures and processes of the public sphere on the one hand and for socio-cultural stratification more generally on the other.

Jostein Gripsrud is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. He has published extensively on a variety of topics in media and cultural studies. On television, he has published The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies (Routledge, 1995) and a number of articles, some of which have appeared in anthologies he edited or co-edited: Television and Common Knowledge (Routledge, 1999), Media, Markets & Public Spheres: European Media at the Crossroads (Intellect, 2010) and Relocating Television: Television in the Digital Context (Routledge, 2010). He has also co-published articles on cultural sociology (e.g. “Changing Relations: Class, education and cultural capital” , in Poetics, vol 39 (2011), pp 507-529) and published articles as well as co-edited and contributed to anthologies on public sphere theory: The Idea of the Public Sphere (Lexington Books, 2010) and The Public Sphere vol I-IV (Sage, 2011).

10th September: 'The Blindspot of Public Sphere Theory: The Role of Expressive Culture'

Professor Jostein Gripsrud (Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen)
Hosted by the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, with Dr. Peter Chen

12:30 – 2pm, Woolley Common Room (N480), Level 4, John Woolley Building (A20)

Theoretical work on the public sphere has almost completely concentrated on the political part of it. Even book-length contributions where “culture” is in the title have not dealt with the role of expressive culture and discourses about and around that, but been about culture in the anthropological or ethnological sense. This is lamentable not only because the literary or cultural public sphere was the very beginning of the modern public sphere, but also because today’s actually existing public spheres are marked by quite obvious close relations between expressive culture and a variety of key democratic functions.

This presentation will discuss the implications of and possible remedies for this weakness in public sphere theory and point to historical and current examples of how expressive culture has politically relevant impacts and implications that need to be addressed. Expressive culture is evidently involved in a variety of ways in public discourses dealing with this situation, contributing to understandings of it and promoting political attitudes and actions. On the other hand, the cultural public sphere also offers possibilities for a retreat from politics and socio-cultural engagement, where differences in terms of engagement vs retreat are structured along lines of already established social divisions.

Jostein Gripsrud is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. He has published extensively on a variety of topics in media and cultural studies. On television, he has published The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies (Routledge, 1995) and a number of articles, some of which have appeared in anthologies he edited or co-edited: Television and Common Knowledge (Routledge, 1999), Media, Markets & Public Spheres: European Media at the Crossroads (Intellect, 2010) and Relocating Television: Television in the Digital Context (Routledge, 2010). He has also co-published articles on cultural sociology (e.g. “Changing Relations: Class, education and cultural capital” , in Poetics, vol 39 (2011), pp 507-529) and published articles as well as co-edited and contributed to anthologies on public sphere theory: The Idea of the Public Sphere (Lexington Books, 2010) and The Public Sphere vol I-IV (Sage, 2011).

12th September: 'Affective Mattering and the felt materiality of the screen'

Associate Professor Misha Kavka (Department of Film, Television and Media Studies, University of Auckland)
In association with the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies

3 – 5pm, New Law Seminar Room 030, New Law Building (F10)

This paper approaches the materiality of cultural studies through a theory of affective matter(ing), in a conceptual attempt to answer Lawrence Grossberg’s call for work that ‘specif[ies] modalities and apparatuses of affect’ in the realm of lived realities (2010, 314-15). Affective mattering, or the way in which affect has a material bearing that causes things to matter, is to be distinguished from the Deleuzian virtual materiality of affect, which refers to ‘real, material, but incorporeal’ (Massumi 2002, 5) forces and intensities operating on a plane of immanence. What is lost in such desubjectivised accounts of affect, I argue, is the lived material body, individuated not only by its own matter but also by the affective relations which cause other bodies to matter to it. In place of impersonal affect, then, this paper will focus on interpersonal affect, specifically as mobilized by popular media screens that make us care about ‘real‘ bodies and beings despite their appearance on platforms of mediation. In this configuration, where the affective mattering of the body meets the affective permeability of the the screen, the screen brings its own materiality to bear as a conduit for felt relations. The paper will investigate these relations of mediated affect with reference to three exemplary screens: the intimate screen of television, the tactile screen of the touchpad, and the prosthetic screen of Google’s Project Glass.

Dr Misha Kavka teaches film, television, and media studies at the University of Auckland. She is the author of two books on reality television (Palgrave 2008 and Edinburgh UP 2012), and has published extensively on gothic cinema, New Zealand film and gender studies. She is currently working on a project about screen affects.

20th September: 'Civil Society Engagement: UN Food and Agriculture Organisation'

Dr. Alana Mann (Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney)

3 – 5pm, Rogers Room (N397), Level 3, John Woolley Building (A20)

In 2008 the escalation of the world's hungry to 870 million led to proclamations of a new 'global food crisis'. This seminar explores how civil society actors including NGOs and social movements are establishing new understandings of issues related to rural poverty and hunger and communicating these in formal policy arenas. Based on interviews with policy-makers at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome and civil society groups in Geneva and Vienna, this research reveals patterns of action in political arenas where non-state actors aim not only to foster reconsideration of chronic problems in light of new frameworks and ideologies, but to change the very culture of global governing institutions. The study assesses the dynamics of change occurring in transnational food policy arenas as a result of increased interaction between civil society actors and the UN. It seeks to explain how this interaction occurs and to assess whether or not it has contributed to institutional change that better accommodates the views of non-state actors on food and agriculture policy.

Dr Alana Mann joined the Department of Media and Communications as a full-time lecturer and researcher in July 2007. In her previous career she was a marketing communications manager at organisations including Fairfax Media and The Smith Family. In 2013 her first book Power Shift: Global Activism in Food Politics will be published by Palgrave Macmillian.

26th November: 'Hashtag Dissent: How The #IdleNoMore Protests Took On Mainstream Media Narratives Through Twitter'

Associate Professor Alfred Hermida (Graduate School of Journalism, University of British Columbia)
5:00 – 6:30pm, New Law Annexe Seminar Room 346, New Law Building (F10)