Three open postdoc positions at the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies (RUG)

The Centre for Media and Journalism Studies at the University of Groningen offers three open postdoc positions;

Digital platforms, Algorithms and Informed Citizenship (within the Humane AI theme) 
The development of algorithmically structured (social) media platforms changes how citizens are informed, how political and cultural identities are shaped discursively, and what levels of digital literacy citizens need in order to meaningfully participate in society. This project explores the social, cultural and political implications of the interaction between humans, AI, data and digital platforms.

Platforms, Cultural Consumption and Taste Formation (within the theme: Cultural Heritage and Identity – Creative industries, Media and Popular Culture)

As cultural consumption increasingly occurs through online platforms that employ automated recommendation systems, there is an urgent need to understand how contemporary taste affinities and boundaries are cultivated and drawn through practices and styles of consumption. This project will examine taste formation through platforms (Tiktok, YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, etc.) and the implications for cultural identities, social cohesion and political polarization.

 Media and Digital In- and Exclusion (within the theme: Communication, information and social inequalities in a digital world).

Digitalisation and the ubiquity of online platforms offer opportunities for having better access to public services, being better informed and more participation in public debate and decision making processes. At the same time, there are major risks of digital exclusion; millions of citizens are not digitally literate enough to fully participate in a digital society. Projects within this theme could study media and digital in- and exclusion in different domains of everyday life from the perspectives of citizens, but could also focus on the role of institutions, or analyse (social) media texts.

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The final episode of In Media Res season 1 is out now!

In the final episode of season 1 of In Media Res, Bjorn Beijnon (UvA) interviews Patricia Pisters professor of Media Studies (with specialization in Film Studies) at the University of Amsterdam. As a professor, she has supervised many PhD students, but much has changed in the way people build a career in- or outside academia. In this interview, Patricia highlights her own career path and the specific skills that she had to acquire along the way. She elaborates on the value of teaching but also the importance of staying in contact with the work field that you are interested in.

Listen to the podcast here!

 

RMeS RMa course: Arts, Life Science and Digital Culture

When? November-December 2022, exact dates TBC
Where? Leiden University
ECTS? 5
Coordinator? Dr. Ksenia Fedorova
Organisation? RMeS
For? First and second year RMa students in Media Studies, who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool).
Registration will open 1 September 2022

In this course students examine ethical and humanistic dimensions of life sciences through art and reflect on the application of digital methods within science. From the onset of medical research in history, the cultural worlds of art and science have interacted. More recently, artists have been directly inspired by the fields of genetics, bioinformatics and biophysics and by the media employed and generated by them. The science-art relationship has become an exciting and dynamic field where controversial ethical issues, societal consequences of technoscience, and the art of science itself are being addressed. How do artworks provoke new ways of thinking about science and the world? What moral and critical dilemmas are involved in the intersections between technoscience and society and how can art play a role in this? The usage of biofeedback tracking and other digital technologies invites yet another series of questions about the impacts of algorithmization on our relation to the body and knowledge about physical and organic processes in general. Finally, looking at the biological entities in terms of their agency will allow a discussion about the shift towards the posthumanist paradigm in today’s humanities and science studies.

The students will:

learn to reflect on the social and cultural consequences of the life sciences by studying art works;
be able to signal and evaluate ethical issues and controversies in science addressed by art;
analyze the specificity of the usage of media in technological and science art by engaging media theoretical, STS and aesthetic perspectives.

Programme

Tuesday

RMeS Network Event: Finding your Path in Media Studies

When? Friday 30 September from 15.00-18.00
Where? Utrecht University, exact location TBA
Registration? via website
Registration will open on 1 September 2022.
Please register no later than Wednesday 28 September

When starting a research career in Media Studies, you would expect to work with traditional media outlets, such as cinema, television, and theatre. Due to the digital turn and convergence, these types of media all seem to have moved into new and hybrid forms that have become embodied in platforms. Such a transition has required media scholars to apply their knowledge of traditional media in a new light: for example, the impact of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime on the experience of cinematic media content, or the transformation of live viewership on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Moreover, the global connectivity with other consumers on platforms has radically shifted how we think about transferring information and consuming media content. Exemplary are the interconnectedness that global communities experience on platforms such as Discord, but also the global viral trends that quickly occur on TikTok. In short, media and their consumption have not only changed due to platformization, but the pathways media scholars could take in studying them seem to have multiplied.

In this network event, we invite PhDs and RMAs to think of possible paths that media scholars could take in the everchanging field of Media Studies. Guest speaker dr. David Nieborg, Associate Professor of Media Studies (University of Toronto) & Visiting Professor (University of Amsterdam), will share the pathway that he took in applying and tranforming his knowledge in Media Studies, and in particular Game Studies, to the new field of Platform Studies.

In his lecture called ‘What I learned from following the money (& the data) in the platform economy’, dr. Nieborg will speak of how the platformisation of media content has led to a new type of economy. The platform economy is bewilderingly complex. What kind of platform data do you have access to as a researcher? And, how can concepts from neighboring fields, such as “multi-sided markets” and “boundary resources,” helps us to better understand platform-dependent cultural production? In his lecture, dr. Nieborg will discuss the theories and methods one can use to unpack institutional platform power by reviewing case studies that include app stores, the game industry, and Facebook Messenger. In addition, he will discuss more practical matters, such as publishing strategies, working across continents, and other lessons learned from a decade of platform studies scholarship.

The network event will exist of three activities:

  1. Guest speaker David Nieborg: ‘What I learned from following the money (& the data) in the platform economy’
  2. Academic speed date
  3. All participants can get to know each other and exchange ideas while enjoying free drinks.

The event will take place in the inner city of Utrecht at Utrecht University on Friday 30 September from 15.00-18.00. The specific location will be announced later.

Please register no later than Wednesday 28 September and let us know if you want to join in person or online. I

For questions of any kind, please contact us via RMeS@rug.nl.

We are looking forward to seeing you!

The RMeS PhD council
(Bartosz, Bjorn, Dennis, Jeroen, Welmoed & Zheyu)

 

 

RMeS Workshop: Context convergence: Exploring the implications of our interconnectedness with contacts, platforms, and spaces

Workshop organized by Dr Anouk Mols (EUR), within the context of the RMeS PhD Workshop Grant

When? 3 October 2022 | 13.00 – 18.00
Where? Erasmus University Rotterdam, TBA
Coordinator? Dr Anouk Mols (EUR)
ECTS? 1 EC
Open to? PhD’s and research master students, max 20 participants
Registration will open 1 September 2022

Messaging colleagues from a holiday destination, following news accounts on Instagram, joining conferences from home, keeping up with family from a distance, receiving notifications when new tv series are released… Mobile technologies have not only become our main source of communication but became an indispensable object in our everyday lives. We are permanently connected to social contacts, platform services and content, and digital and non-digital spaces, which causes social contexts to collapse. This goes beyond the collapsing of digital audiences as is often described in media research (Marwick & boyd, 2010; Vitak, 2012) because it entails the converging of digital and non-digital contexts. Mobile technologies also collapse offline contexts when digital connections are incorporated in daily practices (Pagh, 2020), in other words, people can be available in digital and non-digital spaces at the same time. When you watch Netflix from the train, send a work email while visiting a friend, messaging family when you are at work, you are simultaneously present in digital and physical spaces. Experiences of context convergence are amplified by disruptive notification sounds and badges, alerts, messages, and blinking lights that demand our attention (Licoppe, 2010).

Constant connectivity and converging contexts provide many benefits but also challenges that affect our autonomy in several ways. First, the autonomy to balance availability and non-availability is challenged when we are urged to maintain connections. The first speaker Prof. Dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele will discuss the concept of digital wellbeing which revolves around balancing connectivity and disconnectivity in interactions between persons, devices, and contexts (Vanden Abeele, 2021). Second, when using digital communication platforms, we are challenged in our autonomy to manage the boundaries between different social contexts (Mols & Pridmore, 2020). How this affects everyday experiences of privacy will be discussed by the organizer Dr. Anouk Mols in the opening speech. Third, our autonomy to freely navigate online and physical spaces is also challenged when we are constantly monitored and guided by algorithms. Dr. Jason Pridmore will reflect on the implications of context convergence in relation to AI, surveillance, and privacy.

The interactive presentations and the readings of this interdisciplinary workshop will provide starting points for discussions about context convergence. We invite participants to explore the implications of context convergence on interpersonal communication and relations, (dispersed) family life, news consumption, media production, (dispersed) interconnected families, education, and experiences of cultural events. Together, we will analyse cases of context convergence and discuss research opportunities in order to draft recommendations for stakeholders.

Programme

13:00-13:15: Introduction to the theme: Context convergence Opening words by Dr. Anouk Mols

13:15-14:15: Context convergence: Implications on digital well-being Interactive presentation by Prof. dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele followed by Q&A

14:15-14:30: Break: Coffee, tea and chocolates

14:30-15:15: Context convergence: Implications related to AI, privacy and surveillance Interactive presentation by Dr. Jason Pridmore followed by Q&A

15:15-16:00: Short instructions and working together in groups on briefing memo

16:00-16:50: Briefing memo presentations, feedback & discussion

16:50-17:00: Wrap-up

17:00-18:00: Optional: Drinks @ Erasmus Paviljoen (only if allowed by Covid-19 measures)

Speaker bios

Prof. Dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele is Professor in Digital Culture at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University, Belgium. Her research combines media psychological and media sociological perspectives to better understand the role that digital media use play in everyday life and society. Her research interests include mobile communication and social relationships, problematic smartphone use and digital well-being, mobile media and childhood, and the social implications of health and fitness wearable use. Mariek is a recipient of an 2020 ERC Starting Grant on Digital Well-being – this project examines individuals’ relationship to anytime, anyplace connectivity using both computational and ethnographic research approaches.

Dr. Jason Pridmore is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication and the Vice Dean of Education of the Erasmus School of History Culture and Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research interests are focused primarily on practices of digital identification, the use of new/social media and consumer data as surveillance practices, and digital (cyber) security issues. He has written extensively on marketing practices and information exchange and participates in research focused on privacy, data ethics, mobile devices, policing practices, citizenship, branding and quantified self movements. He is the Principle Investigator on the Mobile Privacy Project, the coordinator of the TRESCA project, Project Exploitation Manager and Data Security Manager on the BIM-SPEED project, and Project lead at EUR for the Ashvin Project and the SPATIAL project.

Dr. Anouk Mols (workshop organiser) is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Department of Media & Communication of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research focuses on neighbourhood watch WhatsApp groups, digital communication, smart technologies (such as smart speakers and smartphone assistants), family surveillance, and AI. Under supervision of Dr. Jason Pridmore and Prof. Susanne Janssen, she completed her PhD in December 2021 with the dissertation: Everyday experiences of privacy and surveillance: Negotiating appropriate forms of monitoring.

Assignment for participants: Context convergence briefing memo

This assignments is geared towards identifying tangible implications of converging contexts and exploring these on the basis of the prescribed readings and the participants’ own research. In order to make the shift from academic understanding to societal impact, the participants work together in groups to develop a briefing memo: a concise summary of a case with a call to action in the form of recommendations for stakeholders.

Preparation

Prior to the workshop, participants are asked to submit a 200-word description of a real life example of converging contexts and a short theory-driven exploration of its implications. Cases can range from highly specific examples like ‘a customer following the livestreaming of a funeral while at a hair salon’ (true story!) to more general examples such as ‘journalists live-tweeting current events’. Deadline: Case descriptions need to be submitted to mols@eshcc.eur.nl one week before the workshop

During the workshop

Based on similarities between their case descriptions, participants will be grouped together. The four groups have 45 minutes to select one of their cases and prepare a briefing memo including 1) a contextualised description of the context convergence case, 2) a theoretically driven analysis breaking down the implications, 3) a rationale for empirical research, and 4) two recommendations for stake holders (e.g., parents, media producers, platform companies, educators, policy makers, etc.). This briefing memo needs to be presented in a five-minute presentation. Feedback will be provided during the workshop by the three speakers and the other participants in response to the memo presentations.

Readings

  • Vanden Abeele, M. (2021). Digital wellbeing as a dynamic construct. Communication Theory, 31(4), 932-955. https://doi.org/10.1093/ct/qtaa024
  • Mols, A., & Pridmore, J. (2020). Always available via WhatsApp: Mapping everyday boundary work practices and privacy negotiations. Mobile Media & Communication, epub ahead of print, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050157920970582
  • Pagh, J. (2020). Managing Context Collapses: The Internet as a Conditioning Technology in the Organization of Practices. International Journal of Communication, 12, 2810–2827. https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/11872