Esther Hammelburg: Liveness coming to life: the mediatized experience of cultural events

Esther Hammelburg | University of Amsterdam, ASCA |  Promotor: prof. dr José van Dijck, Supervisors: prof. dr ir. Jeroen de Kloet, dr Thomas Poell | 2014 – 2020 | e[dot]e[dot]hammelburg[at]hva[dot]nl

Liveness coming to life: the mediatized experience of cultural events

This research project addresses the question how liveness is constructed within the mediatised experience of cultural events/festivals. Since Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz have firmly installed the category of media events into media theory these events have been closely connected to the notion of liveness, as they describe, the experience of being there, joining in the event as it takes place (Dayan & Katz, 1992). Many studies on a variety of event types have shown that although immediacy is one of the key aspects of liveness, the concept should not be regarded as the equivalent of live; it is not simply the simultaneity of event, transmission, and viewing (cf. Feuer, 1983; White, 2004; Kumar, 2012; Lunt, 2004; Couldry, 2002). Therefore, this study defines liveness as a historically defined construct that hinges on the potential connection, through media, to events that matter to us as they unfold (cf Vianello, 1985; Couldry, 2004; Auslander, 2012). In this conceptualization liveness is regarded as a construction of user, content and technology (cf Van Dijck, 2013), and immediacy and affinity are distinguished as the two main features of it (Hammelburg, 2015).

The core of this project is the ‘live study’ of at least three cases. During these events, both digital and ethnographic methods are used to explore liveness as constructed in current event-spheres in which content is spread over diverse platforms and all those who – as the riparian user David Berry describes (Berry, 2011) – see, hear, add and manage circulating media texts, renegotiate and reposition the event (Volkmer and Deffner, 2010). This should result in a reassessment and empirical grounding of existing theory on liveness.

Key themes: liveness, media events, festivals, social platforms, connective media, mixed methods.

Henry Chow: Priceless experience: enchantment and commoditisation of K-drama tourism

Henry Chow | Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Arts and Culture Studies | Promotor: prof. dr Stijn Reijnders, Co-promotor: dr. Sean S.K. Kim (Edith Cowan University) | September 2016 – Septmeber 2021 | chow[at]

Priceless experience: enchantment and commoditisation of K-drama tourism (tentative)
overarching project: Worlds of Imagination: a comparative study of film tourism in India, Brazil, Jamaica, South Korea and the United Kingdom (ERC Consolidator Grant)

The idea behind media tourism is simple: the media we consume influences what places we know about and how we feel about those places. Because of that, it also shapes our decisions to travel and the entire tourism experience, from planning the trip to retelling our travel stories afterwards. South Korean television drama series (‘K-drama’) adds an interesting case to the study of media tourism. As a relative newcomer to the global television arena, it has attracted a devout following in East Asia and beyond within two decades. While the Korean media industry have grown into a transnational network, as a strategic industry it retains strong linkages to the national government.

Looking at the content of K-drama as well as associated industrial formations and viewing practices, this project will try to articulate what K-drama tells international audiences about South Korea as a nation and particular filming locations as places. It will visit places with a special meaning or ‘magic’ for tourists, and retell stories about how the enchantment of these locations come into place. Finally, it will probe how viewers and tourists work with the signs and locations they come in contact with, in order to create an experience individually enjoyable, memorable, and magical. Does media tourism hold the promise for an alchemy of enchantment, which recasts the mass products of television drama and tourism into priceless individual experiences? This project will move to find answers.

Personal page at EUR:
PhD project page:

Inge Kalle-den Oudsten: The Post Museum and Digital Technologies

Inge Kalle-den Oudsten | University of Amsterdam, Mediastudies | Promotor: Robin Boast, Supervisors: Mirjam Hoijtink and Wim Hupperetz | October 2015-2019 | i.kalle-denoudsten[at]

The Post Museum and Digital Technologies
CEMEC (Connecting Early Medieval European Collections)

My research looks at the relationship between Eilean Hooper-Greenhill’s concept of the ‘post museum’ and digital technologies. The post museum may be conceptualised as the museum of the future: an open, democratic space, no longer centred on ‘objective’ knowledge and curator-led concerns, but much more about visitors and their meanings. Often, digital technologies are heralded as open and democratic, which begs the question – might they be an answer – could they project the traditional museum forwards towards the post museum? This question is approached by looking at visitor meaning making processes through participant-centred, ethnographically inspired, visitor research at two case-studies: the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, complemented by the Riverside Museum in Glasgow. Both these case-studies make serious use of digital technologies in their galleries, but both do so very differently. Through more than 20 in-depth visitor-led interviews, I aim to understand more deeply how visitors create meanings in museums and whether these processes may be influenced by digital technologies. In what ways can digital create more space for visitor meanings in our traditional museums, assisting these institutions into changing towards a post museum?

Anouk Mols: Mobile privacy and surveillance: Evaluating users’ everyday negotiations and practices

Anouk Mols | Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication | Promotor(es) prof. dr Suzanne Janssen, supervisor(s): dr Jason Pridmore | 1 October 2016 – 30 September 2020 | mols[at]

Mobile privacy and surveillance: Evaluating users’ everyday negotiations and practices
Overarching project: Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems: Practices and Contexts in the Netherlands and US (funded by NWO/NSF)

Mobile devices offer users unlimited new possibilities, three of which are the opportunity to keep an eye on your neighbourhood through WhatsApp groups, to use wearables and apps which monitor your health and track your fitness achievements, and to constantly receive assistance from an intelligent personal assistant. However, these mobile and interconnected platforms might also have an effect on how users negotiate their privacy as they increase the potential for more pervasive forms of digitally mediated surveillance by companies, marketers, governments, employers and Internet Service Providers. Anouk Mols’ mixed-methods PhD project focuses on how users of mobile technologies negotiate the costs and benefits of emerging mobile technologies with regard to surveillance and privacy. She studies  the everyday negotiations and practices of users of neighbourhood watch messaging groups (WhatsApp Buurtpreventie), work messaging groups, fitness and health tracking apps and wearables, intelligent personal assistants (e.g. Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa), and smart speakers (e.g. Google Home and Amazon Echo). The research design includes in-depth interviews, focus groups and a privacy vignettes survey (which will be conducted in collaboration with the U.S. project partners at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Maryland). This research project provides new insights into how people develop, perceive and negotiate privacy and how mobile technologies influence the way people think about information disclosure.

Li-An Ko: Beyond Sadness: Historical Films in the Post-Martial Law Period of Taiwan (1987-2017)

Li-An Ko | Utrecht University, Department of Media and Culture Studies, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) | Supervisor: Prof. dr Frank Kessler  Co-supervisor: Dr Judith Keilbach | 1 September 2014 – 31 August 2018 | l.a.ko[at]

The development of cinema in Taiwan was heavily influenced by political powers (the colonial government of Japan and then the Chinese Koumintang), which controlled and restrained language, themes and historical representations on the screen. After the end of the Martial Law period in 1987, a number of films, in addition to the most famous one, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s A City of Sadness (1989), engaged in the complicated historical issues of Taiwan, trying to represent Taiwanese history with viewpoints that had been suppressed by those in power. Thus, these historical films became part of the movement of reflecting on the identity of Taiwanese.

This research looks into the changes of historical discourse in Taiwanese cinema and the practice of local filmmakers on the historical representation during the past thirty years. At the same time, three case studies are used to explore the relationship between cinema and history and to respond to the issues of historical film with an analytical perspective of film narratology. The goal of the research is to foster our understanding of the role of cinema in the process of the historical reconstruction of this young democratic country, and of what/how the historical films contribute to the understanding of history.