Platform Media: Algorithms, Accountability and Media Design EVENTS

Platform Media: Algorithms, Accountability and Design is a Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences initiative that brings together researchers in the School of Communication and Arts and the T.C. Beirne Law School.  

Please see below for upcoming and past events or follow this link back to Platform Media: Algorithms, Accountability and Design homepage


Literature as Media: Chinese Online Literature—Storytellers, platforms and transmedia literary world (CANCELLED)

13 March 2020 2:00pm4:00pm
In this seminar Tony Xiang Ren will begin by presenting a paper on emerging cultural and industrial practices of Chinese Online Literature in the age of platformisation and transmediality. Chinese Online Literature started to boom in the 1990s and has evolved into a large scale, born-digital, publishing and transmedia entertainment industry. This storytelling industry has disrupted the established literary system. It further explores the paradoxical roles of platforms in the liberalisation of literature and the commercialisation of participatory literary production in the Chinese context. The paper highlights the changing practices of platforms, storytellers and fans in a transmedia and transcultural literary world and the interplay between the Chinese and global models of online publishing. After his presentation a panel consisting of A/Prof Kim Wilkins, Dr Helen Marshall and Emily Baulch will respond drawing on their experience of English language publishing dynamics and its transmedial and platformising literary worlds.

Digital publishing in China: Disruption, convergence and re-conceptualisation (CANCELLED)

12 March 2020 4:00pm5:00pm
Digital publishing is broadly defined in industry and policy contexts in China as including eBooks, digital newspapers, mobile publishing, blogging, internet advertising, digital music, online games, online animation and online education. According to the 2017/8 Annual Report of the Chinese Digital Publishing Industry, the total digital publishing revenue is 833 billion RMB (AU$ 170 billion), but the sectors closely related to print publishing like eBooks only account for 1.03%. What does this broad digital content system mean for publishers? What are the new opportunities in the age of disruption and convergence? And what are the unique digital publishing practices in China? In this lecture, I will give you a brief introduction of China’s digital publishing transformation through the case studies of initiatives in eBooks, audiobooks, social reading and transmedia adaptation. I will also discuss how China’s digital publishing innovation shed new light on the global understanding of publishing futures and the new opportunities for Australian publishers and writers in China’s emergent digital content markets. This seminar will be presented by Dr Tony Xiang Ren, University of Western Sydney and is timed so Writing, Editing and Publishing students are able to attend.

Research Seminar – Digital Workshops of the World: Software, Source Code and Skills Migration in the Global VFX Industries

28 February 2020 2:00pm4:00pm
Over the last three decades, a network of globally distributed digital visual effects (VFX) companies have arisen from Hollywood’s traditional base in Los Angeles. What started out as a branch of computer sciences and their IT industry correlates hybridized into entities that are neither ‘inside’ the Hollywood studios traditional financial structures, nor entirely outside the value chains attached to Hollywood’s film output. The global VFX industries have functioned as networks of precarious creative industries, offering work for hire on a film by film, contract by contract basis. All of this has led to an industry defined by the migration of labour to an extent that has dwarfed even traditional Hollywood production.

Visualising Data: From Astrodata to Energy with A/Prof Leon Gurevitch

27 February 2020 11:00am12:30pm
Hear Dr Leon Gurevitch talk through three main data visualisation projects undertaken in the last ten years including the unexpected positive outcomes and challenges to visualising data across different subject matters and industries.

Neuroatypicality and Diversity

26 February 2020 1:00pm2:30pm
The relationship between neuro-diversity and creativity has long been referred to but seldom understood. Conditions such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD have often been observed to play a part in creative and innovative thinking at the same time as there is an increasing body of research linking these same conditions to stark disparities in life chances. Neuro-diversity, it seems, has been a boon for creative thinkers. With computational models mimicking the logic of neural networks on the rise, this talk will consider the ways neural networks are currently being created and implemented to simulate and produce neuro-typical results. There are dangers in privileging neurotypicality over neuro-atypical serendipity. Building AI systems that ignore human neurological atypicality could be dangerous. In order to avoid replicating neuro-atypical invisibility neural-network research and more complex AI systems research must start addressing the role neurodiversity plays in producing novel and innovative breakthroughs.

Roundtable: Artificial Intelligence, Agency, and Ethics in Cultural Practice

20 February 2020 9:30am12:00pm
There are many historical examples of art responding to imperatives from outside of art. AI seems set to have this kind of influence. There are examples of plausible-appearing AI-produced art. AI-written screenplays show that the machines still have a long way to go but they should alert us to possible futures in which our most celebrated artists are machines. I connect this issue with the long-running debate about whether it’s possible for a machine to think. This could make it rational for us to respond to AI art not with amusement, but with hostility.

Roundtable: The Digital and Our Social Natures

19 February 2020 9:30am12:00pm
What can philosophy bring to debates about how humans will inhabit the digital age? The particular debate I focus on concerns the role of humans in the economies of the future. We frequently hear that human workers face a threat from more efficient machines. What can we offer to compensate for the decline in the economic value of our efforts? There are too many overconfident forecasts about what the digital future offers us as social beings. Philosophers can bring the attitude of Socrates who said he knew nothing but at least knew that. Philosophers should be like Socrates challenging the overconfident forecasts of economists and technologists. When philosophers perform this service we should also avoid our own variety of overconfidence that comes from placing too much credence on what we take to be the most rationally coercive argument. In this context I argue for a significant expansion of the category of social work to protect against the divisive influences of social media and its filter bubbles.

Promotional Culture of the Platform

29 November 2019 9:30am5:00pm
Social media and search now dominate Australian media advertising expenditures and advertiser and marketer attention. However this advertising is some distance from our traditional advertising forms in that it is neither public nor visible. Instead it is taking place in a largely unregulated media space that lacks public visibility and scrutinising oversight. Presentations by: Tom O’Regan, Sam Kininmoth, Mark Andrejevic, Sven Broedmerkel, Richie Barker, and Jane Johnson. Discussants Katie Brennan, Franzisca Weder, Caroline Wilson-Barnao.

Symposium - Bodies and Devices: Geolocative Media

28 November 2019 9:00am4:00pm
Bodies and Devices: Geolocative Media explores the networked body as fundamental to understandings of both the body and the digital economy. The geolocated body is tracked, networked, coded, monitored and represented on a range of digital media platforms. This involves making available the body to the algorithmic and participatory logics of digital media platforms and an entangling of its experiences with these architectures. Presentations by: Peta Mitchell, Frederico Fialho Teixeira, Sarah Barns, Thao Phan, and Scott McQuire.

Image Machines Workshop

19 November 2019 10:00am2:00pm
Instagram’s large and engaged user base and distinctive everyday visual cultures have eluded intensive study due to the scarcity of methods for data collection and analysis. Instamancer is an Instagram data gathering tool developed for collecting and processing Instagram posts and media files without requiring access to an API. It was developed through both the "Platform Media: Algorithms, Accountability and Design" and is a key outcome of the Visual Social Media stream of the "Platform Media" initiative. It represents the experimental media and research ambitions of those involved in the Platform Media initiative focusing as it does on the developing and testing of new ideas for the media industry as well as critical scholarship in our respective fields of research. Presented by Nicholas Carah and Dan Angus.

The Logic of Instagram: Affiliations, Aesthetics, Attention

11 November 2019 10:00am12:00pm
This presentation explores Instagram’s impact on art and visual culture by considering how it has shaped the production and consumption of street art in the public domain, sometimes affecting its appearance but also changing its context, production, audiences and meaning. While shaping these dynamics, the architecture of Instagram yields data that can help map and describe the contours and networks of graffiti and street art as a global system. Presented by Lachlan MacDowell.

A Roundtable on Streaming with Arnt Maasø

24 October 2019 11:00am12:30pm
Since the introductions of YouTube (2005), Netflix (streaming since 2007) and Spotify (2008), users are increasingly accessing cultural products via streaming services instead of owning them. This on-demand access to vast digital catalogues of works combines technologies and business models in ways that are profoundly shaping cultural practice. Presenter Arnt Maasø discusses this shift towards streaming and the major international research project on streaming of which he is a part.

A Roundtable on Platforms, Power and Cultural Creation with David Nieborg

15 October 2019 11:00am12:30pm
Processes of platformisation are the elephant in the room for not only cultural creators—whether they be film and TV producers, journalists, PR professionals, authors and publishers, theatre and visual artists--but also for each of the School of Communication and Arts’ aesthetic fields and disciplines. But we often don’t see it as a systemic process working its way in related ways across the entire architecture of our cultural fields bringing these cultural fields into new, contingent relations to each other. In this roundtable, presenter David Nieborg discusses these new configurations.

Research Seminar - Selfies, Affordances, and Situational Properties

11 October 2019 3:00pm4:00pm
There is an incredible richness and nuance in the social functions, affect, localized norms, and experienced control in these visual practices of sharing and consuming selfies on visually oriented online platforms. Based on material gathered on and about Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat over the past 7 years, this talk proposes some patterns about how people behave, how they make sense of what they are doing, and how that is imminent to discourses, norms and power hierarchies in the case of visual self-presentation on social media. Presenter: Katrin Tiidenberg.

Webtoons and Transmedia Innovations in a New Digital Economy

1 October 2019 9:30am5:00pm
Webtoons are a new addition to the popular Korean Wave creative industry phenomenon, which includes recent activities involving the supergroup BTS and their webtoon Save Me, as well as digital content created by Marvel superstar Stan Lee and others from the US entertainment industries. Vertically-scrolling webtoons – a term merging “web” and “cartoons,” coined in South Korea in the early 2000s, have become a transmedia phenomenon. Presenters: Tae-Jin Kang, Park Seok-hwan, Sun-Tae Hwang, Aaron Sammut, Lee Jae-Sik, Milan Ilich, Dan Gilmore, Dingkun Wang.

Research Seminar - Who Owns Your Face? Personal Identity Rights in the Era of Augmented Reality and Facial Recognition Tech

2 August 2019 3:00pm4:00pm
Recent advances in augmented reality and facial recognition are posing questions for governments, big tech and privacy advocates about what rights individuals have to control their own personal identity. While DeepFake and augmented reality technology is becoming more widely available to consumers, our personal identity is increasingly used by big tech and government in the form of facial recognition. Presenter Gordon Finlayson explores the changing landscape of personal identity and privacy rights.

Market Information in the Age of Platform Dominance: Implications for Computational Social Science

24 June 2019 11:00am12:30pm
We find ourselves in an era where much of audience activity centres around a handful of digital platforms. This also has impacted how we learn about audiences. Audience measurement has traditionally been the province of neutral third-party firms, whereas digital platforms provide their own measurement estimates, the production of which is largely shielded from external stakeholders. Presenter Harsh Taneja delineates this ongoing shift in market information regimes in media markets raising critical questions for the emerging area of computational social science.
Millenial Image Talk

Researching the Media User through Big Data: A Research Methods Conversation with Dr Harsh Taneja

21 June 2019 11:00am12:30pm
Contemporary media research necessitates the creative use of the audience and media use data of commercial market information providers to answer fundamental questions about media usage. In this research roundtable, presenter Harsh Taneja will discuss the research methods he deploys to allow the large datasets of panel-based audience measurement firms such as Nielsen and comScore to illuminate some of the most pressing problems in our transition to online enabled media.

Roundtable on Platform Media as Traditional Media

12 June 2019 1:00pm2:30pm
It has been customary in media studies to take platform media at their word and consider them as technology companies. This, with some exceptions, has been the case whether or not these companies are being discussed by cultural industries, political economy or new media/digital media scholars. However, the rise of platform media and their extension from social media and search to subscription-based streaming services has brought platforms into the very centre of media studies generating renewed interest in distribution and infrastructures paving the way for a general interrogation of platform media as media industries. Presenters Tom O’Regan and Andrew Ventimiglia will scope out continuities in media repertoires to better clarify their particular working out in platform media.

Revising Communication Law and Ethics for Platform Media

5 June 2019 1:00pm2:30pm
“Communication Law and Ethics” is a foundational Communications course designed to inform future media professionals about the legal issues and ethical norms relating to communication and media industries. The core components of this course have historically been central to traditional media industries. Yet, the emergence of digital platforms has changed every dimension of the contemporary media ecosystem. How are we to revise Communication Law and Ethics in order to adequately address this change and prepare students for a very different media world than the one imagined in the textbooks? Panellists: Andrew Ventimiglia, John Harrison, and Jane Johnston, moderated by Tom O’Regan.

Reimagining Media Seminar - Holding the line: Corporate Social Responsibility and Digital Citizenship

3 June 2019 3:00pm5:00pm
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and paralleling a growing discussion around the concept of Digital Citizenship, societies around the globe are engaging in new ways of imagining what corporate social responsibility should look like in the digital domain. Citizens and policy makers are in active discussions around identifying a forward-facing vision of how platforms can and should behave in terms of performing civic responsibility in supporting the best possible ideals for democratic engagement. This is the battle for the ‘hearts and minds’ of users currently being waged by the platforms themselves. Presenter: Lelia Green.

Journalism by Numbers: What the Census Tells us about Journalists and Journalism since the 1960s

26 April 2019 3:00pm4:00pm
In this paper we use the five yearly census of occupations and industries to develop a comparative historical perspective on Australian journalism stretching from 1961 to 2016. Connecting patterns of journalism employment with wider histories of media transformation of which our latest iteration, online media form a part, we show how the open internet era (2001-2011) was substantially in continuity with the longue durée of journalism and media development that precedes it while the platform media era (2011-2016) marks a significant departure from these historical patterns. Presenters: Tom O’Regan and Catherine Young.

Streaming, disruption and the evolving cultures of use

12 April 2019 3:00pm4:00pm
This paper draws upon an empirical project into television consumption during a period (2015-17) when the arrival of Netflix transformed the television market in Australia. The results of that project have served as a provocation to the argument that television studies needs to focus in a more considered and apposite way on how consumption is now configured in a context where streaming has become a major constituent of the experience of television. This, the paper argues, may require not only a shift in focus, but also in method and approach. Presenter: Graeme Turner.

Building a Firm-Hosted Online Community

5 April 2019 12:30pm2:00pm
Online communities are a topic of increasing academic and practitioner interest. Yet, little is known about the underlying mechanisms of building a firm-hosted online community. Our in-depth single-case study of how the world’s largest miniature model railway exhibition established a vital firm-hosted online community addresses this gap. We identify a process consisting of three key practices – luring, documenting, and moderating – that explains the inherent challenge of building a firm-hosted online community: how to attract and how to keep people engaged with the online community. Presenter: Leona Achtenhagen.

Roundtable with Leona Achtenhagen on Entrepreneurship, Media Businesses and Education

4 April 2019 12:30pm1:30pm
This Roundtable with Professor Leona Achtenhagen will allow those interested in entrepreneurship, the central role it plays in media development, and in educating our students for entrepreneurship to intersect with one of Europe’s leading Professors of Entrepreneurship and Business Development. Using Prof Achtenhagen’s research and that of the Centre she leads, on digital entrepreneurship and her own experience of teaching entrepreneurship to business and journalism students we will explore with her some of the practical steps we can take to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset and ultimately media entrepreneurship, scope out some of the difficulties we might encounter in education for entrepreneurship and harness the intercultural opportunities that a mixed student cohort provides.

Creative Pathways, Industry Trajectories 1: Actors & announcers, live performance and contemporary platforms

22 March 2019 3:00pm4:00pm
This conversation examines the changing shape of actors and announcers employment and of the live performance and related media industries within which they work. Our starting point for discussion will be historical and contemporary census data on acting and announcing and the live performance and other industries that support these starting from 1933. Our conversation will range over the historical trajectory of actors and announcers since then including their employment within theatre and other live performance spaces and other media industries right up to and including the impact of platforms and platformisation most recently. Presenters: Tom O’Regan and Chris Hay.

The Culture of Surveillance

18 February 2019 4:00pm5:00pm
David Lyon presents key arguments from his most recent book The Culture of Surveillance: Watching as a way of life. In this book he examines how surveillance is not only something ‘done to us’ – it is something we do in everyday life. He focuses on our varied, mundane experiences of surveillance, insisting that it is time to stop using Orwellian metaphors and find ones suited to twenty-first-century surveillance. Lyon argues that the culture of surveillance may help to domesticate and naturalise surveillance of unwelcome kinds, and considers which kinds of surveillance might be fostered for the common good and human flourishing.

2018 Bodies, Devices and Platforms Symposium

27 November 2018 9:30am4:00pm
This one day symposium looks across a range of disciplines to consider the coming together of the body with digital devices and media platforms. In this formulation, the body is tracked, networked, coded, monitored and represented on a range of digital media platforms. This involves a making available of the body to the algorithmic and participatory logics of digital media platforms and an entangling of its experiences with these architectures. The networked body is explored as fundamental to understandings of both the body and the digital economy. Presenters: Elizabeth Stephens, Gavin J.D. Smith, Lisa Bode, Shanti Sumartojo, and Sarah Pink.

Tastemaking in Post-digital Literary Culture: The Role of Book Blogs

31 August 2018 3:00pm4:00pm
This presentation considers book blogs as shared expressions of readers' aesthetic conduct across print and digital formats, connected to the publishing industry (including through self-publishing) while also aligned with recreation and pleasure. To tease out some of the distinctions within book blogging, I describe two contrasting networks: highbrow literary blogs, and romance fiction blogs. While new media enables increased participation of readers in book culture, this participation is stratified into taste-based groups, which are themselves further stratified by hierarchy as bloggers accumulate a specific kind of ‘readerly capital’. Presenter: Beth Driscoll.

Hey Siri! How should I title my talk?

24 August 2018 3:00pm4:00pm
Despite being of utmost importance for interpreting speech, most commercial conversation bots and speech analysis systems ignore the wider pragmatics of talk. Pitch, pause, intensity, gaze, and other important modalities are discarded by bots, which also refrain from interrupting or talking over their human counterpart, despite its equally important role in natural conversation. In this talk I will look at recent trends towards the inclusion of pragmatics in bot technology, including some of our own original analytic tools for analysis of pitch, pause and intensity in conversation. Presenter: Dan Angus.

The Deep History of the Platform

16 August 2018 9:00am
This workshop stresses the important ways in which contemporary Platform Media and their associated economic forms are connected with, extensions and modifications of previous arrangements in communication and media infrastructures, logistics and legal treatment. The workshop will trace the ways in which various aspects of platformisation are part of longer histories and connected to previous attempts to shape media as infrastructures under varying degrees of corporate control. Presenters: Vibodh Parthasarathi, Julian Thomas, Ramon Lobato, Dan Angus, Nic Carah, Tom O’Regan, Allison Fish, Barbora Jedlickova, and Andrew Ventimiglia.

Digital Emporiums: Indian Platform Capitalism

13 August 2018 9:30am4:00pm
This one day symposium will examine the ways in which the growing platformisation of not just the media but business and governmental operations are occurring in India. With India the second largest country in the world by population and likely to overtake China as the largest in the next twenty years India’s experience of and development of its platform economy is likely to become increasingly central to the global digital economy. Presenters: Vibodh Parthasarathi, Shishir Jha, Scott Fitzgerald, Pradip Thomas, and Adrian Athique.

Researching Media Platforms: A Research Methods Conversation

10 August 2018 9:30am11:00am
In this roundtable, presenter Angela Wu will step participants through a number of her Platform media projects and the mixed methods she deployed in them. Her methodologies draw from media studies, science and technology studies, cultural sociology, and network science. She has deployed these with respect to research on (1) data analytics and algorithmic cultures, (2) web use and digital infrastructures, and (3) information technology, politics, in post-reform China.

Algorithmic cultural recommendation: the coded gaze and Google’s face match up

3 August 2018 3:00pm4:00pm
Using Google’s face match as a case study it argues that the extension of cultural access to media architectures while opening a new space for sharing can obscure the embedding of objects within digital economies and logics. It puts forward the notion of algorithmic cultural recommendation and argues the need to reimage the outsourcing of curatorial practices to new forms of algorithmic mediation. Presenter: Caroline Wilson-Barnao.

From Platform to Platformisation: A Workshop

19 June 2018 9:15am4:00pm
It is common to talk of Media Platforms, the Platform Press, and the Platform Economy. We see processes of platformisation extending beyond media platforms to include retail, tourism, accommodation, taxi services, agriculture, and the home. We are seeing not only the transformation of our media system, advertising and marketing, but the thoroughgoing platformisation of much of our economic and social life. This workshop is designed to illuminate and sort through these various issues. Presenters: Vibodh Parthasarathi, Ramon Lobato, Adrian Athique and Nic Carah.

Masks, Simulations, and Elusive Sparks: Four Decades of the Digital Human Face in Cinema

1 June 2018 3:00pm4:00pm
This presentation examines how the idea, creation, screen manifestation and cultural reception of digital human faces has evolved over the past four decades. It traces some of the factors that have shaped, and continue to shape, these human-like designs. This paper asks: how have these things changed over time, and what kinds of understandings about technology, scientific knowledge, acting, and humanness have emerged over the digital actor’s evolution? Presenter: Lisa Bode.

Social Media and News: A Roundtable discussion with A/Prof Vibodh Parthasarathi

9 May 2018 1:00pm2:00pm
This roundtable with presenter Vibodh Parthasarathi will address key questions in the field of journalism in the era of platformisation. How is the Platform Press evolving internationally? What parallels and lessons are there to be drawn from Indian social media use and its intersection with Australian news and social media use? How are the powerful multinational social media platforms that are reforming media and communication globally doing so in the world’s largest democracy?

Paul Lazarsfeld and Facebook: Re-Reading Personal Influence in an Age of Social Media

4 May 2018 3:00pm4:00pm
In this presentation Tom O’Regan ponders the remarkable continuity of thinking connecting Paul Lazarsfeld and Mark Zuckerberg observing how each was centrally concerned not with the media providers nor indeed with media users but with establishing “audience measurement” and “metrics”—the pivotal middle bit between media providers and their audiences.