Image Machines Workshop

Image Machines Workshop

Tue 19 Nov 2019 10:00am2:00pm


Joyce Ackroyd building (37), UQ St Lucia
Digital Learning Space (Room 244)

Instagram has one billion active users, sharing 100 million photos, and generating 4.2 billion ‘likes’ per day. Instagram’s significantly 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. In this workshop, participants will download and install the Instamancer software, explore the functionality of the software, and also explore a new critical simulation framework designed for simulating the machine vision algorithms of Instagram (Carah & Angus, 2018). We will also engage in discussion relating to the ethics of digital media research, specifically relating to visual platforms such as Instagram.

This Critical Simulation tool was developed through both the "Platform Media: Algorithms, Accountability and Design" and the "Visual Politics" HASS Strategic Fund initiatives.  It 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.

The first part of the workshop will focus on exploring the functionality and use of the Instamancer software and prototype machine vision approach. The second part of the workshop will be a presentation and discussion about a specific case study of Instagram images from the Splendour in the Grass music festival. We will propose some arguments and questions about what it means for cultural events, art installations, brand activations and our participatory circulation of images on social media to become machine-readable.

Workshop preparation:

Instamancer is easily installed using the GIT and Node.js frameworks. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops to the workshop, and pre-install the GIT and Node.js software available from: and

Please RSVP to Melanie Piper ( by November 15.


Dr Nic Carah is a Senior Lecturer in UQ’s School of Communication and Arts. His current research examines the intersection between popular culture, social media and branding. Nic is the author of Pop Brands: Branding Popular Music and Young People (2010), and co-author of Media and Society: Production, Content, and Participation (2015, with Eric Louw), and Brand Machines, Sensory Media and Calculative Culture (2016, with Sven Brodmerkel).

A/Prof Daniel Angus is an Associate Professor in Digital Communication at QUT. His research focuses on the development of visualization and analysis methods for communication data, with a specific focus on conversation data. His computational methods have improved our understanding of the nature of communication in medical consultations, conversations in aged care settings, television broadcast, social media, and newspaper reporting. Dr Angus has been involved in computer science research for 15 years and contributes regularly to media and industry on the impact of technology on society.