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

Presented by Assistant Professor David Nieborg, University of Toronto

Date: Tuesday 15 October, 2019
Time: 11:00am-12:30pm
Location: Michie 827 (Room 827, Level 8), Michie Building (#9)


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 David Nieborg will discuss just these new configurations.

David Nieborg’s recent works explores how the political economy of cultural production changes through processes of platformization. In a recent article Nieborg and  Thomas Poell describe platformisation as “the penetration of economic and infrastructural extensions of online platforms into the web, affecting the production, distribution, and circulation of cultural content”. His work is situated at the cross-section of business studies, political economy, and software studies. For Nieborg and Poell platformization sees two-sided market structures replaced by complex multisided platform configurations, dominated by big platform corporations. In these new circumstances cultural content creators have to continuously grapple with regular changes in platform governance, ranging from content curation to pricing strategies. Simultaneously, creators are enticed by new platform services and the infrastructural changes associated with them. As a consequence our cultural commodities are becoming more “contingent”.  They are increasingly modular in design and continuously reworked and repackaged, informed by datafied user feedback. Nieborg is currently working with scholars in Canada, Germany, the US, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong on a research project titled App Studies connecting app economics, app advertising, app imperialism, and methodological innovation.


David B. Nieborg is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Toronto. His work on the political David B. Nieborg economy of platform industries, app studies, the game industry, and games journalism has been published in academic outlets such as New Media & SocietySocial Media + SocietyMedia, Culture & Society, and the European Journal for Cultural Studies. Currently he is finishing his first book Platforms, Power and Cultural Production (Polity, 2020). Nieborg is currently visiting QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre and recently presented at the Association of Internet Researchers Conference held at QUT.





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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.  

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827, level 8, Michie Building #9