research design laboratory

Internet Research 14.0 in Denver

NN: Internet Research 14.0 in Denver

I'm getting ready to present at a Rountable and Fishbowl in Denver at the end of the month as part of Internet Research 14.0 | resistance + appropriation. I'll be drawing from my experience at Archinodes and postdoc position to discuss the connection of academic training to the creative and cultural industries. How can a PhD be useful 'out there'? At Archinodes, as all members are formally trained in media studies, we place incredible value on theory and building from conceptual models, but perhaps unlike academia, we are not satisfied with perpetually prototyping or experimentation without end. The flipside is just as questionable; without decent critical thinking skills, how creative can you be? How solid is a concept if it's about making tools and apps to make money?

If this sounds provocative -- good -- because we've set up the entire fishbowl as a series of provocations! 

The title of our roundtable is: Bridging the politics of digital academic production and social entrepreneurship

Statement: Digital humanities scholars today are frequently challenged to reach out to non-academic communities and undertake entrepreneurial-like initiatives that connect to corporate agendas, prioritized social engagements or applied research, in order to generate the research funding that success in the academic environment relies on. Sometimes these are successful collaboratories that express complex social values and support cooperative work or start-up environments appropriate to industrial success and workforce-oriented life skills. In other circumstances, these particularly financial or social objectives get in the way of research that is able to resist stagnant or tired patterns of scholarly endeavour or civic involvements. How can provocative and/or collective research interventions fit into this constricted framework? How do marketing, design-thinking, and activism fit together with academic methods and processes, particularly with critical media arts practices and the DIY field? In what ways do research-creation, digital ethnography, self-critical observation and digital media art production help or hinder legitimacy and credibility in the academy? What is the intervention you choose to make as a scholar in the communities with which you engage, inside and outside the university, and how can you measure contributions and recognition that can be accepted at both types of sites of enquiry?

This fishbowl will be moderated by Dr. Vicki Mayer. She is Professor of Communication at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mayer is author or editor of four books about media production in the new economy for creative industries. Since 2009, she has been director of MediaNOLA ( to connect university students, professors, and creative sector professionals (archivists, preservationists, etc.) to a digital public history project.

Other speakers:

Jacqueline Wallace (PhD Candidate (ABD) in Communication, Concordia University, and HASTAC Scholar) spent a decade working in the media and tech industries at the intersection of commerce and creativity. She is a former founder of Veer, Inc. an award-winning visual media and design startup and a founding partner in the boutique social media agency, All Beef Media. Wallace is now pursuing research on the micro-economies of DIY design + craft, women’s creative labour and informal production networks. 

Mélanie Millette (PhD Candidate (ABD) in Communication, Université du Québec à Montréal, LabCMO) worked as a producer for TV, radio and new media advertising before getting back to the academy. Since 2006, she has worked as a freelance consultant in social media. A SSHRC and Trudeau Foundation scholar, her thesis focuses on the Francophone Canadian minority and how this community uses Twitter to get visibility and political recognition. 

Mary Elizabeth Luka is a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar and PhD Candidate (ABD) in Communication at Concordia University, and HASTAC Scholar. Situated in the digital humanities, her scholarly interests focus on research-creation as method, production practices and creativity in cultural media production, and the intriguing dynamics generated at the intersection of the arts, broadcasting and digital production. With more than a decade of award-winning work as a founder/producer/director of digital and television programming initiatives in public broadcasting, Luka has also worked with over 25 culture sector organizations as a strategic planning consultant.