Moving Convergence Culture Towards Cultural Intermediation: Social media and cultural inclusion

Moving Convergence Culture Towards Cultural Intermediation: Social media and cultural inclusion

[Original image by Tom Waterhouse, published CC BY NC]

I have a new article coming out in Continuum that explores the idea of cultural intermediation, that moves through existing cultural studies and convergence theories, but attempts to integrate social media ideas and concepts.

This is the result of the ‘Cultural Studies: What now?’ conference that three of my colleagues, and friends, facilitate in Melbourne in 2013. I’d very much like to thank James Meese, Jenny Kennedy and Emily van der Nagal for their tireless efforts in bringing this collection together. Can’t wait for the print version!

In the meantime check out:

Jonathon P. Hutchinson (2016): Moving convergence culture towards cultural intermediation: social media and cultural inclusion, Continuum, DOI: 10.1080/10304312.2016.1143161



Raymond Williams noted culture is specific to each society, where ‘the making of a society is the finding of common meanings and direction’. Cultural studies provide a foundation for an array of emerging research areas that seek to explore those mean- ings and directions, such as convergence culture. Recent humanities scholarship has called for researchers to move beyond the marvel of convergence culture, with its potential for increased social inclusion and cultural diversity, to a more nuanced understanding of networked participation. This paper uses empirical research data gathered from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to argue that embedded cultural industries research can contribute, through the cultural intermediation frame- work, to cultural studies and the political, economic, and practice-based strengths of the creative industries. It also argues that in a contemporary institutional social media environment, cultural intermediation is a useful framework to understand convergent media practices.

#cciss16 Digital Methods Day Three

#cciss16 Digital Methods Day Three

Here’s my blow by blow on the third day of the Digital Media Research Centre’s (DMRC) Summer School on digital methods:

Heather Ford

  • Big data capabilities, messy landscape
  • We use the same tools to search the worlds we explore
  • Methods enable us to reflect on how we operate as researchers
  • Cracker article about digital methods and ethnography
  • Trace Interviews
  • Netlytic – to analyses and draw conclusions between users across multiple social media platform
  • How do we study reception when the audience is considered a ‘text’ in the digital age?
  • Entry through fan studies because of the emotional investment- belonging, communities, etc.
  • first wave of fan studies: communities – networks – personalisation
  • second wave of fan studies: using Bourdieu, construction of hierarchies
  • third wave of fan studies: integration of sociology, fandom as empowering (really?)
  • Sport fans never talk about the team, but about themselves, ie. Chelsea fans
  • What does reception studies mean if its about agency?
  • The boundaries are blurred of between the text and the receiver – classical visual art is clear (i.e. a frame around a painting), but digital media is difficult because (?) of paratext
  • Methods – we should move through the methods
  • Integrate digital with qualitative
  • The design of comparative studies to triangulate 

    Brenda Moon – GitHUB

  • Set up a GitHub account
  • Download GitHUB desktop client
    Github = version control
    Why version control?
    Keeps track of files
    allow which changes shoudl be allowed (called a commit)
    Keeps the metadata (short description of the change)
  • mulitple versions can be created and then merged
    complete history of your changes are kept
  • So when teh desktop client is all working, you speak in branches in this space, where every change is a branch that needs to be committed
  • If it is file that is in the commit and you change the file, GitHub recognises the change and has one uncommitted change

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 11.55.18

  • So here is my GitHub repository:

Forking a repository

  • find the repository, press fork and then download the files to your local computer to work on in the GitHub desktop

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.44.39

#BNEdata race

  • All teh fun and feels that a sunny city in QLD can offer, while running around with mobile tech
  • We also did some geolocative stuff too😉
  • Points of the day
    > Digital methods are never complete – it is how they are integrated with other approaches, i.e. ethnography
    > There is a huge gap to get to digital methods – we are provided with data sets to get going. I guess this is necessary for the purposes of running workshops, but it does also highlight the difficulty for entry level to digital methods for new scholars coming to this area
  • Many of these seminars are well worth presenting to our department colleagues and will hopefully motivate new approaches to existing areas of enquiry

The last word in doctoral writing: mechanics of last sentence rhetoric

I often struggle with a good ending. This is a great piece that looks at best way sot end your writing.

DoctoralWriting SIG

By Susan Carter

In a recent writing class, we gathered the last sentences of journal articles that participants thought were really strong, and analysed why they seemed to work so well. This is one group exercise that focuses on the mechanics of language for rhetorical force, something that takes doctoral students into a healthy space as they develop their writing’s style and voice.

Group analysis let us define the rhetorical mechanics of what we liked, and why, so that those in the group could improve final sentences of their own articles. The group included people from STEM and non-STEM disciplines—we were well aware by this stage that there were disciplinary differences in preferences for academic writing style.

I’d reiterated the view that the last sentence of any article, thesis, chapter or bit of formal writing has an important role: farewelling readers in a way that is likable and memorable. Readers…

View original post 783 more words

The Aftermath of #ANZCA2015

What an amazing two days I just had in Queenstown, New Zealand for the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference. I walked away with several exciting outcomes that build for the following year.

First, the public service media panel that Chris Wilson and I organise was very successful and likely to be picked up for a special issue. His will hopefully include the paper Terry Flew presented and the work that Stuart Cunningham and Ben Goldsmith had intended to present but were unable to. We will also use this as a platform to develop our PSM ECR group.

The digital research methods workshop that I facilitated was a roaring success! This followed on from our precon in Sydney a few months back, and continues to build momentum amongst a variety of universities. It was lovely to see much support for the project and to hear what the issues and interests are from our colleagues and peers in this developing area. We have established that ethics and digital research, a showcase of existing projects, knowledge transfer between university ethics groups and how digital research can align with teaching are the initial areas the working group (which sounds like it might become a stream) will address.

The digital methods panel that i organised, but was unable to attend due to my flight out of NZ, went well from what I hear. This will provide the basis for the very likely special edition I will edit in Communication, Research and Practice, the new Taylor and Francis ANZCA journal. Great interest had by all in this project, with a mutually beneficial outcome.

Finally, I walk away as the NSW representative for ANZCA. I’m not entirely sure what this means at the moment, but I am very honoured and delighted to have been nominated by Cate Dowd for the position. I will work on this in the coming months.

Onwards and upwards towards IAMCR in Montreal!

From fringe to formalisation: An experiment in fostering interactive public service media

I’d like to share with you my latest article which is looking at the intersection point of fringe creativity that is incorporated into traditional media organisations. The specifics of this is explored through online community co-creation and how the creative output of this group of users is incorporated by the ABC.


The role assumed by institutions that directly develop and support online communities has emerged as a crucial factor in the development of self- governance models for online communities engaging in collaborative practices. Commonly, online communities reject top-down governance models in favour of a meritocracy that positions users in authoritative positions because of their online performance. Scholarly research into online communities suggests that their governance models are horizontal, even where the community platforms are being developed or supported by commercial institutions. Questions of authority and power emerge when institutional, top-down governance models intersect with online community meritocracy in day-to-day communicative activities and while engaging in creative production. This article examines an experiment in fostering interactive public service media by users of the now-defunct ABC Pool through the case study of Ariadne. It tracks how early user-driven ideas for creativity were aligned with the interests of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation through a process of community self-governance alongside cultural intermediation.

The entire article is available here.

Pushback journalism: Twitter, user engagement and journalism students’ responses to The Australian

Pushback journalism: Twitter, user engagement and journalism students’ responses to The Australian

Penny O’Donnell and I have just had an article published that brings together contemporary journalism practices with social network analysis techniques. Our enquiry focussed on The Australian’s ‘Indoctrination’ article by Sharri Markson from 2014, and follows the aftermath through the conversations of those that were accused of being ‘indoctrinated’.

Penny and I brought together a broader understanding of the changing landscape of journalism practice through participatory culture, while investigating how influential Twitter conversationists can socially, politically and economically ‘pushback’. You can read the entire article here:

Pushback journalism: Twitter, user engagement and journalism students’ responses to The Australian

Here’s the abstract:

This article examines journalism students’ responses to claims in The Australian, made in October 2014, alleging some of Australia’s top universities were indoctrinating rather than educating future journalists. It reports the findings of a case study of user engagement with the story, including social media network and sentiment analysis of the resulting Twitter conversation. We found evidence of what we term “pushback journalism”, a new type of user engagement by younger people. Journalism students and other interested users converged to “rewrite” the indoctrination story – using wit, irony and humour as well as argument – with the aim of setting the record straight from their perspectives. In contrast to Australian social media research on adversarial relationships between professional and amateur journalists, we argue “pushback journalism” provides evidence of contiguous but critical relationships between the current generation of professional journalists and upcoming journalists-in-training, based on different if overlapping ideas about, and experiences of, journalism education, media careers and the future of news.

And finally, the social graphs could not be printed in the article, so they are below in a day-by-day blow:

Social Network Analysis for Sharri Markson, Day 1
Social Network Analysis for Sharri Markson, Day 1
Social Network Analysis for Sharri Markson, Day 2
Social Network Analysis for Sharri Markson, Day 2
Social Network Analysis for Sharri Markson, Day 3
Social Network Analysis for Sharri Markson, Day 3

The Future of Digital Archive Collections: Augmenting Public Service Media Geo-Locative Archives

The Future of Digital Archive Collections: Augmenting Public Service Media Geo-Locative Archives

I’ve just had an article accepted in Mobile Media and Communication titled, ‘The Future of Digital Archive Collections: Augmenting Public Service Media Geo-Locative Archives’. This is work from my time at the ABC that explores the impact of mobilities upon digital archives. It also draws on my work on cultural intermediation. I will upload a pre-print version to my Publications page shortly, but in the meantime, here is the abstract:

During 2011, the now defunct ABC Pool ( project developed an experiment that sought to combine emerging augmented reality (AR) technology with the archival collection of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The MyBurb project attempted to alter experiences of Australian suburbs by augmenting ABC archives in contemporary suburban environments to explore the blur between physical and digital spaces with its citizens. Mobile media, specifically geo-locative AR applications such as Layar are “one of the most widely used mobile AR applications” (Liao & Humphreys, 2014, p. 2) and challenge the sociological implications of hybrid spaces as “[m]obile interfaces … allow users to be constantly connected to the Internet while walking through urban spaces” (de Souza e Silva, 2006, p. 261). The project was successfully implemented, but was rarely utilised by the audience it sought to engage, revealing a division between aspects of the ABC’s remit and engaging its audience through mobile technology and environmental hybridity. This observation supports the cultural production gap Hesmondhalgh (2007) identified between the production and consumption of cultural goods, which I argue could be facilitated through technological intermediation as part of the broader concept of cultural intermediation (Hutchinson, 2013; Maguire & Matthews, 2010; Negus, 2002). How then could cultural intermediation facilitate the collaborative production of cultural goods to include the affordances of geo-locative media while avoiding the disconnection between the MyBurb project and its stakeholders? The data presented within this paper represents three years of research at ABC Pool where I was embedded as the community manager/researcher in residence.