Seminar: The Gendered Ties that Bind

The Gendered Ties That Bind the ‘New Global Governance’ to the ‘New Information Economy’

Associate Professor Lisa McLaughlin


Thursday 20th April, 2.00-3.30pm

CCCS Seminar Room, Level 4, Forgan Smith Building, University of Queensland St Lucia Campus

As the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) illustrates, the ‘new multi-stakeholderism’ and public-private partnerships work in concert to advance the ‘corporatization’ of international development initiatives. In this presentation, Assoc Professor McLaughlin maintains that the gender mainstreaming advocated by the UN and various gender-oriented organizations necessitates that summits such as the WSIS actively include gender advocates who adhere to formal, governmental modalities while passively excluding those who actively oppose market-led approaches to development, and she will link this to an agenda in which women of the Global South are offered the potential for emancipation and mobility through access to technology but instead are apt to become place-based informational labor.

About the Presenter:

Lisa McLaughlin is an Associate Professor at Miami University-Ohio, USA, where she holds a joint appointment in Mass Communication and Women’s Studies. She is also Director of Graduate Studies for the Master of Arts in Mass Communication Program. McLaughlin is editor of Feminist Media Studies, an international peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge. She teaches courses in international communications, global media governance, and feminist media theory and practice. Her recent work focuses on ICTs and the corporatization of development as it has emerged under the auspices of the United Nations. At present, McLaughlin’s research concentrates on Cisco Systems’ Networking Academy Programs and the corporation’s Gender Initiatives that have originated as public-private partnerships brokered through the UN.

Members of the university community and the general public are invited to attend this free seminar with refreshments to follow. For further information please visit the website at

Ideas Festival

The Ideas Festival, four days of ideas, innovation and invention will be held from 29 March to 2 April 2006 at Brisbane’s South Bank.

The Festival program includes:
o 100 national, international and local speakers
o 73 speaker sessions
o 23 sessions for secondary students in the new Ideas for Schools program
o a free four day program of Kids Ideas activities and workshops for 4-8 year olds
o free exhibitions and demonstrations
o the opening night event – the Ideas Debate- on Wednesday 29 March

Speakers include Cory Doctorow, Julian Burnside, Tristram Carfrae, Frank Furedi, Giselle Gass, Pat Kane, Elspeth Probyn, and Ingrid Van Beek.

AoIR Panel

[Apologies for loooooong blockquotes]

I recently received word that the AoIR 7.0 panel I’m organising with Melissa Gregg, Sal Humphreys, David Berry and Christina Spurgeon has been accepted. The title of the panel is ‘Creativity and its Discontents: Critical Perspectives on the Cultural Economy of New Media’, and here’s the abstract:

In recent years there has been a growth in ‘cyberbole’ (Woolgar, 2002) that insists that the increased availability and power of digital technologies for production and distribution represent a revolution that will allow ‘everyone’ to be an active and creative media participant. The perceived effect of this is that media users are able to evade the ideological dominance and commercial imperatives of the mass media. However, this democratisation discourse converges persistently with emerging neoliberal business and economic models under which consumers (or ‘users’), particularly of technology, are considered to possess and exercise more creativity and agency than before. This is often combined with a rhetoric of the surge in the power of voluntary work and ‘productive’ leisure. Leadbeater and Miller view the current surge in non-professional creativity as a ‘new ethic of amateurism’ that ‘could be one of the defining features of developed society’ (2004, p. 22). In a much more general sense, Richard Florida (2002) argues that more-or-less ubiquitous creativity (ubiquitous, that is, to the ‘developed’ world) is central to the present and near future of labour and cultural citizenship.

This panel aims to provide detailed accounts of the limits of these discourses. We will examine the complexity of agency and the constraints on it within the cultural economy of new media, particularly in relation to neoliberal economics and what ‘creative industries’ and their users, consumers, or co-creators are actually doing. We deliberately choose to focus on examples within the demographics and fields of practice that are most frequently invoked as exemplary by these discourses (MMOG players and other online communities, DIY media, the ‘new economy’ worker). We critique from a number of angles the rhetoric which insists these instances are proof of the transformative effect of the convergence between the conditions of cultural production and consumption. The prevailing structures of power impose often unacknowledged constraints on the agency of the neo-liberal ‘empowered consumer’. The frictions caused by the intersection of commercial interests, citizenship, and the affective and/or creative investments made by media users must be examined.


Bowman, Shane, and Willis, Chris (2003) WeMedia: How Audiences Are Shaping the Future of News and Information, Reston, Va.: The Media Center at the American Press Institute.

Florida, Richard (2002) The Rise of the Creative Class, New York: Basic Books.
Leadbeater, Charles, and Paul (2004) The Pro-Am Revolution: How Enthusiasts Are Changing Our Economy and Society, London: Demos.

Woolgar, Steve (2002) ‘Five Rules of Virtuality’, In Steve Woolgar (Ed.), Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality (pp. 1-22), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

And this is my own abstract – I’d be grateful for any comments that come to mind:

DIY, the Digerati and the Digital Divide: The Cultural Politics of New Media Literacy

In cultural and media studies, it is becoming orthodox to say that content creation is as essential to higher orders of new media literacy as writing was to print literacy. Content creation is also seen as key to ‘voice’ in the digital mediascape, and to participation in the networked cultural public sphere. Indeed, Sonia Livingstone (2004) has recently argued that attention to content creation as a component of literacy is ‘crucial to the democratic agenda’, positioning new media users ‘not merely as consumers but also as citizens’ (p. 11). In this paper, I am specifically concerned with interrogating the idea that everyday creative uses of digital technologies are a freely available point of access to such participation. On the continuum of participation, why is it that most Internet users are still lurkers rather than creators?

It is a fact that easier-to-use and more powerful tools are, in theory, available to anyone with physical access to a PC (or, increasingly, a mobile phone); but creative consumer hype, invoking the technological sublime, constructs the tools themselves as reified ‘magical solutions’. This shallowly utopian perspective correlates in philosophical terms to the model of lack represented by technologically deterministic ‘have-or-have-not’ concepts like ‘the digital divide’. With Warschauer, I argue that ‘digital inclusion’ is a much more useful term of critique and analysis than ‘digital divide’, which implies a binaristic and linear model of access, rather than a complex ecosystem of privilege, access and participation. Secondly, it is not possible to understand the unevenness of active and effective participation in digital culture without a critical and empirically grounded theory of literacy and the way it articulates to the dynamics of cultural capital, education, and class.

Livingstone (2004) proposes that most discussions of new media literacy are characterised by historically unresolved tensions between ‘critical’ or ‘enlightenment’ views of literacy – polarised philosophical positions that see literacy as a normative and exclusionary construction on the one hand (the ‘critical’ view); or as an aid to progress and equality that we should aim to extend to all people on the other (the ‘enlightenment’ view). In this paper, I propose a position that critically evaluates and balances these two available approaches. Drawing on cultural and media studies perspectives and methodological concerns, the paper will analyse the emerging patterns of cultural competencies and cultural value that work to construct new media literacy for cultural participation; and evaluate the potential and limitations of programs (such as the Digital Storytelling movement and classroom blogging) that aim to address the unevenness of access to new media literacy.

Using textual analysis, ethnographic and interview data, I demonstrate that, on the one hand, the ‘digerati’ – A-list bloggers, for example – share a particular class location, and that the emerging aesthetic and ethical norms of online ‘DIY culture’ map onto the tastes and values of this demographic. Equally, it is undeniable that the tools for democratic participation in new media are in fact available and at least theoretically accessible to a much broader demographic; and the pragmatism of participatory ethics dictates that it is urgent that non-elite members of society learn to use them in the effective service of diverse social and developmental goals. Such a view is represented by work such as that carried out by community Digital Storytelling programs and the emphasis on ‘creative literacies’ in e-learning. The paper ends by assessing the potential for such interventions to work effectively in the service of digital inclusion.

Livingstone, Sonia (2004) ‘Media Literacy and The Challenge of New Information and Communication Technologies’, The Communication Review, 7: 3-14.

Warschauer, Mark (2003) Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Public talk on participatory design

I’m going to this – quite excited that there is such an interest in critical design theory in Built Environment and Engineering at QUT:

Faculty of the Built Environment and Engineering School of Design and Design Research Theme

Invite you for a public talk

Design for, by and with users: from participatory design to meta-design and place-making

Speaker: Prof Pelle Ehn, Malmö University, Sweden

Date: Wednesday, 22 March 2006
Time: 18.00 (for 18.15)
Venue: ‘ O’ 308, Gardens Point campus, Queensland University of Technology


Making products and services that are meaningful to their users is one of the foundations for design. One approach to meet this demand in the design process has been labeled participatory design, inviting stakeholders as co-designers. Examples of this approach, a theoretical foundation and potential shortcomings will be reflected upon. This leads into reconsidering user participation and towards a more general perspective of meta-design of artefacts and infrastructures, towards designing and eventually the ways in which people make place. Some of these reflections will be in line with the just published “The Semantic Turn a new foundation for design” by Ulm designer and professor of communication Klaus Krippendorff.

Language-games, design-games and place-making-games will be central concepts, but the foundational “turn” or “twist” suggested is pragmatic rather than semantic.

CFP: Creativity, IAG/NSGS/IGU Brisbane 2006

CFP for a session on creativity at IGU 2006: Regional Responses to Global Changes: a view from the Antipodes:

3-7 July 2006
Brisbane, Australia

Co-sponsored by the Cultural and Rural Studies Groups of the Institute of
Australian Geographers

Session description:
The cultural turn in human geography has, inter alia, highlighted the complex ways in which social and cultural factors are embedded in and influence economic development. Creativity is just one of these factors. Its role in shaping the economic fortunes of cities has been famously brought to public attention by Richard Florida. Less spectacularly, perhaps, but no less importantly, creativity is increasingly recognised as playing an important part in the economic revitalisation and/or diversification of rural regions. Yet a number of crucial epistemological and ontological questions still surround ‘creativity’ as a topic of geographical research. Just what is creativity? Is it a property solely of individuals or can it also apply to collectives? What presumptions underpin policy-making on ‘creativity’? What is the nature of creativity’s spatial distribution, and what factors influence this? How, if at all, do creative works (e.g. art, literature) inform our senses and understandings of space, place and spatiality?

With these questions in mind, papers are welcome on a range of themes that discuss creativity in the context of rurality and economic development.

Please contact session organisers to express an interest, and/or email send
abstracts by February 18. Abstracts are formally due to the conference
organisers by February 24 – see

Session organisers:

Dr Chris Gibson
Human Geography
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Wollongong
Email: cgibson[AT]


Dr Neil Argent
Division of Geography and Planning
School of Human and Environmental Studies
University of New England
Email: nargent[AT]

remembering the furniture that glows

Josh and I are off to Sydney at a truly ridiculous hour tomorrow morning for the Australian Television History Conference where John (Hartley) is presenting our co-authored paper, “Laughs and Legends, or the Furniture that Glows? Television as History”, which we are all a bit crazy and overexcited from writing and talking about.


Back on Monday, when I hope to be able to actually watch television again, at some point anyway.

first person: international digital storytelling conference

I’m going to be presenting at this – should be an interesting collision of practitioners and researchers (and people who are both):

First Person: International Digital Storytelling Conference
Friday 3 February – Sunday 5 February 2006
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, Australia

First Person will showcase Digital Storytelling as a new cinema of personal portrait, engage with story as an interactive practice and investigate the use of technology to share meaningful stories as a global community.

Call for Papers: IR 7.0


International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers

Brisbane, Australia
28-30 September 2006

Pre-Conference Workshops: 27 September 2006


The Internet works as an arena of convergence. Physically dispersed and marginalized people (re)find themselves online for the sake of sustaining and extending community. International and interdisciplinary teams now collaborate in new ways. Diverse cultures engage one another via CMC. These technologies relocate and refocus capital, labor and immigration, and they open up new possibilities for political, potentially democratizing, forms of discourse. Moreover, these technologies themselves converge in multiple ways, e.g. in Internet-enabled mobile phones, in Internet-based telephony, and in computers themselves as “digital appliances” that conjoin communication and multiple media forms. These technologies also facilitate fragmentations with greater disparities between the information-haves and have-nots, between winners and losers in the shifting labor and capital markets, and between individuals and communities. Additionally these technologies facilitate information filtering that reinforces, rather than dialogically challenges, narrow and extreme views.


Our conference theme invites papers and presentations based on empirical research, theoretical analysis and everything in between that explore the multiple ways the Internet acts in both converging and fragmenting ways – physical, cultural, technological, political, social – on local, regional, and global scales.

Without limiting possible proposals, topics of interest include:

– Theoretical and practical models of the Internet
– Internet convergence, divergence and fragmentation
– Networked flows of information, capital, labor, etc.
– Migrations and diasporas online
– Identity, community and global communication
– Regulation and control (national and global)
– Internet-based development and other economic issues
– Digital art and aesthetics
– Games and gaming on the Internet
– The Net generation
– E-Sectors, e.g. e-health, e-education, e-business

We call for papers, panel proposals, and presentations from any discipline, methodology, and community that address the theme of Internet Convergence. We particularly call for innovative, exciting, and unexpected takes on and interrogations of the conference theme. However, we always welcome submissions on any topics that address social, cultural, political, economic, and/or aesthetic aspects of the Internet and related Internet technologies. We are equally interested in interdisciplinary proposals as well as proposals from within specific disciplines.


We seek proposals for several different kinds of contributions. We welcome proposals for traditional academic conference papers, but we also encourage proposals for creative or aesthetic presentations that are distinct from a traditional written ‘paper’. We welcome proposals for roundtable sessions that will focus on discussion and interaction among conference delegates, and we also welcome organized panel proposals that present a coherent group of papers on a single theme.

This year AoIR will also be using an alternative presentation format in which a dozen or so participants who wish to present a short overview of their work to stimulate debate will gather together in a plenary session involving short presentations (no more than 5 minutes) and extended discussion. All papers and presentations in this session will be reviewed in the normal manner. Further information will be available via the conference submission website.

– PAPERS (individual or multi-author) – submit abstract of 500-750 words

– SHORT PRESENTATIONS – submit abstract of 500-750 words

– CREATIVE OR AESTHETIC PRESENTATIONS – submit abstract of 500-750 words

– PANELS – submit a 250-500 word description of the panel theme (and abstracts of the distinct papers or presentations)

– ROUNDTABLE PROPOSALS – submit a 250-500 word statement indicating the nature of the roundtable discussion and interaction.

Papers, presentations and panels will be selected from the submitted proposals on the basis of multiple blind peer review, coordinated and overseen by the Program Chair. Each person is invited to submit a proposal for 1 paper or 1 presentation. People may also propose a panel of papers or presentations, of which their personal paper or presentation must be a part. You may submit an additional paper/presentation of which you are the co-author as long as you are not presenting twice. You may submit a roundtable proposal as well.

Detailed information about submission and review is available at the conference submission website All proposals must be submitted electronically through this site.


All papers presented at the conference are eligible for publication in the Internet Research Annual, on the basis of competitive selection and review of full papers. Additionally, several publishing opportunities are expected to be available through journals, again based on peer-review of full papers.

Details on the website.


Graduate students are strongly encouraged to submit proposals. Any student paper is eligible for consideration for the AoIR graduate student award. Students wishing to be a candidate for the Student Award must also send a final paper by 31 July 2006.


Prior to the conference, there will be a limited number of pre-conference workshops which will provide participants with in-depth, hands-on and/or creative opportunities. We invite proposals for these pre-conference workshops. Local presenters are encouraged to propose workshops that will invite visiting researchers into their labs or studios or locales. Proposals should be no more than 1000 words, and should clearly outline the purpose, methodology, structure, costs, equipment and minimal attendance required, as well as explaining its relevance to the conference as a whole. Proposals will be accepted if they demonstrate that the workshop will add significantly to the overall program in terms of thematic depth, hands on experience, or local opportunities for scholarly or artistic connections. These proposals and all inquires regarding pre-conference proposals should be submitted as soon as possible to the Conference Chair and no later than 31 March 2006.


Submission site available: 1 December 2005

Final date for proposal submission: 7 February 2006

Presenter notification: 21 March 2006

Final workshop submission deadline: 31 March 2006

Submission of paper for publication/student award: 31 July 2006

Submission of paper for conference archive: 30 September 2006


Program Chair: Dr Fay Sudweeks, Murdoch University, Australia,

Conference Chair: Dr Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology,

President of AoIR: Dr Matthew Allen, Curtin University of Technology,

Association Website:

Conference Website: (from 1 December)

Daniel Meadows: Digital Storytelling Lecture

Daniel Meadows is a world leader in the Digital Storytelling movement and is here at QUT to offer a master-class workshop on new directions for digital storytelling.

Come and join us…

Public Lecture: Digital Storytelling: the journey from ‘doing media to people’ to ‘enabling people to do media’.

When: Tuesday 1st November (THIS COMING TUESDAY) from 4.30pm -6.00pm

Where: QUT Creative Industries Precinct, The Hall (Z2-226), Kelvin Grove.

Public Space in the Media City

If you’re in Sydney next Wednesday and you’re interested in the history of new media technologies in relation to cities, space or place, try to get along to hear Scott McQuire talk about his current research:

Public Space in the Media City

University of New South Wales Media, Film and Theatre Seminars
5pm, Wednesday 26 October 2005
Robert Webster building, Room 327

Scott McQuire’s research explores the social effects of media technologies, with particular attention to their impact on the social relations of space and time, and the formation of identity. He is currently writing a book, The Media City, that traces the way in which cities have become increasingly media-dense environments, transforming previous conceptions of public and private space. What happens to the place we call ‘home’ when the transnational networks of both embedded and mobile media have become ubiquitous? How do they reconstruct public urban space as more interactive and performative?

Scott McQuire teaches in the Media and Communication Program at the University of Melbourne. Among his books are Crossing the Digital Threshold (1997), Visions of Modernity (1998), The Look of Love (with Peter Lyssiotis, ,1998), Maximum Vision (1999) and Empires, Ruins + Networks: The Transcultural Agenda in Art (ed. with Nikos Papastergiadis, 2005).

I also highly recommend Scott’s book Visions of Modernity to anyone interested in the cultural history of photography and visual technologies.