Skip to main content

London update

(This is an expanded version of a post I wrote for the new TANTlab website)

It has been very quiet here on my blog, as it often happens with blogs in these days of social media. But here is a nice occasion to write an update: I've spent the last couple of months in London. This is my second stay abroad as part of my PhD. For the first half of 2014, I worked in Paris. Now it's London, where, more specifically, I am spending the summer term at Goldsmiths. Even more specifically, I am a visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP), Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London. Lots of fancy names, but what goes on here? Here are some brief examples.
Back in May, I was at an all-day workshop on ’doing screen work ethnographies’ together with a group of highly interesting researchers, including Lucy SuchmanAdrian MackenzieAnne BeaulieuDaniel Neyland and Christine Hine. The reason why these people (and more) came together at Goldsmiths is Evelyn Rupperts’ new ERC-funded project on work done with statistics in Europe. It is called ”Peopling Europe: How data make a people”, or ARITHMUS for short. There is a bit more about it here, but the work is just starting now. Last week’s meeting was the first out of six methods workshops that will be organized over the coming years as part of the project, and this one started with the extremely relevant challenge of how to ethnographic research in settings that are heavily mediated by screens. A question that is key, I think, also for how to do good techno-anthropological research.
Earlier in June, I was at another interesting event, but as a speaker rather than a workshop participant. On June 9th, Goldsmiths hosted a seminar on ”Experiments with Data Publics”, which featured myself talking about my on-going research on Facebook pages and sociotechnical controversies, but started with the work of Anders Koed Madsen,  University of Aalborg CPH, and Anders Kristian Munk, University of Aalborg CPH and SciencesPo médialab, on using Facebook for collectively envisioning the future of schooling in Aalborg, Denmark. There is a bit more about the event on June 9th here and Anders Koed Madsen and Anders Kristian Munk have written about their project previously on the TANT-Lab website here.
As a third example of what I am up to in London, let me give you an idea of my day to day work. I am in the final year of my PhD, which means trying ’to write up’ my work into a thesis. Here at Goldsmiths, I receive supervision from Noortje Marres, the director of CSISP, on this writing work. She is a very relevant person for me to work with, since her own research interests overlap a lot with my own. These topics include publics, STS and digital methods. So far, I have had two very productive meetings with Marres, and I have been assigned a desk in a room on the CSISP floor, so I get to be a part of the everyday of her research group for a while. You can read more about Noortje Marres here. I've also enjoyed discussions with fellow PhD researchers David Moats and Jess Perriam, who are both supervised by Marres.

In fact, I spent yesterday on a field trip to Warwick University with Noortje and Jess, who were presenting their ongoing project about the selfiestick as an issue object (read more here) at a workshop on interfaces organized by Nathaniel Tkacz of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies. The selfiestick, Noortje and Jess argued, is more interesting that is could appear, because it does work both as a media object and an issue itself. As such, it could be interrogated as an interface between issues and media, a relationship that is arguably very important for the fate of issues. For more on this theme, check out Noortje's new paper in Science, Technology and Human Values called "Why map issues?".
So, lots of interesting stuff going on here in London! That is, at least, what I hope these four examples have suggested. In closing, perhaps I should mention that I am able to afford this stay in London because I was lucky to be awarded one of the 2014 EliteForsk travel stipends for PhD researchers. You can read a bit more about that and my project (in Danish) here.


Popular posts from this blog

Official statistics: 51% of 16-74 year old Danes use Facebook

In making a case for why my MSc dissertation here at the Oxford Internet Institute should be concerned with something as hyped and mundane as Facebook, I've been looking for numbers on the Danish social media landscape.

On the English-language web, the commercial SocialBakers Facebook statistics suggest that 49% of the Danish population are on Facebook.

This rather non-transparent number can now be compared with a recent report by Statistics Denmark, suggesting that 51% of 16-74 year old Danes have a Facebook account. The second-largest online social network service in Denmark, LinkedIn, is trailing far behind at 8%. Most surprisingly perhaps, a mere 3% of the surveyed age cohort use Twitter.

As such, there are compelling quantitative reasons for choosing Facebook over e.g. Twitter for a case study of how social media reflect life in Denmark. Another recent survey produced for a Danish daily confirms this: A tiny elite of the 319 most active Twitter users in Denmark write half of …

Two (used) comments on Gillespie's new chapter "The Relevance of Algorithms"

I'm in Paris this semester, as a visiting doctoral student at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation (CSI) at Ecole des Mines and at the médialab at Sciences Po. 
Apart from finding myself in the middle of two very lively research communities, I've also been so lucky that a series of cross-institutional seminars on Digital Methods are taking place in Paris this spring.
The last seminar was on "Transformative interaction: web effects on social dynamics", for which I volunteered to prepare a brief comment on one of the selected readings, namely Tarleton Gillespie's chapter "The Relevance of Algorithms", forthcoming in an edited volume on "Media Technologies" to be published by MIT Press. (The full chapter has been uploaded by Gillespie here).
Since I prepared the comments in writing, and since they did in fact spark some discussion, I've decided that it might be appropriate to recycle them as a blog post. Here goes:

Introducing: The Twitter-thing!

Context: The Twitter-thing is the (awkward?) translation into English of 'Twittertinget' - a project I worked on last year with two Danish colleagues, Irina Papazu (CBS) and Tobias Bornakke (Uni. of Copenhagen) in collaboration with the Danish newspaper Politiken. The Twitter-thing is a tool that draws on TCAT in order to build a network visualisation of how Danish MPs use hashtags on Twitter. Here follows my abstract for the upcoming Data Publics conference in Lancaster, where I'll be exhibiting the Twitter-thing.

Parliaments could seem to be highly issue-agnostic places. All sorts of problems move in and out of these large and expensive devices (Dányi 2015), while the membership stays more or less the same in-between elections. But as issues are taken up and left behind by parliaments, they also make cuts in the parliament in the sense that specific sets of parliamentarians become attached to specific issues. The aim of the Twitter-thing tool is to trace these cuts and v…