Tag Archives: seminar

Communication Asset Mapping with students

I love a good map, especially when the map tells me something that I didn’t know before. This is why we have for some time incorporated spatial methods in teaching communications research at Greenwich. With the help of students on the BA Media & Communications, I’ve put together a slide deck explaining how we have used communication asset mapping as a method for investigating the neighbourhood around the campus.

Slides: Communication Asset Mapping in Practice

One of the fundamental insights of media theory is that media shape space (the light bulb is the classic example of this, as Marshall McLuhan argues). More specifically, communications scholars are interested in questions of how people experience and interact in space – neighbourhoods, urban areas, or even individual streets. This is where digital technologies come in. Mapmaking has become a lot more accessible to non-experts in cartography in recent years. Tools like Google Maps, Mapbox and CartoDB make it possible to add layers of data on to maps of the world, down to a very fine level of detail. We can document and visualise our environment (and share those visualisations) using cheap or free tools online

So, this is why our students can sometimes be found walking around the public spaces of Greenwich, taking notes and pictures. The inspiration for this comes from the MetaConnects group at the Annenberg School for Communication (University of Southern California) whose work aims to link research and practice through the study of communities, diversity and communication technologies. Importantly, they have created a very useful research toolkit, shared online. We’ve borrowed some of their concepts and methods, and put them to use on the streets of Greenwich.

Here’s a link to the map we made, and here are some slides documenting the process. Enjoy!

Welcome back!

Happy new year, everyone. The course outlines have been updated for this term’s MA Media & Communication core courses:

MEDS1054 Research Practice Method (30 cr., Terms 1, 2 and 3, 30 cr.)

MEDS 1121 Media Work (15 cr.)

MEDS1115 Digital Poetics (15 cr.)

For those who haven’t chosen an option for this term, now is the time to commit. Check your profile on the student portal and speak with your programme leader if you have any doubts.

The Easter Break Reading List

Term ends this week, and students in Research Methods are getting ready for the break. I asked everyone to name one book they are planning to read over the break, for their various projects. I added one as well.

It makes for an interesting, combined snapshot of what we’re up to right now. Here’s the list, in the order in which seminar participants added to it:

Shirky, Clay. Cognitive Surplus
Foucault, Michel. Foucault Live 1961-1984
Arendt, Hannah. Vita activa [in German].
Barnier, Amanda. From Individual to Collective Memory
Darnton & Roche, Revolution in Print
Sturken and Cartwright, eds. Practices of Looking
Kelly, Ian. Beau Brummel
Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture
Veltman, Kim H. Understanding New Media: Augmented Knowledge & Culture
Davis, Lennard J. The Disability Studies Reader, 2nd ed.
Mc Naughton, M.J. “Guerrilla Communication, Visual Consumption & Consumer Public Relations.” Public Relations Review 34, 3, Sep 2008: 303-305. [Clearly not the only item on this particular student’s reading list]
Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things
Anderson, Chris. The Longer Lone Tail
Gregg and Seigworth, eds. The Affect Theory Reader.
Don’t try to read them all at once, over three weeks.

Visual research and discourse research

workspace-3.JPGIt was the seminar of pretty pictures.

In Research Methods yesterday we covered the two essays in the “Texts and Pictures” section of Pickering, ed. Research Methods in Cultural Studies (2008): “Analysing Visual Experience” by Sarah Pink and “Analysing Discourse” by Martin Barker.

The two journal articles I used as examples are Grayson Cooke, “De-interfacement” (2010) and Niloofar Niknam, “Hidden Media” (2010) (sign in via the University Student Portal to access the full text).

In our discussion of data visualization, images and the relationship between the analysis of data and discourse analysis we looked at the Guardian Datablog, the Information is Beautiful blog and book, Wordle word clouds created online, and screenshots from the new game Chromaroma, developed by Mudlark, which uses individuals’ Oyster card travel data for gameplay (see article here).

The photo is from one of my own forays into visual research, a blog post on slack space I wrote this spring.

Producers and Consumers

Here’s the diagram that emerged in our seminar discussion on Wednesday around the two articles, “Researching Cultural Producers” and “Researching Cultural Consumers” (both in Pickering, ed. Research Methods in Cultural Studies).

(Thanks to Dharana for the image)

This is not a summary of the two chapters, of course. There are many ways to “map” the approaches and key concepts that Aeron Davis and Anneke Meyer discuss. This is probably most useful for you just to recall the points we made in the seminar discussion.

Hoxton Walk on Monday

Monday’s Digital Culture and Industry seminar will be a little different this week. We’ll brave the elements and meet at Old Street Station (Monday 15 Nov, 4pm) for a stroll around the spiritual home of Cool Britannia.

This will be the companion walking tour to Andy Pratt’s, “Urban Regeneration: From the Arts ‘Feel Good’ Factor to the Cultural Economy: A Case Study of Hoxton, London” (2008).

Of course, if you want to brush up on your Hoxton/Shoreditch cultural references, all in the name of understanding Pratt’s argument more thoroughly, the entire first season of Nathan Barley is available on 4OD’s YouTube channel.

Primary and Secondary

In Research Methods this week we discussed the first section of Research Methods for Cultural Studies, focusing on the relationship between lived experience and narrative, and on the larger question of the distinction between primary and secondary sources. Here’s a photo of the diagram we came up with in discussion.

The main idea is that the distinction between primary and secondary sources is not black and white: Sources fall on a spectrum, depending on how “raw” they are, that is, how much the data has been processed and interpreted before it gets into the researcher’s hands:

This is just one way of looking at it, and we’ll be unpacking a lot more methods questions in the coming weeks.