POPULAR ARTS / INTERNET CULTURE
SCALE AND NEW MEDIA
In July 2014, I began working as an Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track) in the Department of Social Communication at Saint Paul University, which is federated with the University of Ottawa. This position in especially engaging because it enables me to offer courses in Communication Studies in a bilingual department that is part of a bilingual university: I have the opportunity to teach in both English and French. While offering courses in communication theories in the French language during the Fall 2014 semester, I also completed the writing of a number of articles. For instance, the piece entitled “Social Media and Whirling Dervishes: Countering UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage” is to be published in 2015 in the journal Performing Islam. I am also collaborating with José van Dijck, Hallvard Moe and Thomas Poell in the publication of a special edition of Television and New Media, entitled Rearticulating Audience Engagement: Social Media and Television. My contribution to this edited collection, entitled “Television Flow and YouTube: The Interplay of Users, Content and Algorithms ” is currently under review. Furthermore, I built (or hand-coded) a skeleton of an online archive of digital intangible heritage research. I am in the process of collaborating with scholars and practitioners throughout the world to create a resource that archives research as well as research/creation related to digital intangible heritage. This archive is part of a larger project that I have undertaken that explores the connection between intangible heritage and digital media with the goal of furthering the study of digital intangible heritage. My research this year is further enriched by various professional activities including my serving as a member of the editorial board of Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research and a reviewer for leading international journals, most notably New Media and Society.
I am generally in Montreal during the summer, devoting my time to completing the writing of my book Digital Legacies: The Global Archiving of Intangible Heritage. During this time, I am also engaged in other writing projects: a chapter on salsa dance and digital media to be included in an edited collection, entitled Critical Reflections on Multicultural Dance in Canada; an essay on photography and the miniature; an article on YouTube as an archive; and an expanded abstract of my MIT8 conference talk. In June, my article, entitled “Between Narratives and Lists: Performing Digital Heritage through Global Media”, was published online (before print) in the International Journal of Heritage Studies.
I spent the Winter/Spring 2013 working as a visiting scholar at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada in Montreal. During this time I presented sections of my ongoing research at the Department of Humanities at York University in Toronto. I also gave a paper on heritage archives and social media at the MIT8 conference, Public Media/ Private Media, at MIT in Cambridge, MA. Many of the key concerns of the MIT8 conference including the personalization of social media and the role of algorithms are also integral to my research. Participating at this conference turned out to be an engaging and fruitful experience. During this time, my article, entitled “YouTube and the Social Archiving of Intangible Heritage”, was published in New Media and Society. As well as working on my book, Digital Legacies: The Global Archiving of Intangible Heritage, I also started some new writing projects. For instance, I wrote an article on theorizing digital intangible heritage for possible publication in a collection on theory and heritage to be published at Routledge and edited by heritage scholars - William Logan, Helaine Silverman and Laurajane Smith.
During the Fall academic term, I worked as the scientist-in-residence at gendup - Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Salzburg in Salzburg, Austria. During this time, I gave two public lectures. I presented a talk, entitled “Women and the Whirling Dervish: Gender and the Digital Archiving of Intangible Heritage”, at gendup. I also gave a public lecture at the University of Salzburg entitled, “Performance, the Archive and Digital Humanities” for a lecture series on Literature and the Arts organized by Professor Sabine Coelsh-Foisner and Professor Ralph Poole. While in Salzburg, I continued working on my book, Digital Legacies: The Global Archiving of Intangible Heritage. I also wrote an article that I submitted to the International Journal of Heritage Studies. If accepted for publication, this article would be included in a special journal edition entitled, Re-enacting the Past: Memory, Materiality, Performance, edited by Britta Timm Knudsen, Mads Daubjerg and Rivka Eisner. Another writing project included revising an article on YouTube and the social archiving of intangible heritage for publication in the journal New Media and Society. While working at the University of Salzburg, I also visited friends and colleagues in the surrounding area, including Munich and Vienna. Salzburg is an exquisitely beautiful and calm city, making it an excellent place to write and contemplate! My time in Salzburg proved to be highly productive.
My summer research projects took me around the world - from Montreal to Kelowna, Istanbul, Gothenburg, Paris and finally to Salzburg. I gave a public lecture on a section of my forthcoming book, Digital Legacies: The Global Archiving of Intangible Heritage at the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies of the University of British Columbia in Kelowna. In early June, I presented my current research at the Association of Critical Heritage Studies Inaugural Conference at the University of Gothenburg. This was an amazing conference where I had the opportunity to meet a host of heritage scholars, including researchers working on the intersection between heritage and new technologies. In early July, I presented my work on intangible cultural heritage and YouTube at the Association for Cultural Studies Conference: Crossroad in Cultural Studies at Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris. During the Paris Crossroads in Cultural Studies conference I had the opportunity to meet scholars working specifically on YouTube and intangible heritage, most notably Britta Timm Knudsen at Arhus University. While I was in Paris, I interviewed members of the Intangible Cultural Heritage section at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in regards to a range of issues including the organization’s use of YouTube. Through these interviews I obtained a far deeper grasp of UNESCO’s role in the dissemination of intangible heritage through social media, knowledge that has enriched my work. When not presenting at conferences or giving invited talks, I was conducting ethnographic research in Istanbul on the spiritual practices of a specific Mevlevi community in the city. This community integrates women dervishes in their Mevlevi Sema ( or whirling dervish) ceremonies. The research I conducted during the summer of 2012 marked the end of fascinating ethnographic work that had begun fourteen months before. At the end of the summer, I left Istanbul to begin my position as a scientist-in-residence (or scholar-in-residence) at gendup - Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, at the University of Salzburg in Austria.