Going down under at QUT's DMRC's summer doc program
Wait, a summer program in the middle of winter? Yup, since it was in Brisbane, Australia at the Queensland University of Technology's (QUT) Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) Summer School.
This summer program in Feb 2019 brought together doctoral students and early career researchers from all over the world for a series of digital methods workshops. It is an opportunity to share their knowledge and to develop new skills and critical methods for studying for our rapidly changing digital media environments and increasingly datafied societies.
I was so excited to get the email that I was accepted into the program. While it was a bit of trek to get to the other side of the planet, it was such a wonderful opportunity to meet with brilliant scholars from around the world. Plus, I got to escape the Colorado winter for a bit!
I participated in nearly all the workshops I could take, but there were some notable standouts that I would recommend if you are able to attend (if they are still being offered). *All of the workshops I attended were wonderful and I wish I could have been in all of them.*
1. Axel Burn's Advanced Social Media Analytics - Burns' is not only a great instructor but he is an expert in the field. I only wish I could take more classes with him.
2. Jean Burgess's App Walkthrough - I unfortunately missed this workshop for a co-current session, but I heard from nearly all the participants that it was one of the best of the whole program.
3. Ariadna Matamoros Fernandez's Multiplatform Issue Mapping - This was such a useful workshop for me from both a practical standpoint of using Youtube but also how to map issues across platforms. Look for papers of me using this in the future!
4/5/6. Tim Graham's Introduction to Social Network Analysis in R & Dan Angus' Information Visualisation for Text-based social data & Patrik Wilkström's Introducing Instagrab - I hope these faculty won't mind me grouping them together, but these three workshops were based around how to use a particular tool for research. If you want to be an internet/social media researcher and you have been too overwhelmed by the technical portion of it, these faculty made using technology approachable.
In addition to all the wonderful workshops, we had wonderful local student guides to take us around town and introduce us to Aussie culture. We even had an a little BBQ with some 'roo burgers one night. We also got to listen to wonderful panels and talks on the state of media which we all thought was valuable. And finally, when I was asking former participants what I could do to make the most of my time in the program, I was told that the faculty really care and to make the most of my time with my assigned mentor. Yup, we even got mentors to meet with! I was paired with Dan Angus who really took the time to give me feedback on my dissertation proposal and what I wanted to do with my life. It was great to see researchers (both Dan and all the faculty/staff at DMRC) be so invested in the futures of these scholars who aren't even their students. It was apparent the time, effort, and excitement the staff had for the summer program.
I thought it was a highly valuable experience and I can't wait to see my colleagues again in the future!