AoIR2019 Travel Scholarship Application Information

In order to increase the diversity of participation in the annual AoIR conferences, the Association of Internet Researchers makes available several conference fee waivers and travel stipends per year. These stipends are mostly funded through the generosity of our membership.

Applications are invited from authors whose proposals have already been accepted via the conference reviewing process, as well as by PhD students applying to the Doctoral Colloquium.

All applications should be emailed directly to the Association Coordinator, Michelle Gardner (ac [at] AoIR [dot] org), and must be received by 27 May 2019. Late applications cannot be considered.

Applications should include (1) a short (2-page) CV and (2) a statement no longer than 2 pages that must include the following information:

  1. A brief description of how the author’s presentation or contribution to the AoIR 2019 conference will uniquely articulate and/or represent a distinctive perspective (e.g., of persons and/or cultures) otherwise unlikely to be represented at the conference.
  2. An explanation of the author’s distinctive circumstances that would warrant a fee waiver, and an indication that the applicant will be able to make effective use of the funds. These may include, but are by no means limited to: exceptionally limited financial resources (e.g., as a graduate student or scholar in a non-OECD country, as a disabled person on a limited income, etc.); exceptional limits on institutional support otherwise normally available (e.g., travel funds, grant funds, etc.); other exceptional circumstances that render the usual AoIR conference fees an insurmountable obstacle to attending the conference in order to present the author’s work. Please include any information on access you have to additional funding.

AoIR membership is encouraged but is not a requirement for the application.

Applicants may also include a letter of support from someone familiar with their circumstances, special needs, etc. Such a letter is not a requirement.

Applications will be reviewed by the AoIR Executive Committee.

Fee waivers and travel stipends of up to $1,000 (with two stipends of up to $2,500) will be awarded. Awards are intended to reimburse participants for expenses incurred and will be paid out after the conference. The awardee is required to provide expense receipts to AoIR in order to access travel stipends.

Decisions are made on the basis of the Executive Committee’s collective judgment as to which applicants will make the most distinctive contribution to the AoIR conference. Priority will be given to applicants who have not previously received a travel award from AoIR. In order to respect and protect the privacy of the applicants, all Executive Committee discussions and deliberations will be held in strict confidence.

The AoIR Executive Committee regretfully acknowledges that there may be more meritorious applications than we will be able to award and support. Nonetheless, we hope that awarded fee waivers and travel stipends will not only assist deserving scholars and researchers, but also enrich the AoIR 2019 conference for all attendees.

2019-21 AoIR Executive Committee Election Results

We are excited to announce the results of our recent election for the AoIR Executive Committee. But first, some thank yous and some information about the election.

AoIR would like to thank our election monitors, Alex Halavais and Andra Siibak, who, in accordance with the terms of our Bylaws certified the results. And of course thank you to everyone who ran for office and everyone who voted.

The new Executive Committee will officially take office in October at the Association General Meeting. We hope you’ll join us in Brisbane to meet with them and provide your input regarding the future direction of the Association.

Here is your 2019-2021 Executive Committee:

• President (elected as Vice President in the 2017 Election): Lynn Schofield-Clark, University of Denver
• Vice President (becomes President in two years): Tama Leaver, Curtin University
• Immediate Past President (elected as Vice President in the 2015 Election): Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology
• Secretary: Katrin Tiidenberg, Tallinn University
• Treasurer: Kelly Quinn, University of Illinois at Chicago
• Graduate Student Representative: Zoe Glatt, London School of Economics
• Open Seats: 1) Crystal Abidin, National University of Singapore/Jönköping University; 2) Fabio Giglietto, Università di Urbino Carlo Bo; 3) Erika Pearson, Massey University

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the election. AoIR is excited about our future with such capable members leading the way!

AoIR Flashpoint Symposium Keynote Speakers

We are pleased to present the Keynote Speakers for AoIR’s Flashpoint Symposium.

Dr. Crystal Abidin

Dr Crystal Abidin is a digital anthropologist and ethnographer of vernacular internet cultures. She researches young people’s relationships with internet celebrity, self-curation, and vulnerability. Her books include Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online (2018), Microcelebrity Around the Globe: Approaches to Cultures to Cultures of Internet Fame (2019, co-edited with Megan Lindsay Brown), and Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures (forthcoming, with Tama Leaver and Tim Highfield). Other forthcoming books investigate Influencer cultures, the Blogshop industry, and Bodies in social media spaces. She is listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia (2018) and Pacific Standard 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 (2016). Crystal is Senior Research Fellow/DECRA Fellow in Internet Studies at Curtin University, Affiliate Researcher with the Media Management and Transformation Centre at Jönköping University, and Research Fellow with the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University. Reach her at wishcrys.com.

Public shaming, Vigilante trolling, and Genealogies of Transgression on the Singaporean Internet
Digital spaces have opened new frontiers of connectivity and dialogue between otherwise highly policed users in semi-authoritarian media regimes like Singapore. While alternative journalism news sites, political blogs, and digital estates belonging to opposition political parties have been subject to compulsory licensing schemes in recent years, there still remains a tiny terrain laced with ambiguity on which everyday citizens have been able to partake in antagonistic behaviour and productive transgressions online. Whether engaging in ambivalent expressions of dissidence or public shaming witch-hunts in the name of vigilante activism, and whether out of social consciousness/civic mindedness or contentious humour/subversive play, these internet vernaculars have managed to glide under the radar of state control. Drawing on research from various interconnected projects between 2011 and 2019, this talk provides a vernacular framework for thinking about internet social justice via networked transgressive behaviour. Considering a brief history of milestones in Singaporean internet culture – including crowd-sourced tabloid sites, citizen-journalesque discussion forums, online troll Facebook pages and groups, clickbaity Influencers, and the call-out culture of viral Twitter threads and hot takes – the talk explains the allure of public shaming culture in relation to the state and its citizens, national law, and internet mores. In forecasting ‘What’s Next’ for such under-the-radar studies, the talk will also contemplate on the personal, cultural, and institutional challenges of such research.

 

Dr. Rebekah Tromble

Dr. Tromble is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. Her research focuses on online political discourse and its effects on political attitudes and behavior, digital research methods and ethics, and computational social science. She is the lead investigator on a multi-university project selected by Twitter to help the platform assess the “health of conversations” on the platform. She is also co-leading “The (Mis)Informed Citizen” project, funded in part by the Alan Turing Institute (ATI), which is developing computational tools to help analyze the quality of online news articles and, in turn, study what types of information people are exposed to online, as well as the impacts on people’s knowledge, attitudes, and political participation.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know: Navigating Platforms’ Proprietary Black Boxes in Internet Research

Just a few years ago it seemed that the possibilities for internet and social media research were boundless. Various platform APIs offered a treasure trove of data to explore. But in 2018, in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, that all came crashing down. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter began significantly restricting data access, including via the APIs. And suddenly, research was much more difficult if not impossible—to undertake.

Or at least that’s been the common refrain.

In this talk, I will argue that though certain means of data access have indeed changed since 2018, the basic relationship between researchers, the platforms, and platform data remains largely the same. The platforms and their APIs have always been proprietary black boxes, and even when researchers could mine these data spigots seemingly endlessly, we rarely knew what type or quality of data we were actually getting. Rather than viewing 2018 and Cambridge Analytica as a profound disjuncture and loss, I suggest that we need to take a more critical look at how the research community collected and analyzed data when it still seemed so plentiful, and use those reflections to inform our current approaches to working with internet and social media data going forward.

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