Call for Proposals to host the AoIR Flashpoint Symposium in 2020

To supplement our annual October conference, and to follow up on the success of the Inaugural AoIR Flashpoint Symposium to be held in Urbino, Italy on 24 June 2019,  the Association of Internet Researchers is seeking proposals for a one-day AoIR Flashpoint Symposium to take place between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

As the 2020 AoIR conference takes place in Dublin, Ireland, only proposals for locations outside of Europe will be considered for this round.

The AoIR Flashpoint Symposium is a small event that provides an opportunity to deepen or foster conversations about internet research among regions, groups, and thematic research areas that have been underrepresented in the Association of Internet Researchers and its conferences. The Association is making available a grant of up to US$7,500 for the purpose of supporting a one-day symposium that will contribute to the life and mission of AoIR and feed into its annual conference.

The symposium will be a standalone event to take place in a region of the world that differs from that of the 2020 annual conference (Dublin, Ireland). Preference is given to regions and locations where an AoIR conference has not yet been held but where at least one active AoIR member, who will be on the Flashpoint Symposium planning committee, resides. We also require that the symposium makes a contribution to the main 2020 AoIR conference in some way (e.g., a panel, pre-conference workshop, or another format that presents key contributions and outcomes from the symposium). In addition to local participants, all AoIR members are invited to attend the Flashpoint Symposium.

Deadline for the submission of this proposal is 1 September 2019, with a decision rendered by the end of October 2019. Proposers are expected to engage in a conversation with the AoIR symposium committee (in person or via Skype) during AoIR 2019 in Brisbane, Australia.

Proposals should:

  • Be no more than 1-2 pages in length.
  • Outline a distinct issue or theme to be addressed by the symposium, and demonstrate how this theme has not been sufficiently addressed by AoIR conferences to date.
  • Include a proposed date (between 1 March and 30 June) and schedule for the one-day event, and identify potential keynote speakers (keeping in mind AoIR’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity). Note: the proposal should not suggest parallel sessions but rather envision a day of consecutive sessions (i.e. single stream only).
  • Include a brief description of the leadership team’s history with AoIR and their plans for future involvement.
  • Demonstrate how this Flashpoint Symposium will connect with the AoIR mission and goals.
  • Include a preliminary budget that demonstrates in-kind support and/or sponsorship from the host institution(s) and creates a preliminary plan for cost items. Please note that AoIR funding is not to be allocated for the funding of participant travel costs, staff costs in support of the symposium’s organization, or indirect costs (such costs must be borne by local sponsorship), but may include  keynote honoraria, travel of keynote speakers, meals, venue or labor costs.
  • Indicate how regional and transnational graduate students will be encouraged to participate.
  • Include a discussion of projected outcomes from this symposium and its potential for ongoing benefit to the AoIR organization’s mission and goals (e.g., AoIR conference panel, special issue, etc.). A selection of organizers and delegates must make a firm commitment to present key contributions and outcomes from the Flashpoint Symposium at the year’s annual conference.

AoIR’s commitment to the symposium will include:

  • Support for promotion and administration through our various channels and platforms (e.g. via organization social media accounts and email lists), as well as limited AoIR administrative support.
  • Up to US$7,500 disbursed in the form of reimbursements and invoices to cover costs related to organizing of the symposium.
  • Mentorship from members of AoIR Executive Committee related to the organization of the symposium and subsequent deliverables/outcomes.
  • Allocation of one session slot (panel, roundtable, fishbowl, experimental session, or pre-conference workshop) on the annual AoIR conference’s program to the symposium organizers. This session is invited and will be planned jointly by the symposium organizers, the AoIR Executive Committee, and the AoIR Conference organizers in order to present the symposium’s major themes and outcomes. It must involve several participants selected from among the organizers, keynote speakers, and/or other participants of the symposium in order to allow the symposium conversation to continue at the main annual conference.

Proposals will be ranked in relation to their ability to:

  • Advance AoIR’s goals and mission and the Flashpoint Symposium’s general goals and mission of contributing to the diversification of membership and the expansion of geographical presence in the annual AoIR conference.
  • Articulate a clear outcome that will foster conversation in the future.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to encouraging graduate student participation, particularly from those in the host region.
  • Address a theme, topic, or issue not yet prominent in AoIR’s annual conferences.
  • Demonstrate capacity for carrying out the symposium in a manner that contributes to the benefit of AoIR and the individual organizer(s).
  • Demonstrate a commitment to present outcomes at the annual AoIR conference.

(This listing does not imply any ranking in the importance of these requirements.)

AoIR will accept one symposium proposal per annum.

Submit your proposals to by 1 September  2019.

2019 Nancy Baym Book Award

It’s a great honor to announce that AoIR’s book award committee has chosen The Digital Street by Jeffrey Lane (Oxford University Press) as this year’s Nancy Baym Book Award winner.

The committee have also recognized Robert Gehl’s Weaving the Dark Web: Legitimacy on Freenet, Tor, and I2P (MIT Press) with an Honorable Mention.

The Digital Street is a compelling ethnography of the overlapping codes of disadvantaged girls and boys on the streets of Harlem and on digital media. He shows the overlaps, disconnects, and, perhaps most importantly, the opportunities social media may offer for intervening in youth violence. Its combination of urban ethnography with the digital provides a model both for ethnographers unused to considering the digital, and for digital ethnographers less versed in urban approaches. Read more about it here.

Weaving the Dark Web is a methodologically and theoretically rich analysis of the constituting concepts of the Dark Web that provides insights of use to anyone concerned with alternative histories or futures of the internet. Learn more here.

Every year it is challenging to pick a winner, but never more so than this year. The depth and breadth of work coming from our community is extraordinary. The committee grateful for all the submissions.

AoIR would also like to recognize and thank the committee – Jeff Hemsley, Nicholas John, Katrin Tiidenberg, and Nancy Baym, Chair, for their work on this year’s committee.

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.