Blog for the Gender and Digital Culture project, a study exploring the impact of digital media and communications on (gendered) relationships and interactions
The last few months have been busy for our team, beginning with the successful roll-out of our Online Professional event on 8 November (see the full session here) and leading now to a series of publications and further presentations.
You can see from our YouTube video of the 8 Nov seminar that our preliminary data analysis has begun to enter the public domain. We were lucky to get picked up in an article by the Times Higher Education on 21 November 2013, Academics Face the Cybercreeps Alone, written by Chris Parr, which ranked as one of the top five most viewed pieces from that issue. The personal and scholarly connections facilitated by that article have been very meaningful to us, including introductions to academics who have been subjected to other forms of abuse, and to many individuals who are keen to make a positive difference in the world—driving forth both policy and larger cultural change.
This includes the University of Oxford’s IT Services team who are hosting, on international Safer Internet Day later this month, an afternoon panel session to discuss Oxford’s action plan for online harassment and abuse. The event is on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 and begins at 2pm (with refreshments and concluding with drinks reception). We have the great privilege of speaking at this event, as it attends to exactly those areas of concern that most interest our team. Indeed, the priority questions guiding the agenda for the day match precisely with our larger research focus. As the Oxford team describes,
The Vice Chancellor’s oration (2013) talked of his vision of a “digital Oxford”, a consequence of this is the requirement for our staff, academics and students to build their online presence, to engage with a wider audience, and their projects to have an impact globally. But when they experience online bullying, or sexual harassment online, or abuse, or other inappropriate behaviour, does the University have a system to help them? [see original here]
I hope you’ll register for the event, flag it up to your own institutions as a starting point for similar conversations elsewhere, or otherwise follow its outcomes after 11 Feb. We’d love to see you there as part of the conversation and in contributing to its next steps.
Amidst planning for this event, we also had the pleasure of speaking as part of a social media session at the annual Australian Archaeological Association conference in December. This gave us an opportunity to drill down into our data, searching for trends and differences in experience among archaeologists and heritage specialists in comparison to the general population of survey respondents. We are now preparing an academic article on our interpretations of these archaeology-specific data, and will add a related post to our blog to share them with you in the upcoming weeks.
We also have an article forthcoming in the April edition of the magazine Anthropology Now attending to our general survey findings, and we’ve similarly discussed aspects of our work in the pedagogical magazine Forum. You can read there about one of our team members’ experiences in applying Twitter in the classroom—an exercise that naturally leads to reflection on how to protect students from potential harm from known and unknown parties online.
Most excitingly, we have a project-specific op-ed piece coming out in one of the upcoming issues of the Times Higher Education. Please keep your eyes peeled for it and don’t hesitate to get in contact to share your experiences, ideas about best practice, and contacts to others working on matters of professional e-safety and productive forms of digital communication.
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