Ethnicities, Counterpublics, Appropriation and Social Media: Registration open!

Dear all

Registration is now open for our one-day symposium on Ethnicities, Counterpublics, Appropriation and Social Media on June 8th 2017  at Keele University.

This symposium aims to explore the dynamics of minority representation and self-representation in social media.

Attendance is free but spaces are limited so please register below at your earliest convenience and by the latest on 25th May 2017 using the link below:

The programme is as follows:

9.00 am: Welcome coffee

9.30 am: Opening remarks

9.45 am: Speakers: Ed de Quincey, Eva Giraud and Elizabeth Poole, Keele University: ‘Who speaks for Muslims? Political frictions and the politics of appropriation in social media’

10.30 am: short break

10.45 am: Panel 1 – Examining Populist and Nationalist discourse on social media

  • Gerwin van Schie, Utrecht University and Iris Muis, Utrecht University, “Liberation Begins with Stating the Facts” Rationalization of Discrimination through Data in Populist Rhetoric on Twitter ‘
  • Nicolás López Coombs, University of Antwerp and Gerwin van Schie, Utrecht Data School ‘Between Epistemic Empowerment and Epistemic Violence: Ethno-racial Categorization in Dutch Governmental Open Data’
  • Munira Cheema, University of Sussex ‘Revisiting patriotism: The rise of liberal Pakistan on social media’

12.15 pm: Lunch (provided)

1.15 – 2.15  Speaker: Pollyanna Ruiz, University of Sussex, ‘Protest, power and social media; The dynamics of masking in offline and online public spaces’.

2:15 -3.45 pm: Panel 2 – Self-representation and counter-discourse online

  • Kaarina Nikunen, University of Tampere, ‘Migrant Tales: counter-voices in digital landscape’
  • Ally McCrow-Young, University of Copenhagen, ‘Protesting terror: Counter-narratives of the ISIS conflict’

.     Beth Johnson, University of Leeds, ‘#MoreInCommon: Empathy, Emotion and Intervention’

3.45 – 4pm short break

4-5pm Speaker 2: Dima Saber, Birmingham City University, ‘Winning the fake news battle amidst chaos: How Arab activists are taking back the narratives of their wars and revolutions’

5-5.15 pm: Concluding remarks

More information is available @

Please e-mail any further questions to

We look forward to seeing you there!

Concluding this year’s Digital Video module

What a term! And what a shame it’s already coming to an end! To mark the end of this year’s Digital Video module, we had a special Student Film of the Year award! Voted for by the Digital Video students themselves, Anonymous received the best film award.

Amy, Przemek, Fang Yi and Aria with their awards

Created by Amy, Przemek, Fang Yi, Aria and AJ, the film Anonymous addresses the problem of alcohol addiction and the importance of coming forward to share your own, or a friend’s, struggle with it.

After the award ceremony we all went outside to get a group photo.

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Group selfie!

Well done to all of our Digital Video students for the great effort put into your films and workbooks!

Animals in Lund!

Last week I spend 3 fantastic days at Lund University, in Sweden, as part of an Erasmus exchange. I mostly taught on the module Critical Animal Studies: Animals in the Media, Culture & Society, but also had the opportunity for some tutorials with postgraduate students working on fantastic projects about online environmental activism.

The morning session was a more formal research-led lecture and workshop , which was focused on activism surrounding animals (see here for a sense of the subject matter I engaged with specifically). I worked with some fantastic scholar-activists with expertise in areas including animal ethology and the politics of civil disobedience, and a range of issues were covered – from corporate ‘greenwashing’ to theoretical debates surrounding animal ethics.

The afternoon was taken up with a seminar (also open to members of the public, as well as those enrolled on the course) that was focused on the politics of animal research. I presented work along with Nuria Almiron (from Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona). Although I enjoyed the whole day, I found the questions and discussion surrounding the afternoon seminar especially provocative – so many thanks to all who attended. Thanks also needs to go to the Lund University Critical Animal Studies Network – especially the teaching team Tobias, Jana, Kurt and Ally, for making me feel so welcome!

Here are a few photos from the week, more can be found here:

Sting for Student Films, using After Effects

This year we are introducing video logos, or “stings”, to go at the beginning of the student productions. The stings act as sort of a stamp, to signify that the videos have been made here in MCC. The sting for the second year module Creating Awareness Campaigns is now complete and ready to go onto the student films:

Inspired by a tribute video to graphic designer Paul Rand, this sting is short animation accompanied by a simple drum score. The animation was made entirely using Adobe After Effects CC.


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Overview of a project in Adobe After Effects.

Each element of the sting is individually animated, allowing for complete control over the appearance, movement and duration of each of the words and shapes. They are all animated using Keyframes, which may look intimidating at first, but is actually quite straight forward once you’ve got your head around it.

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Keyframes are represented by the little diamonds.

Basically what you’re saying is “at point A the position is this, then at point B I want the position to be this”. After effects allows you to create as many Keyframes as you like, so you can go from point A to point B, whiz to point C, and then be back to point D in time for tea! If you’re not happy with your configured Keyframes, simply click on one and press delete on the keyboard to remove it.

To enable the fluid movement around the shapes and words, Camera layers have been created. The Camera layers act like a real video camera, you can choose a lens, set the aperture, focus point and even zoom in and out! Just like shapes and objects, the Camera can also be positioned wherever you like and you can use keyframes to move the camera, spin it around and adjust the focus.

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On the left is a birds eye view of the camera (the large triangle) performing a pan. On the right is what the camera is seeing.

Moving a Camera around a 3D environment can be time consuming, but is also a whole lot of fun!

The music in the sting video was made with the help of first-year Music Tech student Hassaan. Using a free-style drum riff, Hassaan played along to the video to match each beat to the movement of the shapes.

Hassan and I had a lot of fun experimenting with different sounds and getting the beats just right.

Each piece of the drum kit had its own microphone to ensure the best quality of recording. After a few practice runs, we nailed the final drum track. Hassaan post-produced the drum recording to get it sounding top quality.

Weeks of work have gone into this 25 second video, but it looks and sounds great – plus it was a lot of fun to make!


CfP: Science in Public 2017

The 2017 Science in Public conference, which examines the relationships between publics, science and technology, and the media, has just launched its call for papers. The whole list of panels looks really exciting,  and are topics that range from the social status of robots to public participation in environmental science. The full list is here:

I’m involved in two panels, which are currently calling for submissions:

Animals in Public: Care, Charisma and Knowledge (no. 27 on the above list), with Angela Cassidy


Why Has Truth Run out of Steam? – STS After Trump (no. 21), with Des Fitzgerald, Greg Hollin & Andy Balmer.

Our colleague Meritxell in Sociology is also promoting a fantastic sounding panel: (Non)Human Dimensions of STS Research (no. 24)

We’re looking forward to getting some interesting submissions!