Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The INCITE group has been pretty busy over the first few months of the year and I thought it might be a good time to do a quick overview of everyone’s activities.

Firstly Kate is leaving us. She has accepted a permanent lectureship at the University of Edinburgh, in the Graduate School of Social and Political Studies: the central focus is on e-learning and social research methods. It will be very sad to see her go but on the other hand it means we have someone to visit in Scotland.

Kris has almost finished the interviewing section of his year-long ESRC funded research into photoblogs. He has travelled far and wide on and offline (from the Docklands to Oxford to Stoke Newington to East London) in his quest to find out about people’s photo blogging motivations and the social life of images. You can follow his travelling, interviewing, reading and analytical progress on his research blog – Photos Leave Home.

Steve can almost see the end of his PhD. He is currently in the midst of the final write up of his CASE studentship looking at the social construction of digital cameras. To understand this he has investigated advertising stories, retail spaces and practices, interviewed and observed users in their own homes and participated in online communities. The notion of branding permeates his work. Evidence of his visual and textual analysis of everyday experiences of digital photography wallpapers the INCITE studio.

Mary is also in the process of analysing and writing up her PhD work. Her research on the online political cultures of exiles and independent journalists focuses on three models of democratic theory - liberal, Islamic and radical. She is critically addressing current theories on the role new information technologies play in shaping online deliberative democracy and counterpublics.

Gerard is currently deeply engaged in interviewing, transcribing and making sense of his data for his PhD project about online music in the home. He is interested in finding out what happens when music goes virtual and has been working with BBC Music Online.

In amongst the plethora of thesis reviews, writing studentship applications, attending meetings, organising and helping all of us as well as doing her own work, Nina has also started teaching the M.Sc course Innovations in Online Research on Fridays. I just attended the first one and if that is anything to go by it's going to be an intense and exciting course.

I am seven weeks into my PhD. After years of thinking about it I have finally started and it's overwhelming, terrifying and stimulating all at once. I have been attending classes and had the opportunity to guest teach a few undergrad ones too. It's been pretty busy. My interests lie in new tech and urban sociality so I will be looking at the ways in which people create relationships and social networks around and through digital technologies and the influence of urban space in the configuration and maintenance of connections between people. My study will look at what kinds of urban sociality are being enabled by digital technology, how they are constructed (formal and informal interactions and organisations) and where they are located (the role urban space has in particular social networks). I’m planning on continuing the bus blog and starting a new blog about my research (once I come up with a suitable name for it….)

- kat