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CNM bids farewell to Assistant Professors Ingrid Hoofd and Giorgos Cheliotis

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Assistant Professors Ingrid Hoofd and Giorgos Cheliotis will leave CNM before the end of 2014. They share on this blog their thoughts and feelings as they look back on their stints at CNM.

Dr Ingrid Hoofd
I have been in CNM close to nine years! My first semester was as an adjunct, and after that as an assistant prof for 8½ years.

What will definitely stay with me is the collegiality and warm atmosphere within CNM. It really felt like a community despite all our differences in research approaches. I also learnt  a lot from being in a predominantly social science department; although I had to get my deep intellectual dialogues mostly from outside the department, being in CNM gave me a lot of insight and appreciation of that field as well. And as the lone humanist, I also had a lot of freedom to shape my own research and the humanities bit of the curriculum.

I am heading for Utrecht University in the Netherlands, where I will be at the Department of Media and Cultural Studies in the Humanities Faculty, specifically their subdivision New Media & Digital Culture. To all NM students: Come do an exchange semester there, or check out their postgraduate degrees!

Dr Giorgos Cheliotis

I am returning to Greece to look after my ailing mother, and to recover from health issues I myself have been facing because of the climate here.  That said, I for one know I will miss the tropical storms, rich flora, and abundance of tropical fruit!

I am grateful I am for the opportunity to spend all these years at CNM. Coming from a computer science background, I must admit I knew little of the communications field when I first joined.  I have learnt a lot since. In fact, much of my recent work is attempting a synthesis across disciplines, taking things I have learnt about reliability and validity assessment in the social sciences and applying them to the methods that primarily, computer scientists use to observe online populations.

My time with CNM has been an important milestone in my career and I’m sure it will continue to influence me for a long time to come. I wish you all the best in your careers and hope that our paths will cross again in the future!

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November 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm

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CNM Graduate Research Talks

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014, 2:40pm
CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33
Sanju Menon
DeCAP: A computer-supported deliberative argumentation system for online deliberation
This study is about the design and evaluation of a prototype deliberative argumentation system called DeCAP.  The argumentation system is aimed at facilitating better quality argumentation as per the systemic approach to deliberative democracy.  For this purpose, a new model of argumentation called RICE (Reasoning as Instrumental, Causal and Evidential) is developed.  The DeCAP interface captures the design implications of the RICE model through two key interface elements – Thought experiments & agenda disclosure.  A 2×2 factorial study design is presented to test the effectiveness of the DeCAP inteface in facilitating deliberative argumentation.  Adhering to the expectations of the systemic approach, measures of effectiveness include factors like deliberative quality, deliberative coherence, ease of argumentation and generation of deliberative artifacts.

Arlianny Sayrol
Capitalised knowledge: The reinventions of the ‘subjugated’: Singapore’s education System within a technocratic rule.
Being a propagator as well as an invention of the education system under the Ministry of Education myself, I believe that it is crucial for me to provide a space to represent the voices of the masses.  My focus will be on the Singapore citizen (student), who I consider as being subjugated under the layers of state ideologies and nationalistic myths through their years of participation in the Singapore Education System (SES). I would like to uncover the ways they negotiate their paths towards what they identify and value as “successes”.  I would like to examine the empowering-repressive duality of the SES, along with its ICT reforms.  I would also like to include the different levels of socioeconomic realities each citizen faces within the SES.  Education after all, is a site for power struggle with many economic, political and social aspects of the living and their lives being contested.

Joy Ng
Piracy in the age of music streaming: A mixed methods study of the Napster generation in Singapore
Music streaming services (MSS) are seen as compelling legitimate alternatives to digital music piracy.  This research project examines usage of music streaming services and the changes in music piracy behavior amongst individuals aged 21-36.  In a broader context, this project aims to contribute to a better understanding of digital music consumption and sharing with the advent of music streaming services.  In particular, this project examines the effectiveness of MSS in curbing the illegal downloading of music among young Singaporeans through a field-experiment.  At the second phase of the study, the project will throw light on the evolving practices of music consumption that result from the new capabilities afforded by MSS through a diary study.

Benjamin Loh
Piracy is normal: Rethinking computer games piracy in developing countries
“Piracy is wrong” is the default stance that all piracy studies use.  In the developed world, this is the norm from centuries of cultivating the worth of intellectual property. With high piracy rates in the developing world, “Piracy is normal” is more likely their stance which drastically changes the outlook.  This study will utilize cognitive dissonance theory to understand the three cognitive reactions from this perspective: reinforcing pirate behaviour, justifying legitimate purchases, and altering their beliefs to pirate less.  This study aims to investigate the behaviour of pirating computer games in developing countries to uncover new approaches for anti-piracy solutions.

Vanessa Tan
The Trinity Syndrome: Exploring the faux “Strong Female Character” in video games and examining its potential real-world effects
The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise with widespread global influence.  Most research conducted thus far has been concentrated on violence and its effects but scholars have also examined gender representations and its influence. However, these gender representation studies have only examined men and women as a whole, looking at general behaviors. I hope to dive deeper, studying one classification of characters, the “Strong Female Character,” to analyse if it fits their classification or are becoming like the “Strong Female Characters” seen in film, a dominant, competent woman who never develops or progresses the plot after her initial introduction.

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November 3, 2014 at 1:43 am

Posted in Research

CNM Graduate Research Talks

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Wednesday, 5 November 2014, 3pm
CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33

Markéta Dolejšová
Politics of food-networking: Dieting for better food futures
This study is concerned with the computer mediated food experiences and their role within the phenomenon of political food consumption – a strategy of expressing individual sociopolitical beliefs through a deliberate simplification of eating habits. The focus of the study is put on the ways, how has this strategy changed along with the proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICT), particularly those enabling social networking.  One of the popular topics that has recently started to be discussed within the online global network is food and various recommendations on eating and shopping options or sustainable eating practices.  I am concerned primarily with those online food-related encounters performed by political consumers, whose food choices are largely motivated by the uneven practices of global food industry, such as over-production, excessive volume of food export and the consequential trend of food wasting.  Adopters of this mindful ethos are for instance vegetarians and vegans, locavore and low carbon dieters, or the more extreme freegans.  There already exist a wide range of social networking services designed to facilitate the specific food ways of those consumers, while enabling them to share both food recommendations or food items per se (e.g. Buycott, Dumpster map, Leftover swap, Mundraub).  My research will focus on the position of those services within the daily practice of political consumers, and the possible implications of this “food-networking” strategy for the refinement of global food agenda.  I argue that even if the lifestyle of political consumers may be seen as individualistic or even escapist, with the support of networking technologies, it is likely to exert a greater social influence.

Ashwini Arvind Falnikar
Civic engagement in the age of new media in India
In a country as diverse as India, numerous forms of civic engagement exist.  These existing participatory discourses have further multiplied with new media technologies becoming increasingly available to various populations.  In this talk, I share my critical understanding of present modes of engagement in the political and cultural sphere in India.  The study will be a comparative study of two distinct groups of populations having different levels of access to new media technologies.  A possible entry point into this topic would be public art/public expression in the cityscapes of urban India and on virtual platforms.

Iris Wang Yang
Multi-lifing through computer-mediated communications: Transnational identity negotiation and relationship management of Chinese “study mothers” in Singapore
 “Study mothers” (peidu mama) refer to mothers who accompany their preteen or teenage children to pursue long-term overseas education, while leaving their husbands and other family members behind in the home country.  Besides playing the primary role of being “dedicated mothers”, they are simultaneously “unavailable spouses”, “unwelcome foreigners”, and “reluctant workers”, and thus have to constantly shuttle between multiple and overlapping identities.  This research focuses on Chinese study mothers in Singapore, and seeks to investigate the role of computer-mediated communications (CMC) in their identity negotiation and relationship management. Specifically, the research will probe into study mothers’ motives and habits of using various communication platforms, the influences of CMC on their multiple identities, and their strategies in reinforcing transnational family ties and developing instrumental social networks.  I shall employ in-depth interviews, media diaries and virtual ethnography to explore these questions.

Gui Kai Chong
News consumption in Singapore: A study of Singaporean citizens as audiences
This study is about the meaning of news consumption in Singapore.  It adopts a qualitative approach to researching citizens as audiences and uses in-depth interviews to explore the role that news consumption plays in the everyday lives of Singaporeans.  Drawing on the literature on audience studies, media anthropology, journalism studies, and political communication, the study focuses on how “media consumption” practices and habits as well as orientations towards the news are related to citizens’ sense of public connection.  The study attends to both cases of strong connection and cases of weak connection, and contextualizes these in a way that takes the situated and ambivalent nature of news consumption seriously.

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November 3, 2014 at 1:32 am

Posted in Research

Prof Mohan Dutta presents the keynote at Indiana University’s Health Connections Common Conference

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Wednesday 29 October, 9am-2:30pm

Whittenberger Auditorium, Indiana University

Keynote Address

Communication and spaces of structural transformation: Collaborating for alternative imaginations

Prof. Mohan J. Dutta

In this talk, I will outline the communicative processes of organizing in offline and online spaces that create avenues for alternative imaginations. Based on our ongoing culture-centered fieldwork in disenfranchised communities across the globe, the talk will highlight the key elements of interpretation and meaning that serve as nodes of organizing. I will attend specifically to the flows of meaning in networks of communication and the interpretive frames that serve as organizing entry points. I will also draw upon the intersections of culture, community and technology to discuss the interplay between online and offline spaces.

Mohan J. Dutta is a Professor and Head of the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore and Courtesy Professor of Communication at Purdue University. He is the founding director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at the National University of Singapore and served as the founding director of Center on Poverty and Health Inequities at Purdue University.

Dutta teaches and conducts research in international health communication, critical cultural theory, poverty in healthcare, health activism in globalization politics, indigenous cosmologies of health, subaltern studies and dialogue, and public policy and social change. Based on his work on healthcare among indigenous communities, sex workers, migrant workers, rural communities and communities living in extreme poverty, he has developed an approach called the culture-centered approach that outlines culturally-based participatory strategies for addressing unequal healthcare policies and global disparities.

Dutta has published numerous articles and book chapters, and co-edited several volumes on health communication and communication theory. He has authored several books including, most relevant to this conference, Communicating health: A culture-centered approach (Polity Press, 2008), Communicating social change: Structure, culture, agency (Routledge Press, 2011), and Neoliberal Health Organizing: Communication, Meaning, and Politics (Left Coast Press, 2014).  Currently the editor of the book series, “Critical Cultural Studies in Global Health Communication,” with Left Coast Press, Dutta also sits on the editorial board of seven journals.

Adopted from http://www.indiana.edu/~hcommons/index.shtml

 

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October 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Posted in News

Programming abstractions for creative coding and live coding performance – A talk and demonstration

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Monday, 24 November 2014, 5pm
CNM Playroom, AS6 #03-38

Gibber is an open-source, browser-based environment for creative coding and live coding performance. It also provides libraries for audio and graphics programming that can easily be used inside of any web page. One design constraint for Gibber is the use of a general-purpose language, JavaScript, for end-user programming instead of a domain-specific solution; this ensures that knowledge acquired while using Gibber freely transfers to other applications with a JavaScript API.

Given constraints on expressivity inherent to JavaScript and many other general-purpose languages, the speaker’s research focuses on programming abstractions that make it as simple as possible to perform common tasks in creative coding and in live coding performance: sequencing and scheduling, audiovisual and interactive mappings, and rapid iteration of audiovisual objects.  This talk will discuss these abstractions and the use of Gibber in live performance. The speaker will also discuss its use in education, where it has been adopted by a number of universities to teach audiovisual programming in addition to classes for middle school and high school students. The speaker will close the talk with a short live coding performance.

Charlie Roberts is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the AlloSphere Research Group at the California NanoSystems Institute, where his research explores human computer interaction in virtual reality environments.  He is the primary author of Gibber, a creative coding environment for the browser, and has given over a dozen live coding performances in the US, Europe and Asia improvising audiovisual art. http://www.charlie-roberts.com/gibber
http://gibber.mat.ucsb.edu

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October 27, 2014 at 9:06 am

Posted in Research

NM Graduate Research Seminar students’ research proposals

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Wednesday, 29 October 2014, 3pm

CNM Meeting Room, Level 3, AS6

In this week’s department’s talk, CNM Graduate Research Seminar students share their preliminary theoretical frameworks and findings.

Naomi Tan
Voices of Hunger: Negotiating health and everyday experiences of hunger among the food-insecure in Singapore  
Despite Singapore’s reputation as a first world economic powerhouse, there exists a pocket of invisible poor that fall through the cracks. Their situation is made more complex by their experiences of food insecurity which affects their physical and mental health. This group of people are structurally, geographically, and communicatively erased from the dominant discourse. This study uses the culture-centered approach to engage in dialogue with the community of food-insecure individuals in Singapore, in order to develop a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of food insecurity. This participatory approach to communicating with the subaltern also creates an alternative space for them to articulate their everyday negotiations and to actively co-construct solutions that are meaningful to them.

Ahmed Abid (Rumee)
Alternative media and social change: A study on the plight of Rohingya minorities from Myanmar
The Rohingyas are Muslim minorities of North Arakan state of Burma (Myanmar). They are most marginalised as they do not have citizenship rights, freedom of movement and suffer from severe oppression by the state. By placing the ‘Rohingya’ stateless Muslim minorities from Burma (Myanmar) at the centre of the study, this research will try to find, whether alternative media could bring changes in their life. Here alternative media stand for non-mainstream press or news agency, social media, video data or film and indigenous performances. This study argues that through the intervention of alternative media based Culture Centered Approach (CCA) project, it is possible to politically empower and uphold the voice of subaltern community that will eventually lead to a transformation of their structural location.

Tan Ee Lyn
The unseen costs of economic might: Benzene poisoning in southern China
There has been a proliferation of benzene poisoning cases in China. In 2011, 510,000 people were left disabled due to work-related injuries and disease, up 22 percent from 2010. A prime example are cases of benzene poisoning, which come to light when workers fall ill and are later diagnosed with blood related diseases like leukaemia, leukopenia and severe anaemia. This qualitative study traces how 35 migrant Chinese workers came to be poisoned. Key research questions are: To what extent do migrant workers sacrifice their health to make a living? How do they describe their work environments? How do factories circumvent national work safety regulations?

Satveer Kaur
Communicating stories of social violence for social change:  The meanings of health among impoverished Punjabi women Post-Green Revolution

Punjab, India saw significant social, economic, and cultural changes Post-Green Revolution, which was a period of important historical disjuncture and transition in the rural, agrarian life of the Punjabis. Missing from this discourse were the health impacts of the rural Punjabi women who were further impoverished with the introduction of agricultural technology into the state. The silenced Punjabi woman is structurally, culturally, and communicatively disenfranchised amidst the capitalist and patriarchal structures present in everyday agrarian life. This thesis aims to re-narrate the oral histories on the violence of the Green Revolution, with the objective of encapsulating the health meanings of subaltern Punjabi women. The aim is to foster the creation of communicative spaces to co-construct dialogue on health, in a bid to minimize prevalent health disparities.

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October 25, 2014 at 12:07 am

Posted in Research

Bruised and abused: The perils of everyday domestic work

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By Professor Mohan J. Dutta and Satveer Kaur, Centre for Culture-centred Approach to Research & Evaluation

CARE will be launching our first campaign created by foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore, “Respect Our Rights”, to raise awareness among Singaporeans about the rights of FDWs in Singapore.

This campaign is part of a larger effort aimed at curbing human trafficking and addressing specific issues pertaining to the exploitation of FDWs in Singapore.

Member of Parliament, Christopher de Souza, has drafted a bill for Parliament this October to tighten human trafficking laws in Singapore. CARE research, driven by the voices of the domestic workers, along with other groups such as the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), seeks to create a discursive space for the discussion of a victim-centered approach in the execution of this bill, where victims are entitled to receive far more protection than they currently do. Protection includes having access to shelter and food, legal aid, medical aid, and other basic resources in order to alleviate their trafficked conditions. More information on the victim-centered approach to human trafficking can be found at HOME’s website.

Our ethnographic research with FDWs in Singapore who have been sheltered at HOME suggests the need for addressing health rights as integral to the lived experiences of FDWs.

In our culture-centered project emphasizing listening to the voices of FDWs, we hear voices of FDWs suggesting the importance of having access to fresh food and water every day, seeing a doctor promptly when they are ill, receiving their salary from their employer on time every month, having adequate sleep, not being overworked and abused physically, sexually or verbally as integral to addressing their physical and mental health. These key provisions are stipulated in their employment contract but are frequently flouted by errant employers

The concept of the cultured-centered approach inverts the research process by centering FDWs at the center of decision-making. Our roles as researchers for the FDWs are guided by the problem configurations and solution frameworks developed by the FDWs.  As an exemplar of the CCA process, the “Respect our Rights” campaign is aimed at communicating specific messages about respecting the basic rights of FDWs to all employers of FDWs in Singapore.

The campaign will be launched in the form of television advertisements on Starhub’s cable platforms, bus stop advertisements, newspaper advertisements on The Straits Times, and online platforms where our documentary film will be aired.

All media materials for the campaign were conceptualized and designed collaboratively by the FDWs and CARE, and are aimed at raising awareness on the common issues faced by FDWs. Embedded is a teaser trailer on the upcoming campaign launch on 21 October 2014.

Addressing the issue of migrant worker rights is crucial, especially in a burgeoning first-world economy like Singapore where numerous transient workers make up a critical mass of economic support for the country. In just the first quarter of 2014 alone, HOME received 405 distressed calls from domestic workers on a myriad of issues, with 159 of them reporting verbal abuse.

CARE has been working closely with HOME on fostering spaces for FDWs to share their stories, and collaborate on problem identification and solution development on the basis of these stories. HOME houses domestic workers that have fled their employer’s place of residence for reasons such as abuse and exploitation. CARE has conducted almost 50 interviews, three focus groups and 11 advisory board meetings with FDWs to garner a deeper and meaningful assessment of the structural and agentic constraints they face when engaging in domestic work in Singaporean homes.

To gain a greater insight on these issues, visit our campaign website and/or our Facebook page.

Reproduced from http://www.care-cca.com/bruised-and-abused-the-perils-of-everyday-domestic-work/

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October 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Posted in News

Interpersonal Online Interaction and Hyperpersonal Attributions

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014, 3pm
CNM Meeting Room, AS6, #03-33
Convenor: Assoc. Prof. Hichang Cho

“Interpersonal Online Interaction and Hyperpersonal Attributions” focuses on recent research that furthers our understanding of how and why people sometimes experience surprisingly great affection in online exchanges, from online chats to finding a match in online dating that seems too good to be true.  This presentation describes benchmark studies and the most recent extensions that advance our understanding of hyperpersonal computer-mediated communication.  They demonstrate how relational goals affect online conversations and how they insidiously change attitudes that should not have changed.  They show how individuals falsely perceive that their online partners really like them, and how the false perception actually leads to exceptionally affectionate exchanges.
Joseph B. Walther is the Wee Kim Wee Professor in Communication Studies at Nanyang Technological University. His research focuses on the interpersonal dynamics of communication via computer networks, in personal relationships, groups, and educational settings. A Fulbright Scholar (Netherlands, 2013) and a Fellow of the International Communication Association, he has held appointments in Communication, Psychology, Information Technology, and Education and Social Policy at universities in the US and in Europe.  With over 15,000 citations to his published works, he holds the ICA’s Chaffee Award for Career Productivity in 2013 and has twice been awarded the National Communication Association’s Woolbert Award for articles that have stood the test of time and changed thinking in the communication discipline for more than ten years.

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October 9, 2014 at 7:40 am

Posted in Research

GameCraft! 2014 24-hour Game Design Competition, 20-21 September

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By Dr Alex Mitchell, CNM

The NUS Game Development Group (NUSGDG, http://nusgdg.org/) organised GameCraft!, a 24-hour game design competition intended to serve as a platform for budding game developers and aspiring designers to showcase their talents. GameCraft! 2014 took place from 20-21 September at the National University of Singapore. The GameCraft! competition provides an opportunity for students from a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience to work together in multidisciplinary teams to create a complete, playable game within 24 hours. This competition provides valuable experience and exposure to students, and provides a stepping-stone for students to move out into the games industry. NUSGDG is a Student Interest Group at the National University of Singapore dedicated to the development of student talent in the field of game design and development. NUSGDG was founded in 2004 by Julius Ang, and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

For more information: http://nusgdg.org/?p=1207

 

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October 2, 2014 at 7:33 am

Posted in News

Seventh International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, 3-6 November 2014

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This year, the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS) will take place in Singapore at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore, marking the conference’s first venture to Asia. The ICIDS 2014 Art Exhibition, “Remembering/Forgetting”, will be held in parallel with the academic conference, from 2-5 November 2014 at ArtScience Museum™ at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

Interactive digital storytelling is an exciting area in which narrative, computer science and art converge to create new expressive forms. The combination of narrative and computation has considerable untapped potential, ranging from artistic projects to interactive documentaries, from assistive technologies and intelligent agents to serious games, education and entertainment. ICIDS is the premier venue for researchers, practitioners and theorists to present recent results, share novel techniques and insights, and exchange ideas about this new storytelling medium. Hosting the conference at NUS provides an opportunity for researchers, practitioners and students from CNM and from around the world to share new and exciting research and creative works.

For more information: http://narrativeandplay.org/icids2014/index.html

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October 2, 2014 at 7:27 am

Posted in Events