CNM Research Talk: See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception, The Sensory Apparatus And The Future Of Human- Presented By Professor Madeline Schwartzman


Did you know that we can see with our tongue? Will robotic hair become our next important digital tool? What ways will we use technology to remember plants after they have been destroyed? Madeline Schwartzman presents her research of artists and designers exploring the future of the human senses, the human head, and our technological relationship with nature. Her talk stems from her personal design, architecture, and artistic practices along with her research from her two books and current exhibition.

See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception (2011)– is the first book to survey the fascinating intersection between design, the body and the senses over the last fifty years, from the utopian pods, pneumatics and head gear of the 1960’s, to the high-tech prostheses, wearable computing, implants, and interfaces between computers and the human nervous system of the recent decade.

See Yourself X focuses in on our fundamental perceptual domain- the human head—presenting an array of conceptual and constructed ideas for extending ourselves physically into space. This includes all forms of physical head augmentation, including new organs, hair extensions and hairdos, masks, head constructions and gear, headdresses, prosthetics and helmets by artists, designers, inventors and scientists.

See Yourself E(x)ist looks at how artists envision our human future in nature- our poetic attempts at agency, our technological advances, and our futile role in the intricate and complex web of all living things.The art acknowledges the elegance of futility, the strangeness of attempts at permanence, and the absurdity of technological advances.


Madeline Schwartzman is professor at Columbia, Barnard and Parsons. This writer, filmmaker and architect explores human narratives between art, design, technology and nature. Her books, See Yourself Sensing, See Yourself X and current exhibition See Yourself E(x)ist propose insights into a weird and wonderful future.

20 February 2018
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

NUS Central Library
CLB-04-04, Theatrette 1

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CNM Research Talk: Making Sense of Public Culture- Presented By Professor Nikos Papastergiadis


In this lecture, Professor Nikos Papastergiadis explores the challenge of making sense of culture that occurs in public spaces. Unlike the performances and displays of culture within interior spaces, the experience of culture in an urban and networked public environment presents new challenges for cultural interpretation and evaluation. Relying on traditional art historical categories or emergent digital ethnographic tools may be either too narrow or too focused on technological affordances. Instead, he proposes to explore a new conceptual approach that seeks to grasp the wide range of artistic projects and diverse modes of public interaction. It will draw on research conducted at Melbourne’s Federation Square to discuss how the concept of ambience helps make sense of both the production and experience of public culture.

The first section of the article introduces the changing settings for culture: from an almost exclusively interior presentation to an increasingly mediated, networked and outdoor experience.

The second section situates this exteriorisation of culture in terms of a shifting urban environment that is increasingly interwoven with media networks, systems and infrastructure. This section also introduces the case study: Melbourne’s Federation Square.

The third section describes some of the different forms of engagement that take place in Federation Square and how this problematises traditional expectations of cultural experiences. Finally, he concludes with a reflection on these findings and draws out implications for cultural programming of public space.


Nikos Papastergiadis Professor at the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. He studied at the University of Melbourne and University of Cambridge. Prior to returning to the University of Melbourne he was a lecturer at the University of Manchester. T His sole authored publications include Modernity as Exile (1993), Dialogues in the Diaspora (1998), The Turbulence of Migration (2000), Metaphor and Tension (2004) Spatial Aesthetics: Art Place and the Everyday (2006), Cosmopolitanism and Culture (2012), Ambient Perspectives (2013) as well as being the editor of over 10 collections, author of numerous essays which have been translated into over a dozen languages and appeared in major catalogues such as the Biennales of Sydney, Liverpool, Istanbul, Gwanju, Taipei, Lyon, Thessaloniki and Documenta 13. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and co-chair of the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, and Chair of the International Advisory Board for the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore.

7 February 2018
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
Blk AS6, #03-38, CNM Playroom

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CNM Research Talk: Witnessing Suffering, Narrative Data, Autoethnographic Analysis, and Communicative Responsibility- Presented By Fulbright Scholar Professor Barbara Sharf


Medical humanities scholars have repeatedly made the case for the ethical importance of clinicians enacting attention, presence, and empathy to witness the stories of illness-related suffering disclosed by patients. However, the concept of witnessing has not received adequate attention in the communication literature (health communication or otherwise).

In this presentation, storied accounts of three instances of witnessing the tense precipice between living and dying experienced by patients being treated for critical illnesses in hospital intensive care units are described from the perspective of a non-clinician. Instead of these data being gathered through interviews or focus groups, they are instead drawn from [my own] personal participant-observation that includes a great deal of obvious subjectivity, interpersonal connection, and evoked emotions. So, is this data that counts as a form of research? Post-hoc reflection on these narrative accounts is unabashedly auto-ethnographic. Does authoethnographic analysis have validity and integrity as a scholarly venue? All of us are asked to consider what are the important aspects and responsibilities of being witness to another’s suffering.


Barbara Sharf is a health communication researcher with research interests encompassing a wide variety of health-related topics. She is best-known for works employing qualitative forms of investigation and analysis, particularly narrative inquiry. She is the author or co-author of three books, the most recent being Storied Health and Illness: Communicating Personal, Cultural, and Political Complexities (2017), and more than 75 academic journal articles and book chapters. Currently Professor Emerita in the Department of Communication at Texas A & M, she remains active in conducting and publishing research. Her work has been honored as Outstanding Health Communication Scholar (2005) and Distinguished Health Communication Article (2017) by the National Communication Association. For the past decade, her work has focused on communicative aspects of integrative health care, specifically how culturally-based, complementary systems and modalities of healing have moved toward institutionalization within conventional, biomedical organizations. As a U.S. Fulbright Research Scholar, she has visited NUS for the last three years in the Department of Communication and New Media to extend her studies to Singapore.

2 February 2018
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

NUS Libraries, Central Library
National University of Singapore
CLB-04-04, Theatrette 1

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CARE Research Talk: Critical Digital Health Studies, Now And In The Future- Presented By Professor Deborah Lupton


Digital technologies have risen to meet the challenge of delivering better healthcare, containing medical costs and getting people to engage more actively in the promotion of health, fitness, well-being as well as self-care for chronic conditions. In medical journals, public health literature, industry forums and ministries, discussion has been intense, but mired in an overly utopian and individualistic approach to digital health technologies. In this talk, Professor Deborah Lupton will outline what defines critical digital health studies, in which the socio-cultural, ethical and political implications are identified. She will then delve into her current research, and share some ideas to shape the future of digital health studies.


Deborah Lupton is Centenary Research Professor in the News & Media Research Centre, Faculty of Arts & Design, University of Canberra. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, leader of the Smart Technology Living Lab at the University of Canberra, and the co-leader of the Digital Data & Society Consortium. Her latest books are Digital Sociology (Routledge, 2015), The Quantified Self (Polity, 2016) and Digital Health (Routledge, 2017), as well as the edited volumes Digitised Health, Medicine and Risk (Routledge, 2016), The Digital Academic (Routledge, 2017, co-edited with Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson) and Self-Tracking, Health and Medicine (2017). Her current research interests all involve aspects of digital sociology: digital health, digital data cultures, self-tracking practices, digital food cultures, digitised academia, and the digital surveillance of children and young people.

19 January 2018
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore

Blk AS6, #03-38, CNM Playroom
Lecture Theatre 10 (Beside the Arts Canteen)

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CNM Research Talk: Reality Television As Global Form- Presented By Associate Professor Biswarup Sen


Reality television has become an important part of popular culture. In recent decades, reality shows like American Idol, Big Brother, Survivor and Donald Trump’s The Apprentice have attracted a worldwide audience, adding to more traditional forms of fictional storytelling associated with the novel, cinema and broadcast entertainment. Reality TV is a distinct kind of cultural phenomenon, one that is based on the uniqueness of the format, crossing borders in terms of production and distribution, and structurally constituted by the logic of neo-liberal subject formation. It serves as a global form that helps us understand the cultural impact of globalisation.


Associate Professor Biswarup Sen has been teaching as an adjunct instructor at the School of Journalism and Communication since 2004.

He worked as a journalist in India before coming to the United States for graduate work in journalism and communication. He taught for several years in the Department of English, General Literature, and Rhetoric at the State University of New York, Binghamton, where he was a member of the University Diversity Task Force and served as an advisor to the student-run Harpur Academic Review. He has also worked as a consultant for a marketing firm and an internet-based company and as a communications specialist for nonprofit organizations.

17 January 2018
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
Blk AS6, #03-38
CNM Playroom

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Lu Weiquan Empowers Teaching Through Augmented Reality Tool

Assistant Professor Lu Weiquan describing CNM’s modules to a potential student at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ Open House

Although games popularised the use of Augmented Reality (AR) in our daily lives, its real power lies in its potential to transform education. Which is why Assistant Professor Lu Weiquan’s innovative tool ConjAR- a mobile AR scene-authoring tool for designing AR scenes within an AR environment- received so much attention at the recent National Conference on Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL).

A Straits Times article extols ConjAR as a mobile application that:

…runs as a mobile application, and allows users to design and showcase 3D augmented reality scenes without prior training. For example, if a professor wants to explain the brain to his class, he can download a 3D image of a brain from the Internet, and create a model that can be turned and shifted while he is conducting his lesson.

Source: The Straits Times

Another demonstration of how NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media’s teaching and research continues to break new ground in bridging the diverse threads of emerging fields and future work.

Professor Mohan J. Dutta Wins The National Communication Association Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award

The National Communication Association’s Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award is given out to the best health communication researcher, recognizing the lasting contributions made to health communication. The Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award recognizes a significant and original contribution, in the form of a monograph, book, and/or program of research, to the study and application of the field of Health Communication. There are five nomination criteria.  The scholar’s work must have:

  • a significant and long-lasting effect on the field of Health Communication;
  • strong heuristic value;
  • influence over others’ work;
  • originality regarding theory, research, and/or practice; and
  • contributed to the development of Health Communication as a distinct field of study.

The award recognizes Professor Mohan J Dutta’s development of the meta-theoretical framework of the culture-centered approach (CCA), for theorizing, empirically examining, and implementing community-driven participatory health communication interventions for addressing health disparities. The conceptual framework of the CCA explores the ways in which:

  1. social structures constrain and enable the health experiences of individuals, groups and communities,
  2. cultural meanings provide interpretive frames for engaging the social structures within which health meanings are negotiated, and
  3. agency is enacted in the day-to-day communicative practices of individuals, groups and communities that negotiate with the social structures and simultaneously seek to transform them.

The impetus of this research program is on explaining the cultural determinants of health inequalities and the constitutive role of communicative tools of dialogue, participation, and voice in transforming these inequalities. Theoretically, this line of work engage with cultural voices in building health interventions that seek to transform unhealthy social structures, and identify positive cultural resources that promote health and well-being. In attending the role of communication as voice, the CCA changes the paradigm of how health communication interventions are conceptualized, implemented, and evaluated. Specifically, the CCA has been utilized to understand the:

  • roles of health information as resources for individuals, groups and communities,
  • relationship between community and health as an entry point for community participation,
  • roles of local, national and global health policies in creating health experiences at the margins of social systems, and
  • agency of the underserved segments of the population in addressing unhealthy social structures.

The key concepts outlined of the CCA are mapped out in the book, Communicating health: A culture-centered approach published by Polity Press in 2007, along with over 82 publications in the 2012-2017 period in the form of book chapters and journal articles, including articles in top tier journals such as Communication Theory, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Journal of Communication, and Qualitative Health Research.  The CCA has served as the basis for health communication intervention research carried out at the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at the National University of Singapore.

At NUS, CARE has run over thirty culture-centered interventions, producing policy briefs, white papers, media advocacy campaigns, documentary films, photo exhibitions, and 360 degree media interventions, reaching over 3 million audiences spread across 7 countries (including India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Singapore and the United States), and generating a variety of outcomes from design maps for community hospital infrastructures, community forestry projects, irrigation projects, cultural resource centers, solutions to food insecurity, community food gardens, indigenous-owned seed banks, health promotion interventions. In recognition of this work, he currently serves on the World Health Organization (WHO), Europe’s Expert Advisory Council (EAC) on the “Cultural Contexts of Health and Wellbeing” group, and has served as an expert for UNICEF, UNESCO, US National Library of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences. Some recent projects that have been completed engage:

  1. African American communities in inner city Indiana to develop culturally-based grassroots health advocacy and health activism resources directed at improving heart health;
  2. Communities of women who have had a heart attack or stroke in Singapore to develop a culturally-based heart health intervention;
  3. Malay community members who experience risks of heart disease to develop a culture-centered health promotion intervention; and
  4. Community members in the Queenstown area to develop a community-driven, culturally situated health services design plan to guide the Alexandra Hospital planning team.

Similar culture-centered projects carried out with sex workers and transgender populations in India have developed community-based health resources, communication advocacy interventions, and peer leader toolkits. In recognition of the impact of the CCA, the WHO-Europe report on “Cultural Contexts of Health” adopts the CCA as a framework for communicating health. The CCA has been adopted as a framework in over 55 doctoral dissertations. Other teams of scholars have utilized the CCA for intervention development in Israel, United States, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Ghana, China, Hong Kong, and Nigeria. Finally, the entry of the CCA in Encyclopedia and Handbook Chapters on health communication attest to the lasting impact that the framework has made on the field.

CNM Dialogues In Comms- The Role of Moral Emotions in Environmental Risk Communication: The Case of Environmental Victim Portrayals

Mr Hang Lu will facilitate a discussion on:

The Role of Moral Emotions in Environmental Risk Communication: The Case of Environmental Victim Portrayals

As both local and global environments experience rapid change, we have seen an increasing number of environmental victims depicted in the media. As a powerful driver of human actions, moral emotions—such as anger, compassion, and guilt—influence how we respond to these portrayals, including which actions we choose to take with regards to victims’ suffering.

In this talk, Hang will discuss the role that moral emotions play in influencing how audience members respond to messages about environmental victims. He will present findings from three experimental studies illustrating how a range of moral emotions, elicited from different sources and at different time points, shape reactions to environmental victims. He will conclude by considering implications of appealing to moral emotions in strategic environmental risk messaging as well as future directions for research in this emerging area.

DATE: Wednesday, 15 Nov 2017
TIME: 4:30 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- The communication of and public opinion about risk, science and the environment: a multidimensional approach

Dr Silje Kristiansen will facilitate a discussion on:

The communication of and public opinion about risk, science and the environment: a multidimensional approach

Silje Kristiansen studies risk, science and environmental communication from different perspectives. In her risk coverage studies she applies a multidimensional risk construct to media treatments of different types of risk over long periods of coverage. In her PhD she tracks how the risk coverage developed in the Swiss print media after the nuclear energy accident in Fukushima, and identifies risk coverage attention phases. One of her studies looks at Swiss attitudes to nuclear energy and identifies risk perception as the strongest predictor of public opinion.

In recent work Kristiansen analyses how the US media cover different risk dimensions of different low-carbon emitting energy technologies including nuclear, solar, wind and fracking. In her presentation she will also show her research on public attitudes towards science, and on how ‘digital-born’ media differ from legacy media in their coverage of climate change.

DATE: Monday, 13 Nov 2017
TIME: 3:30 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- Reducing Health Risk Disparities: Describing the Social Processes of Health Decision-making and Developing Culturally Appropriate Health Messages

Assistant Professor Yu Lu will facilitate a discussion on:

Reducing Health Risk Disparities: Describing the Social Processes of Health Decision-making and Developing Culturally Appropriate Health Messages

The development and implementations of successful health programs and interventions has evidenced improved health outcomes for many.  However, the success is not uniformly realized and certain groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minority groups, developing countries) suffer from heightened health risks. To address health risk disparities, it is important to examine and describe the social processes of health decision-making and, based on this knowledge, develop culturally appropriate, effective messages to promote positive health behaviour changes in targeted populations.

This talk will introduce three research projects that aim to address health risk disparities across multiple populations (i.e., Americans, Chinese immigrants, and Kenyans). This work lays the ground for continued efforts to develop culturally appropriate health messages in order to reduce health risk disparities.


DATE: Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017
TIME: 5:00 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room