Edited by Mohan J. Dutta & Raka Shome, National University of Singapore

International Journal of Communication

We are inviting high quality papers on mobilities and communication from interdisciplinary scholars working in the Asian context.

The global movement of capital, commodities, and labor is constituted amid political and economic structures that render salient certain meanings of mobility while at the same time erasing other possibilities for interpreting mobility. Further, the global movement of capital, while enabling and encouraging mobility for some, also render many others immobile, disconnected/erased from the possibilities of movement. To that extent, mobility and immobility are not binaries but are interrelated—an interrelation that expresses and captures the numerous desires and violences of globalization. The figure of the migrant and the various processes of migration make these relations visible while rendering invisible other imaginations of migrancy. Linked to this are mediated and communication practices—such as technology, films, music, social media, remittances, cultural commodities, and more—that play an intrinsic role in shaping and informing various types of migratory movements or lack therefor. Additionally, the transnational migration of communication practices themselves constitute new forms of mobilities and immobilities, agency and identity formations, imaginations and desires.

Communication is central to these above-mentioned processes. For example, technology firms are constantly developing new communication language through software that requires a constant flow of transnational expert workers who are often treated in problematic ways (in terms of cultural recognition and wages) in “host” nations. Similarly, finance capital globally circulates through communicative values and processes (including migrant remittances to their nation of “origin’—a process itself underwritten by non-western values of domesticity and familiality). Transnational movements of celebrities and popular culture (for instance, in Asia) serve diasporic populations in many parts of Asia that have implications for their migrant experience as well as the production of a transnational Asian identity. Disempowered and often stateless migrants (for instance migrant Bangladeshi workers in Asia) connect to or engage their music in their diasporic situations —to produce some sense of cultural security in an otherwise coercive exploitative condition (lacking decent food, shelter, wages and more).

Relations of gender, sexuality, religion, class and nationality are central considerations in these phenomena since migration itself is often wrought with gender and religious violences, discrimination and exploration of poor laborers, and the devaluing of peoples of particular nations in global migratory practices (for instance, White Europeans or Americans are usually seen as “expatriates” while the word migration is reserved for mobilities of non-western peoples even within non-western ‘host’ nations).

Communication Studies as a formal field has hardly paid attention these issues—issues that require urgent exploration from a communication perspective. Such an exploration will further move the field of Communication Studies into considerations of the many dilemmas and challenges of the 21st century that are grounded in the politics of migration.

This edited Special Section seeks to comprehend such phenomena, with specific attention to Asia. It will examine the interplay of communication (broadly considered)—particularly mediated practices—and im/mobilities, attending to how the intersection between the two illustrate the movement of people, labor, representations, commodities, technology and more, across global circuits of culture, economy, and geopolitics.

Submissions will be limited to 6000 words, all-inclusive.

We first solicit detailed abstracts of approximate 500-600 words.

Due: April 31, 2017. Please send abstract to Mohan Dutta at

Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by May 31, 2017.

Final papers due: July 31, 2017. Please submit to Mohan Dutta at

Please follow the author guidelines at


Research Talk – Social Marketing in India and Afghanistan: A Comparison

Dr. Sandeep Ghiya will be giving a research talk titled “Social Marketing in India and Afghanistan: A Comparison”, on 18 April 2017 (Tuesday). The talk will be held at the CNM Meeting Room, from 10 AM to 11 AM.

Abstract: The proposed talk will focus on experiences with Project Saksham in Uttar Pradesh, India and a consultancy with ASMO in Afghanistan.

Project Saksham was a four year project implemented by DKT India for the Futures Group led ITAP Project for USAID. The project aimed to promote oral contraceptive pills and condoms in rural villages, with a focus on C and D category villages with population between 1,000 and 4,999.

The Afghan Social Marketing Organization (ASMO) is a USAID supported Afghan managed organization operating across Afghanistan, promoting oral contraceptive pills, condoms, injectable contraceptives, oral rehydration salts, iron folic acid tablets and chlorine safe water solution.

The talk will provide brief overviews of the two projects, followed by a detailed discussion on the various means of interpersonal and mass communications that were employed to reach out to the target population in both projects. The similarities in approaches will be pointed out, along with a discussion on the differences. The challenges and drawbacks of both projects will be highlighted, along with a comparison of the geopolitical and other challenges faced in the two projects, inclusive of the difficulties in logistics and sales operations.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Sandeep Ghiya has been working on reproductive health issues with a focus on contraception for over 18 years. He has been especially interested in the marketing and usage of provider-dependent contraceptives and the promotion of all forms of contraception in rural areas. Dr. Ghiya has worked on the design, implementation and documentation of various projects to promote family planning at international, national and regional levels with projects focused on India, Afghanistan, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Burkina Faso. He has provided consultancy to projects for clients ranging from Family Planning Association of India, DFID, USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Concept Foundation, Palladium and Abt Associates. With post graduate degrees in public health and marketing management, he has been an active participant in the marketing of contraception in India. Dr. Sandeep Ghiya has also been a visiting faculty member at management colleges for marketing and general management related subjects.

Venue: AS6, 03-33, CNM Meeting Room
Date:  18 April 2017 (Tuesday)
Time: 10 AM – 11 AM

Research Talk – The Design of Physical Rehabilitation Games: The Physical Ambient Abstract Minimalist Game Style

Mr Niels Quinten will be giving a talk on 13 April 2017 (Thursday), from 2 PM to 3 PM. His talk is titled “The Design of Physical Rehabilitation Games: The Physical Ambient Abstract Minimalist Game Style”, and will be held at the CNM Meeting Room.

Abstract: Physical neurorehabilitation is essential for a large number of individuals who have physical impairments and disabilities as a consequence of a stroke or multiple sclerosis (MS). Through neurorehabilitation therapy, people may regain the physical abilities they have lost or retain the physical abilities they have and thereby maximize their quality of life. Based on insights from previous research, we believe digital games can transform often tedious rehabilitation experiences into pleasurable game experiences, which may increase the intensity and length of time spent on the rehabilitation and eventually its efficiency.

However, the translation of neurorehabilitation therapy into digital games presents a number of challenges. One challenge is the integration of physical rehabilitation exercises into the mechanics and dynamics of a stimulating game. Digital games are difficult to design even without the rehabilitation context, and constructively adding specific physical exercises makes this even harder. A second challenge is digitally representing the exercises in a manner that takes into consideration the physical, cognitive and visual impairments of persons who have had a stroke or persons with MS. The physical, cognitive and visual skills needed to play an off-the-shelf game are often high, and may potentially cause difficulties for a target audience that does not fully possess these skills.

In this presentation, I describe how we created the novel physical abstract minimalist rehabilitation game style in order to addresses the above two challenges. Specifically, its design process as well as four resulting game artifacts is discussed. The results of this research present one possible view of how a digital game world can be constructed for rehabilitation games starting from physical exercises and game mechanics while taking into consideration a number of physical, cognitive, and visual impairments.

About the Speaker:

Niels Quinten is an interaction artist, designer and researcher. He is currently roaming through Asia in search of interesting and thought provoking conversations. Before that, he was a lecturer and research coordinator at the Leuven University College of Arts in Belgium. He received his PhD in audiovisual and visual arts at Hasselt University performing practice-based research on the creative design of physical rehabilitation games, his work has been published and exhibited internationally.





Venue: AS6, 03-33, CNM Meeting Room

Date:  13 April 2017 (Thursday)

Time: 2 PM – 3 PM

Prof. Mohan Dutta at the National Communication Association Opening Session

On 10 November 2016, Prof Mohan J. Dutta attended the 2016 National Communication Association (NCA) 102nd Annual Convention Opening Session. Together with various other panelists (Lisa A. Flores, University of Colorado, Boulder; Bryant Keith Alexander, Loyola Marymount; University & Billie Murray, Villanova University), he presented the opening talk titled “Putting Bodies on the Line and Words into Action – Celebrating the Joys of, Challenges in, and Opportunities for Civic Engagement.”

Dr. Bryant Keith Alexander has built a career thinking about and embracing queer black bodies moving through the vectors of racism and homophobia; Dr. Mohan Jyoti Dutta has spent the past decade advocating for health care justice in developing nations; Dr. Billie Murray has chronicled her participation in movements for social justice in the wake of Confederate memorializing and in the face of hate speech. A Dean, a Chair, and an Assistant Professor; a colleague from LA, another from Singapore, a third from Philadelphia. While our speakers embody diversity in terms of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and methodology and area expertise, they are united in their commitment to using communication activism for the common good. Come hear their stories from the front lines of change; listen as they engage in spirited dialogue about why communication matters, and how, and to whom; and please lend your voice to our collective celebration of those who put their bodies on the line and words into action. – Source

Watch the 2016 NCA Opening Session talk below:

From Dadri To Kansas, Countering the Politics of Hate

From Dadri To Kansas, Countering the Politics of Hate

In this article, Prof Mohan J. Dutta offers insight into the racist climate that has found new moral fuel in the US, as well as the rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiments among Hindus in India.

“Xenophobia and religious bigotry reproduce themselves on the power of othering. Strategies of identification, categorisation and segregation are deeply embedded in racialised imaginaries. Therefore, to counter these radicalised imaginaries, we must begin by recognising the humanity in the “other,” in recognising the ‘other’ in the ‘us’.”

Read Prof Dutta’s Article Here:

Raising Funds to Restore Respect for Foreign Domestic Workers, One Bucket at a Time

NUS CNM students raise $1000 for “Respect our Rights” CARE campaign

Students from the NM4217 Advanced Communications Campaign class rallied together for a self-initiated car wash event on 2 March 2017, raising $1000 to execute the third phase of the “Respect our Rights” campaign for NUS’ Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE).

With the campaign tagline “Different Jobs, Same Respect”, this phase of the campaign aims to convey the message that employers should respect the rights of Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) the same way they themselves deserve.

For eight hours, with buckets of water, soap, and sponges in hand, students worked in teams and sought support for the campaign cause from car owners at the NUS Science carpark.

Each car owner received a clean car, a thank you note, an information leaflet on MOM guidelines, and an invitation to the campaign’s upcoming roadshow. Despite the intermittent rain, the students remained in high spirits and achieved their fundraising goal.

Information leaflet on MOM guidelines to hiring foreign domestic workers


Thank you note to car owners


Tay Lin, who headed the car wash initiative, expressed, “Everyone’s hard work under the sun really paid off. The camaraderie was amazing because everyone was really working together towards one single goal, to restore respect for the foreign domestic workers”.

The car owners who represented NUS staff and students responded positively to our request.  They expressed their support through words of encouragement; some donated over and above the $10 cleaning charge; and, one went the extra mile to buy juice and chocolates for the car washing students.

Module coordinator, Sameer Deshpande, shared the appreciation and commitment of his students. In his words, “we the members of NM4217 are delighted to partner with NUS CARE to address the important cause of restoring rights of FDWs in Singapore. Students of this module are striving hard to design and deliver a high quality campaign. When we realized that we were short of funds, students proposed and delivered on the idea of car washing fundraising event. I am confident that we will maintain our enthusiasm in the coming weeks and similarly deliver effective outcomes”.

The “Respect our Rights: Different Jobs, Same Respect” campaign roadshow will be held on the 8th and 9th of April from 9.30am-9pm at NEX and Tampines Mall. To follow the campaign, visit the official campaign Facebook page at


TALK – Articulating community participation as health in Singapore: A culture-centred approach to empowering greater community ownership

CNM CARE is happy to host the next lecture in the CARE Social Justice series – a series showcasing projects that CARE has embarked on. Prof Mohan Dutta and Desiree Soh will be giving a talk next Monday, 27th Mar from 1 PM-2 PM . The talk is titled “Articulating community participation as health in Singapore: A culture-centred approach to empowering greater community ownership”, and will be held at the CNM Meeting Room, AS6 (03-33). We hope to see you there!

More details about the talk can be found in the poster below:

Venue: CNM Meeting Room (AS6 03-33)

Date: 27 March 2017

Time: 1 PM – 2 PM

The Different Facets of Random Blends And The Artists Who Made Them Possible

The Department of Communications and New Media (CNM, National University of Singapore) invites you to an annual showcase of student, staff and alumni explorations into the world of digital arts, culture and technology. Now into its ninth year, Random Blends continues to bring together compelling ideas and ignite conversations on communications and media frontiers. This year’s theme is no different. With Interceptions, we promote the role of media in asking urgent questions, investigating social issues, and presenting them in a new light. Random Blends 2017 will feature a bold medley of critical game art, data-as-art, biologically-inspired salon simulations, networked art performances and social media activism. Still curious about what’s in store? Here’s a snapshot of the exhibits and their equally amazing creators.

Random Blends Interceptions
Featured Works

Art Installation: Breathing Bags 

 Artist: Cindy Chan and Muhammad Zainuddin Bin Zahir

“Breathing Bags” is an interactive art installation that seeks to raise awareness on the harmful effects that plastic pollution brings to the environment, and also to challenge the status quo and societal norm of using plastic in our daily lives. The underlying notion: Do plastic bags still have a place in today’s society? In line with the theme of Pollution and Environment, ordinary plastic bags were used. Controlled by Arduino & programmed using Javascript, each plastic bag is selectively inflated and deflated in turn by two cooling fans. The outline of the “Breathing Bags” installation reflects the land and water regions within Singapore. The inflation and deflation of the plastic bags metaphorically symbolizes the lungs of the land suffocating; as more plastic waste is disposed, the environment continues to suffer.

Artist’s description:

NUS Alumni Cindy and Zai are part of a multi-disciplinary group of artists that explore art installations and differing interactive mediums as a form of art. The duo enjoys approaching a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered manner. Their attempts to involve the viewer often involve the physical, reinforcing their strong belief in the concept of form taking precedence over function in their works.


Documentary: Isabelle 

Artist: Leong Jia Yu, Lee Ken Kiat, Janeen Loh, Janell Tan, Christine Anne de Silva

This short documentary showcases the life of Isabelle and the special needs community in Singapore. Isabelle has Nager syndrome, profound deafness and a host of other physical challenges. She faces many difficulties in her daily life, but doesn’t let that stop her. She embraces life fully and is a living example of how people with physical disabilities can be much more than their labels. They are talented and abled people whose capabilities should never be limited by prejudice. “Isabelle” aims to challenge societal stereotypes and prejudice against people with special needs. Through the documentary, the artists hope to showcase the talent and passion of people with special needs, thereby communicating that they are not so different from able-bodied people in doing the things they love.

Artists’ description:

Jia Yu, Ken Kiat, Janeen, Janell and Christine are Year 4 Communications and New Media students. The group of 5 took the module “NM4883D, New Media Production and Public Engagement” despite having little to no experience with film making. However, through the module they learnt a lot about how new media can be used to engage people in the local community and create discourse surrounding pertinent issues in society.


Video Game: Cracks

Artist: Alden Lim, Kenneth Kwek, Edison Neo

“Cracks” is a surrealist adventure game which attempts to portray the concept of angst and how people deal with it. Sometimes angst pushes people beyond the realm of reality and sanity. Inspired by surrealist games like Kentucky Route Zero, The Stanley Parable and movies such as Memento and Shutter Island, this short game puts the player into the mind of a serial killer. Taking on the role of a soldier, the player wakes up to find himself in an enemy camp and upon doing so, manages to establish contact with his superior. The player must then follow instructions to safely get through the enemy camp and escape. However, the further he ventures into the game, the stranger things start to get.

Artist’s description:

Together, Alden, Kenneth and Edison form “MHATTEN”, a trio that aims to combine art and games to create playable works of art. With a focus on digital works, the trio takes on simple and uncommon ideas and attempts to create unique games that also exudes aspects from other mediums. To the three, no idea or concept is rubbish as every single instance can open numerous alternatives or expansions to achieve the set objectives and goals of a particular work.


Virtual Reality: Depression (Prototype)

Artist: Ryan Chong, Clarissa Chan, Dylan Ho, Jasmine Moh, Lee Yee Hueh, Samuel Cho, Wayne Ng

“Depression” is a Virtual Reality video prototype inspired by games such as Depression Quest and That Dragon Cancer. With the increasing availability of Virtual Reality experiences to the masses, the artists hope to leverage on the unique aspects of this emerging medium to help audiences gain empathy, and eventually be motivated to understand more about Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) as an illness and the plight of patients suffering from MDD.

Artist’s description:

Armed with knowledge from their module NM4210: User Experience Design, Communications and New Media students Ryan, Clarissa, Dylan, Jasmine, Yee Hueh, Samuel and Wayne were inspired to utilize Virtual Reality as an interactive experience to create a project that raises awareness on social issues, and chose the topic of Depression in the hopes of reducing social stigma for patients.


Online Interactive Visual Art: Trigger

Artist: Yvonne Wong

“Trigger” explores various ways of combining aesthetic and technical aspects of new media to portray what is meant by “agitation”. Each onscreen window responds uniquely to user interaction with a variety of elements such as clocks and colours, thereby closely examining the multifaceted manners in which emotions can be triggered. Users are in for a pleasant visual/audio surprise as they discover what lies underneath the dull unassuming exterior. In the project, the eight various elements portray differing stages of the human mind. Changes are in tandem with the user’s’ on-screen activity, reflecting the fine line between the external and internal workings of an individual. From a colourful implosion and clockwork movements to a blatant rebellion of the yes and no, daily aggravations of one are reflected as experienced in everyday realities. In another example, the trigger of mouse movements reveal more than meets the eye and inform of the complexities experienced in daily life feeding into the overall exhibit’s theme of hidden truths facing contention with the facades of portrayal.

Artist’s description:

Yvonne is a 4th year student at NUS, majoring in Statistics at the Faculty of Science. She enjoys Chinese New Year snacks all year round. Yvonne enjoys short stories and good reads when she isn’t being crushed by the pressure of Final Year thesis-writing. She took the module NM2207 on a whim, but grew to really enjoy the sessions and the freedom to explore and create meaning from her digital work.


Board Game: The Struggle

Artists: Valerie Goh, Wang WeiHeng, Christine Anne de Silva, Low Yee Ching

“The Struggle” is a board game set in the time period of 225 BC in Ancient China where a state of unrest brought on by an arrogant and corrupt Zhou government. It attempts to depict the political struggles residing in that particular era between the government and people against them. In the game, player takes on the role of either the rebels/government, each with their own unique traits and advantage as they compete with each other for to conquer the entire nation. Using a system whereby the numbers of control points the players are able to spend to control a certain province is tied to certain consequences which may help or harm the player; we aim to portray the idea of decision making and consequences, as well as the concept of making sacrifices for progress. The game was inspired from popular board game “Risk” and “Twilight Struggle”, where elements of war strategy and empire building were the basis for the formulation of our game.

Artist’s description:

Christine, Wei Heng, Valerie and Yee Ching are Year 4 Communications and New Media students with an interest in game design and game creation. NM4227 Playable Art provided the team with great insights onto the entire process of game creation, be it a physical game or a digital game, from conceptualizing the idea all the way to design and technical coding while creating the game. It was an indescribable experience for them to see the fruits of their labour after completing the games and intrinsically rewarding to see players deeply captivated by what the team has created.


Later in the evening, we have also arranged for a performance by Dr. Alexander König. Dr. König is a media theoretician and audio-visual artist from Berlin. His performance is titled “CPHE Simulacron,” or, in full, “Cybernetic Pre-Established Harmonic Engine Simulacron.” It is an exploration into digital technology as well as aesthetic concepts. Through real-time simulation with audio-visual effects, Dr. König will manipulate more and more number of particles which, over time, react to the simulated environment itself, thus shedding light upon the inner dynamics of the simulated particle system. The exercise will be a self-regulatory one, and is expected to to lead to an exploration of the frontiers of physics.

Come join us at Random Blends 2017 and expand your mind and perspectives.


Research Talk – Cracking the Blackbox

Mr Danja Vasiliev and Ms Sarah Grant will be giving a talk on 24 March 2017 (Friday), 3 PM to 4 PM as part of the Random Blends 2017 preview ceremony. Their talk is titled “Cracking the Blackbox”, and will be held at the ArtScience Museum. More details about the talk can be found in the poster below:

About the Speakers:

Danja Vasiliev is a Critical Engineer currently living and working in Berlin. He studies systems and networks through anti-disciplinary experimentation, using hardware, firmware, and software to create works of critical engineering. Since 1999, Danja has been involved in computer technology events, media art exhibitions and seminars worldwide. He has received a number of awards and mentions, including at Ars Electronica, Japan Media Art Festival, and Transmediale, among others. In October 2011, he co-authored The Critical Engineering Manifesto with his colleagues Julian Oliver and Gordan Savičić. In his day-to-day life, Danja works with Linux software and promotes open source practices in all aspects of life. He is currently artist-in-residence at Tembusu College, NUS. See and

Sarah Grant, a NYC and Berlin-based media artist and teacher, is interested in demystifying wireless and radio technology for the ordinary citizen. Her research is focused on exploring our relationship with wireless technologies, developing educational tools, and opening up these technologies for their creative potential and critical examination. She is also the author of Subnodes, a popular open source DIY networking project since 2012. She earned her Masters from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Programme, and has been a Research Fellow at the Tow Centre for Journalism at Columbia, an Adjunct Professor at NYU Polytechnic in Digital Media, and an Impact Resident at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Centre, where she organises the Radical Networks conference in Brooklyn. She is currently artist-in-residence at Tembusu College, NUS. See and

Date: 24 March 2017 (Friday)

Time: 3 PM – 4PM

Venue: Level 4, ArtScience Museum – as a part of the Opening Preview Tour for the CNM Random Blends 2017 Interceptions Showcase.

TALK – Resisting Integrative Health Care in Singapore: Structure, Evidence, and Culture

Prof Barbara Sharf will be giving a talk on 22 March 2017 (Wednesday), from 1 PM to 3:30 PM. Her talk is titled “Resisting Integrative Health Care in Singapore: Structure, Evidence, and Culture”, and will be held at the CNM Meeting Room. More details about the talk can be found in the poster below:


Venue: CNM Meeting Room (AS6 03-33)

Date: 22 March 2017

Time: 1 PM – 3:30 PM