swinburne logoRefereed Proceedings of the 2014 ANZCA Conference:
The digital and the social: communication for
inclusion and exchange

Welcome to the proceedings of the 2014 conference. With communication becoming increasingly ‘social’, there have been unprecedented opportunities for people to communicate across geographic, political and economic divides. Social media platforms in particular, reach across barriers of distance, time and culture to create a decentralised and increasingly interactive communications environment. At home, at play, and at work, social media is increasingly a part of our everyday lives. The utopian vision is that these platforms satisfy diverse communication needs: they allow internet users to protest, to raise awareness of social issues, to publicise political actions, to unify minority voices and to create new media forms. However social and digital media have also been used for surveillance, to stifle communication, to repress minorities and to ensure violent sanction against those who press for political or economic change.

Click here to go to a list of the 2014 conference refereed papers with download links.

Click pdf here (582 KB) to download a pdf copy of the 2014 conference program.

The conference was hosted by Swinburne University, Melbourne Australia from 8-11th July, 2014 and was attended by almost 300 scholars and professional guests. The theme of the conference focussed on the paradoxical nature of our ubiquitous communications environment. The keynote presentations and many of the research papers presented recognised that while social media is reorganising the communications environment it is simultaneously giving rise to diverse and complex forms of social change.

The Melbourne conference was held at Swinburne's brand new facility, the Advanced Manufacturing Building, which hosted a program of over 200 presentations over three days on a wide range of topics. The conference opened with an indigenous welcome to country and didgeridoo performance, as well as a welcome to the university by the Vice Chancellor of Swinburne University, Professor Linda Kristjanson and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Professor Don Iverson. Sponsorship from the Faculty, as well as the Institute for Social Research allowed a range of keynote presentations and special events to be included in the conference program.

The program opened with an international keynote address from Professor Robert Picard, Director of the Reuters Institute at Oxford University, who spoke about how digital and social media functionalities are humanising communication by displacing the artificiality and alienation of mass communication.  Professor Picard argues that this is forcing change on media companies and content providers of all types, altering the ways they address and interact with their users, and the types of content provided. The second international keynote was Dr Jason Farman, a locative media expert from the University of Maryland, whose presentation: ‘Storytelling with Mobile Media: The Production of Embodied Space in the Digital Age', focussed on the production of space through the ways we use media to tell the social stories of a place and, ultimately, orient our bodies toward (or against) the narratives of these locations.

Three afternoon keynote presentations showcased the talent of Australian scholars working in the media and communications disciplines. Dr Rowan Wilken, from Swinburne University's Institute for Social Research spoke about his DECRA-funded research on mobile and locative media. Associate Professor Tania Lewis from RMIT University spoke about the ‘mainstreaming’ of ethical consumption and on the final day of the conference Professor Shirley Leach from the Australian National University spoke about authenticity in social media communication.

The conference featured two special events; the Human Rights Commissioner of Australia, Tim Wilson attended the first day of the conference and gave a presentation about freedom of speech in Australia. ANZCA also sponsored an artist-in-residence for the first time at the 2014 Melbourne conference. Swinburne games academic and internationally-acclaimed media artist Dr Troy Innocent created ‘Xawthorn’, a transmedia game experience especially for the Melbourne conference. This urban street game allowed delegates to collect ‘tags’ in order to win the right to either renew, revert or remake the conference location.

A pre-conference postgraduate event held at Swinburne University on July 8th was also well attended by almost 50 postgraduates in conversation with four academic mentors about how to use social media in research.

The following prizes were presented at the conference: Grant Noble Prize for Best Paper submitted by a Postgraduate Student (supported by the Faculty of Arts, University of New England, Australia): Kim Barbour -Performing Professionalism | Validating Artistness; Christopher Newell Prize for Best Paper dealing with disability and communication, or questions of equity, diversity and social justice as pertaining to communication: Katie Ellis: Netflix closed captions offer an accessible model for the streaming video industry but what about audio description?

The inaugural Anne Dunn scholar of the year award, including a $3,000 prize supported by ANZCA, JERAA (Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia) and Anne Dunn’s family, was presented to Dr Siobhan McHugh at the conference. Dr McHugh is senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Wollongong.

Fifteen scholars were also chosen to develop their conference paper for publication in special ANZCA editions of journals associated with the conference; PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication, Global Media Journal (Australian edition) and CPC Journal will publish an ANZCA special issue in early-2015.

ANZCA and the 2014 organising committee are now proud to present the outcome of four days of discussion and collaboration at the ANZCA 2014 Melbourne conference; this collection of proceedings from the 2014 ANZCA conference. The fully refereed papers presented here have all been subject to double-bind peer review and represent the 27 streams of research presented at the conference. We thank all the presenters and authors for sharing their research here and to all attendees for making the conference such a memorable event.

We invite you to continue the conversation at ANZCA's next conference in Queenstown, New Zealand from the 8th to 10th of July, 2015.  The theme of the 2015 conference is Rethinking Communication, Space and Identity and the call for papers and deadlines can be found at: http://anzca2015.wordpress.com.

Diana Bossio, Conference Convenor, ANZCA 2014 conference planning team