World-leading communication, media, and law research for a flourishing digital society.

Across our five programs we aim to undertake high-quality research that generates deep understanding, is relevant to our industry, government and community partners, and makes a productive contribution to policy and public debate.

Transforming Media Industries – Program Leader Prof Amanda Lotz

This program investigates how the business practices and cultural dynamics of media industries are adapting to profound transformations in the production, distribution, consumption, and regulation of media content in local and global contexts. We examine the operations of power and the potential for innovation, focusing especially on the implications they pose for media makers, the media they make, and their social consequences across the film, television, games, music, news, and social media industries.

Digital Publics – Program Leader Prof Axel Bruns

Digital and social media platforms provide new opportunities for public communication, and the formation of distinct publics and communities around shared interests and identities. Such publics may engage in political debate, popular media fandom, science communication, vernacular creativity, and other activities; but they may also be affected by, or actively engage in promoting, mis- and disinformation and other problematic content. Their activities are also shaped by the features and affordances of the platforms they use, from Facebook and Twitter to TikTok and Weibo, and by the broader social, commercial, and political contexts of the societies in which they operate. We use innovative, mixed-method research approaches involving advanced data science as well as forensic qualitative methods to investigate the evolution of digital publics and other communities in Australia and the world; study the communicative practices of digital publics and online communities, and their role in society; develop new frameworks for the qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods study of online public communication; examine the role that digital platforms, including their technical affordances and institutional operators, play in channelling user practices; and work with state, civic, and industry partners to promote safe and constructive engagement in digital spaces.

Computational Communication & Culture – Program Leader Prof Daniel Angus

This program investigates how rapid advances in computation and human-machine communication are transforming society, through automation and AI, the Internet of Things, and disintermediating technologies such as blockchain. We draw on and extend computer science and critical humanities theory and methods (including agent-based modelling, machine vision, critical simulation, and information visualisation) to help explore and explain emergent phenomena in the digital media environment, including the fundamental transformation of communication itself.

Governing Digital Societies – Program Leader A/Prof Anna Huggins and A/Prof Mark Burdon

This program aims unfold digital societies give rise to new social, legal and technical challenges and opportunities. The major platforms continue to grow at enormous scale and wield power over the development of digital economies. Digital infrastructure continues to expand into every facet of societal life. New forms of online harm continually emerge as human relationships are increasingly mediated through digital infrastructure. New forms of legal intervention and governance are therefore required to promote just and fair digital societies that promotes human flourishing. We examine future models of governance and recommend policy changes that can improve regulatory regimes in the near term. 

Digital Inclusion & Participation – Program Leader Prof Michael Dezuanni

Working in partnership with industry, government and community organisations, this program uses innovative digital ethnographic and co-design methods to understand, intervene, and advocate for digital access and literacy as vital elements of social inclusion. We help equip citizens and consumers with the knowledge and skills to confidently, effectively and ethically navigate the increasingly complex digital media environment; and we deliver actionable new knowledge of the structural conditions and circumstances that impact on equitable and safe participation in the digital society.