Digital Diversity? Technologies, Texts and Conservatism

The Literacies, Language, Texts and Technologies research group presented a two-day symposium that examined the tension that emerges when the promise of a new world rubs up against the persistency of old hierarchies in the contemporary world.


The rapid social and technological changes in a culturally and linguistically diverse world present opportunities as well as challenges to those researching in social sciences, education and cultural studies. The dream of a more equitable society brought about through a digitally networked world has not yet materialised. Disadvantage and privilege continues to impact upon communities, including teachers, scholars and universities.

The Literacies, Language, Texts and Technologies research group presents a two-day symposium that examines the tension that emerges when the promise of a new world rubs up against the persistency of old hierarchies in the contemporary world. This tension can be a space of lively energy and a site for creative and critical response. The symposium explores how digital lives and societies are being imaginatively interrogated, to explore how digital cultures, digital media and the web affect daily life, curriculum, research and practice.

Even sweeter: HuNI workshop with Professor Deb Verhoeven

The workshop will run for 45 minutes and include an explanation of the Humanities Network Infrastructure (HuNI) Virtual Laboratory, as well as give people time to build and work on a collection of interest. This new version of HuNI introduces graph capabilities. It’s now possible for anyone searching across all the datasets to find, and see, and add to the links between records. So you can discover how many records in HuNI are connected to a particular person for example (and their Bacon Distance). And you can also ask HuNI to show you the shortest path between two records. And you can see who made the links and why. And what type of links they are (user-generated or system generated). Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop if possible and some thoughts about a research project they might want to work on within HuNI. See a short guide on the “why, what and how” of HuNI 2.0.

On New Forms of Interdisciplinarity Between the Arts and Sciences: Beyond a STEAM Model with Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens

It is increasingly recognised that the complex challenges facing societies at the start of the twenty-first century—largely driven by automation and datafication—require closer collaboration between the arts and sciences to solve. Many of the policy initiatives in this area have focused on the importance of the education section, which is increasingly encouraged to support STEAM research, in which the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math will expand to include the arts.

This seminar-style workshop seeks to move beyond this STEAM model of interdisciplinarity by examining the new forms of interdisciplinarity currently emerging from the arts sector. Much of this work is critical of the idea of the arts as a source of innovation for the STEM fields, arguing instead for the potential of the imagination and creativity to disrupt the dominance of STEM models of knowledge production. This workshop will contribute to a better understanding of the digital society and the datafied subjects it produces by examining the strategies and approaches developed in these new fields of arts research, and the extent to which they challenge us to resist the primacy of quantification as a form of knowledge production.

About the speakers:

Assoc Prof Elizabeth Stephens
Assoc Prof Elizabeth Stephens is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland, and author of three monographs: A Critical Genealogy of Normality (University of Chicago Press, 2017), Anatomy as Spectacle: Public Exhibitions of the Body from 1700 to the Present (Liverpool University Press, 2011), and Queer Writing: Homoeroticism in Jean Genet’s Fiction (Palgrave 2009). Her Future Fellowship examines the cultural history of the experiment and practices of experimentation, from early modern science to contemporary experimental art.

Professor Deb Verhoeven
Prof Deb Verhoeven is Associate Dean of Engagement and Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney. Before this she was Professor of Media and Communication at Deakin University. Until 2011 she held the role of director of the AFI Research Collection at RMIT. A writer, broadcaster, film critic and commentator, Verhoeven is the author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. Her most recent book is Jane Campion published in 2009 by Routledge, a detailed case study of the commercial and cultural role of the auteur in the contemporary film industry.


Start Date: 17/05/2018
End Date: 18/05/2018