Featured Research Projects
Big data are increasingly ubiquitous, and are assumed to have the power to explain our social world. The main way that the public gets access to big data is through visualisations, which, like the big data on which they are based, are also increasingly widely circulated, online, in the mainstream media, and elsewhere. Big data visualisers have been described as new information intermediaries and visualisations themselves as a new form of story-telling, or story-showing (Kirk 2013).
Dr Katrin Voltmer is the Coordinator of a major research project on ‘Media, Conflict and Democratisation’ (MeCoDEM), which started on 1 February 2014 and will run over three years. The project investigates the role of the media in conflicts that accompany and follow transitions to democracy.
Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Pararchive: Open Access Community Storytelling and the Digital Archive was launched on 1st October 2013 and runs until 31st March 2015. Based at the Institute of Communications Studies (ICS), University of Leeds, it is part of the AHRC’s Connected Communities Programme, and has been funded under the Digital Transformations in Community Research Co-Production in the Arts and Humanities.
One consequence of the widespread use of social media is the mining and monitoring of the data that such usage produces. Social media monitoring, as this phenomenon is known, involves the use of a range of methods to monitor the social media activity of ordinary social media users and key influencers, in order to gain insights into public opinion, mood, networks and relationships.
In 2010 a research team led by Professor Stephen Coleman found that there was a significant public appetite for watching and discussing the televised prime ministerial debates, but that many viewers were left feeling uncertain about the meaning of and relationship between the competing arguments they had witnessed.
In response to this finding, a research team led by Professor Coleman, working in collaboration with Open University researchers led by Professor Simon Buckingham-Shum, decided to explore new ways of presenting the positions of the participants in the televised debates in the run-up to the 2015 general election. The plan is to develop an argument visualisation platform that can be accessed by the general public and used to make better sense of the claims being put to them by the political leaders in the debates.
This AHRC-funded research project, commencing January 2012, seeks to explore how cultural policy is shaped. More specifically it asks: What have been the major forces shaping cultural policy during the three Labour administrations of 1997 to 2010? How might we understand the relations between economic, social and cultural goals of cultural policy ‘after neo-liberalism’?
This project is an attempt to understand how a range of diverse media practices contribute to the production of news within the city of Leeds.
Rapid advances in digital technologies have converged with research, organisations and everyday experience to dissolve the boundaries between disciplines, institutions and practices. The Digital Economy ‘Communities and Culture’ Network+ (CCNetwork+), led by ICS' Dr Helen Thornham, engages with transformations, bringing them together with a wider public through direct engagements, innovative methods and digital resources.
This ESRC-funded project was awarded to a team of ICS researchers and began in June 2011. The research is focused on the different ways in which government policymakers, music producers, and music users discuss copyright.
‘A review of web design education in the UK’ is a collaboration between the Institute of Communications Studies at the University of Leeds and the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)’s Web Education Community Group. The research aims to review the state of undergraduate web design education in the UK and to explore the extent to which web standards and web accessibility, two core aspects of professional web design and front-end development, are embedded in web design curricula.
The films hosted on this site are the culmination of two projects undertaken as collaboration between the BBC/AHRC, The Institute of Communications Studies and members of the public involved in the Miners’ Strike of 1984/5. Over a period of three years the projects looked at the BBC’s archival holdings of the strike and a range of issues relating to how the archive represented events, how its contents might be used by communities affected by its aftermath and how the material could be contextualised and augmented. The team worked with a group of people who were involved during the strike year to produce a series of short film responses to issues raised by archival content under the umbrella title Strike Stories.
This project, which is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and conducted in collaboration with the Speakers’ Corner Trust, aims to learn about the barriers facing 11-18 year-olds in speaking out in public about issues that concern them.