Category: Media Studies

Crowdfunding for culture: Origins of a new system or no alternative at all?

Crowdfunding for culture: Origins of a new system or no alternative at all?

What follows from decisions to outsource modes of creation and funding to consumers? This is the question posed by a new open access book –CULTURAL CROWDFUNDING: Platform Capitalism, Labour and Globalization that considers how platforms are used to organize cultural labour following a logic of suggestion rather than overt injunction.

Four key areas are considered: the history of crowdfunding as a system; whose interests crowdfunding may serve; the implications for digital labour and lastly crowdfunding’s interface with globalization and contemporary capitalism. The book concludes with an assessment of claims that crowdfunding can democratize culture.

CONTENTS
1. Introduction Vincent Rouzé 2. Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding: The Origins of a New System? Vincent Rouzé 3. Far from an Alternative: New Cultural Intermediaries Vincent Rouzé 4. Participatory Cultural Platforms and Labour Jacob Matthews and Vincent Rouzé 5. Globalization and the Logics of Capitalism Jacob Matthews, Stéphane Costantini and Alix Bénistant 6. General Conclusion  Vincent Rouzé   Index

EDITOR
Vincent Rouzé is Associate Professor of Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Paris 8 and a member of the Centre for Media, Technology and Internationalization Studies (Cemti). Contributors: Jacob Matthews, Stéphane Costantini, Alix Bénistant.

Published open access by the University of Westminster Press. Published 29 November 2019

This book is published in the Critical Digital and Social Media Studies Series

FORMAT
128 pages paperback 229 x 152mm
978-1-912656-38-7    £19.99

OPEN ACCESS 
PDF, EPub and kindle versions available Free From uwestminsterpress.co.uk/site books: PDF 978-1-912656-39-4; ePub 978-1-912656-40-0 Kindle 978-1-912656-41-7: DOI:10.16997/book34

Media and Communications Study Skills – new title

Media and Communications Study Skills – new title

The University of Westminster Press launched its first title for MA students on study skills in media and communications courses. Author Doug Specht, Director of Teaching and Learning School of Media and Communications at the University of Westminster explained the origins of The Media and Communications Study Skills Guide at a-well attended event at Westminster’s Harrow Campus. The book highlights all sorts of study advice from listening to referencing, seminars to writing essays and to conjuring up a research question for the dreaded MA dissertation.

It includes numerous hacks and tips, graphics, tasks, planners, tasks and guides to such matters as notetaking.

Here – to get a sense of a sense of the flavour of the book – is the author’s advice on where to work:

Think about where you are working; try not to work in bed, so you have a separate space to rest. Consider whether you prefer working in the library, the kitchen table, your desk or in a café. Once you know your best working space (this might be different for different types of work), stick to this – I like to do emails and admin work in public spaces, but I need music to write and silence to edit, so I ensure I move around when working on different parts of a project. Also, think about the light and temperature in the room you are working in. Consider spending a little money on a good lamp – Michel Foucault, the French philosopher and social theorist, used to take his own to libraries and lectures. You should also break tasks down into smaller chunks or sub-tasks – there are some pages to help you do this at the end of this book. You can also use technology to help you with this, there are loads of task management apps available, although trying them all out can become a form of productive procrastination, so be careful!” 

Read the book, purchase in print or download from the University of Westminster Press.

Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman

Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman

UWP launched a brand new journal today, now open for submissions.

Editors David Chandler, Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Jane Lewis of the University of Westminster explain the background and their thinking that led to its creation:

Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman’ seeks to explore the implications of the Anthropocene from the perspectives of the social and life sciences, arts and humanities. We see the Anthropocene as an invitation to think differently about ways of being in the world and how we operate within, across and beyond our disciplinary framings. We take inspiration from Val Plumwood’s view that the Anthropocene poses the question: ‘Is it to be a posture of openness, of welcoming, of invitation, toward earth others, or is it to be a stance of prejudged superiority, of deafness, of closure?’ At present we feel that there is too little invitation: work on the Anthropocene often seems divided between climate scientists working along technical and managerial lines and, what can come across as, fairly aloof and abstract philosophical approaches. We seek to work to expand the area of Anthropocene work which can often be obscured by this divide; working out from the middle as it were.

For us, the Anthropocene poses questions that go far beyond narrow technical or governmental concerns of how to address issues such as climate change and global warming. While some contributors may, no doubt, be concerned with preventing, slowing or opposing the Anthropocene as a future to come, we hope that others will provide a critical, constructive and exploratory focus upon what it means to live within the Anthropocene as a time in which the certainties of the modernist world are becoming undone. Our desire is that this journal will pursue the open-ended and future-oriented invitations of the Anthropocene through building new cross-disciplinary research communities, facilitated through publishing in an open access format available to all.

We feel that the time is right to establish a world-leading interdisciplinary journal placing the University of Westminster at the centre of contemporary conceptual debates and practices. Drawing upon our unique strengths across diverse fields from the arts and media to the human sciences, via law, architecture and politics, Anthropocenes will engage and work with leading and upcoming international academics and practitioners looking for an interdisciplinary outlet and keen to develop and initiate debate through traditional and non-traditional forms of publication including visual and audio links.’

200 authors contribute to UWP books and journals

200 authors contribute to UWP books and journals

Another landmark reached.

Over 200 unique authors or editors have contributed to UWP books and journals from over 30 countries.

The top 10 countries in order of author numbers are: UK, USA, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Germany with China, China (Hong Kong), Ireland, Netherlands and Russia in joint 10th place.

From the University of Westminster 21 authors or editors have contributed to our publications more than once, with 16 authors from other universities or locations also contributing multiply.

Our travel-loving Press Manager has visited all but 7 of the countries but would like to have to add more to his bucket list which UWP has reached that currently includes Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan and South Africa.

Does this top 10 geographical profile match our open access audiences? Not quite but not far off either. We’d have more authors from Turkey and a few more from Greece, Mexico, Indonesia and South Korea perhaps but overall it would be hard not to say that there was a strong correspondence.

From our main website we can see readers have popped up (though not too frequently) in Yemen, South Sudan, Niger, San Marino and in the US commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Northern Pacific. With our WPCC journal ( a separate site) this week there have been strong showings from Zimbabwe, Australia, Singapore and Nigeria.

Open access offers quite a lot of insights to distract the publisher but demonstrates the ability of a small publisher to extend a reach and have a greater ability than a purely print publisher to understand a little more of where there readership is hailing from.

CDSMS series reaches 100,000 views/downloads.

CDSMS series reaches 100,000 views/downloads.

The University of Westminster Press‘s flagship Critical Digital and Social Media Studies open access series just recently achieved a new land landmark: 100,000 views and downloads. These include both book chapters and full book downloads (impossible currently to wholly disaggregate) across its 11 titles published since October 2016.

We’d like to ascribe this to a particular date but the rise in figures is coming at us so thick and fast from different directions (many reporting only monthly, one six-monthly) the only certainty is that the actual number is higher, maybe even significantly so.

UWP would like to congratulate all its authors, editors, the editorial board its platform provider Ubiquity Press and especially series editor-in-chief Christian Fuchs of our own parent institution, the University of Westminster for a wonderful effort in helping us reach global audiences. We look forward to further landmarks in 2020 and onwards.

The rallying cry of ‘We should all be feminists’ (C. N. Adichie) is turning into ‘We should all be activists …’

The rallying cry of ‘We should all be feminists’ (C. N. Adichie) is turning into ‘We should all be activists …’

as new reports emerge concerning male bias in AI … etc’
(from WPCC editorial).

As a new WPCC issue on Media Activism is published editors, Anastasia Denisova and Michaela O’Brien highlight the key issues for the issue in their editorial ‘From High Visibility to High Vulnerability: Feminist, Postcolonial and Anti-Gentrification Activism at Risk‘. What follows is an extract.

In times when hijacking of terms and stories happens on a daily basis, activism also means constant narrative recreation and damage control. Some scholars call the internet a patriarchal structure (Megarry, 2018) and there are voices that demand gender equality of the online space. The rallying cry of ‘We should all be feminists’ (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) is turning into ‘We should all be activists’ as new reports emerge concerning male bias in AI (Crawford, 2016; Adam, 2006; Leavy, 2018), sexist coding of digital voice assistants (West, Kraut and Ei Chew, 2019), the inherent inequality of AI-assisted recruitment processes (Dastin, 2018), and inequality of activism too. Female protesters and activists of colour face more challenges than others – due to the outbursts of toxic masculinity, racial abuse, cow­ardly anonymous online attacks and imbalance of visibility when it comes to hierarchy of influence. These issues are as virtual as they are real – and they need to be addressed to maintain liveable societies.  As editors, we wanted to explore the possibilities for progressive activists around the world to use the media to resist the current rise of the extreme right along with disturbing and growing evidence of the techniques of fascism: populism, propaganda and fake news, hate speech and rise of hate crimes. We define ‘activism’ as ‘the widest range of attempts to effect [progressive] social or cultural change’ (Meikle, 2018: iii), while ‘the media’ includes a broad range of communication platforms, from traditional journalism to digital networks.

[The University of Westminster runs an MA Programme in MEDIA, CAMPAIGNING AND SOCIAL CHANGE].

Adam, A. (2006). Artificial Knowing: Gender and the Thinking Machine. London: Routledge.

Crawford, K. (2016). Artificial intelligence’s white guy problem. The New York Times, 25 June.

Dastin, J. (2018). Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women. Reuters.com, 10 October. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-jobs-automation-insight/amazon-scraps-secret-ai-recruiting-tool-that-showed-bias-against-women-idUSKCN1MK08G (last accessed July 2019).

Megarry, J. (2018). Under the watchful eyes of men: Theorising the implications of male surveillance practices for feminist activism on social media. Feminist Media Studies, 18(6), 1070–1085. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2017.1387584

Meikle, G. (Ed.) (2018). The Routledge Companion to Media and Activism. Abingdon: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315475059

Leavy, S. (2018, May). Gender bias in artificial intelligence: The need for diversity and gender theory in machine learning. In Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Gender Equality in Software Engineering (pp. 14–16). New York: Association for Computing Machinery. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3195570.3195580.

West, M., Kraut, R., & Ei Chew, H. (2019). I’d blush if I could: Closing gender divides in digital skills through education. Paris: Equals Global Partnership/UNESCO.