The Fabulous ‘Theorizing the Web’ 2014

I’ve spent the last week in New York, having gone over to speak at Theorizing the Web 2014. And what a tremendous conference it was, featuring a diverse range of papers in a friendly and supportive environment. Addressing topics such as Big Data, gaming, memes and sex work, the speakers conveyed complex theoretical positions, but in a way which was intended to still be accessible to the lay person. And that’s what made this event so special, for me – this aim to convey academic research and the work of creative practitioners in a way which was inclusive. I was also impressed by the organisers’ commitment to their anti-harassment statement, which ensured the space remained safe and welcoming for attendees.

The panel I was lucky enough to be on was superb: Apryl Williams provided a great overview of the selfie, as well as some interesting new research; Ofer Nur looked at erotic selfies, and Molly Crabapple presented a fascinating insight into the use of photography by jihadis, including an unexpected crossover between Pinterest motivational rhetoric and the slogans used to encourage others to take up arms. My talk went as well as I could have hoped – despite my nerves, and slightly going over time. The reaction from people afterwards was very encouraging, and I can now return to writing up my thesis with a real spring in my step. And I’ll certainly be attending next year!

There’s a recording of our panel here:

And some photos of our panel appear below, with credit to Aaron Thompson:

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Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 12.59.16  Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 12.58.57

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We also took the opportunity to indulge in a bit of selfie-taking ourselves (with thanks to R. Stuart Geiger):

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Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 16.04.50And the back of my head made a frequent appearance…

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