Russian Media Lab Network officially launched now: get-together meeting at Aleksanteri Conference

More than 40 researchers, interested in media and communication studies, gathered on Thursday evening at Aleksanteri Institute’s meeting room despite dense conference program. There were not enough sitting places for everyone, so some people even stayed in the corridor.

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RML Network and media research at the Aleksanteri Conference – 23-25 October 2019, University of Helsinki

As usual, the Annual Aleksanteri Conference hosts wide and diverse media studies’ stream. The 19th Annual Aleksanteri Conference “Technology, Culture, and Society in the Eurasian space” represents many interdisciplinary research at the intersection of media and communication studies and other disciplines.

Further details on media research stream and RML Network’s events can be found below. Please consult the Conference website for the latest version of the programme. We look forward to seeing you there!

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How Russian internet consumption heats Finnish city or Critical approach to data economy and digitalization – Interview with Julia Velkova

Julia Velkova is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Consumer Society Research at the University of Helsinki. Her interests are in digital culture and media. She is currently involved in several projects on the politics and histories of emergent data infrastructures, with specific focus on data centres in the Nordic countries, and the labour, discard and temporalities that underpin their work. Her work has been published in journals such as New Media & Society; Culture Machine; Big Data & Society and International Journal of Cultural Studies, among others.

What is your current research about?

I am interested in the cultures and politics of media infrastructures, and in my current project I engage with the histories, temporalities and thermal politics of data centres that are being built in the Nordic countries. The topic that I have been working most recently on is the ways in which local municipalities and energy companies draw in the platform economy into energy politics, through the use of the thermal discard produced by data centres computing user data – a practice that exists currently in Sweden and Finland.

While we are still debating the implications of algorithms and data aggregation practices, there is a peripheral, and still quite marginal interest from scholars on the relation between digital media and energy. In this context, data centres have been the main target of criticism as they put pressure on local power grids while contributing with more carbon emissions, and at the same time reply on the use of water, which in certain cases is in very fragile ecologies, as Mel Hogan (2015) has written about in the context of Utah’s NSA data centre.

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New issue for EuropeNow journal on Digitization of Memory and Politics in Eastern Europe

In memoriam our dear colleague and friend Eszter Gantner,

who made this special issue possible.

Russian Media Lab Network announces the publication of a special issue for EuropeNow (https://www.europenowjournal.org). This special feature includes research papers, presented at recent workshopPolitics of e-Heritage: Production and regulation of digital memory in Eastern Europe and Russia”, organized by the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, the Aleksanteri Institute – University of Helsinki and CEES at the University of Glasgow. The issue was guest edited by Eszter Ganter and Olga Dovbysh.

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Media control matters: workshop on media control as source of political power in Central and Eastern Europe

This week Aleksanteri Institute hosted a workshop “Media control as source of political power in Central and Eastern Europe”, co-organized by Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen and Russian Media Lab Network. The workshop brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to present their research and to discuss about media manipulation and pressure in various political regimes of post-Soviet countries. The presentations dealt with for example government control in traditional media, media coverage of protest movements, ways of Internet regulation, agency of local journalists in (semi)authoritarian regimes.

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Russian Media Lab co-organized a workshop on digitalization of memory and politics of e-Heritage

Digital humanities enthusiasts met on 3-4 June at the Herder Institute in Marburg, Germany in the joint workshop “Politics of e-Heritage: Production and regulation of digital memory in Eastern Europe and Russia”. It was the second workshop in the workshop series “Politics of Digital Humanities in Eastern European Studies”, organized by the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, the Aleksanteri Institute – University of Helsinki and CEES at the  University of Glasgow. Aleksanteri Institute hosted the first workshop in September 2018.

The Workshop in Marburg brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to present their research and to discuss about the digitalization processes in production and regulation of history, heritage and memory in Eastern Europe and Russia. Multidisciplinary background of participants, working at the intersection of history, media studies, cultural studies, internet security studies and other disciplines allowed to highlight various aspects of aforementioned issues.

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Towards the mediatization of religion normative model in Russia – talk by visiting researcher Victor Khroul (Moscow State University), 10 June 2019

Victor Khroul, visiting researcher from the Moscow State University, will give a talk on “(Re)mapping the sacred and the profane in post-communist Russia: towards the mediatization of religion normative model” during a brown bag lunch.

Time: 12:00 on Monday 10 June. The meeting room is booked up till 13:30.
Location: Aleksanteri Institute 2nd floor meeting room, Unioninkatu 33

Format. Brown bag lunch combines learning and eating, takes place over lunchtime and occurs in an informal setting. Participants are to bring their own packed lunch and/or beverages.

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Russian Media Lab at ICA conference

Russian Media Lab researcher Marielle Wijermars will be presenting her research on news aggregators and the perception of algorithms in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine at the International Communication Association conference in Washington (24-28 May).

‘News recommendation and source diversity on Russian news aggregators: Google News as the better alternative?’ M. Wijermars, C. Puschmann & J. Zeng

‘Can echo chambers protect information freedom? Algorithmic news recommenders and the public sphere in Eastern Europe’ M. Makhortykh & M. Wijermars

Saara Ratilainen to co-organize a Master Class Course on gender and media at Tampere University

Russian Media Lab researcher Saara Ratilainen will co-organize Master Class Course: Gender, Media, Leadership: Women in Chinese and Russian Media at Tampere University in Autumn 2019.

The course is aimed at those who are interested in the representation of gender in Chinese and Russian media and the status of women in these cultural industries. Participants will know more about media activism related to gender issues in Russia and China. They will learn from the experiences and expertise of acclaimed media professionals and scholars of gender and Russian and Chinese media.

For more information and the enrollment instructions,
please visit https://research.uta.fi/tarc/masterclass-2019/.

Instagram is a new tool for activism in Russia – Interview with Ekaterina Kalinina

by Janne Suutarinen & Olga Dovbysh

Ekaterina Kalinina, PhD, is a lecturer at Södertörn University, Department of Media and Communication. Kalinina has recently been studying the protection of cultural heritage sites in Russia and more specifically the use of social media for the promotion of heritage protection activities. She has analysed how the highly popular photo-sharing application Instagram has proven to be handy in raising awareness about the alarming state of historical buildings across the country. In 2018-2019 Ekaterina was Visiting fellow in the Aleksanteri Visiting Fellows Programme.

Kalinina has been analysing Instagram accounts of a community of citizen historians, individual activists and non-profit organisations working towards preserving cultural heritage sites in Russia.

What kind of platform does Instagram provide for activism?

There has been lots of research done on activism on Facebook, Twitter and Vkontakte, but currently not so much on Instagram as a tool for civic engagement. While, it is actually a very interesting tool to be used for activism, because it is so much focused on image culture and allows for sharing visuals within a community as well as across communities of users. Captions, hashtags and links help to spread messages and increase visibility.

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