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ETA – 23rd of August, 2013: I’ve recently been appointed as a full-time Project Coordinator for the Digital Common-wealth project, based at the University of the West of Scotland. A full bio update will follow once I’ve settled into the role however details of the Big Lottery funded project are below: 

“The UWS Digital Commonwealth project will use their grant of £167,977 to increase digital and social media literacy in the run up to the Glasgow Games. The project seeks to lower the threshold for involvement using everyday digital tools and technologies and we’re looking forward to working with Big Lottery Fund to ensure more of Scotland’s citizens are able to develop the digital literacies that are becoming ever more important to full participation in civic life.”

Similarly, I am continuing my part-time role (from October 2012-June 2014) as the Community Media Development Worker on the Digital Sentinel community news agency in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh -a  Carnegie Trust funded  development project through the Neighbourhood News initiative.

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I am a part-time Research Associate at the University of the West of Scotland (based within the School of Creative and Cultural Industries) and my research interests cross between a number of disciplines, with the main focus being on social media, citizen journalism and how these are used in an events and cultural context. The rest of my time is split between more practice-based activity across the realms of community media practice, Social Media strategy, policy, training and development and events evaluation and I am for hire!

I have a BA (Hons) Media from the University of Paisley and an MA (with Distinction) in New Media and Society from the University of Leicester. My PhD (which I spent 3 years working on, currently suspended until January 2014 as I pursue a change of direction & explore more practice-based methods and to focus on activity around the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games) was focused on the Olympic Games and the alternative and activist media landscapes that have emerged and been supported through emerging communication technologies.

I have previously wrote a lot about the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, the London 2012 Summer Olympics and the International Olympic Academy, and publicly spoke and wrote critically of the London 2012 games throughout the build up (in both the Metro and the Guardian). It wasn’t until I worked as the coordinator for a Creative Scotland funded mass-participation media project called #citizenrelay, where we trained and engaged citizen reporters across the country and followed the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay across Scotland to stimulate capture the alternative media narratives of the event where I found the cross-over between academic research and media practice.

The academic-researcher (informed) methodology, amongst the principles of community and citizen media using mobile and internet-based tools and platforms is exactly where my work is situated and the focus of my PhD when I return to it during write-up. I hear it is common for PhD students to fall out of love with their subject area after a number of years- but I also feel that by living and breathing the processes that I was observing as ‘data’ previously, I found that this was only way that I was going to make sense of what I’d been experiencing during the PhD process. Plus, I’m not/never was a conventional PhD student in the first place.

As I tend to work on a number of small projects at the same time, I felt it was better to keep a “What I am working on in 2013” to keep tabs (for myself more than anything!). For things I has done in a previous life (before this year began), best to check out the blog archives.