ADM+S News and Media Research Symposium 2021: Members Welcome
6 October 2021

Prof Julian Thomas, RMIT University
Prof Jean Burgess, QUT
Prof Axel Bruns, QUT
Watch the recording
Duration: 0:16:11


Prof Jean Burgess: 

I’m Jean Burgess. If you don’t know me yet, I think I’ve met most of our new people in the Centre one way or another, through zoom meetings. But it’s my enormous pleasure to be able to welcome you to a hybrid event involving many of our members. The first part of our first major event for the Centre, the News and Media symposium, which will kick off publicly at 12 o’clock today. Before we go any further of course we need to acknowledge the traditional owners of all of the lands where we’re meeting, both here in Brisbane, in Melbourne, in Sydney and all around the place. And to help us with that we’re very privileged to have a welcome to country video that we can play.


Welcome in the language of the Yugara people. We acknowledge the Turrbal and Yugara peoples, as the first nation owners of the lands of where QUT now stands. For thousands of years the Turrbal and Yugara people have gathered along the banks of Maiwar, the Brisbane river, to share their knowledge and stories. We pay our respects to their elders, laws, customs and creation spirits. We recognise that these lands where QUT now stands, have always been places of teaching, researching, and learning. We acknowledge the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people play within our QUT community. From Moreton Bay, inland as far as the Great Dividing Range near Warwick and Toowoomba. As far north as the Caboolture River, including the lands around Brisbane city, Meanjin.

Welcome to the traditional country of the Turrbal and Yugara people.

Prof Jean Burgess: 

So as I said we’re privileged to have that video to help us to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land where we are, the Turrbal and Yugara people, and I want to acknowledge that these are sovereign lands that were never ceded.

I’m now going to pass you over via zoom to the Centre director, Professor Julian Thomas, coming to us all the way from Melbourne. So, Julian. Thanks Jean.

Prof Julian Thomas: 

And thanks so much, a very big welcome from me, and I’m speaking as Jean said, from Melbourne. I’m on Wurundjeri country down here and would like to pay my respects to the traditional owners of the unceded lands on which we’re working here in Melbourne, and the elders past and present. Here I’m very sorry i can’t be with you in Brisbane for this symposium. It would be wonderful to be there, but i think we will be able to do a great deal in the hybrid mode, and that’s what we’re going to do. Just let me say something very briefly to welcome people and to introduce this symposium. As Jean said, this is our first major symposium as a centre, so it’s really exciting to see people beginning to come together and share their work in this way. Even if we can’t do it all in person this time, we’re beginning that work and we will continue it. In many ways i think it’s fitting that for our first event we’re bringing together researchers from right across our four different research programs, across the centre, and all of the disciplines and institutions at which we work, to focus on the challenges of automated decision making in news and media. News and Media is one of our focus areas, and this is where as a Centre we get together to address urgent current problems challenges and to work through how we can translate our research into strategies and ideas that can make a difference. So as I say it’s very exciting to see all this starting to happen.

I wanted to briefly thank everybody involved for all the work that’s taken place to make this possible. For us it’s a complex event and especially everyone in the in the team at QUT who have been working on this very hard for some time. I want to mention two people in particular, Kathy Nichols who has done so much to make this possible, and Axel Bruns, our colleague in the DMRC, who has led this focus area for the Centre up till now. I wanted to say that Axel is now stepping down from that role. As you know, he’s taking up a distinguished laureate professorship. He’s going to continue to be involved with the Centre, and to be a chief investigator, but he’s stepping aside from the leadership of the News and Media focus area in order to spend the time he needs on the research involved in that fellowship. But we’ve been very lucky to have him leading this for the first year, or more than that when you take into account the planning involved. And i think you can see from this event that he’s positioned this focus area extraordinarily well. I wanted to say that it’s, i’m really delighted that my colleagues James Meese who’s with us this morning from RMIT, and Jean our associate director at QUT, are going to take over the leadership of this focus area from here on. So we’re in exceptionally good hands as you can tell. But I think now we’re passing back Jean, to Axel to tell us a little bit more. Back to you for now, thanks very much.

Prof Jean Burgess: 

Thank you so much Julian. And of course, it’s with a lot of mixed feelings that we embark on the next two days because we really had hoped that we would all be able to get together for this, but of course as you know Delta had other plans. In addition to the thanks and acknowledgement Julian’s provided to Kathy and Axel, I want to acknowledge that this particular ADMS event, while it’s national Centre has been hosted by the QUT node, which is in turn positioned within the QUT Digital Media Research Centre, so I acknowledge professor Patrik Wikstrom who’s here today, the centre director of the DMRC. And particularly our node coordinator Taal Hampson, who for those of us who are here, we’re already experiencing the military precision with which he does everything. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic event, thank you so much Taal. As Julian said I’ll hand over to Axel, he’s going to take us through the nuts and bolts and logistics of today.

Prof Axel Bruns: 

All right thanks very much Jean and Julian and everyone. And I want to echo those things to Kathy and Taal particularly, as well as to our DMRC staff, Catherine and Caroline who’ve been really instrumental in putting all of this together of course. So thank you all already very much, and will thank you properly also again at the end of this event. This, as Julian and Jean have said, is going to be my last event as focus area leader. I’m really happy that we’ve managed to get to this point, and in fact managed to get to it in person without any lockdown so far. We’ll see if that holds for the rest of the day. But I’m delighted that we could all get together here. We’ll have a few more people coming in of course, from the general public as well, from partner media, and other organisations in the public part of this program. And that’s I guess one of the important things to note here that this morning and tomorrow afternoon are our internal time in this symposium. So this is where we all get together as members of the Centre, as CI’s, postdocs, postgrads, affiliate members and so on of the Centre, and see where we’re all at basically. With this area of research in the Centre. And then from midday today to midday tomorrow, we have opened this up to a broader audience, both online as well as in person, where we’ll have a whole bunch of people coming in from various industry, media, community organisations, government organisations and others, to see what we’re up to, and hear about all the good work that’s happening in this centre.

So if you’ve got internal matters to discuss, do that ideally this morning and tomorrow afternoon and otherwise we’ll try and put on a really good show for everyone from midday today, Just very quickly, I don’t want to hold up the lightning talks but Jeans already talked about mask wearing, obviously unless you’re at the lectern speaking and far away from other people, please make sure you wear your mask and observe social distancing. Of course you can take it off when you’re eating, as well if you do become unwell then please see the organisers Kathy or Taal, so that we know. I am meant to tell you about emergency measures as well. So this is our evacuation diagram, so please memorise this in the few minutes that it’s up. There is a very big stairwell so please use that to exit the building, in case there is any emergency and we are meant to gather outside on ring road, outside e-block, or in the courtyard near Beatles Cafe. We also have an interaction app that we’re using for this, Slido. Download or in fact just go to the website to ask questions and engage with others. We’ll use this for all of our presentations as a feedback mechanism, so please be there, be present. You should ideally enter your name as you’re asking questions otherwise it’ll all show up as anonymous as well, so yeah please go there. You can go to just slido.com and go to the event number 101 and I think there’s a few QR codes around the place as well that you can use to log in.

So yeah, please engage, please respond, please ask some curly questions to our various speakers, and online attendees can see Slido on the web stream or open it in another browser window of course. So those of you who are online please do that as well. For those of you who are here and who are well, this is probably not so relevant to you guys because you’re all QUT and related staff members, but we have free public wi-fi set up here as well so if you need it then that’s how you get there. Particularly for those of you online, but hopefully some of our in-person attendees will also be able to join in, we have set up a virtual break room as well, so this is really for our various lunch and morning tea and afternoon tea breaks for us all ideally to try and get together and be able to chat a little bit, hang out as you do at conferences. But even across the virtual and online activities that we do, an online community that we have, we have e556 set up as a virtual break room, so those of you who are here please wander in there and say hi to everyone who’s online and hopefully that will help at least bridge the distance a little bit between our online and offline attendees. And again, unfortunately just for those of you who are here, but maybe we can send someone down with the camera at some point, we have our interactive data wall down on level one as well which showcases the program. Showcases all of the work that we’re doing. There’s quite a few bits of updates and videos and everything else from the various things that are happening in this News and Media focus area.

There is the full program and various information linked to the various sessions as well, so please feel free to go down during a break and interact with it. There’s a lot of stuff that’s gone into this, it’d be great to see people explore and find out a bit more about what’s going on. And that of course will also be particularly useful for those people who’ll join us at lunchtime so they can find out a bit more about the Centre. You all in the room have received hopefully your merchandise pack. i can see all the lanyards, but if you haven’t then please go and pick one up. For those of you who are online please go and contact us, and we’ll send this out to you so that you can get the wonderful mask and disinfectant and lanyard and everything else as well. Well i think that is everything else, so that’s where it is.

A few more things, sorry i’ll be done in a minute. As you may know this evening i’m doing a QUTX talk in F-block, which is really I guess kind of an agenda setter for the laureate fellowship that Julian has mentioned. So obviously you’re all invited. Everyone else who comes along today is invited, or you can join online. So it’s in F-block just up the path from here and that starts at six. But we’ll also have some canapés and drinks beforehand.

Our program here in this room finishes at 5:30, so we can all get over quite quickly from there and grab a drink, grab a canapé, and then you get to listen to me for an hour. And then after that again, for those of you who are here, we go to the social event at the golf club Victoria Park. So there is a bus that leaves at um 7:20. So ideally meet with Taal and Kathy at 7:15 outside the lecture theatre. We’ll walk you over to the bus. The bus takes you over to Victoria Park and then we can go there and socialise as they do at conferences. Okay and then finally as I said, the program, I think there’s nothing much more I need to say other than that again, the morning today and the afternoon tomorrow are our internal presentations and discussions and updates, and then from midday today to midday tomorrow we have a really detailed and really exciting and diverse program of sessions, discussions, presentations and provocations that enable us to really see all the work that’s been going on. Or at least a good chunk of the work that’s been going on in ADMS, around News and Media. So yeah, really looking forward to seeing all of that and seeing what everyone’s been up to.

And that is it for me, sorry about all the preamble but we do need to get these housekeeping announcements out of the way. So, I will now hand back to Julian to start off the lightning talks.