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

Prof Patrik Wikstrom, Director DMRC
Uncle Cheg Egert, Elder in Residence, QUT
Prof Jean Burgess, Associate Director, ADM+S
Prof Axel Bruns, Chief Investigator, ADM+S
Watch the recording
Duration: 0:20:57


Prof Patrik Wikstrom

Hello everyone and welcome to QUT, and to the ADM+S News and Media Research Symposium. My name is Patrik Wikstrom. I am director for the DMRC, the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT here in Brisbane, and I’d particularly like to welcome a few people. Uncle Cheg Egert, QUT’s elder in residence. Professor Laurie Lockyer. Executive Dean, Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice, there you are. And Professor Christopher Barnett, College Deputy Vice Chancellor, and Vice President for Research.

So, thank you for being here. Welcome to all of you on Zoom. Welcome to all of you who are lucky enough to be here at our beautiful Kelvin Grove campus in Brisbane. There are some of you who may be unfamiliar with the Digital Media Research Centre, so yes, let me say a couple of sentences about who we are. We are about 100 social science and humanities researchers and research students, doing world-leading communication media and law research at the forefront of digital transformation. And our research programs investigate topics such as the digital transformation of media industries, the challenges of digital inclusion and governance, the growing role of AI and automation and the information environment, and the role of social media in public communication. The DMRC is very proud to be the host of the QUT node or the ADMS, and I very much look forward to these two days focused on one of the focus areas in the Centre. So, with that, I’d like to invite uncle Cheg Egert, elder in residence, to give the welcome to country.

Uncle Cheg Egert

First of all, thank you Patrick for that wonderful welcome. Hello everyone here within the audience, and around the nation, and around the world on Zoom. And all those other wonderful things. My name is Gregory Egert, however in this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of southeast Queensland, I’m known as Cheg or Uncle Cheg. I am an aboriginal man from Yugara and Goenpul country, and I am the inaugural elder in residence at Queensland University of Technology. Actually, this week it’ll be an exciting time for me, because I’ll be at this place for two years, which is exciting not just for me, but also for I hope, for the rest of the QUT community

Of course, QUT’s places stand on the lands of the Turrbal and Yugara peoples lands, that were never ceded, and of course we never ceded our sovereignty over those lands.

So, my position as elder in residence displays the strong recognition by QUT of the connection our people have to this land on which QUT sits, and also pays respect for the culture and the knowledge and experiences of the Yugara and Turrbal people.

Now when Taal asked me to come along and do the welcome to country, of course I said yes because this is the first big event of this Centre, so why wouldn’t I be here to welcome you all to this great occasion. And I’m honoured, I hope I get this name right to be here at the ADM+S news, media, and resource symposium.

I would now like to share a few words to welcome you to this country.

This is Aboriginal land, not now and not in the past, but now. The spirits have shaped this land and are still shaping this land. This can be seen if you look and experience, and of course where the spirits dwell are sacred places. Australia, this land we call Australia which is made up of many nations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that have been here for thousands of years, is a spiritual land and of course, we are its people. Here and to the west, we have the Yugara and Turrbal people, and more.

To the east we have the Garingbal, the Ngarabal the Nguri people, and more.

And south, we have the Muruwari, Geawegal, Bidjara, and more.

Sorry, I got that name wrong, how do i get that name wrong. The Bundjalung, the Yuggera people, and more. And of course, to the north we have the Gubbi Gubbi, the Badtjala, the WakaWaka people, and more.

And we are to be recognised. This land called Australia, is aboriginal land and always will be a spiritual land. And we are its people. I just want to say as my role as elder in residence, I love doing these welcome the countries, but i also want to engage with people to tell the stories of this land because this land has many stories. So if you ever see me walking around for those who are on campus or around Brisbane, just come up and say hello, because i’ll be interested to hear about you and your journey.

With that said I want to welcome you to this country, and I’m like, it’s more than being delighted- I’m honoured to be here with you today at this ADM+S news, media, research symposium. So, a few words in language which means welcome. Welcome to this country. Thank you.

Prof Jean Burgess

Thank you so much uncle Cheg for that generous welcome to country. I also want to acknowledge of course the traditional owners of this place where we are the Turrbal and Yugara people, and to acknowledge particularly that these lands were never ceded. And i’m sure our colleagues around the country will perhaps put in the zoom chat or when they come to speak, acknowledge the traditional owners of the places where they are. I’m absolutely delighted to be able to welcome you here to a hybrid, partly in-person event. I was just saying to uncle Cheg, I get quite emotional just seeing people in a room together, it’s you know, it’s what makes coming to work worthwhile. So, I hope that we can all be together as a full Centre community at some point soon. I’m speaking to you of course on behalf of the ADM+S Centre. Our centre director Julian Thomas is with us on Zoom from RMIT in Melbourne, and he’ll be part of the next panel. I also want to acknowledge some folks who are with us throughout the next couple of days who are very important to the Centre, whether they’re online now or later. A few of our advisory board members are joining us so Deena Shiff, distinguished professor Stuart Cunningham, and Melissa Gregg. We have a large number of representatives of our industry, community and government partner organizations with us, which is absolutely fantastic, and so important to us. People from ABC, ACCAN, Algorithm Watch, The Australian Council of Social Service, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, and Red Cross Australia, are all joining us over the next two days. So, you’re very welcome and we hope lots of great discussions and collaborations will come out of this, as well as our national and international research community. Also, super important to us, the nine universities around Australia that are part of the Centre, which of course is headquartered at RMIT and other research institutes we work with. The Gradient Institute, Data and Society Research Institute, Nanyang Technological University, and the Hanz Bredow Institut in Germany.

Last but not least, all of the Centre members, students and colleagues from elsewhere at QUT, around Australia and internationally, and members of the general public who are joining us. You’re all very, very welcome and we hope we’re going to have a really stimulating couple of days ahead of us. This is the first major public event we’ve been able to hold as a Centre since commencing in late 2020. In that time, we’ve already been able to recruit a stellar group of postdoctoral researchers and higher degree by research students. We’ve launched a whole crop of exciting projects and developed new and existing collaborative links, so we hope you’ll be able to see some of the fruits of all those efforts over the next few days, as well as to pick up on further opportunities to connect with. What we’re doing in the Centre both within this specific area of news and media but also more generally. So once again, a very warm welcome from ADM+S and I’ll now hand over to the leader of the news and media focus area, Professor Axel Bruns.

Prof Axel Bruns

Thank you very much Jean and thank you all for being here. It’s wonderful to see a much fuller room than this morning. For those of you who weren’t here this morning, we had a morning session purely for members of the Centre to get us warmed up and talk internally a little bit. And from here on to midday tomorrow, is the public program which obviously involves all of you invitees, all of you to participate. As well, we have a number of representatives from industry, from media, from other interested groups in the community as well. So it’s great as Jean said, to be in such a full room and have such a full Zoom room, ultimately as well, listening in and participating online as well. It’s great to be at this point. As we are at this point, it fells to me unfortunately, to also do a bit of housekeeping. So for those who are here, for those of you who are at home on Zoom as well, by all means please continue to follow covet safety protocols as you may know they are getting stricter from four o’clock today, in particular. But that shouldn’t stop us from observing them now, and to make sure that we continue to keep our community and the wider community safe, of course. So please do make sure that you observe these protocols. And just on other boring housekeeping stuff, but potentially important if the place burns down or something, this is how you get out of the place. There is a big staircase over there and we can gather downstairs, outside, on the ring road or on by beetles on the quad. So please do familiarise yourself with your evacuation plans if you need to. Sorry, that’s just what needs to be done. Two more interesting parts of this throughout these two days, we have a website or app called Slido which we’ve opened to engage, so if you have questions or comments, if you want to chat with others along the way, then please simply go to slido.com and join event 101, that’s us.

And I think there’s an app that you can download as well. As you do this, please make sure that you enter your name as well as you ask questions or make comments, because otherwise you’ll just show up as anonymous- unless that’s really what you want to be of course. But it’d be wonderful to start a bit of conversation there as well, about the sessions to come. And for those of you who are I guess from outside of the Centre, outside of QUT, there is free public wi-fi and there are some details here, But also in your invitation pack. So, you will be able to join the wi-fi as well. We have some QR codes outside as well for you to join both wi-fi and Slido, so if you have any trouble doing all of this then please let one of us know, and we can direct you in the right direction.

A few more announcements as well, just before we get going properly. To connect us here in the room and the people who are on zoom, we have set up a virtual break room as well, so during afternoon tea, during morning tea tomorrow morning, you’re very welcome to jump into room e556 just outside there and chat with the people who are gathered on Zoom so that we don’t have that physical/online divide, that we might otherwise have. So please here join in, have a chat with who’s there, hopefully people will hang out there as well as their own Zoom, and we can have a bit of conversation between both groups and for those who are there. And unfortunately, that’s not something we can easily make available to folks outside under Zoom. Downstairs on level 1 there is an interactive data wall as well which showcases the program of this event in the first place. But behind that is hidden a lot of other information, a bunch of videos and other details about the various sessions, the various projects that are running in ADM+S as well in this news and media focus area, particularly. So please feel free to wander down in the breaks and engage with that. Play some of the videos see what else is going on in this Centre that we may not have time to discuss in detail in our sessions here. So, it’d be wonderful to see a few people get involved, maybe you can go down there and stream it as you interact and share with the people on zoom as well, and so they can see some of that as well.

So that’s, in terms of this, I do want to acknowledge also that the Centre is already producing quite a number of quite significant outputs and I want to acknowledge here particularly two books that have been launched, or that are being launched recently. The first of these is a book called Democracy of Expression by Andrew Kenyon, and which obviously as you see there, deals with free speech and the law. So, I would very strongly recommend this to all of you as obviously a very current and very active debate that Andrew is extremely well placed to make a significant contribution to. And the other book that has recently come out is a book simply called Wi-fi, by our Centre director Julian Thomas, Rowan Wilkin, and Ellie Rennie from RMIT. And again, obviously as such a fundamental technology to our everyday lives, all of us right now I’m guessing will be on wi-fi. So, it’s a pretty important technology. This is a great I think, time to engage obviously, and really think through the implications of technologies like this. And again Julian, Rowan and Ellie are extremely well placed to do so. So wonderful to see this really substantial work already coming out after just a year or so of our operations in the Centre. I will be finished in a minute, promise. Just a couple other things to talk about as you’ve also seen I will be doing a QUTX talk which you’re invited to this evening. That’s in F Block, and just a quick walk from here. That will really introduce the themes and agenda of my upcoming AIC Laureate Fellowship and will give you an idea of why I’m doing the work that I’m doing. I will be doing the work that I’m doing over the next five years on polarisation and partisanship, and in fact that AIC laureate fellowship is also the reason that with this event actually, I am stepping down from the leadership of the news and media focus area and we’ll be handing that over to Jean who is here and our colleague James Meese who is on Zoom, who will take over the stewardship of this focus area and no doubt take it to greater heights than I’ve been able to do over these 12 months.

So, it’s wonderful to have this focus area in such good hands, obviously, and I’m looking forward to what else it will produce. So that ends the housekeeping part of this. The only thing then to say is that over these next few hours we’ll have a number of sessions, both podium discussions and presentation sessions before we close with my QUTX lecture. And then we’ll do much the same again tomorrow morning before we finish the public part of this program at midday. those of us who are part of ADM+S still have another half day to go then, for further internal discussions and planning, and conversations. So, there’s the program. You have that hopefully in your electronic packs as well, it’s downstairs on the touch board as well, and yeah. Without wanting to delay this any further, let’s get started with our first session.