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Philip Leverhulme Award: Internet Geographies

I am extremely happy to report the news that I have been awarded one of the 2016 Philip Leverhulme prizes!

I hope to use the resources offered by the Leverhulme Trust to extend my research into information and internet geographies.  This line of research asks who and where is made more powerful and given more voice by the new digital layers of place that augment the places that we live in, and who and where tends to get silenced and excluded. In previous research we have seen some of the ways in which the digital can amplify and strengthen those already in global informational cores. But, as ever more people get connected to the internet, we need to know more about what sort of change we’re seeing over time.

Going forwards, this will mean hiring a postdoc trained in some flavour of computational social science/ GIS/ big data/ quantitative geography to work with me  I’ll be posting a job ad soon, but in the meantime please get in touch if you’re interested in working with me on such topics.

It really is a massive honour to have this award and to have the opportunity to use it to further some of our ongoing work. None of this would have been possible without the help of some of my brilliant and  smart collaborators over the last few years. As part of the immediate group of researchers that I’ve supervised at the OII, I’ve had the luck to work closely with Sanna Ojanpera, Nicolas Friederici, Amir Anwar,  Isis Hjorth, Alex Wood, Chris Foster, Stefano De Sabbata, Ralph Straumann, Heather Ford, Joe Shaw, Nisa Haji Ibrahim, Devin Gaffney, Charlotte Smart, Caludio Calvino, Ahmed Medhat, David Palfrey, Richard Farnbrough, Ning Wang, Tessy Onaji, and David Peter Simon: all of whom have played an important part in designing, carrying out, and publishing our scholarship. I also have a broader network of collaborators that I’ve also had the fortune to directly research and publish with: Matt Zook, Monica Stephens, Taylor Shelton, Ate Poorthuis, Bill Dutton, Bernie Hogan, Vili Lehdonvirta, Helena Barnard, Tim Waema, Charles Katua, Casper Andersen, Shilad Sen, Andrea Ballatore, Grant Blank, Scott Hale, Taha Yasseri, Illhem Allagui, Andrew Boulton, Jaz Choi, Han-Teng Liao, Felix Akorli, Grace Illah, Claude Bizimana, Havard Haarstad, Ralph Schroeder, Greg Taylor, Matt Wilson, Jeremy Crampton, Stann Brunn, Sean Gorman, Eduardo Lopez, Iginio Gagliardone, Emmanouil Tranos, Jim Thatcher, Dorothea Kleine, Richard Heeks, Padraig Carmody, and Rina Ghose (apologies if I have missed anyone out).  

Just typing out that list of names made me realise how truly incredible the last few years have been, and what a privilege it is to get to work with so many people from such a diverse range of backgrounds. And this list doesn’t even include all of the other people who have helped along the way (such as the ever-helpful support staff at Oxford).

I didn’t intend for such a long post about this award, but once I started to write it became clear that there is no way to say ‘thanks’ for this award without thanking all of the people in my network who actually made it possible.

Mark

Our Infographics won the Oxtalent Award


I’m happy to report that Scott Hale and I won two of the University of Oxford’s “OxTalent” awards yesterday for our work submitted in the Research Infographics category. The awards are given out each year to faculty and students at Oxford for innovative research and outreach strategies. There were a range of brilliant tools, graphics, and projects receiving awards and I honoured that our work was part of the mix. Will Hutton was also on hand to speak to us about transformative technology and innovation

I submitted a graphic that was created with Monica Stephens and Scott Hale as part of our Geographies of Knowledge publication (available as a PDF in English or German or a free iBook). The graphic visualises the distinct geographies of knowledge in Wikipedia. The graphic won “best infographic” in the competition.
Scott also won the “best student infographic” category with his beautiful visualisation of cross-linking in the blogosphere after the 2010 Haitian Earthquake


You can see other also check out other examples of work we have been doing on the OII’s data visualization site or, of course, this blog. 
Proposals for the Knight News Challenge


I just submitted two proposals to the Knight News Challenge, which is running a competition to look "for new ways of collecting, understanding, visualizing and helping the public use the large amounts of information generated each day.“

The proposals that I submitted are:

  • Mapping Wikipedia: Understanding Uneven Geographies project aims to create interactive visualisations of Wikipedia that promote participation from under-represented cultures, inform researchers and journalists, and fascinate a general audience. We are building on our existing prototype so that we can ultimately create an easy-to-use tool to visualise Wikipedia’s biases and geographies.
  • Wikichains: Encouraging Ethical Consumption through Open and Transparent Data project intends to build a user-generated platform that allows people to better understand the histories and geographies of the things that they buy. We plan to employ Semantic Mediawiki technology and multi-platform mobile apps to build an open and free wiki allowing people to share information about any aspect of any commodity chain of any product. It will allow people to make more informed ethical and political decisions about how they spend their money. 

Please check them out,  comment on them, reblog them, and of course ‘like’ them. Thanks!

We won Educational Institution of the Year at Wikimedia UK's Annual Conference!

I’m happy to report that the Oxford Internet Institute has won Wikimedia UK's Educational Institution of the Year award.



The award is in recognition of some of the work that I’ve been doing with Bernie Hogan, Ahmed Medhat, Scott Hale, Monica Stephens, and Gavin Baily. We are broadly interested in understanding issues of voice, representation, and participation in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is great at showing and telling us what it knows, but not great at communicating what it doesn’t. We have put a lot of effort into communicating these gaps and absences and hope that they have been useful to anyone who uses or edits the encyclopaedia. I’d like to thank Wikimedia UK for recognising our work, and I hope that our research continues to be useful and informative to the Wikipedia community.


Some links to our relevant work: