Discovery Roundtables 2012

Our ambition is to form an open knowledge transfer consortium as a two-way channel between the national broadcaster and media researchers. To work effectively the consortium will be built on principles of mutual benefit.

The roundtables will give participants an opportunity to work together to identify key issues and potential projects for future or immediate development. Through this iterative process, participants will get to know each other’s working cultures and conditions. Key players would include: the ABC, the BBC at MediaCityUK , the University of Salford and other academic media and communication institutions as appropriate (including colleagues in the Centre for Excellence in Creative Industries of which RMIT University is a member, and a NecTar bid consortium led by Professor Mark Balnaves in WA).

The format for the discussions will be a short talk by a keynote speaker to set the scene for the event, followed by issue-specific workshops where participants can develop both ideas and collaborative relationships. A working group will be formed to collate the material and produce a report on each event. Participants will use a webspace before and after the event to lay the groundwork and develop an ongoing communication flow. A participatory evaluation process will be established to disseminate the material throughout the partner organisations.

While the discussion will be open-ended we can envisage a number of scenarios emerging from the talks. For example, some participants might be interested in the future of social media sites such as Pool, Open and Unearthed. A research and development project could then be set up to do comparative research into similar sites in global public media organisations; user experience and audience behaviour analysis of the communities; and propositions for new online experiences.

Alternatively a group might choose to experiment with data journalism, sonification (sound design) and gaming to propose new ways of making sense of complex information. In this case the group would be expected to confer on emergent theories and models in each field; ways to optimise the experiments; and produce work that explicates the ideas.

Another could focus on children’s mobile media with a view to reviewing the way public media engages with young audiences as co-creators of media; produce a radio series on the findings and propositions, as a means to build a public discussion on the issues.

These speculative projects are designed to be multi-dimensional. The University sector can draw on the capacity of its researchers, post graduate and undergraduate cohorts to create project teams and apply for additional external funding. The projects also have the potential to act as a vehicle for professional development for ABC staff in addition to producing media content and introducing new technology solutions.


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