DCS Newsletter

Digital Cultures & Societies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is a five-year research initiative funded via the support of the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Funding Scheme and the HASS Faculty. The purpose of the initiative is to build a vibrant research and intellectual culture together with quality outcomes, engagement and infrastructure in digital cultures & societies research. It includes investigators from disciplines across the humanities and social sciences, a digital research infrastructure including data science and software development support, and research fellows.

Digital Cultures & Societies works with researchers across the humanities and social sciences to:

  • Foster vibrant, collaborative, and inter-disciplinary culture around digital cultures & societies research focussed on creativity, quality and diversity.
  • Create scale to compete for competitive funding, act as node in larger bids, establish ourselves as an ongoing centre and infrastructure.
  • Develop partnerships across other universities, public sector, cultural institutions, civil society, industry.
  • Invest in engagement through public events and storytelling.
  • Support the development of diversified research income.

Please see below our latest newsletter. To be added to our mailing list please contact digitalcultures@hass.uq.edu.au.


We have a range of events coming up over the next few months. When these events are available for registration, the links will be included in future mailouts and on our website. Here are some dates to pop in your calendar in advance!

Save the Dates: 

DCS Works in Progress Session with Sungyong Ahn (UQ) – Thursday 16th March 1:00pm-2:00pm in Room 607, Level 6, Forgan Smith Tower

Dr Sungyong Anh will be introducing his current work in progress on generative art toys and A/Prof Nic Carah and Dr Luke Munn will offer a prepared response. No need to register for this event, come along and join us for some discussion in the conference room on level 6 of the Forgan Smith Tower.

Digital in Asia – Friday 31st March 2:00pm-4:00pm, location TBC

  • Pradip Thomas (UQ) – Introducing his new book Platform Regulation: Exemplars, Approaches, and Solutions
  • Giang Nguyen (UQ) – Speaking to her recent fieldwork in Vietnam as a part of the broader Digital Transactions in Asia Project headed by Adrian Athique
  • Nishtha Bharti (Indian Institute of Technology) – Digital Health in India

DCS Works in Progress Session with Andrea Alarcon – Monday 3rd April 1:00pm-2:00pm in Room 607, Level 6, Forgan Smith Tower

Professor Martin Volk on ChatGPT – Thursday 13th April 2:00pm-4:00pm, location TBC
Over the last couple of years our team at the University of Zurich has worked on the digitization of the correspondence of 16th century reformer Heinrich Bullinger (www.bullinger-digital.ch). Around 2000 letters that he wrote and another 10,000 letters that he received have been preserved. 3000 of these letters have been professionally transcribed, edited and published as PDFs in recent decades. Another 5000 letters have been transcribed by various scholars over the years. We turned all of this into a large XML corpus of 3 million words in Latin and 1 million in Early New High German.

In collaboration with the Zurich cantonal archive and the Zurich central library we had all letters scanned so that we can provide images of the originals next to the transcriptions. We ran 2000 of the remaining 4000 letters through automatic handwriting recognition (HTR) with character error rates between 5% and 8%. We also built a machine translation system to convert the 16th-century Latin into German.

With the advent of ChatGPT new opportunities arose: Its machine translation capabilities surpass Google Translate on Latin to German, and it also translates the old German variety surprisingly well into modern German (or English). Moreover the GPT technology offers suggestions for comments and footnotes for the historical letters.

In this talk I will introduce our project and demonstrate our search system. I will show examples of ChatGPT usage, and I will speculate about future opportunities for large language models in the Digital Humanities.

Fitter, Happier, More Productive: Algorithmic Regimes and the Future of Work – Wednesday 19th & Thursday 20th April, The Pavilion at UQ St Lucia

Clickwork. Quiet quitting. Bossware. Gigging. Automated Management. Precarity. In the face of advanced technologies, post-pandemic conditions, and intersecting economic and ecological crises, labour is undergoing a series of substantial upheavals. Old paradigms are being rethought; new modes of production are being unlocked. Work is being reworked. In some ways, these shifts are unprecedented; in others, they continue long standing inequalities predicated on race, class, and gender. How do we make sense of these digitally-driven shifts and their social, cultural, and political consequences? This two-day event brings together scholars from media and communication, migrant studies, business and management studies, and other disciplines to develop a rich portrait of our changing work conditions. Day 1 will present a series of interdisciplinary papers and provocations; Day 2 will workshop projects-in-progress through informal presentations and discussions.


  • Assistant Professor Sun Ha-Hong (Simon Fraser University) – “Predictions Without Futures: Labour Automation and the Extraction of Discretion”
  • Dr. Lutfun Nahar Lata (University of Melbourne) – “Good gig, bad gig: Gig economy, algorithmic control and migrant labour”
  • Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens (UQ) – “From Fatigue Studies to Burnout”
  • Dr. Penny Williams (QUT) – “The Rise of the Algorithmic Supervisor”
  • Dr. Thao Phan and Dr. Jathan Sadowski (Monash) – “Amazon Exceptionalism as a Theme in Techno-Political Thought”
  • Dr. Andrea Alarcón (UQ) – “Always Already Precarious: On-Demand Work in the Majority World”

DCS Works in Progress Session with Giselle Newton – Monday 8th May 1:00pm-2:00pm in Room 607, Level 6, Forgan Smith Tower

Digital Consumer Cultures – Thursday 11th & Friday 12th May, time and location TBC

Digital Cultures & Societies Soft Launch of Training Modules – 19th May 2:00pm-4:00pm, location TBC

Digital Cultures & Societies Winter School – Wednesday 14th - Friday 15th June, location TBC
We are thrilled to be running our first Winter School this year in June. We will be sending out more information about our Winter School very soon!

Event Call Out: 
We’re always on the lookout for potential events or collaborations. We encourage researchers at all levels interested in proposing or collaborating on an event with us to get in touch. We’re keen to hear from you if: you have an idea for an event around a particular topic, question or method, you’d like to organise an event around a visiting researcher or a research project you’re working on, or you’d like an opportunity to speak about your own research. We are also happy to help promote events that may be relevant to Digital Cultures & Societies. We encourage you to submit an Expression of Interest for an event idea or event promotion for future events here: Digital Cultures & Societies Events - Expression of Interest.  


Postdoctoral Research Fellows 

Andrea Alarcon – on February 3rd Andrea presented "Identity as Safety Net: Re-creating Global Supply Chains in Independent Online Work" in the Labor Tech Series events. 

Giang Nguyen – On February 23rd Giang was invited by the SEATRiP Program at the University of California, Riverside to give a talk. Giang delivered a paper titled “Between Hope and Haunt: Digital Activism and The Politics of Hope(lessness) in Networked Vietnam.”

Abstract: This talk explores the formation and diminishment of collective hope in Vietnam by tracing the Facebook-based circulation, intensification, and attenuation of affective engagement with the Đồng Tâm land dispute in Hanoi from April 2017 to September 2020. The dispute enables us to conceptualize online activism as essentially fuelled by collective embodiment of hope, understood as temporalized openness toward the ‘not-yet’ that stretches beyond pre-existing agendas. The magnitude of online activism depends not on the network itself but on how new media facilitate an attunement between the public and the latent force of subaltern dissensus. When such connection was disrupted, political hope faded when it was enveloped by endless crises habituated by the network. With implications in Vietnam and beyond, the talk highlights hope as a political affect and a political capacity indispensable in social struggles, which enables us to embrace instead of enclosing the precarious possibilities of change.

Giselle Newton – In February Giselle had an article published with co-author Clare Southerton in a special issue of Media International Australia. Read the article here: “Situated Talk: A method for a reflexive encounter with #donorconceived on TikTok.”

Luke Munn – Luke had an article published in AI & Society. Read the article here: The five tests: designing and evaluating AI according to indigenous Māori principles

Follow us on Twitter @DGTL_CulturesUQ to stay updated on events and other news! 

Let us know if you have any items for future mail outs. Please feel free to forward this email to interested colleagues and invite them to sign up to our mail list at

Come visit us at Digital Cultures & Societies on level 5 and 6 of the Forgan Smith Tower!
from the Digital Cultures & Societies Team