I’m a researcher, game designer, educator and facilitator based in Fremantle, Australia. My current focus is the use of social media, community technologies and pervasive gaming to support sustainability, activism, education and community building. I am also an expert in privacy and social media, in particular Facebook, which was the focus of my PhD research.
I’m currently a lecturer at the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University in Perth, Australia and a facilitator for Living Smart, an award-winning sustainability program that empowers individuals to make real and lasting change. I am also the co-founder of Atmosphere Industries, an award-winning pervasive and cross-media gaming non-profit and an Associate at London’s Six to Start. I specialise in action research and ethnographic approaches, which I bring together with my game design background to create inclusive and insightful research projects. Our most recent project was Gaming Privacy, which used action research methods to create and study a privacy literacy game for children with a group of 8-10 year olds as co-designers.
Before Gaming Privacy, Atmosphere Industries received a lot of attention for our 2010 effort, Gentrification: The Game, a celebration of public space which encouraged players to mischievously hack their environments. Gentrification was invited to festivals around the world, including Toronto, London and Berlin and won Best use of Tech and Best of Fest 2010 at Come Out and Play in New York and was a Winning Selection at TIFF Kids 2010 in Toronto.
I have appeared on MTV, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), NPR and ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and in ELLE, the Globe and Mail, Spacing Magazine, and La Presse and have presented my work at a wide range of international academic, government and industry conferences including SXSWi, TEDxPerth, NXNEi, Media140, Netsquared, the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners and the Association of Internet Researchers’ Annual Conference.
Research and Educational Background
Previously, I was faculty at the CFC Media Lab‘s Interactive Art and Entertainment Programme (now part of the OCADU/CFC Media Lab Digital Futures program in Canada), where I ran the social and networked media unit. I was also a Research Associate at Ryerson University’s Experiential Design and Gaming Environment’s Lab (Canada) where, I researched privacy and autonomy in censorware and MMOs for kids. As well as teaching, I recently completed a PhD, also at Curtin University. My thesis was a layered ethnographic study (that was carried out in both physical and virtual space) of a community of 20-something Facebook users as well as the company behind Facebook. Drawing on science studies and STS, my thesis also connects the historically rooted philosophies and ideologies of the Bay Area in California (such as radical transparency, techno optimism and cybernetics) with the architecture of privacy in social media. Taken together, my thesis provides a critical background for the philosophy behind and implications of Facebook’s privacy architecture.
I have an honours degree from the University of Toronto in Semiotics & Communication Theory and Philosophy (double major), and I’m a graduate of the CFC Media Lab‘s Interactive Art and Entertainment Programme.
Interests and Past Projects
I founded of PrivacyCampTO, Canada’s first privacy unconference series funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Ryerson’s EDGE Lab and the Mozilla Foundation. The event is an open forum to discuss privacy issues that anyone can attend and contribute to. The event is part of a larger, loose collective of international PrivacyCamps.
Previously, I worked with a number of high tech community organisations and NGOs doing social media engagement and research, including the youth-focused TakingITGlobal.
I’m also passionate about holistic and Eastern medicine, organic and community supported agriculture (I’m a member of the amazing Cutting Veg CSA), gender equity, geek feminism, LGBTQ rights, public space, free speech, public broadcasting and compassionate and ethical treatment of animals (I volunteer for Annex Cat Rescue and supporter of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine).