I research the cultural practices that have accompanied the development of new social and technical infrastructures for the creation, distribution, and use of digital media. I pursue these questions through research into people’s everyday media production activities enabled by new forms of digital media. Key issues that run across many of projects include: the appropriation of media and technology, authorship and collaboration, and the relationship between design and use of technologies. All of these contribute to an understanding of how technologies are produced and used as a part of ongoing social practice. I draw on sociocultural theories of literacy, information, and technology in my research.



I am finishing an ethnographic project that examines the joint production between new infrastructures of creative practice and the identies of young artists, grounded in these practices. A significant part of this research involves studying aspiring artists’ and media-makers’ use of a online art communities.

Facilitating Better and Faster IRB Approvals for DML Research

I recently served on a working group as a part of the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative that is conducting ongoing research to inform the design of a system to improve scholars’ experience with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process. This has involved helping organize workshops that has sought to better understand the  IRB process from multiple perspectives, including practitioners and scholars in information policy, internet research ethics, and the IRB process


Digital Media and Learning Hub

From 2008-2009 I was a part of an initiative, headed by David Theo Goldberg and Mizuko (Mimi) Ito at UC Irvine, and funded by the MacArthur Foundation, to help connect researchers in areas of digital media and learning and set the agenda for the next phase of empirical research the foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiatives.

The Digital Youth Project

The Digital Youth Project was a three year ethnographic inquiry, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, into understanding how American youth were using digital media in their everyday lives. The project was lead by my old advisor, the late Peter Lyman, as well as Mizuko (Mimi) Ito (while at USC Annenberg Center), Michael Carter (Monterey Institute of Technology), and Barrie Thorne (UC Berkeley).

While on the project I worked on several research projects including:

  • Creating and running an after school program that explored the design of an online, collaborative storytelling application for fifth graders.
  • Conducting ethnographic fieldwork at an urban youth and technology center exploring forms of collaboration and learning through digital media production.
  • Investigating teenagers’ literacy practices on MySpace.

The Organum Projects – Organum Playtest and Away from the New (a.k.a “Good Morning Flowers”)

Lead by artist Greg Niemeyer, these projects were a series of games and art installations that explored of public collaboration in unusual settings as participants were asked to use their voice and collaborate in order to navigate through a three dimensional world.

In addition to helping design and prototype all aspects of the original game and its mobile phone counterpart, I also conducted interviews and observations, which helped us think through design and inform our understanding the public’s engagement with new media art.

Organum Playtest was exhibited at various galleries and conferences between April 2005 and April 2006, including the New Langdon Art Center, the Digital Games Research Association Conference, The Banff Center, Mission Creek and Arts Festival, and ResFest 2005. Organum: Away from the New was exhibited at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April 2006 and the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, Egypt in August 2006.

Mobile Media Metadata (MMM) and Garage Cinema Research

Under the direction of former faculty member Marc Davis I worked in the Garage Cinema Research lab. I lead the interaction design team that designed both the phone and web interface for the second phase of the MMM project that examined the production of media metadata through the social processes on photo sharing and reuse. I conducted interviews, wrote personas, created wireframes, and helped design prototypes for the application, which ran on a Nokia 7610.