Platforms and Power (May 3, 2019)

A panel held as part of the Centre for New Media and Performance (CNMAP) Symposium: “Critiquing the Platform: Power, Principles, and Transformative Possibilities”

May 3 2019 | 9:45 – 11:45 AM | Black Box Theatre, Wilson Hall, McMaster University (main campus, 1280 Main St. W.)
Coordinated by Sara Bannerman with contributions from Christina Baade, Rena Bivens, Merlyna Lim, Leslie Regan Shade, Tamara Shepherd, Andrea Zeffiro)

Platforms and algorithms play increasingly important roles in many aspects of our lives, including the discovery of cultural works. This has significant implications for life opportunities and employment (whose content is distributed and prioritized?), the star system (who is promoted and how?), politics (which and whose perspective is dominant?), international relations (whose view of the world is dominant?) and social relations (how are inequities in representation reproduced or addressed?). For these reasons, platform accountability is now in the forefront of public concern. How should platforms and algorithms be held to account?  What research approaches and methods can be used to do this?  This panel will draw together researchers in Canada to explore and discuss the research approaches and methods they use for studying platforms and holding platforms to account.  The goal of this panel is to highlight, study and share the methods by which researchers can examine, gain insight into, challenge, and transform the power of algorithms and platforms. The panel will take a roundtable format, with panelists responding to questions such as: 

  • Discuss a  research design that can disrupt the current structures of platform power
  • What type of research on platforms and algorithms would you like to see more of?
  • What barriers do researchers face in conducting research on platforms and algorithms?| 
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