In the summer of 2014 I had the opportunity to work and learn at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society as a summer intern. This post appeared in a blog for my affiliate organisation in Melbourne, The Institute for a Broadband Enables Society, which is now called the Melbourne Networked Society Institute. I keep it here for posterity sake.
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society is a University-wide Center at Harvard that brings together researchers from around the world to share in the study, and help pioneer, the development of what was once called cyberspace.
Berkman’s wide array of ongoing research projects focus on topics concerned with the development, dynamics, norms, and standards that configure how digital networks affect society.
As an intern, I focussed on digital literacies and was honoured to help iterate the Digital Problem-Solving Initiative for 2014. This program brings together students, faculty, fellows, and staff at Harvard to build digital literacies and engage with research, design, and policy relating to the digital world. I also worked on projects in the Youth and Media team, which takes a special interest in giving voice to youth perspectives of digital technologies.
In addition to my duties as an intern, the collaborative nature of Berkman afforded opportunities to learn from diverse researchers on a daily basis, and build relationships with other PhD candidates and Law School students who are intensely interested in making the (digital) world a better place.
This community allowed productive collaborations on thinking though issues that will affect us here in Australia as much as back in Cambridge. For instance, discussing aspects of 3D printing, and how new networked additive manufacturing technologies might parallel earlier production patterns of desktop publishing, led me to write a critique of 3D printed waste for the New York Times.
Overall, being able to work with and learn from new colleagues of such incredible calibre was an opportunity of a lifetime and a capstone to an exciting PhD research program at the University of Melbourne. I look forward to the new directions my research on politics in the digital – including 3D printing and privacy and transparency in the networked world – will now lead.