The best of ICA conference 2013 in London

June 27, 2013

The ICA conference 2013 took place in London last week, with an unprecedented amount of participants.

Those you managed to find the right room in the maze of the Hilton metropole hotel, have been rewarded with great presentations.

I appreciated the ‘high density’ poster format, which allowed to have an insights on the research on a large number of participants – very efficient!

Here is a collection of some of my favorite presentations.

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Prof. Sabine Einwiller presented two interesting papers in the PR session. “The influence of message source and cultivation strategies in a nonprofit
public relations context” is one of the most interesting research I’ve seen at the conference, both theoretically grounded and practically relevant (having an NGO, I was very interested on the practical side as well). In summary the study finds that people believe more to NPO websites compared to the media! (Ok, this is an oversimplification for the sake of brevity).

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Laura Illia of IE University presented the results of a research she has conducted on “Exploring the Practices of Dialogue Management Within CSR Field”, together with researchers of  Iulm,  ICADE and New York University. Very advanced statistical methods have been applied to synthesize large amount of qualitative and quantitative information.

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Prof. Jiang Fei and his wife Viola Kuo Huang  presented the status of communication studies in China “Three Waves of Communication Studies in China: On the
Problems and Directions of Chinese Communication Studies”, with an insightful and entertaining presentation. In few minutes they have presented a condensed and quantitative based synthesis of the field of communication in China.

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In the same panel Prof. Jiro Takai, of Nagoya University, Japan, discussed “The Background of Communication Discipline in Japan”, explaining the problematic status of communication Studies in Japan, with a visually appealing and comprehensive interactive presentation.

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Sherri Jean Katz presented 3 papers on Construal Level Theory and Psychological
Reactance Theory: Theoretical Interactions, Message Salience and Message Effectiveness, with a very lively presentation style.

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I’ve also found a research on materiality in communication presented by Gina Neff: “Material Challenges to Communication Research: Rethinking the Dynamic Roles of Materiality in Communication”. She focuses on architectural blueprints and investigated the dialogues they generates. Sounds familiar 😉

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Congratulation to Katharina Hohmann and Jeanne Mengis, Università della Svizzera italiana for being a Top Paper in Organizational Communication with their research “The Conversational Constitution of the Task at Hand: A Temporal Work.” on hospital emergency teams.

Excellent research was conducted by Wibke Weber on Infographics in Asia: her presentation “Between Tradition, Imitation, and Innovation: Interactive Information Graphics in Asia” has been so interesting that I even forgot to take a photo! Looking forward to read more about this research and on what Westerners can learn from Asian visual communication.

Representations of knowledge in Africa

June 26, 2013
Professor Heike Winschiers has presented her interesting work at the Università della Svizzera italiana. Of German origin, she lives in Namibia since 20 years and conducts research on Human Computer Interaction in Africa.
Why is HCI different in Namibia compared to Europe or the U.S.? Because our thinking patter is different, as already proposed in 2005 by Pauleen and Murphy in “In praise of cultural bias” Published on MIT Sloan Management Review.
Heike and her team in Namibia are experimenting culturally friendly knowledge repositories. What does it mean? Look at the picture below:
on the left-hand side a typical German interface (produced by a German designer). Clean, clear, based on keyword. Too bad the rural Namibian people could not use it because they don’t generally use keywords or ask questions, and there are issues with the spelling of words (which could be spelled in many different ways).
Solution? On the right-hand side of the picture you can see a more culturally appropriate solution with images and videos.
Together with Kasper Rodil they are experimenting the use of visual approaches, in particular with the reconstruction of the local village in a 3D envirorment and embedded videos. Find out more on their website Namibia Knowledge Portal.
Heike Winschiers at USI
Kapuire, G. K., Winschiers-Theophilus, H., Chivuno-Kurio, S., Bidwell, N. J., & Blake, E. (2010). Revolution in ICT, the last hope for African rural communities’ technology appropriation.
Rodil, K., Winschiers-Theophilus, H., Bidwell, N. J., Eskildsen, S., Rehm, M., & Kapuire, G. K. (2011). A new visualization approach to re-contextualize indigenous knowledge in rural Africa. In Human-Computer Interaction–INTERACT 2011 (pp. 297-314). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Mapping the secret life of cats

June 14, 2013

BBC Two’s Horizon programme in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary College followed the life of cats for 24 hours and the results are visualized below: the intactive graph shows that cats “timeshare territory to avoid confrontation with neighbouring felines and visit each others houses”.


Organ donations in Europe: Latin countries are the most generous

June 5, 2013


Spain, Portugal, France, Slovenia and Italy might have severe financial issues, but they are the most generous countries of Europe in terms of organs donations, with over 20 donors per million people.

And Switzerland is well below the European average with only 12! Do you see any cultural pattern?


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