the 2017 that was

the 2017 that was

2017… 2017… to be honest, so much has happened in 2018, as I finally put this list together, that 2017 seems a distant memory: I’ve moved to the other side of the world to start a new job, and so much has been going on I barely remember last month let alone last year.

In addition to the publications, which I have already mentioned on here and are listed below (although only one is called ‘Never gonna GIF you up‘), a few major things stand out; first, our ARC Discovery proposal ‘Digital media, location awareness, and the politics of geodata’ was successful and funded for three years (2018-2020, AUD $324,720); the project features as CIs Peta Mitchell and myself from QUT and Larissa Hjorth from RMIT, and as PIs Agnieszka Leszczynski (Auckland) and Paul Dourish (UC-Irvine).

Second, I spent a month in Bremen, Germany, as a visiting research fellow at the ZeMKI, where I got to work on my ‘digital time’ project and participate in the Mediatization of Time conference — and in general just enjoy the research culture of the ZeMKI and being in northern Germany in winter!

Third, I coordinated the 2017 DMRC Summer School, with 37 PhD and early-career researchers coming to Brisbane for digital methods, research training, and plenty more (the 2018 event has already happened, so this feels especially weird to talk about now).

Fourth, I made my Sydney Opera House debut as a panelist at the Antidote Festival (the successor to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas); I was part of the ‘Creating online chaos‘ session with an amazing line-up of Celeste Liddle, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Van Badham, with Steph Harmon chairing.

(plus, the 2016 article I co-authored with Tama Leaver on Instagrammatics, digital methods, and visual social media won ‘best research article’ at Curtin University’s 2016 Humanities Research Awards).

And finally, I was invited to keynote for the first time, speaking about visual social media for the University of Amsterdam’s Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) Summer School and also running a masterclass and workshops… and, half a year later, I’m back in Amsterdam in my new role as Assistant Professor in New Media at UvA… but that’s another topic…


Published in 2017



Jean Burgess, Peta Mitchell, and Tim Highfield: ‘Automating the digital everyday: an introduction’. Media International Australia (‘Automating the Everyday’ special issue; online first)

Peta Mitchell and Tim Highfield: ‘Mediated geographies of everyday life—navigating the ambient, augmented and algorithmic geographies of geomedia’. Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, 7.

Kate M. Miltner and Tim Highfield: ‘Never gonna GIF you up: Analyzing the cultural significance of the animated GIF’. Social Media + Society, 3(3). doi:10.1177/2056305117725223



Tim Highfield: ‘Histories of blogging’. In G. Goggin & M. McLelland (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Global Internet Histories. Routledge, pp. 331-342.
Tim Highfield: ‘Social TV and depictions of community on social media: Instagram and Eurovision fandom’. In P. Messaris & L. Humphreys (Eds.), Digital Media: Transformations in human communication (second edition). Peter Lang, pp. 156-165.

Other writing

‘Social media and everyday politics, re-examined’ (cross-posted on Medium / Culture Digitally)


Talks + presentations

‘Socially mediated moments and memories: Now, then, and the tangled temporality of digital media’, Mediatization of Time conference, Bremen, Germany, 7-8 December 2017.

‘ICYMI, while you were away: Temporal platformed interventions in the digital everyday’. ZeMKI, University of Bremen, 6 December 2017.

‘ICYMI, while you were away: The digital intimacy of temporal platformed interventions’, Digital Intimacies symposium, Melbourne 13-15 November 2017.

Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández, Felix Münch, and Tim Highfield. ‘More than meets the eye: Understanding networks of images in controversies around racism on social media’. AoIR 2017, Tartu, 18-21 October 2017.

‘#BlackLivesMatter to #dogsatpollingstations (but not #CrookedHillary): Platform privilege and the affective politics of hashflags’, Affective Politics symposium, Turku, Finland, 12-13 October 2017.

Kate M. Miltner and Tim Highfield. ‘Never Gonna GIF You Up: Analyzing the cultural significance of the animated GIF’. Columbia University. 14 September 2017.

‘Visual cultures and politics of social media’, Oxford University: Oxford Internet Institute Summer Doctoral Programme. July 2017.

Stephen Harrington, Axel Bruns, and Tim Highfield. ‘#infotainment and the impact of “connective action”: The case of #milkeddry’. ANZCA 2017, Sydney, July 2017.

‘Instagrammatics, visual social media, and digital methods’, keynote for University of Amsterdam Digital Methods Initiative Summer School. 26 June 2017.

‘Social media and everyday politics, re-examined: The impact of fake news, the alt-right, and the clickbait president’. ICA ‘Populism, Post-Truth Politics and Participatory Culture’ pre-conference, San Diego, 25-26 May 2017.

Tim Highfield and Peta Mitchell. ‘Algorithmic Surveillance and Urban Ambient Geodata’. AAG, Boston, 5-9 April 2017.

‘The GIF and News Coverage: Remediated, Remixed, and Reimagined’. SCMS, Chicago, 22-26 March 2017.


Media and public events

Panelist, ‘Creating online chaos’. Antidote Festival, Sydney Opera House, 3 September 2017.

Panelist, ‘Democracy, politics, and the popular’. Brisbane Powerhouse, 31 August 2017.

April 2017: Wired, ‘Don’t Look Now, But Extremists’ Meme Armies Are Turning Into Militias’ by Emma Grey Ellis (interview)

Chair, ‘Digital Media Unplugged: Have social media ruined everything?’ Brisbane Powerhouse, February 2017.



Digital Methods (University of Melbourne, February 2017)
Instagrammatics (developed with Tama Leaver) (University of Amsterdam DMI Summer School, June 2017)
‘Instagrammatics and beyond’ masterclass (University of Amsterdam DMI Summer School, June 2017).
Digital Methods pre-conference (with Axel Bruns, Stefanie Duguay, Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández, Brenda Moon, and Felix Münch) (AoIR2017, Tartu, October 2017).
Digital Methods (University of Bremen, December 2017)


Coordinator, DMRC Summer School 2017 (QUT, February 2017).

around the world

38 flights (195072 km, or, ~4.87x around the world; 10 days 21:07 flight time) + long-distance trains
eight countries (Australia, USA, Netherlands, UK, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Germany)