Hi, I'm Chris McConnell, a doctoral candidate in Radio-TV-Film at UT Austin. My dissertation investigates digital-inclusion issues in Austin, framing it in terms of Bourdieu's notion of multiple forms of capital. In addition to digital inclusion, I have researched a variety of topics in my time at UT, most of which deal in some way with digital media. I have presented papers on Twitter, Web 2.0 and labor, and blogging. Other research interests include off-line participatory media such as community radio and 'zines, whiteness studies, public resistance to television, and independent music distribution. Many PhD programs at UT require students to do a minor outside the department; I did my minor in the School of Information, where I picked up some practical skills in information architecture, database design, and usability, and I'm still involved in some research projects there.
I've had a variety of jobs while I've been in graduate school. For several years, I was a graduate research assistant for the UT Austin ¦ Portugal Digital Media Program, a project funded by the Portuguese government to develop digital media programs in Portugal and nurture professional networks of digital media researchers in Portugal and Austin. Some of the more exciting projects included the Gary Chapman International School on Digital Transformation and the Future Places festival. In the past, I've also served as an assistant instructor in the RTF department, teaching RTF 319 "Intro to Digital Media," which focused on web publishing and animation, and a course of my own design, "Making Alternative Media," which explored a variety of inexpensive media tools like 'zines and blogs for activism and advocacy. Before graduate school, I was a editor and reporter for computer publications such as Enterprise Systems Journal, ENT magazine, and the Enterprise Linux newsletter. I also spent time working on educational media about math both as a animation and video producer and as a copyeditor for textbooks.
I've been involved with a variety of organizations in Austin. I participate in many of OpenAustin's projects for open data projects and government transparency. Currently I do live sound production and graphic design, among other things, for the Church of the Friendly Ghost, an organization that produces experimental music concerts. In the past, I've been involved with the Yellow Bike Project and Austin Indymedia,
In addition to cycling and experimental music, my personal interests include hiking, vegetarian cooking, and visual art. I've visited at least six national parks (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Badlands and Hot Springs come to mind.) and I was an Eagle Scout as a teen. One of the craziest places I've hiked is the Batona Trail in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Between the white sands, the scrubby trees, and purple swaths of cranberry bogs, it feels like an alien landscape, especially when it's in the US's most urban state. Most of the time however, I go to Austin's Barton Creek Greenbelt, which I try to visit once a week.
I'm somewhat active on some communities online. Here are some places where you can find me:
- Tumblr is probably where I post the most these days.
- I have a Twitter account for research and academic purposes
- Since the Flickr reboot, I've been publishing my photos there.
- The social bookmarking system Pinboard looks like it could be a nice alternative to del.icio.us
- I post to Google+, but not too frequently