For the next generation of researchers, communication over social media is becoming an increasingly important skill. The Social Media Knowledge Exchange (SMKE) scholarship scheme gives early career researchers opportunities to explore how professionals use social media outside the academy, and to share those insights with their peers.
Two new scholars join the SMKE project this month: Gillian Kennedy, a PhD student at King’s College London and Dr Matthew Davies, Research Fellow at the British Institute in Eastern Africa and Cambridge University’s McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Kennedy will be investigating how Egyptian activists use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to mobilise logistical support for revolutionary protests. “In the current climate where serious divisions are increasing due to political polarization, new youth led initiatives such as Tahrir Doctors, Costa Salafa and HarassMap aim to provide protesters with medical supplies, essential food, water provisions and protection for women in hostile sexual harassment hotspots,” she explains. Social media in this case, rather than simply communicating political messages, has become a practical tool of the revolutionary process.
The ability of social media to reach wide audiences also lies at the heart of Davies’ project, but in a very different context. He will be working with academic archaeologists, broadcasters, including Time Team’s Tony Robinson, and the student volunteers of the Personal Histories project to explore possibilities, benefits and pitfalls of social media use to communicate academic archaeology to a wider audience. A key part of the project will be rethinking how Personal Histories’ public events – panel discussions and lectures with leading archaeologists – can be made accessible to new audiences via social media.
The Social Media Knowledge Exchange is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and brings together Cambridge University, King’s College London, the Institute of Historical Research, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, and the University of Glasgow.
Read more about Gillian Kennedy’s project here:
Read more about Matt Davies' project here: