Research

Photo by Bridie McGreavy

My research explores intersections between communication and citizen engagement in sustainability science. Some of the core research topics I study include working the boundaries of public participation in environmental communication, the emerging role of interactive communication technologies in environmental outreach and engagement, and the development of non-representational research methodologies.

Intersecting Research Interests

  • Environmental communication and public participation
  • Ecologies of media and transmedia storymaking
  • Non-representational methods and methodologies

Current Research Activities

Dams and Decision Making

I am a Ph.D. research assistant with the New England Sustainability Consortium's sustainability science project on the Future of Dams. On this project, I am developing a research program that explores how communication can enhance collaborative research, how transmedia storymaking can function as stakeholder engagement, and how new materialism complements critical approaches in environmental communication research for enhancing decision making surrounding the tradeoffs involved in river restoration.

Shellfish Management

As an outgrowth of the now-concluded New England Sustainability Consortium project on Safe Beaches and Shellfish, I am continuing to research shellfish management in Maine. Although this research has many threads, my primary focus is a project called Clam Cam that I am developing with my advisor and collaborator Bridie McGreavy. This project integrates an array of ethnographic techniques to produce a rich understanding of how clam harvesting as a material and discursive practice is conducted in Maine as well as how various materialities such as mud, management, and medicine together shape resilience in the shellfishery. We are currently developing an online multimedia archive to engage with the public around our developing insights.

Published Work

Safe Beaches, Shellfish, & You
I developed a transmedia storytelling website to share the work of the New England Sustainability Consortium on their first sustainability science project about Safe Beaches and Shellfish. The website brings multiple media together to create a place where people can learn about issues affecting beaches and shellfish in order to enhance the use of science in decision-making about those issues. See my poster for more information.

From Voxel Vistas: Place-Making in Minecraft
This piece is published in the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research and uses scholarship on communication and place to study place-making within the sandbox videogame Minecraft. I explore the game's spatial affordances and the social gameplay undertaken within those affordances. I analyze gameplay footage from YouTube to demonstrate how online interactions contribute to the creation of a shared sense of place in the game.

Selected Presentations

When Stories Leave the NEST: Online Archives for Stakeholder Engagement in Sustainability Science

In April 2016, Bridie McGreavy and I presented our engaged research on cultivating online archives of stories from sustainability science participations we have been working with on research about shellfishing and decision making about dams in Maine. In the presentation, I outline how online storymaking efforts can be a catalyst for stakeholder and researcher engagement before providing the transmedia storymaking website I developed on the New England Sustainability Consortium as a case example.

Engaging Ambience in the Technological Milieu

In June 2015, I delivered a presentation at the Conference on Communication and the Environment in Boulder, Colorado. In it, I explored some of the challenges that ambient technologies present for engagement in environmental communication, but also how ambience itself provides a way for us to work through these issues with engaging technologies.