Janis Lena Meissner
Before starting the doctoral training in Digital Civics at Open Lab (Newcastle University), I studied Media Informatics both on an undergraduate and postgraduate level at the Vienna University of Technology. Between my bachelor’s and master’s I gained some professional experience at an Austrian governmental institution as well as in consulting services for a software company.
I have a strong semiotic interest in everyday situations where the material/physical actuality meets individual/virtual meaning making. During my master’s I have explored such narrative enhancements on different levels, most of all empirically in form of user research and proactively by designing ubicomp systems and prototypes. My master’s thesis was an inductive participatory design project with urban knitters which resulted in the development of an augmented interactive yarnbombing installation revealing the background stories behind textile artefacts.
In my doctoral research I plan to combine this research interest with issues of social justice in the context of the Maker Movement. My focus will lie on critically investigating the socio-technological structures of communities of maker practices (including embedded social divisions contrasting euphoric claims of “technology democratization”) and on exploring the intersections of technology with everyday life/culture/creativity and individual/community empowerment.