Daegu Hosts World Renowned Internet Researchers Conference


(left) Prof. Lori Kendall, the president of AoIR delivering the opening speech for the conference.

(right)AoIR members gather and converse at the Beomo Saint Western Hotel

07 November, 2014, Daegu, Republic of Korea: The Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) held its 15th annual conference in Daegu from October 21st-24th at the brand new Beomeo Saint Western Hotel, opened in April of this year. 

It marked the first time the conference was held in Asia. The conference, dubbed IR15, featured speakers from all over the world, presenting on a broad range of topics under the umbrella of “Boundaries and Intersections”.  Over 400 Internet content experts from 25 countries were in attendance.

Dr. Park Han-Woo of Yeungnam University in Korea and Dr. Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki of the University of Tsukuba in Japan were key factors in landing the conference in Daegu this year. According to Park, “She was the keynote speaker of last year’s DISC [Daegu Gyeongbuk International Social Network Conference]. She was impressed with how well-organized it was and introduced me to the AoIR community.”  DISC, like the IR15, is also representative of the work Daegu has done to become a more important part of international discourse and conference hosting.

Landing this year’s IR15 conference was a big win for the city of Daegu.  Park acknowledged that Daegu, as well as Korea in general, is trying to grow the humanities side of the Internet industry.  Hosting this year’s AoIR conference is a positive step in a more progressive direction for both city and country. 

Tuesday’s “Show Me Your Selfies” presentation exemplified the unique and progressive ideas on display at this year’s conference.  The presentation offered by Jill Walker Rettberg, Theresa Senft and Alice Marwick looked at the teaching opportunities that “selfies” may provide.  The interactive, engaging and thought-provoking session incorporated a variety of social sciences while exploring the pedagogical possibilities of the “seflie”. 

It also illustrated one of the dominant themes of the conference: intersections. This particular presentation brought the social phenomenon of self-photography into the classroom as a teaching instrument.

Additionally, presenters explored the topics of algorithms, privacy, gaming, digital boundaries, surveillance, ethics and many more. 

The varied and well-attended conference was well suited for its host city.  “Daegu is known as the hub of information technology and software,” explained Park.  The data backs up this sentiment.  Every year, five universities and over 20 colleges produce roughly 6,000 students majoring in Internet communication technology. An abundance of IT companies in and around the city also contribute to the reputation.

Hosting this prestigious event will help solidify Daegu’s presence in the burgeoning Internet research space.  It should also help foster a stronger relationship between industry and education. 

Moving forward, Daegu will likely be an increasingly sought after location for future conferences and events.  The AoIR noted that cooperation with the Daegu CVB and local PCO was the key to a successful event given the challenges presented to attendees accustomed to English speaking locales. Local assistance with regard to venue arrangement and conference operation in combination with the Saint Western’s accommodations made for a smoothly run the conference.

Daegu, a city itself rapidly transitioning from its traditional roots to a more tech savvy, forward thinking metropolis, was the perfect backdrop for this year’s AoIR conference.  -END

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Sung-mi JANG

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