Martin Gibbs


Current Research Interests

In collaboration with colleagues at The University of Melbourne, I am currently investigating how people use a variety of interactive technologies (video games, community networks, mobile phones, etc.) for convivial and sociable purposes in a variety of situations. I am currently working on the following projects.

Death, Grieving and Memorialization in a Broadband Enabled Society: This project examines the role of Internet and other communication technologies technologies in the experience of death, grieving and memorialisation. More infromation ont he project can be found here: Death, Grieving and Memorialization in a Broadband Enabled Society and here: Death and the InternetThis project was supported with a seeding grant from the Institute for Broadband Enabled Society. It is currently being supported by the Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN).

Domestic Appropriation of the NBN: With Michael Arnold, Bjorn Nansen and Rowan Wilkens I am examining the domestic appropriation of the NBN and how high-speed broadband is influencing the information ecologies of the home. This work is suppported by the Institute for Broadband Enabled Society and an AUstralian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project grant (2013-2015).

Tabletop Gaming: The Warhammer 40K Experience: This study aims to understand the experience of tabletop wargaming through a study of Warhammer 40k (Games Workshop). We are focusing on the work people do in order to play competitive and non-competitive war-games; the social experience of tournement play and the tangible interactions involved. This study is being conducted on collaboration with Marcus Carter and Mitchell Harrop.

Previous and Side Research Projects

Connected Homes: The purpose of the research is to understand how communication technologies are used in the home, and how these technologies connect the home to the outside world of friends and family, the local community, institutions, the workplace, and the globe. The Connected Homes Project is using domestic probe techniques to investigate the effect and affect of these technologies and their relationship to the changing character of modern life.

Technologies of Intimacy and Grandparenting at a Distance: With collegues at the University of Melbourne, I have been involved in two study using domestic probe techniques to investigate how information and communication technologies are used within intimate relationships such as those between married and defacto, co-habitating couples. A subsequent project investigated the possibilities for using digital technologies to support playful engagment between grandparents and grandchildren. We used insights gained through these studies to generate designs for innovate products to support communication within these a variety of family relationships.

Computer Supported Cooperative Play (CSCP): CSCP can be understood as the cooperative use of interactive technologies by two or more individuals for reacreational purposes. While, some CSCP activities appear competitive, we view these as cooperation in the pursuit of recreation. Online multiplayer videogaming is a salient example of CSCP and with my colleague Greg Wadley I have investigated the use of voice communication by people playing a variety of videogames including Dungeon and Dragons Online, World of Warcraft, Counter Strike and games on the Xbox Live platform. Greg is also investigating the implications of voice communication in the virtual world Second Life.

Privacy and Data Quality: An organization's ability to respond to the requirements of privacy legislation can be compromised by the data quality of the personal information the organization holds. In this project we have used a semiotic framework for understanding data quality to critically examine legislation designed to regulate how private sector organizations collect, store, use, and disclose personal information.

Social Engagement and Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) : Currently in the first stage of data collection, this project will examine the social experiences of people who play the MMORPG World of Warcraft. In the first stage of data collection we are focusing on the experiences of people who engage in raiding activities in the MMORPG. See the project description for The Social World of Raiding. We will study the social interactions that take place online while playing the game. We will also study how deep involvement in playing this game fits with players' other social engagements - at home, school, work and with friends. We hope this research will contribute to our understanding of contemporary society by studying a paradigmatic example of social relations that are increasingly mediated by technology.

Research Groups and Project Teams

I am a member of the Interaction Design Group in the Department of Information Systems and have an abidding interest in Researching Online Communities (ROC) .

I am also currently a member of the Connected Homes Project Team and have previously worked on the projects, Mediating Intimacy: Mobile Devices within Intimate Relationships, and Bridging the Gap: Smart Support for the Intergenerational Distributed Family in collaboration with the Smart Internet Cooperative Research Centre.

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