RESEARCH AGENDA

Since 2016, my primary research area has examined the process of civic media production (media created with the intent of civic participation) to facilitate self-empowerment, agency and civic engagement within historically marginalized populations through a project entitled the Salem Civic Media Project. Implemented through a collaboration with the Salem Public School District, this project brings Salem State University and Salem Public School District students together to create digital multimodal narratives (e.g., AR, VR, apps, websites, videos, digital comics, etc.) to address civic and social justice issues within the Salem community with the intent of holding city-wide forums in Salem to address community issues of systemic discrimination. This research uses a mixed-methods (participant-observation, semi-structured interviews, and pre-test/post-test) and critical theoretical approach to better understand how civic media processes engage youth in civic practices and bring a community together to confront and deliberate their own internalization of discriminatory actions and beliefs. In the last year I initiated a new focus within this research with my graduate student to specifically examine how the convergence of media literacy, civic education and experiential learning can help higher education students apply their media literacy education in a real world context that builds their understanding of themselves as engaged community members. This area of research has been presented at NCA, the Boston Civic Media annual conference, the Northeast Media Literacy Conference, and the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement annual meeting. This area of research has received grant funding from AEJMC, the Council on Teaching and Learning, and Salem State University.

My second research area uses the Salem Civic Media Project as a case study to argue for a new paradigm of service-learning, which we call “critically-engaged civic learning”. Within this research area, two of my colleagues, a community partner and I propose a new framework for critically-engaged civic learning, which is structured upon six guiding principles that connect to outcomes needed to cultivate engaged citizens in the 21st century. While my civic media project serves as part of the case study for this research area, the primary focus is on examining the change nature and implementation of civic engagement in higher education. This research argues that the term service-learning has become problematic as it invokes inequitable power dynamics that inherently privilege one group over another, where the privileged group is seen to “service” the marginalized group. It seeks to move beyond the traditional service-learning model by arguing that all constituents involved in this process have an equal and shared authority and responsibility to invest for the betterment of their community. This area of research has been presented at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement annual meeting and will be presented at AAC&U’s 2018 annual meeting. This research is supported by the Salem State University Center for Civic Engagement.

My third area of research also incorporates the Salem Civic Media Project, but does so as a content variable to examine the organizational communication strategies of the Salem Public School (SPS) District with their external target audiences. For this project, I am currently overseeing a public relations research team of nine upper-level undergraduate students to conduct a communication audit of the SPS District to better understand what communicative processes organizational structures, like public school districts, can use to ameliorate dialectical tensions around issues of diversity. This study will examine the implementation of a community communicative process that addresses and deconstructs the “status ideologies” and community mythologies that maintain discriminatory belief systems about public schools across the district. This communicative process will include the creation and dissemination of civic media by students across the school district (the Salem Civic Media Project) that will serve as a vehicle for larger community discussions on issues of racial and economic school segregation across the city. This project began in September 2017.

My recent research investigated spaces of dissension and the negotiation of political power through civic media for dissent, with a focus on how poverty experts produce and disseminate experiential knowledge through community media organizations. This research used discourse analysis, critical ethnography and a critical theoretical approach to examine how social media platforms create a space for dissension, allowing for the negotiation of political power and cultivating a richer understanding of the power and potential of digital media technologies for democratization and an engaged citizenry. This research found that social media are but a few pieces of a larger democratic mosaic that serve to galvanize dissent through the sharing and distribution of emotionally strong and disturbing images, videos, and words. They work to mobilize the solidarity of social justice issues and spread of necessary identificational, locational, and tactical information members need to put their body on the line for the movement. Lastly, social media help bridge the digital divide by disseminating the experiential knowledge of poverty experts, those who live the experience of poverty in the United States on a daily basis, to highlight contradictions in dominant poverty discourse and challenge systemic oppression. This research was published in G.W. Richardson (Ed.), Social Media and Politics: A New Way to Participate in the Political Process and presented at the Western Communication Association annual conference.

My recent research also examined how participatory media processes can serve as catalysts for change in populations of poverty and homelessness in the U.S. Through this research I engage in community-based design that facilitated a participatory media process in which participants co-construct collective stories about the lived experiences of poverty in a post-2009 recession society in the U.S. During this process participants learned skills of computer literacy, media literacy, and digital media production for the creation of highly engaged civic media. Using critical theory, multi-sited ethnography, and qualitative analysis, I analyzed the relationship between participatory media and voice, dialogue, and critical consciousness at two case studies, POOR Magazine and Sanctuary Women’s Development Center, and argued that through the interaction of these key components in the participatory media process, self-empowerment and a sense of agency would result. I also examined where the possibility lies for civic engagement in the participatory media process. Additionally, this study argued that the participatory media process can serve as a reflexive lens for people in poverty and homelessness to critically analyze structural forms of oppression and their role in creating social change. Ultimately, I proposed the concept of digital reflexivity and asserted that digital reflexivity serves as a critical catalyst throughout processes of voice, dialogue, and critical consciousness for the increase of self-empowerment and agency. The participatory media model developed in this research was later revised and became the civic media model I am applying in my current research studies. This area of research was published in The Journal of Alternative and Community Media and Race/Gender/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audience, Content, and Producers and presented at ICA, NCA, AEJMC, the Broadcast Education Association Conference, and the International Digital Storytelling Conference. I am currently working on a book proposal entitled, Resistance Media: Reimagining Civic Participation on the Margins, which is currently under consideration by the University of Alabama Press. This area of research was funded through several grants and scholarships through the University of Oklahoma and received the Alice Mary Robertson award for enhancing the appreciation of the contributions made by women to the culture and progress of Oklahoma.

My research is interdisciplinary in nature and bridges various academic fields and areas of communication. In addition to examining the democratic potential of civic and participatory media, my research agenda also focuses on social media and the rhetorical construction of dissent, resistance journalism as a form of civic media, and community re-appropriation of dominant discourse on poverty. Questions I have examined include how digital media technologies are changing the way we perceive and interact with our surroundings, how digital media technologies can be used to create public spheres that supplement geographic public spheres, and how communities engage with digital technologies to build and strengthen their community.

Primary Areas of Research Interest

Civic Media and Engagement

·      Participatory media and processes of civic engagement

·      Social media activism and civic engagement

·      Resistance media and dissent

Vincent, C. (2017). Students as Civic Agents: Civic Education, Media and Service-Learning. General interest session presented at Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting. Baltimore, MD June 2017.

Vincent, C., Gordon, E., Koenig Richards, C., Lyons, M., Mihailidis, P., & Rhinesmith, C. (2016). Technology, Civic Participation and Social Change: Exploring Civic Media Across Practice, Research and Pedagogy. Seminar presented at the National Communication Association Conference. Philadelphia, PA November 2016.

Hallowell, B., Wolfson, T., Cabral, N., Deutch, L., Haywood, A., Ryan, C., Carragee, K., & Vincent, C. (2016). Media Activism & Social Justice: Conversation Cafés. Special program presented at the National Communication Association Conference. Philadelphia, PA November 2016.

Vincent, C., & Straub, S. (2016). Structures of Dissent: Social Media, Resistance Journalism, and the Mobilization of Poverty Activism. Paper presented at Western States Communication Association. San Diego, CA March 2016.

Vincent, C. (2015). Resistance Journalism: Expression, Self-Empowerment, and the Creation of Counternarratives on Poverty Through Community Media. Panel presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference. San Francisco, CA August 2015.

Vincent, C. (2015). Civic Studies Panel: Continuum of Civic Action. Panel presented at Frontiers of Democracy. Boston, MA June 2015.

Vincent, C. (2014). Towards a Reconceptualization of Lumpenproletariats: The Collective Organization of Poverty for Social Change via Participatory Media. Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Montréal, Quebec, Canada August 2014.

Vincent, C. (2014). Can You Spare Some (Social) Change?: Participatory Media as Catalysts for Change in Poor and Homeless Communities (Doctoral dissertation).  University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.

Vincent, C., & Foster, L. (2014). Change.org. In K. Harvey (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Vincent, C. (2013). POOR Magazine and Civic Engagement through Community Media. In R.A. Lind (ed.), Race/Gender/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audience, Content, and Producers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Vincent, C. (2012). Language of Struggle: POOR Magazine and the Re-appropriation of “Poor” Language. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Conference. Orlando, FL November 2012.

Vincent, C. (2012). Race/Gender/Media 3.0: Considerations of Diversity for Educators and Scholars. Paper presented at the Broadcast Education Association Conference. Las Vegas, NV April 2012.

Vincent, C. (2011). POOR Magazine and Civic Engagement through Community Media. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Honors Doctoral Seminar. Fargo, ND July 2011.

Vincent, C. (2011). Community Media and Processes of Civic Engagement. Paper presented at International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) Conference. Istanbul, Turkey July 2011.

Digital Media Technologies

·      Digital media and the public sphere

·      Community building online

·      Mediated constructionism

Vincent, C. (2015). Redefining Reflexivity in the Digital Age: The New Cultural Complexity of Reflexivity. Paper presented at the International Communication Association Conference. San Juan, Puerto Rico May 2015.

Vincent, C. (2011). Technological Constructions of Reality: An Ontological Perspective. Paper presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference. St. Louis, MO August 2011.

Vincent, C. (2010). New Media in the Public Sphere: Public Sphere Formation in Spaces of Conflict. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Conference. San Francisco, CA November 2010. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Honors Doctoral Seminar. Salt Lake City, UT July 2010.

Vincent, C. (2009). En Route to Integrality: Consciousness Milestones Through Online Communities. Paper presented at the 39th Annual International Jean Gebser Society Conference. Hempstead, NY October 2009.

Vincent, C. (2009). Evolving the Collective Conscious: A Closer Look at the Offline Actions of the Online World (Master’s thesis). California State University, Sacramento, Sacramento, CA.

Media & Intersectionality

·      Intersection of gender, race and class

·      Media representation of gender, race and class

·      Feminist theory

Alexopoulos, C., D’ Enbeau, S., Klean Zwilling, J., McClaeren, J., Ramasubramanian, S., & Vincent, C. (2016). Sexual Violence on U.S. college campuses: A civics of avoidance or engagement? Panel presented at the National Communication Association Conference. Philadelphia, PA November 2016.

Vincent, C. (2016). Celebrating Diversity Through the Salem Public School District Civic Media Project. Paper presented at Boston Civic Media: Design, Technology, Social Impact. Boston, MA June 2016.

Vincent, C. (2015). Participatory Media as Catalysts for Change: Communicating the Intersectional Experiences of Women in Poverty. Paper to be presented at 6th International Digital Storytelling Conference. Northampton, MA September 2015.

Vincent, C. (2013). Deconstructing the Welfare Queen: Towards a Standpoint Theory of Poverty. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Conference. Washington, D.C. November 2013.

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