Critical Digital Methods Institute (CDMI)

Welcome to the Critical Digital Methods Institute (CDMI), a collaborative research project of The Department of Arts, Culture and Media (ACM) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), initiated with the support of the UTSC Interdisciplinary Challenge Fund (ICF)!

At CDMI, we see digital platforms and digital media cultures as too complex, too global, and too vast to be captured by single disciplinary approaches. We seek to build bridges across the gaps that exist between disciplines, media, systems and people. We work across different quantitative and qualitative methods and focus on critical and interpretive methods, social justice frameworks and digital methods that are attentive to questions and problems of equity, diversity and inclusion. We believe digital research environments favour interdisciplinary approaches and demand new research methodologies which synthesize contributions from the arts, humanities, social sciences, and beyond so we can better understand the cultural, technological, social, political economic and ethical dynamics of these spaces. 

The Institute is propelled by a cluster of ACM faculty at the forefront of this interdisciplinary effort, each with research agendas focused on digital media platforms, creativity, hubs and networks, trans-feminist and queer online spaces for research and creation, journalism and digital archives. We ask critical questions about platform power and actively examine the role of ethics in research and data practices.

Our team draws from Art History & Visual Culture, Arts & Media Management, Journalism Studies, Media and New Media Studies, Music Studies, Theatre & Performance Studies and Studio Art:

Barry Freeman (intercultural ethics in performance, theatre pedagogy, ethnography)

David Nieborg (app and platform studies; political economy, financial and institutional analysis)

Jasmine Rault (digital architectures; trans- feminist and queer digital methods; aesthetics of white supremacy & settler coloniality)

Jason Lujan (Cultural leveling; collective action practices)

Kenzie Burchell (everyday surveillance practices; comparative and forensic journalism studies)

Mark Campbell (remix cultures; online Hip Hop archives and Afrodigital communities)

Marla Hlady (expanded site; sound; technology as practice)

Mary Elizabeth (M.E.) Luka (creative networks, hubs and economy; cultural and media policy and practice; civic engagement; creative methods; digital media archives)

Michael Petit (social media and digital culture, affect theory, digital pedagogy methods)

Ruoyun Bai (networked publics; scandals in the digital age; digital feminism and #MeToo in Asia)

Sanaz Mazinani (digital photography, circulation & consumption; visioning the self)

Sherry S. Yu (multiculturalism; cultural literacy; digital diaspora and diasporic media; race and ethnicity; journalism)

T.L. Cowan (digital research ethics; trans- feminist and queer digital methods; digital archives of live performance; intimacies of scale; minoritized cultural economies)

Will Kwan (machine vision; surveillance; screen culture)

Yi (Evie) Gu (politics of digital design, rural reform and digital media, socially engaged art and new media, platform and public art)

The CDMI collaborative research initiative is already working behind-the-scenes to develop and roll out a series of conversations and events in the coming months. Each is designed to engender dynamic research exchanges and streamline knowledge-mobilization, including presentations, visiting scholars’ events, collaborative writing opportunities about critical digital methods, a summer institute, and more!

Please contact to connect with us about programming, collaborations, partnerships and sponsorships. 

Stay tuned for our upcoming announcements!