Communications - Research

School of Communications

SIM - Society Information and Media

The Centre for Society Information and Media (SIM) is a communications research centre, investigating socio-economic, historical, professional and cultural aspects of print, audiovisual and digital media. SIM builds on the record of the Centre for Society Technology and media (STeM), which was established as a University Designated Research Centre in 2000, and which has been the base for over twenty collaborative research projects, funded from DCU, national and international sources.

Members of SIM are academic staff, research associates and postgraduate researchers actively engaged in collaborative projects and/or with shared interests in developing further such projects. The Director of SIM is Dr Barbara O'Connor.

SIM incorporates research on digital media and new media industries, as was previously the main focus of STeM activities. It also conducts research in broader areas of media policy and practice.

SIM’s establishment (March 2005) follows a period of reflection and debate in the School of Communications on the means to strengthen research collaboration. It consolidates further DCU’s position as the national leader in communications and media research.

SIM brings together researchers who represent a range of approaches to study of the media, including those of policy studies, reception analysis, cultural studies, political history, textual studies and social organization. The centre will make it easier to combine methodologies and share resources than is the case with more individualized communication research. In this way, SIM will facilitate multi-dimensional research, delivering well-rounded and well-grounded findings.

SIM provides a framework for interdisciplinary research collaboration both within the School of Communications and between School members and colleagues in other schools in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and in the wider university. SIM will contribute to research collaboration under the university’s Interculturalism, Innovation and Education academic themes.

SIM members have individual relations with the Centre for International Studies (CIS), Centre for Translation and Textual Studies (CTTS), the Intercultural Workplace Project, BioSciences and Society (part of NICB), and the proposed Centre for the Advancement of Science Teaching and Learning (CASTEL) and these will be the basis for more formal cross-disciplinary collaborations.

SIM’s work is focused on four principal themes and on analysis of aspects of those themes as follows:

  • Innovation in the Information Society
    • innovation processes and policy frameworks in the information society
  • Media Policies, Practices and Audiences
    • media texts, production processes, reception and effects, including the role of journalism in the public sphere
  • Digital Media Cultures
    • trends in digital media production and uses; new media, new pleasures; media literacy in a digital environment; implications of new media for teaching, learning and educational agenda; digital media and installation art
  • Media, Diversity and Development
    • Media in multicultural societies, developing countries and migrant groups; training in public communication and media skills in multicultural and development contexts.

The Director of SIM is Dr Barbara O'Connor, email: