Category: UAL – ACE program

Unit 3 Assignment (Part II)

Unsuccessful Case Study: “Stop Phubbing” Movement


With the mobile phone, we are at the centre of post-modernity. The mobile phone embodies many parallel and contradictory dimensions of meaning: utilitarian use with leisure, the facilitation of everyday life versus dependency, freedom and control, richness of interaction or introversion, private practices and public use, social cohesion with separation.

(Kopomaa, 2002)


Mobile phone has become an indispensable part of everyone’s every day, we can either use to facilitate our daily life or develop dependency. It unprecedentedly connects us to the world, also gives us constant “fear of missing out”, irresistible urge of swipe-opening of the smart phone. It changes our social practices, as commonly seen a in cafes and restaurants, people looking down at their mobile devices but ignoring friends or families who are at the same table. Is it possible that we are expecting more from technology and less from each other (Turkle, 2012)? When people gather for social events, mobile phone make us feel more alone, research showed this contributes to an overall feeling of dissatisfaction within the relationship. (Chang, 2015)

In this paper, I introduce a movement that tried to raise awareness of the concerns in 2012 with the slogan “Stop Phubbing”. The campaign did not get the effect one would have hoped for. But I hope that by taking a deeper look of this case study, we can justify why it is challenging.

The “Stop Phubbing” Movement

In 2012, a Sydney University student started with the idea, and with the help from an advertising agency (Mccann) and sponsored by Macquarie dictionary of Australia, a group of experts created the word “Phubbing”, a portmanteau of ‘Phone” and “Snubbing”, in order to make the movement legitimated and easily adopted by people (Pathak, 2013), and it was also captured by the Macquarie dictionary of Australia ( , 2013):

Phubbing (v) ‘The act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.

Its website polls people’s standpoints on either “I’m ALL FOR PHUBBING” or “I’m TOTALLY AGAINST PHUBBING”. The result shows 71% out of 156,769 total votes are FOR PHUBBING, completely different from the 2013 result: 72% out of the 4,622 total votes were AGAINST PHUBBING….

Below images show the difference in opinion polled (


To this date, the “Phubbing” phenomenon is still widely seen. Neither the word nor the movement has made its impact.

Globalisation and Communications – Impact on social relations and interactions

“Time and space compression” (Harvey, 1990) is an adequate description of globalisation. We are technically and socially connected through social medias, instant messages all the time, one’s perception about space is evolving – we simultaneously locate in one place physically and connect to those situated other places via mobile phone. But somehow, the personal face to face bonding seem to be distanciated.

Mobile phone has often borne the brunt of fears and anxieties around contemporary notions of belonging, dislocation, mobility and defining a sense of place and home. This resonates with Arjun Appadurai’s model of globalisation, locality and region are not fixed geographic boundaries, but rather, mutating and ever-evolving scapes in the disjunctive flows of global objects, media and people. In this case, the disjuncture of the technoscape and mediascape influence culture by enabling technological co-presence, enables the extension of individual identity. (Appadurai, 1996)

Intimacy also has a paradigm shift, mobile phone becomes the most intimate device that accompanies us everywhere (Fortunati 2002), reading of the mobile phone has become a symbol of intimacy and co-presence. (Hjorth, 2008) This explains why “phubbing” can make other people feeling left alone.

Leaving the mobile device, we feel very inadequate in human to human conversations. This has been recognized globally and some responses from artists like Tino Sehgal, whose exhibition “These Associations” almost tested human solidarity. (These Associations, “Uniliver Series”, 2012)

Modern theories are all pointing to an irreversible trend of the ubiquitous presence of mobile device and the irresistible urge of being connected at all times. On the other hand, to have a healthy living means to overcome the increasing tendency for addiction, we do not want to comprise the normal relationship and social etiquettes, which essentially makes us human.

Analysis – Why the “Stop Phubbing” movement is not successful

The success of an activism movement needs to have a scale of reach, awareness that leads to the changes of people’s mind and behaviours.

Its Youtube video on “Phubbing” ( 2013) have 170,000 YouTube views up to date, but impact was minimum, and when its own website shows the contrary message that 71% of the voters are supporting “phubbing”, this calls for a definite failure.

I question firstly the naming of ‘Phubbing’. It’s not intuitive. I have interviewed around 20 people from different ages, nobody can give me an immediate response. It is difficult to grasp the meaning. Instead of inviting language experts, turning to the netizens for ideation may create better awareness.

Secondly, can ‘Phubbing’ really be stopped? It will get more and more challenging since mobile phone practices can be viewed as an extension of the users’ identity and lifestyle, they are viewed as socio-cultural rituals of the everyday (Hjorth, 2008). People’s need of ‘Phubbing” will only get stronger with the advance of mobile technology.

The hardest part is to overcome the addictive habit and resist the urge. There have been some gentle nudges hoping for minor adjustments to people’s behaviour: Signs in some restaurants “We don’t have wifi, talk to each other”, social organisation started projects like “Your Mobile Phone needs a Rest” ( are merely moving the tip of the iceberg.

The involvement of authoritative government body with strong research findings can alert and guide people. In Hong Kong, the Department of Health has found that the median age of toddlers to use a smartphone for the first time was at the age of one, mobile devices are used as ‘e-pacifiers’. (SCMP, 2017). If we don’t change now, how is it possible to ask this generation and their future children to refrain from using electronic devices?!


We easily adapt to the advantage of the technology globalisation. But we do not want to let technology make us think less of humanity. The technoscape influences manifest through social media, which connects people virtually together, even when promoting the less use of mobile phones, we still need to leverage mobile social practice. Whether or not we can stop the “Phubbing” phenomenon, efforts need to be made now especially with the digital natives becoming the leading force of the world, keeping the heritage of conversation can be more challenging but more urgent than ever.

  • End   –

(Word Count: 1103)



Kopomaa, T. (2002) ‘The reunited family of the media information society’, Receiver, 6, (Accessed 7 August 2017).


Turkle, S., 2012. Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. Basic books.


Chang, L. (2015) “What is Phubbing, and is it ruining your relationships?” Available at:

(Accessed: 7 August 2017).


Pathak S. (2013) “Mccann Melbourne Made Up a Word to Sell a Print Dictionary”. Available at: (Accessed 7 August 2017) , 2013 (Accessed: 7 August 2017)

David, H., 1989. The condition of postmodernity: an enquiry into the origins of cultural change.

Appadurai, A (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Fortunati, L., 2002. The mobile phone: Towards new categories and social relations. Information, communication & society5(4), pp.513-528.

Hjorth, L., 2008. Mobile media in the Asia-Pacific: Gender and the art of being mobile. Routledge.

These Associations (2012) “Uniliver Series”, Tate Modern, London. 24 July – 28 October 2012

SCMP, 2017 “Screen time on rise as Hong Kong toddlers given electronic devices as ‘e-pacifiers’ from before age of one), 3 August, available at (Accessed: 7 August 2017) , Accessed 7 August 2017

Unit 3 Assignment Submission (Part I)

Successful Case: “Hello World”, a TED Talk Inspired Project


The globalisation of advanced technology facilitates the “expanding scale, growing magnitude, speeding up and deepening impact of transcontinental flows” (McGrew, 2002). Because of this, the way we educate and learn has gone through a dramatic change. For example, people who have access to the Internet can seek education from the Massive Open Online Course (, 2016). But there are still isolated areas in the world that people has no access to the Internet yet.

How can education make humanity more intelligent, knowledgeable, and wise enough to address its global challenges?  (, 2014). This asks us to spread innovative ideas and provide means of education for those underprivileged.

TED talks in the form of Internet is a technology globalisation, its core value of creating free access to people for “ideas worth spreading” has inspired many people. And one of the ideas for solving the educational deficit was mentioned in educator Sugata Mitra’s TED talk in 2013 (

In this paper, I introduce a project inspired by this TED talk called “Hello World”. I believe that it sets a good example of how to collaborate and solve the global challenge, and in the same time demonstrate how big an impact that the “ideas worth spreading” can make.


Description of Project “Hello World” Inspired by TED

TED is the abbreviation of “Technology, Entertainment and Design”, it is a non-profit organisation that spread innovative ideas by inviting people to give short and powerful talks and then publish on the Internet for wider reach. (

During the 2013 TED talk, Sugata Mitra explained his ingenious idea that children have an innate desire to learn and can make enormous steps forward if they are given the opportunity to teach themselves based on his experiment “Hole in the Wall” in which computer stations were put into slums in India and made freely accessible. Those stations gave underprivileged children and adults the opportunity to explore, learn, teach each other, and collaborate in solving problems. He believes that the key to future of learning is accessibility. And then he asked the audience: “help me build schools in a cloud”.

Among the two and a half million audience who watched his talk were Katrina and Roland, founders of a human rights non-profit organisation. Inspired by Mitra’s preach and their shared ethos, Katrina and Roland started project “Hello World”: build solar powered computer kiosks that are WiFi-enabled for the isolated and vulnerable community members in Africa, and provide online access and through the use of preloaded education software, users can explore the world’s body of knowledge, guided by their natural curiosity and desire to learn. (


Globalisation of Ideas and Resolution of Scarcity

A key influence to globalisation is the “technoscape” that crosses boundaries and flows information (Appadurai, 1996). It may appear to be a coincidence, if Katrina and Roland didn’t attend the 2013 TED talk, this project may not get started. But with the expanded scales of reach powered by technology, ie. TED’s free access on Internet, the chance for such collaboration is prominent.

Innovative ideas are the fuel to economic growth, accelerator for the technology development. We can argue that these ideas are precious, the right to the ideas need to be preserved to make money, or we can find a way to spread the good ideas so everyone has the chance to get inspired.

Like the constant struggle with scarcity in resources and Intellectual properties, some are due to accessibility, and some are purposely designed to benefit big corporations (Goodbun, Klein, Rumpfhuber, Till, 2015). TED designed a platform to publish them with free access. It “reconstructed values and knowledge of the world, reforming the ways we know reality” (Kagan, 2012, 15), it is indeed revolutionary in cultural and sustainability. The ideas TED spread have opened up people’s mind, bring people with same interest, value and ethos together, and empower global collaborations.

In this case, bring Sugata’s idea to the actual formation of the “Hello World” project. By giving them access to solar powered computers, the scarcity of “text book, classrooms and teachers” can be transformed into opening up access to a virtual source of knowledge, the curiosity of kids can drive them to learn like every other child in the planet.

Why Project “Hello World” inspired by TED is a success

This TED inspired project “Hello World” is successful in different levels: built on TED’s success of idea pioneering and audience reach, has a mission to do good to the society, made a major step forward on education theory and provided a real solution to a real challenge.

The success of TED fundamentally gives the right context to the success of its inspired projects. As a symbol of technological globalisation, TED invites credible scientists, scholars, experts to give power talk, so the audience may spread further or act upon the ideas that can make differences in the world.

The implementation of the project “Hello World”, addresses the need to make quality education accessible to children and adults in disadvantaged countries and communities. This project brings learning and access to the world’s body of knowledge to children who would otherwise be denied a future, by empowering the children, it provides long term good of society at large. (

Since 2013, the solar powered computers built by “Project Hello World” have been used by over 4,000 community members in Subsaharan Africa. No matter big or small this number is, it gives people hope. In an increasingly turbulent world, it aims to end disenfranchisement, the awareness of the positive change this can bring, this project has already made a significant achievement.


We have many challenges to face in this highly globalised world, as we all realised by now, no matter what we identify ourselves, we are going to rely on each other’s ideas and help to build a sustainable future together. The world is not lack of brilliant ideas, they just need to be spread. TED has done a very important step to make this happen.

Education has deficit only because it is unequally distributed: we have enough teachers, classrooms, materials in the world, but not in those isolated areas. Sugata and project “Hello World” found an alternative way to provide children with education.

From a technological globalisation perspectives, I, as many other people, have enjoyed the free access of information, and I hope to see people from all around the world can enjoy the same, facilitated by the likes of “Hello World” project, turning ideas into the great power of humanity.

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(Word count:   1092)


Held, D. and McGrew, A., 2007. Globalization/anti-globalization: Beyond the great divide. P.1., Polity., 2016, Accessed: 8 August 2017, accessed: 9 August 2017, accessed: 9 August 2017 , accessed: 9 August 2017 accessed: 9 August 2017

Appadurai, A (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Goodbun, J, Klein M., Rumpfhuber, A., Till, J, 2015, The Design of Scarcity, Strelka Press

Kagan, S., 2012. Toward global (environ) mental change: Transformative art and cultures of sustainability. Heinrich Böll Foundation.

My Reflective Writing – Unit One

Part One

Unit one is focused on researching Arts and Cultural Enterprise. The key is to grasp the fundamental skills in research, such as knowledge of the right resources for relevant articles and books, create research journal, write a literature review, and cite references, form research process and leverage tools to reach to conclusion.

I extremely enjoyed the process of learning, not only on the aspect of research, but on any relevant areas that were touched upon. Below are some of my reflective learnings:

Firstly, I have started building and enhancing my vocabulary of arts and culture.

As a new student in the Arts and Cultural fields, I was fascinated by all the artists (Keith Lam, Halley Cheng), art critics (Boris Groys, Marc Prensky), art businessman (Magnus Renfew), “starchitects” (Herzog & de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas, Kengo Kuma), whose names I have not heard before but mentioned by tutors and guest speakers during the course. I was intrigued since the first speaker Louis Yu mentioned Norman Foster, and his design concept. From that moment, I started a research journal using, capturing all the new things I’ve learned and found interesting from each session. And I will continue doing this throughout the course.

I believe it is essential to immerge into many different art works and equip myself with as much knowledge as possible. And by the way, although time consuming, it was extremely fulfilling and fun.

Secondly, I learned to develop an ability for abstract thinking.

It took me a while to read through the three articles assigned from Unit one, and I realize that my years of business world experience have given me a more pragmatic way of thinking, and now there is a need to develop a more theoretical and abstract mindset.

Examples of what I felt after reading the materials, and reflected questions:

  • Groys, B. (2012) Google: words beyond grammar.

This has become a rather philosophical question, I kept pondering after reading the article, what is the future of language. In one aspect, what Google has done was incredibly revolutionary, but on the other hand, words without context can also be easily manipulated. If as Eric mentioned during his lecture: “there is no jargons, but mis-use of words”, then with words out of context, how could we know whether it is mis-used or not?

  • Prensky, M (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.

I think Prensky is using language as analogy here to describe the digital natives and the immigrants. How quickly the immigrants can adapt to the new language and minimize the influence of their accent, ie., their past. The fact that Prensky sharply pointed this out in 2001 was incredible. 16 years later, not much of us has realised the impact and the gaps.

  • Vermeulen, T. and Van der Akker, R (2010) “Notes on Meta-modernism’.

I was still baffled though about the motivation of people insisted on defining Modernism, post modernism and somewhere oscillating in between, ie., metamodernism. Is it really very significant to label every piece of art? I guess yes and I will find out.

Thirdly, I learned about the working style of each team member and how to collaborate to complete a group project.

It’s been a long time since I was in a study group, and this time the group is more delicate, as everyone has their day jobs, cannot necessarily provide instant feedback. It was indeed a miracle that we delivered the project purely through online communications.

For future references in group project work, it is key to have a fair divide of work, to encourage and give each other credit on their contribution, and stand firm on your own believe while listen to others opinions.  I image our future projects should be more complex and challenging, but with the understanding we established in the group and the experience from our first collaboration, we shall together achieve success.

(644 words)

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  • Groys, B., 2011. Google: Words beyond grammar. Hatje Cantz.
  • Prensky (2001) “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1”, On the Horizon, Vol. 9 Iss 5 pp. 1 – 6
  • Vermeulen, T. and Van der Akker, R (2010) “Notes on Meta-modernism’.


How to write literature review

the check list:

Selection of sources:

  • Have you indicated the purpose of the review?
  • Are the parameters of the review reasonable?
  • Why did you include some of the literature and exclude others?
  • Have you emphasised recent developments?
  • Is the literature you have selected relevant?

Critical Evaluation of the Literature:

  • Have you organised your material according to issues?
  • Is there a logic to the way you organised the material?
  • Does the amount of detail included on an issue relate to its importance?
  • Have you been sufficiently critical of design and methodological issues?
  • Have you indicated when results were conflicting or inconclusive and discussed possible reasons?
  • Have you indicated the relevance of each reference to your research?

According to Caulley (1992) of La Trobe University, the literature review should:
❖ compare and contrast different authors’ views on an issue

  • group authors who draw similar conclusions
  • criticise aspects of methodology
  • note areas in which authors are in disagreement
  • highlight exemplary studies
  • highlight gaps in research
  • show how your study relates to previous studies
  • show how your study relates to the literature in general
  • conclude by summarising what the literature says

New things learned during Group presentation day (March 4th)

Online collaboration tool:

New resource link:

My group has a WikiSpaces page:


Anne Luther – Academic vs. Arts Management

After the visit of Asia Arts Archive, i’m very interested in the visualisation of the key words in their website. And also, just around the same time, I am also tasked to develop the department sharepoint portal, where there are nearly 100 documents with different purposes and categorization. How I wanted to show people a cool stuff like this.

Today’s guest speaker Anne has a very interesting background, she has developed her career in all different fields in arts management, she has a PHD and also developing software using open source platform for data visualisation.

when i check out the, I found they have Dendrogram as one of the examples, and this is exactly what the AAA has used.

It’s interesting that they view this as art form now, because I used to think data is such a boring stuff, and it can be beautifully presented, and can be viewed and appreciated as art.

Below are some additional links that the speaker gave us.

Here are live data visualization project with twitter data:

Google Trend is really interesting in terms of live data:

The art world map that I showed you before the Entity Mapper was made in

This is visualization tool for simple network graphs that you want to make manually or with a csv file. 

Also, Caroline in my group found the link below, that shows statistics of Whatsapp communications pattern, it’s super cool. hope we can use this for the presentation.