Skip to main content


The Centre for Culture and Technology organises numerous events throughout the year. Our members also speak at events nationally and internationally throughout the year.

huge smart phone showing above crowd of people with TikTok logo and closed fist on screen

TikTok and Social Movements

half-day symposium, 20 September 2021

Open for Registration more information and registration go to TikTok Cultures website


Call for Papers: TikTok and Social Movements Symposium

Submissions close 6 September 2021

The recent growing popularity of TikTok has transformed the cultures and practices of social movements online worldwide. Despite several concerns towards the app, regarding weak security (Chae, 2020; Dziedzic, 2020), moral panics incited by malicious content on TikTok (Purwaningsih, 2018) and some countries’ (temporary) ban on the platform (e.g. Indonesia, Pakistan, India), TikTok has rapidly grown as the “hottest app of 2020” in the world (Brigham, 2020). Its functionality (e.g. short-video, voiceover, meme template, background music, duet, hashtag) and unique genres (e.g. dance, comedy, social media challenge) have expanded existing social media cultures and enabled users to engage with other users, social issues, and even misinformation and online toxicity with ease and fun.

As part of such cultural moves, TikTok users establish their vernacular cultures and find their meaningful use of the platform by leading or participating in various types of movements for global awareness, social change, and civic politics. This includes Young TikTok users’ climate activism (Hautea et al., 2021); Growing anti-racist movements, such as the continuation of “Black Lives Matter” on TikTok (Janfaza, 2020; Richardson, 2020); and emerging hashtag streams like #StopAsianHate in response to increasing violence against Asians in the pandemic (Hanson, 2021).

The affordances of TikTok provide room for creativity with music and filters powered by AI technologies, which facilitates the formulation of identity politics and cultures. Recent examples include Young Indian women’s lip-syncing to Bollywood songs against the caste system (Subramanian, 2021); LGBTQI+ users’ use of various filters to advocate for diversity (Simpson & Semaan, 2021); Young users’ meme cultures (Zeng & Abidin, 2021) as consciousness building work (Anderson & Keehn, 2020; Literat & Kligler-Vilenchik, 2019); Older generations’ collaboration with younger generations (Hood, 2020). However, social movements on TikTok are not always specifically targeted towards social justice, but may often also advocate for specific beliefs that mirror global politics, such as Anti-vaccine movements and distribution of misinformation (Basch et al., 2021); Far-right movements (Weimann & Masri, 2020).

Focusing on the newly emerging cultures on TikTok, scholars in Media Studies, Communication Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology also have begun to develop “TikTok Studies”, looking for instance at emergent meme cultures on TikTok (Zeng & Abidin, 2021; Zeng et al., 2020; Zulli & Zulli, 2020), TikTokers as new types of internet celebrities (Abidin, 2021), users’ music practices (Kaye et al., 2021), the emergence of new teenage pop culture (De Leyn et al., 2021), online learning on TikTok (Li et al., 2021; Literat, 2021), novel methodologies for TikTok (Schellewald, 2021), and the newly emerging geopolitics around the app (Gray, 2021).

In response to this expansion of scholarship on TikTok and alongside the TikTok Cultures Research Network’s ethos to cultivate diversity and equity in academic scholarship, we will be holding a one-day online Symposium to showcase emergent research on the potentials, promises, pitfalls, and parameters of such social movements on TikTok. The Symposium seeks to provide a meaningful opportunity to reflect on the evolving cultures and practices around the civic and social movements on TikTok, wherein various actors on the platform across the globe advocate for social justice and specific values, develop grassroots networks and resources, and engage with others. We invite submissions on themes that include, but are not limited to:

• Politics, digital circulation, and/or economies of movements on TikTok
• Online activism, campaigns, and protest on TikTok
• Intersections of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, and more on TikTok
• Emerging TikTok practices and communities for advocacy
• Far-right, or alt-right movements on TikTok
• Roles and affordances of the platform technologies in mobilizing movements
• Surveillance of TikTok movements
• Consequences and pitfalls of TikTok movements

HDRs, ECRs (up to 5 years post-PhD + career interruptions), and scholars in/or from the Global South are strongly encouraged to apply. A selection of papers will also be considered for inclusion in a Special Issue tentatively entitled “TikTok and Social Movements” that will be published in a top-ranked peer-reviewed journal in the field of Media Studies, Internet Studies, and Communication Studies.

For consideration in this Symposium, please submit abstracts (up to 250 words) on previously unpublished papers and a short bio (up to 100 words) to TikTok Cultures Research Network (

Key Dates:

  • 06 September 2021 – Abstracts and biographies due
  • 08 September 2021 – Notifications of acceptance
  • 13 September 2021 – Registration opens for non-presenters
  • 20 September 2021 – TikTok and Social Movements Symposium, tentatively 1200–1600hrs, GMT+8

We look forward to receiving your submissions! Please contact TikTok Cultures Research Network ( with any questions about this event.

This Symposium is the fourth event organized by the TikTok Cultures Research Network, an Asia Pacific-based Network dedicated to understanding and developing qualitative and cultural approaches to studying the impact of TikTok on society, founded by A/Prof Crystal Abidin and supported by a network of Founding Members in October 2020. This event is supported by the Centre for Culture and Technology, and financed by Strategic Investment funding from the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin University.


WACCM-AASRN Professional Development Symposium

A Symposium for the professional development of WA-based HDRs (Hons, MA, PhD), ECRs, and Sessionals will be held on Friday 2 July at Curtin University.  This event is jointly organised by WACCM (WA Communication, Culture and Media group) and AASRN (Asian Australian Studies Research Network). WACCM is a network set up by the four main WA universities (with Notre Dame recently joining) to improve networking and develop WA’s research environment. AASRN is a research network for academic and community groups with interests in Asian Australian studies and topics.  The symposium will provide opportunities to network, speak to mentors, and sessions will cover topics such as research and methodologies as well as CV planning (pathways and options).

Please follow the link below to register for the Symposium on the Eventbrite registration page.  Registration closes 30 June and places are limited. We look forward to seeing you there!

Indigenous Welcome to Country 2019
Indigenous Welcome to Country 2019


for more information please contact Dr Huan Wu at

Representing the Past, Imagining the Future

U40 China-Australia Summer School and Conference 2020

Call for Papers

5 – 7 February 2020, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia

• Digital cultural tourism,
• Creative technologies and innovation,
• Digital cultural heritage,
• Case studies about internet communication companies.

Organiser: Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT), School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Curtin University.

Co-sponsors: Tencent Research Centre; China National Center for Culture Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS); School of Design, Curtin University; Cultural Development Institute of Yunnan University.

Submissions are invited from Masters and PhD students and Early Career Researchers, carrying out research related to one of the themes of the conference.

  • Digital cultural tourism: Virtual and augmented reality, tourism apps and services; Indigenous creative industries.
  • Creative technologies and innovation: Smart cities and regions, digital apps and services, accessibility, ethics, and environment.
  • Digital cultural heritage: Civilisation, technology, digitalisation of culture, The Silk Roads.
  • Case studies: Analysis about the influence of China’s internet communication companies and their products in domestic or global markets.

The three day program provides post-graduate students and emerging scholars from the Asia Pacific area, China and Australia with a valuable opportunity to share ideas with leading experts in the fields of cultural tourism, digital culture and creative industries. Students’ papers will be mentored and developed for publication in (1) a special issue of Cultural Science Journal and (2) an edited book with a leading international English language publisher. There is also the opportunity for any relevant themed, high quality papers to be considered for publication in a special issue of the Journal of China Tourism Research on Chinese outbound tourism.  Any papers submitted for publication will be required to go through a review process according to the practice of the journal and there is no guarantee that submissions will be accepted for publication.

First step – applications should include:
• A Curriculum Vitae (CV);
• A 300 to 500 word abstract relating to new and unpublished research. The abstract should include a title, research question(s), a theoretical framework and research methods.
• All application materials should be in English. If you have a CV in Chinese, you can send it to us with a short bio in English.

Once you have been advised that your abstract has been accepted:

We will ask for further submissions about your research. You will then have two options:
(1) A full paper (unpublished).
(2) A Research Proposal (that is, an extended plan for a paper to be co-written with a mentor).

If you choose option 2, please follow this link and fill in the attached template.

Important Dates
Abstract Due: 15 December 2019
Acceptance notification: 22 December 2019
Full paper/Short paper due: 12 January 2020
All the above submissions and summer school enquiries should be directed to Dr Huan Wu,

Please note: Accommodation during the event will be shared, as in previous years. Alternatively, attendees are welcome to make their own accommodation arrangements.

Click here to access a PDF flyer