Hello, world!

I know, I know, this is probably the most frequently used phrase when starting a new journey ā€“ well, probably more in the context of learning programming languages. But it seems quite fitting as I’m taking over the SGSAH blog for the upcoming six months and am so excited to introduce myself and take on this challenge!

My name is Anna and I’m a second year SGSAH-funded PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, working in partnership with the BBC R&D. My research revolves around the implication of personalised and highly customisable public service media content and how it can be leveraged to promote inclusive and democratic civic participation. Due to my background in journalism and computer science (which probably inspired this post’s title), I’m is particularly interested in news, and how content can be algorithmically enhanced and curated without thwarting editorial intent. Through this research I aim to develop user-centric design approaches for personalisation, with a strong focus on user agency and identity.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Enough about myself and my research, surely you are wondering what I will be doing while the SGSAH blog is under my care. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, I don’t plan on having sole custody over this blog. The SGSAH blog has traditionally hosted a variety of guest posts written by academics and professionals from all over Scotland, from different backgrounds and disciplines, who shared insights about their research, PhD life, and careers. I aim to keep this tradition alive and allow this platform to host content from its own readers.

One of the key focuses I want to embrace revolves around how to make the PhD experience as inclusive as possible and showcasing how pursuing a career as a researcher can be (made more) accessible. For that, I will be inviting guest bloggers to share their experience with taking the leap towards academia, the obstacles they faced and how they overcame them/are planning to overcome them. I want to elevate people’s voices with this platform and hear about the different experiences of PhD life, be it the good, the bad, or the ugly ā€“ after all, this is a safe space. šŸ™‚

That being said, I would love to hear from you. Do you have anything on your mind that you want to share, or a topic you would like me to explore on this blog? Then please get in touch with me through Twitter at @sgsahblog, or email me at a.rezk@ed.ac.uk. Iā€™m more than excited to hear from you and see all the wonderful contributions that will be shared on this blog.

And of course, I’m saying a big thank you to Garry for his amazing run as blogger. He introduced the SGSAH podcasts and covered a variety of insightful and thought-provoking topics, such as gender and race equality, which I really recommend you give a read. I’m very grateful for the warm introduction and advice he gave me during our handover. All the best to you, Garry, and again, thank you for the amazing work, I will try to measure up to the high standard you have set!

Anna Rezk is a 2nd year PhD researcher in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the BBC R&D. Her research revolves around the implication of personalised and highly customisable public service media content and how it can be leveraged to promote inclusive and democratic civic participation. Due to her background in journalism and computer science, she is particularly interested in news, and how content can be algorithmically enhanced and curated without thwarting editorial intent. Find her on Twitter as @anna_rezk.

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