Mél Hogan

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Mél Hogan is the Director of the Environmental Media Lab (EML). The EML creates a gentle network that uplifts emergent scholarship, art, and activism, through grad-scholar in residence program, reading groups, Heliotrope, and other collaborative endeavours.

Mél Hogan is also an Associate Professor in Communication, Media and Film at the University of Calgary (since 2016). Her position there was the first at a Canadian University to focus specifically on media studies and the environment. She is a white French-Canadian settler scholar.

Academic trajectory: before moving to Calgary in 2016, she held a tenure-track position at the Illinois Institute of Technology (now Illinois Tech), in Chicago. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Curation at the University of Colorado-Boulder. And before that, she did her graduate training at Concordia University, in Montréal: a Communication Studies Graduate Diploma (GrDip) (2005), an MA in Media Studies (2007) and a PhD in Coms (2012). (Her undergrad (1999) was at Acadia University, in Nova Scotia, followed by a Graphic Design program (2001) at Algonquin college, in Ottawa.) 

Since 2012, her research has been on data storage/archives/repositories – the political-social implications and environmental impacts of server farms and data centers, culminating in the “Data Center Industrial Complex” (2021) and “Critical Studies of the Cloud” (2022). As an extension of research that looks at alternatives to water- and energy- intensive data storage, she is a PI for a SSHRC IG project (2021-2026) about DNA-based data storage following an IDG project (2018-2021) about genomics in the cloud. DNA-based data storage is a new techno-fix on offer to solve the data deluge. For more on this project: http://genomic.media. Currently, she is most curious about how we’re using massive data centers to power humanoid robots, embodied AI, holograms, the ‘metaverse’, chatbots, and so on. This is a new project, with a preliminary piece published in Acid Clouds (2023).

Her research has been published in journals like Culture Machine, Big Data & Society, New Media & Society, Ephemera, First Monday, Television & New Media, and the Canadian Journal of Communication among others. She especially enjoys writing as a form of public scholarship, such as The Pandemic's Dark Cloud, The Future of Death (in the Cloud) and Sweaty Zuckerberg and Cool Computing. She also really likes participating in podcast projects like “Stream if you wanna die faster”.

She joined the UCLA Center for Critical Inquiry Scholars' Council, is an affiliate member of the Feminist Media Studio (Concordia), and a member of Calgary Health Humanities. She’s also a founding member of the Genomics and Bioinformatics CIH working group, with Gwendolyn Blue. For 2022, she also serves as a mentor for the Surveillance Studies Network.

At the University of Calgary, she’s an elected member of Faculty of the General Faculties Council. She’s currently supervising two doctoral students, Tessa Brown and Crystal Chokshi.

She used to be the Secretary for the CCA (2016-2019), and was on the ASPP Publications Committee (Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences) that runs the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (2019-2022). She was an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Communication (CJC, 2019-2022). (2022)