Platforms and Cultural Production

15 May 2023 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
University of Westminster (Room: UG04)
309 Regent St.
London W1B 2HW

The widespread uptake of digital platforms – from YouTube and Instagram to Twitch and TikTok– is reconfiguring cultural production in profound, complex, and highly uneven ways. Longstanding media industries are experiencing tremendous upheaval, while new industrial formations – live-streaming, social media influencing, and podcasting, among others – are evolving at a breakneck pace. In this talk, Thomas Poell will discuss his new book Platforms and Cultural Production (Polity, 2022), co-authored with David Nieborg and Brooke Erin Duffy, which examines both the processes and implications of platformization across the cultural industries.

The book identifies key changes in markets, infrastructures, and governance at play in this ongoing transformation, as well as pivotal shifts in the practices of labour, creativity, and democracy. Foregrounding simultaneous changes in institutional relations and cultural practices, Poell and colleagues define platformization as: the penetration of digital platforms’ economic, infrastructural, and governmental extensions into the cultural industries, as well as the organization of cultural practices of labour, creativity, and democracy around these platforms. Exploring how these interrelated changes take shape in different industrial and geographic contexts, he will discuss key variations in the trajectories of transformation.

This analytical framework should assist students, scholars, policy-makers, and practitioners in their efforts to understand how the institutions and practices of cultural production are evolving in the era of platforms.


Thomas Poell is Professor of Data, Culture & Institutions at the University of Amsterdam and director of the Research Priority Area on Global Digital Cultures. His research is focused on the digitisation of cultural institutions in the light of the proliferation of data, the growing importance of AI, and the rise of major platform corporations. He explores how these developments lead to creative and economic upheaval in the news, music, games, and lifestyle industries, as well as to a reorganization and rethinking of museums, libraries, and archives. Poell is co-author of three books, including The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World (Oxford University Press, 2018).

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