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Personal details

Dr Tim Highfield
Discipline *
Communication and Media Studies
+61 7 3138 0155
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Identifiers and profiles
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PhD (Queensland University of Technology), B. Arts (Communication Studies and French) (Hons) (University of Western Australia)

Professional memberships
and associations

For more information:


Association of Internet Researchers   Research network “Electronic Democracy” (DEL)

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Dr Tim Highfield is Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the QUT Digital Media Research Centre, where his fellowship project is Visual Cultures of Social Media. He is the author of Social Media and Everyday Politics (Polity, 2016), which brings together his PhD and postdoctoral research into politics, popular culture, digital and social media, play and irreverence, activism, and Eurovision.


His research examines how the everyday and the digital, the popular and the political, the silly and the serious are interlinked; his interests include the everyday practices of popular social media, and how formats and styles from animated GIFs to humorous hashtags and joke forms are used to engage with topics ranging from the explicitly political to the mundane and personal.


His research covers diverse topics and platforms, from visual social media such as GIFs and emoji, parody accounts and jokes on Twitter, fandom, identity on Instagram (including in collaboration with Dr Tama Leaver at Curtin University), online news and political commentary from blogs to everyday social media (including through hashtags and wordplay and through the visual), and social movements’ use of digital technologies in the US and Greece (with Dr Sky Croeser at Curtin University).


In 2017, he was the coordinator of the first DMRC Summer School, which saw 37 PhD and early-career researchers from 11 countries come to QUT for a week of intensive workshops and sessions led by DMRC researchers. He is also part of three of the four programs in the DMRC: Journalism, public communication and democracy; Digital media in everyday life; and Digital methods, where his work with Dr Leaver on Instagrammatics and researching visual social media more broadly a leading contribution to this field.


Dr Highfield is a member of the Association of Internet Researchers, International Communication Association, and Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and a program committee member for the Social Media and Society conference. More information about his work can be found at or on Twitter (@timhighfield).

This information has been contributed by Dr Tim Highfield.


as Sessional Tutor:


Online (Open Universities Australia – through Curtin University):

WEB101 Web Communications – June 2013-August 2013


NET308 Internet Collaboration and Organisation (acting unit co-ordinator) – December 2011-February 2012; Dec 2012-Feb 2013


MED104 Engaging Media – August 2011-November 2011; March 2012-June 2012


NET102 The Internet and Everyday Life – March 2012-June 2012


On-campus (Curtin):


Web101 Web Communications – March 2013-June 2013


On-campus (QUT):


KCB102 Media Mythbusting – March 2010-June 2010

This information has been contributed by Dr Tim Highfield.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Current supervisions

  • 'Restaurant Reviews Aren't What They Used to Be': Digital Disruption and the Transformation of the Gastronomic Field
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Hee-Jeong Choi
  • Faces of Death and Injustice: Visual Social Media and Emotion in Activist Political Discourse and Popular Social Movements
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Professor Jean Burgess
  • Social Media Activism and the Fight Against Forced Labour Exploitation: From Slacktivism to Active Participatiion to Effect Social Change
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz, Dr Erin O'Brien

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)