Twitch announced its Research Fellows for 2020, and Informatics Ph.D. candidate Amanda Cullen was one of just five students selected. Fellowship recipients each receive a $10,000 award from the livestreaming company, as well as a full-time paid internship at its headquarters in San Francisco.
“I’m grateful to Twitch for supporting my dissertation project and providing me with an opportunity to hone my skills in an industry research context,” says Cullen, whose research focuses on how the social and technological features of livestreaming platforms impact female livestreamers. She is also exploring how “cultural understandings of women and their presence in media like video games influences expressions of femininity and feminism online in contexts like livestreaming.”
Cullen notes that with the fellowship funding, she will be able to compensate research participants for their time, attend events where livestreamers meet their fans, and travel to academic conferences to present her work. She is also looking forward to the summer internship and hopes to be involved with projects that take a closer look at how streamers develop their own unique communities and exchange information.
“In particular, I want to work with Twitch to push the envelope when it comes to identifying bad actors on the platform,” she says. “I believe that by deepening an understanding of what streamers are already doing to help each other and how they identify potential problems, Twitch will be inspired to craft sharper policies and develop new tools that provide more options for streamers to protect themselves and nurture their communities.”
— Shani Murray