Research Projects

Aesthetics of Protest

(Project Coordinator: Itır Erhart,  Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). September2016-January 2018, Budget: £250,000)

The partner universities are Istanbul Bilgi University, University of Brighton, Glasgow Caledonian University. The aims of this project are to offer a theoretical perspective on the relationship between social movements, political aesthetics and performance by demonstrating how politics is performed through protestors’ engagements with aesthetics such as slogans, colour, humour, bodies, clothing, graffiti, symbols, and art and build diverse publics, including activists, artists, and academics, to engage with the meaning of visual and material culture in protest movements around the world.  

Plural Heritages of Istanbul - The Case of the Land Walls

(Project Coordinator (BİLGİ): Asu Aksoy Robins, Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund 2016, Research Councils UK and The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK), budget 450,000 TRY)

The 'Plural Heritages of Istanbul - The Case of the Land Walls' research project is a collaboration between Newcastle University, Istanbul Bilgi University and Uludağ University. It investigates how Istanbul’s Land Walls, as part of the 'Historic Areas of Istanbul’ UNESCO World Heritage Site, could be re-interpreted in a more pluralistic way. Our aim is to explore how the official representation of monumental heritage sites - in our case the Land Walls of Istanbul - can be pluralised so that it takes into account the intangible cultural heritage voiced by community members as well as other locally embedded historical and socio-cultural aspects unique to the walls. The project combines a variety of cultural methods, such as co-production with community members and walking ethnography. 

Networked Publics, Twitter and the 2017 Constitutional Referendum: A Big Data Approach

(Project Coordinators: Ivo Ozan Furman & Aslı Tunç, BAP, June 2017 – January 2018, budget 22.484 TRY)

Within the context of the 2017 Constitutional Referendum, Twitter has become a battleground for contending political persuasions to battle over the establishment of a dominant narrative. Both the “Yes” and the “No” camps of the 16th of April referendum campaign are heavily relying on Twitter to broadcast their opinions a wider audience and sway voters. Accordingly, the principle aim of this project is to study how actors such as politicians, activists, opinion leaders, journalists, political trolls and even automated accounts are using Twitter to reshape political communication within the context of the 2017 constitutional referendum. Within the scope of our research, we deployed a “Big Data” data collection methodology and have aggregated a dataset of more than 2.5 million referendum related tweets. Techniques such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), data mining, correspondence analysis, semantic and network analysis will be used to analyse our data. For this, we rely on the expertise of an interdisciplinary team of media researchers, sociologists and computer science. Although similar projects studying political communication have been undertaken by institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (2015) or Harvard University’s Berkman Center (2008, 2009, 2012), this is the first time such a project will be undertaken within a Turkish context.

Algorithmic Software Culture: Capturing, Theorizing and Regulating Social Media

(Project Coordinators (BİLGİ): Ivo Ozan Furman & Ece Elbeyi, Danish Agency of Science and Higher Education, budget 177.417 TRY)


This research network focuses on the societal impact of social media services, as recent instances of fake news, data manipulation and extensive production of user generated content and their effect on democracy, culture and politics. To do that, the research network evokes the notion of algorithmic software culture, which puts focus on how social media’s interfaces and algorithms condition citizens’ interactions and build certain pre-determined social constructions. We aim to scrutinize the contractual agreements which these services make with citizens, and how these relate to EU regulation and the regulation of three nation states: Israel, Turkey and Denmark. The regulatory frameworks that reach special attention are audiovisual media services, telecommunications, data protection and e-commerce. The network is funded by the Danish Agency of Science and Higher Education.

The Role of Music in Persuasion: A Functional Evolutionary Approach

(Project Coordinator: Kaan Varnalı, TÜBİTAK 115R325, budget 25.650 TRY)

Adopting an evolutionary approach, the research examines the role of musical reactivity as a personality trait on the effectiveness of social proof heuristic used in marketing messages. The main argument of the present research stems from a nomological network of cumulative evidence suggesting that human musical reactivity and social proof heuristic might be serving the same evolutionary adaptive problem, thus have the same adaptive utility. An experimental study was designed to test the research hypotheses. In line with the theoretical model, social proof appeals were more persuasive for individuals with high musical reactivity when compared to low musical reactivity in terms of behavioral intentions.

European Media Cloud Campus

(Project Coordinator (BİLGİ): Aylin Dağsalgüler, EU Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership, DAAD Grant Agreement No. 2014-1-DE01-KA203-000614, 2014-2017, budget 209.240 Euros)

There are ongoing and even disruptive changes in the media industry. Young media professionals are facing a volatile professional environment with new ways of multiplatform content production. Thus, enhanced competences in digital production workflows are essential for their employability. Digitalization also offers a lot of opportunities to collaborate remotely and across borders in a creative and efficient way. Therefore, the main goal of our strategic partnership is to build up the European Media Cloud Campus (EMC2). We want to establish a digital, completely cloud‐based content production and learning environment that all the partners could use to produce different kinds of content.