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Overseas Institutional Visit (OIV): Iliana Depounti

Iliana is on the Communication and Media Pathway at Loughborough University. Her research topic is: “Commercial AI chatbots and mental health self-care: An ethnography of contemporary AI companionship”. From April to July 2023 she undertook an Overseas Institutional Visit (OIV) to the University of Turin, Italy.

The main scope of the visit for Iliana was to work more closely with her external supervisor, as they have many common research interests which are not fully explored in the context of her PhD project. They planned and created a call for papers for a special issue in New Media and Society. Please follow the link to learn more: https://ispr.info/2023/06/29/call-decoding-artificial-sociality-technologies-dynamics-implications-issue-of-new-media-and-society/. As a result, Iliana is now a Special Editor for the highest ranked journal in Communication.

Iliana was also had the opportunity to present her work at the Nexa Center for Internet & Society at the Politechnico di Torino. There, she enjoyed a very lively discussion with the audience about her research and the paper she presented. She had the opportunity to network with three different academics based in the University of Turin. She met with all of them individually and discussed common research interests, the progress of her PhD and opportunities for the future.

Iliana comments:

“I strongly believe that the visit has had a positive impact on my PhD research because it was a multi-dimensional experience that has helped me rethink my approach to research and made me aware of new ways of working and collaborating. I was hoping it would be an experience that makes me more open to new concepts and ideas to increase the interdisciplinarity of my project and this was achieved. At the same time, I had to get out of my comfort zone to network with professors from a different culture and language. It was a highly rewarding experience and I’m glad I did it. I’m confident that I can ask for advice and feedback from them in the future too since they were also very generous with their advice and time. Simone was the perfect academic host because he shared with me his professional contacts while also providing advice for my academic career in the future, especially for potential post-doc opportunities in the UK and Europe since I’m now entering year 3.”

Fri 11 Aug 2023, 11:41

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