Media and communications historian Chris Wilson is a Research Fellow with the RMIT Centre for Urban Research and Associate Member of the RMIT Centre for Communication, Politics and Culture. His expertise is in examining the historical and contemporary nature of communication infrastructure provision, its underlying social, technological, economic and governmental determinants, and downstream impact on cultural production and innovation.
Chris is currently involved in 6 research projects:
Public Wi-Fi as Urban Infrastructure - the Australian Case
- ARC Discovery Project DP150102818
- Dr Ian McShane, Dr Mark Gregory, Dr Prateek Goorha, Prof Catherine Middleton (Ryerson University)
This research positions publicly provided Wi-Fi as a type of urban and civic infrastructure and asks whether there is a sound case for local government investment in public Wi-Fi networks.
In line with international trends, Australian local government authorities (LGAs) advance a range of public good and market failure arguments for their investment in Wi-Fi. But there has been no detailed research on the provision, use and impact of public Wi-Fi as a new form of civic or urban infrastructure. This means the case for LGA investment in an area that has so far been the domain of the private sector has yet to be clarified or tested. This has important consequences, not only for municipal services and budgets, but also for local-level private and social enterprise, and for national policy formation in areas such as broadband and spectrum allocation. This project aims to fill this knowledge gap by critically examining and evaluating the provision, use and impact of public Wi-Fi networks funded by LGAs in Australia.
The Wireless City - What is the role of government in public Wi-Fi provision?
- RMIT Global Cities Research Institute
- Dr Ian McShane, Prof Jason Potts, Dr Mark Gregory, Em Prof Margaret Jackson, Prof Catherine Middleton (Ryerson University), Prof Hasan Bakhshi (NESTA)
Ubiquitous connectivity through mobile devices is reshaping the social life, economic activity and governance of cities. A new surge of government investment in public Wi-Fi infrastructure is occurring within a telecommunications environment underpinned by market liberal principles. This research explores the role and function of government in the provision of infrastructure for the wireless city by documenting and analysing the processes through which the Victorian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) public Wi-Fi trials for Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo were conceived, negotiated, publicised and implemented.
Practicing safe public Wi-Fi: assessing and managing data security and legal risks
- auDA Foundation
- Dr Ian McShane, Dr Mark Gregory, Dr Chris K Wilson
A recent surge of investment by Australian state and municipal governments has seen public Wi-Fi emerge as a civic as well as commercial concern. While Public Wi-Fi is becoming a key component of Australia’s communication ecology, we know little about how consumers use these networks, their understanding of the technology, and expectations of service providers. We also know little about how providers determine their obligations to consumers, particularly since Wi-Fi operates outside regulated spectrum. An issue requiring urgent attention is how consumers and providers are managing the data security and legal risks of public Wi-Fi. Recent studies such as that by the Attorney General suggest Australians are concerned about online privacy and identity theft risks, but do not examine whether consumers appreciate the type and level of threat posed by different network access technologies and whether they alter their online activity accordingly.
This research will address this issue, generating public data toinform awareness campaigns and provide a baseline for future studies.
Public Wi-Fi in APEC Economies
- Global Cities Research Institute, The Australian APEC Study Centre
- Dr Ian McShane, Dr Mark Gregory, Prof Jason Potts
This research project aims to document and analyse the provision of urban public Wi-Fi networks in APEC member economies; and provide a comparative analysis of policy rationales, regulatory approaches, business models and outcomes of public Wi-Fi investment
Current comparative research on public Wi-Fi provision and use is patchy. This research project will help to fill an existing knowledge gap, and contribute to the APEC Urban Infrastructure Network agenda, by undertaking a comparative study of policy rationales, regulatory approaches, business models and outcomes of public Wi-Fi deployment in APEC member economies.
Governing for Innovation: Australian radio spectrum liberalisation in the 1990s
- Dr Chris K Wilson
In 1992 the Australian federal government passed the Broadcasting Services Act, replacing an outdated legislative framework that had controlled access to, and use of, broadcasting services bands since the introduction of television in 1956. The new legislation was designed to liberalise access to spectrum with the aim of facilitating the expansion and diversification of television and radio services. To identify capacity and demand for new services the Act directed the regulator, Australian Broadcasting Authority, to conduct a nationwide spectrum review. When this process was complete in the mid-2000s an array of new radio services had been added to each of Australia’s commercial, public-service and community broadcasting sectors. This outcome may rightfully be celebrated as a mark of the Act’s successful implementation, but doing so masks the impact the legislation and spectrum review had in delivering an even greater number and diversity of radio services through the 1990s and a range of innovations in cultural practice that extend beyond radio broadcasting.
This research examines how the spectrum review process conducted under the Broadcasting Services Act not only revealed capacity and demand for new services, but created the conditions for innovation. The review facilitated the formation of hundreds of organisations that conducted test broadcasts in preparation to compete for a limited number of permanent community broadcasting licences to be made available following the review and had a significant impact on the cultural landscape beyond broadcasting.
Opportunity Spaces - Shared School Facilities
- ARC Linkage Project LP110200550 in association with the Victorian Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development
- Dr Ian McShane, Prof Denise Meredyth (University of South Australia), Assoc Prof Jerry Watkins (University of Canberra)
In Australia and internationally, there is increasing interest in making more effective use of schools as community hubs. Investment in shared school facilities aims to engage parents and local communities in schooling, to coordinate educational and community services, and to encourage civic participation.
Scholarly book chapters
McShane, I., Wilson, CK. & Meredyth, D. (2015, Forthcoming). Digital Interventions in Declining Regions. In E. Ardevol, S. Pink, & D. Lanzeni (Eds.) Digital Materialities: Anthropology and Design. London: Bloomsbury.
Wilson, CK. & Podkalicka, A. (2014). Limelight Department (Salvation Army film unit). In B. Griffen-Foley (Ed.),A Companion to the Australian Media. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishers.
Refereed journal articles
Wilson, CK. (2015, Forthcoming). Too Many Grooves: Radio's Reconnection with Youth in the 2000s, Media International Australia (157).
Podkalicka, A. & Wilson, CK. (2015, Forthcoming). Engaging youth in a professional media production community of practice: opportunities and tensions in intervening in the social through the creative industries.International Journal of Learning and Media.
McShane, I., Wilson, CK. & Meredyth, D. (2014). Broadband as Civic Infrastructure – the Australian Case,Media International Australia (151).
Wilson, CK. (2013). Youth, Radio and Australian Popular Music Policy. Perfect Beat: The Pacific Journal of Research into Contemporary Music and Popular Culture, 14(2),100-119.
Wilson, CK., Hutchinson, J., & Shea, P. (2010). Public service broadcasting, creative industries, and innovation infrastructure: the case of ABC's Pool. Australian Journal of Communication, 37(3),15-32.
Wilson, CK. (2015, forthcoming) Ravers, Muslims, Cowboys and Christians: Tuning-in to the diversity of Australian radio services of the 1990s, Australian Media Traditions, Canberra, 3-4 December 2015.
Wilson, CK. (2015, forthcoming) Facilitating innovation: temporary community broadcasting (invited paper), The social impact of Community Media, Academic stream - Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Conference, Terrigal, NSW, 12-15 November 2015.
Wilson, CK. (2015, forthcoming) Governing for Innovation: Australian radio spectrum liberalisation in the 1990s, Radio Research Conference 2015, Madrid, Spain, 28-30 October 2015, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
Hutchinson, J. & Wilson, CK. (2015) Behind the Seens: The less visible agents of Public Service Media (Panel), Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, Queenstown, NZ, 8-10 July 2015.
Wilson, CK. & McShane, I. (2015) Wireless citizens and the wireless city: Public wi-fi as renewed public investment in communication infrastructure, Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, Queenstown, NZ, 8-10 July 2015.
Wilson, CK. (2015) From wireless to subterranean wires: governing the invisible transmission infrastructures of public service media, Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, Queenstown, NZ, 8-10 July 2015.
Wilson, CK. (2015) Governing for Innovation: Australian radio spectrum liberalisation in the 1990s and the proliferation of new cultural outlets in and beyond broadcasting, Swinburne Institute for Social Research Seminar Series, Swinburne University, Melbourne.
Wilson, CK. & Hutchinson, J. (2014) From experiment to extinction… PSM innovation and the boundaries of market and public value: the contrasting pathways of the ABCs Double J and ABC Pool, Paper presented at RIPE, Tokyo.
Wilson, CK. (2013) Too Many Grooves: Radio's Reconnection with Youth in the 2000s, Paper presented at the Australian Media Traditions, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Wilson, CK. (2012). Youth, radio and Australian popular music policy. Paper presented at the Policy Notes: Popular Music, Industry and the State conference, Melbourne. CK Wilson: Research Fellow – RMIT Centre for Urban Research Research Projects & Publications P|4
Tebbutt, J., & Wilson, CK. (2012). Public Service Broadcasting as the Infrastructure for Social and Industrial Transformations. Paper presented at the Vietnam Digital Design and Creative Industries Forum, RMIT HCMC, Vietnam.
McShane, I. & Wilson, CK. (2014). Customers to provide the hotspots in Telstra’s new Wi-Fi plan (Commentary). The Conversation, 9 October.
McShane, I. & Wilson, CK. (2014). Making better use of school facilities – what are the issues? (Commentary).Australian Policy Online, 26 May.
Wilson, CK. (2013). Review: Rossman, G - Climbing the Charts: What Radio Airplay Tells Us About the Diffusion of Innovation. Media International Australia (148).
Podkalicka, A., Meredyth, D., MacKenzie, D., Rennie, E., Staley, J., Thomas, J. & Wilson, CK. (2013).Youthworx: Youth Media and Social Enterprise as Intervention and Innovation. ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation. Melbourne.
Wilson, CK. (2013). Review: Taylor, TD, Katz, M & Grajeda, T - Music, sound, and technology in America: a documentary history of early phonograph, cinema, and radio. Media International Australia (147).
Podkalicka, A. & Wilson, CK. (2012). Digital Connectors Survey Topline Data Analysis, One Economy Corporation. Melbourne: CCI.
Wilson, CK. (2012). Review: Hendricks, JA - The Palgrave Handbook of Global Radio. Media International Australia (145). CK Wilson: Research Fellow – RMIT Centre for Urban Research Research Projects & Publications P|5
- PhD (Swinburne University)
- Grad Dip Education (University of Melbourne)
- BA (Hons) Geography (University of Melbourne)
- McShane, I.,Wilson, C. (2018). Public wi-fi in Australian cities: are there lessons for 'smart city' government? In: State of Australian Cities National Conference 2017, Adelaide, 28 - 30 November 2017
- McShane, I.,Wilson, C. (2017). Beyond the School Fence: Rethinking Urban Schools in the Twenty-first Century In: Urban Policy and Research, 35, 472 - 485
- Thomas, J.,Barraket, J.,Wilson, C.,Ewing, S.,MacDonald, T.,Tucker, J.,Rennie, E. (2017). Measuring Australia's Digital Divide: The Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2017 In: Telstra Melbourne, Australia
- McShane, I.,Wilson, C.,Meredyth, D. (2016). Digital interventions in declining regions In: Digital Materialities: Anthropology and Design, Bloomsbury Academic, Australia
- McShane, I.,Gregory, M.,Wilson, C. (2016). Practicing Safe Public Wi-Fi: Assessing and Managing Data-Security Risks In: AUDA Foundation Melbourne, Australia
- Wilson, C. (2015). Too many grooves: Radio's reconnection with youth in the 2000s In: Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture and Policy, 157, 153 - 167
- Wilson, C.,McShane, I.,Meredyth, D. (2015). Regional innovation and public wi-fi In: Proceedings of the SOAC 7 - State of Australian Cities Conference (SOAC 2015), Gold Coast, Australia, 9-11 December 2015
- McShane, I.,Wilson, C.,Meredyth, D. (2014). Broadband as Civic Infrastructure: The Australian Case In: Broadband Futures: Content, Connectivity and Control, 151, 127 - 136
- Wilson, C. (2013). Youth, radio and Australian popular music policy In: Perfect Beat, 14, 100 - 119
- Podkalicka, A.,Meredyth, D.,MacKenzie, D.,Rennie, E.,Staley, J.,Thomas, J.,Wilson, C. (2013). Youthworx media: youth media and social enterprise as intervention and innovation In: Australian Research Council Melbourne, Australia