Global Members

Global Members

Membership with the TikTok Cultures Research Network is open to scholars from all backgrounds and at all career stages around the world. Members receive occasional but priority invitations to CfPs, events, collaborative grants, and networking opportunities. Updates on their TikTok scholarship are also hosted on our portal.

If you are interested in joining the TikTok Cultures Research Network we invite you to submit an expression of interest via our online form available here.



Banu Akdenizli

Banu Akdenizli is an Associate Professor of Communications at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) where she teaches courses in digital and mobile media. Prior to joining NU-Q, Akdenizli was an associate professor in the School of Communication.at Yeditepe University in Turkey. She has also worked as an analyst and index methodologist with the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in Washington D.C. She received her Ph.D. in mass media and communication from Temple University, and earned her MA (in translation and interpretation studies) and BA (in sociology) from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. Akdenizli is the 2016-2018 University of Southern California (USC) Center for Public Diplomacy Fellow. Her areas of interest and research include international communication, political communication, public diplomacy, media in the Middle East and Turkey. Akdenizli tweets at @banuakdenizli


Tommaso Barbetta

Tommaso Barbetta is a film director and Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies at the University of Tokyo. His research explores the influence of social media platform design and the impact of regional legacy media industries on online content creation in Japan. Tommaso tweets at @tomato_domo



Juan Bermúdez

Juan Bermúdez, is a Mexican ethnomusicologist. He studied music at the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas (Mexico), as well ethnomusicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz (Austria), where he also participated in various research projects. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate on ethnomusicology (Project: Virtual Musical.ly(ties): Identities, Performances & Meanings in a Mobile Application. An Ethnomusicological Approach to TikToks Musicking) and uni:docs Fellow at the University of Vienna. His current research focuses on the relationship between music, identity, spatiality and multimediality, and performance in TikToks musicking.


Alexandra Cotoc

Alexandra Cotoc (Ph.D., Babeș-Bolyai University, 2013) is a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at the Faculty of Letters, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. In 2012, she was a visiting researcher at the University of Vienna, Austria. She was a member of the ClipFlair project (Foreign Language Learning through Interactive Revoicing and Captioning of Clips), Barcelona, Spain (2011-2014). She is an alumna of the European Summer School in Digital Humanities Leipzig, Germany. Her scientific fields of interest are Internet Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Discourse Analysis, New Media Studies, Online Identity, English for Academic Purposes and Digital Humanities. Selected publications include the book Language and Identity in Cyberspace. A Multidisciplinary Approach (2017) and several articles on the subject mentioned. Alexandra tweets at @alexandracotoc



Michael Dezuanni

Michael Dezuanni is a professor of Media and Communication at Queensland University of Technology. He undertakes research about digital media, literacies and learning in home, school and community contexts. He is the Program Leader for Digital Inclusion and Participation for Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre and is a chief investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. Michael has been a chief investigator on six ARC Linkage projects with a focus on digital literacy and learning at school, the use of digital games in the classroom, digital inclusion in regional and rural Australia and in low income families, and the use of screen content in formal and informal learning. He is the author of ‘Peer Pedagogies on Digital Platforms – Learning with Minecraft Let’s Play videos‘ (MIT Press 2020). Michael is currently investigating how teens undertake forms of peer pedagogies about books and reading via the BookTok hashtag.



Tom Divon

Tom Divon is a Social Media and Culture researcher and a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Journalism and Communication at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. Divon’s research focuses on the sociology of social media platforms, social-political youth cultures on social media, and their potential for education processes. Divon’s uses a qualitative approach for multimodal examination of TikTok cultures in three key areas: TikTokers engagements with Holocaust Commemoration and Education, TikTokers Performative Combat in Antisemitism, and TikTokers Memetic Participation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The overall goal of Divon’s research is to enable visibility for TikTok’s educational potentials among its users. Tom tweets @TomDivon



Nicholas-Brie Guarriello

Nicholas-Brie Guarriello (they/them; she/her) received their Ph.D. in Feminist Studies with a concentration in Communications from the University of Minnesota. They are a critical media studies scholar and digital ethnographer focusing specifically on gaming and livestreaming cultures, relationality, online labor, and platform politicization. They are also a moderator for several Discord variety gaming and private gaming servers. One of their favorite non-academic hobbies is never losing at Monopoly. Nicholas-Brie tweets at @BriePhD



Guanqin He

Guanqin He is a PhD student at Institute of Cultural Inquiry ICON, Department of Media and Culture, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She is current conducting a research focusing on Chinese housewives on the platform Douyin, aiming to explore how Chinese housewives negotiate motherhood, subjugation, family roles and gender relations in the form of mediated (self-)representation. Her research interests are more about gender, migration and mobility issues on digital media. Guanqin tweets at @guanqinstellahe.



Saffron Hefta-Gaub

Saffron Hefta-Gaub is a Film and Media Studies student at Smith College (Class of 2022). A scholar, maker, and fan, her interests include fan studies, TTRPG actual-play shows, community building online, screenwriting for television, and queer studies. Once, audio she reposted to TikTok, which she intended to use for cosplay, accidentally went viral with 2.5 million views. She is working on a Monsterhearts 2 actual-play podcast with her production company Midnight Ceremonies Media, set to be released in Fall 2021. Saffron tweets at @GaubHefta



Julin Huang

Julin Huang is a PhD candidate in Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on representations of rurality on two popular Chinese short-video platforms, Douyin and Kuaishou, that are produced by social media influencers, with a particular focus on commodification. She is also interested in influencer cultures, teens cultures and LGBTQIA+ experiences on TikTok. Julin tweets at @julin_huang.


Zoe Hurley

Zoe Hurley (PhD) is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Communications and Media Sciences at Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She earned her PhD from Lancaster University, United Kingdom. Her thesis developed novel feminist semiotic enquiry to explore issues of Arab women’s social media empowerment. Her current research explores visual social media and the postdigital condition. Zoe has published articles in Social Media + Society; Postdigital Science and Education; and Visual Communication, as well as authoring blogs, commentaries and book chapters on social media. Zoe teaches undergraduate courses in social media and new media writing.


Yena Kang

Yena Kang is a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research interest focuses on digital culture, social movements, and critical platform studies that intersect with race and gender. She is currently examining interracial solidarity and tension manifested on a variety of social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok.


Yiğit Bahadır Kaya

Yiğit Bahadır Kaya is a researcher and Ph.D. candidate of Gender and Women’s Studies at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. He has a background in Communication Studies and New Media studies, completing related degrees in his B.A and M.A studies. He has been involved in many academic projects as a researcher and research assistant. His research interests include social media, youth studies, cultural studies, and gender. Yiğit tweets at @mrzerzevat


Sarah Livant

Sarah Livant is a graduate student at the University of Georgia in the Masters of Art Education program. Her research focuses on the intersections of teenage TikTok use and secondary art education. She received her bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College and has worked as a technical director, stage manager, and data specialist for arts-related databases.


Ignatius T. Mabasa

Ignatius T. Mabasa is a storyteller and author who teaches journalism and media at the University of Zimbabwe, Harare. As a content creator, he is interested in how media and culture influence each other. His doctoral research is an autoethnography on Shona storytelling and its transformation from 1890 when Zimbabwe was colonised by the British. Ignatius mainly writes in his mother tongue Shona and is a decoloniality advocate. In 2010, his children’s story The Market Superman won a South African writing competition. In 2017 his animated folktale Chipo neChipopayi won Best Short Film award at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival..


Kenna MacTavish

Kenna MacTavish is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the University of Melbourne. Her research explores the post-digital affordances of platforms, books, and genre systems within contemporary book culture. She is the author of a chapter on #bookstagram in Post-Digital Book Cultures: Australian Perspectives (2021, Monash UP) and a forthcoming chapter on Melbourne bookstores’ use of UGC platforms during COVID-19 in Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic (2022, Palgrave). Kenna tweets at @kactavish


Siti Mazidah Mohamad

Siti Mazidah Mohamad is an Assistant Professor at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. She graduated from Durham University (PhD in Human Geography) in 2015. She is a geographer researching youth’s mobilities, everyday socio-spatial practices, engagements and realities reflected through various new social media platforms. Her main research interest lies at the intersection of geographies of young people, geographies of digital media and popular culture, and geographies of religion. Within this research area, she has studied: mediated Muslim cosmopolitanism; Bruneian youth self-disclosure on social media and online privacy; micro-celebrities influence on Muslim women’s hijab practices; Muslim influencers culture and youth mobilities; and young Muslims performance of religiosity on social media. She tweets at @smazmohamad


Gene Pinter

Gene Pinter is a PhD candidate in the School of Sociology at the Australian National University, Canberra. In 2020, they received first class Honours for their thesis, ‘ThemTech: Digital Menstrual Tracking Practices Among Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Diverse Users’. Their current work, situated at the intersection of queer theory and sociotechnical studies, investigates the social semiotics of new and emerging non-binary and gender diverse communities on TikTok. Gene tweets at @sociologene


Naomi Robinson

Naomi Robinson is an avid writer and researcher interested in online sociality. With degrees in Arts, Psychology, Anthropology and Communications, Naomi has conducted studies using ethnographic, practise-led, and digital methods. Key research includes the examination of publics and performances on the live-streaming website Twitch.tv for a Master of Philosophy, and an investigation of storytelling, myths, and meaning-making in television and popular culture during a Master of Creative Industries. Currently, Naomi’s research is concerned with social media, narratives, influencers, parasocial relationships, and activism.


Krysten Stein

Krysten Stein (she/her/hers) is a first-generation, interdisciplinary Ph.D. student studying Communication and Media Studies with concentrations in Gender and Women’s Studies and Black Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research investigates how popular culture is intertwined with systems of power and systematically excluded populations. Rooted in critical/cultural studies, her writing and research focuses on cultural production, representation, media industries, and political economy. Stein tweets at @stein_krysten


Rafaela Tabasnik

Rafaela Tabasnik is a MA Candidate Communication Sciences from Unisinos University (Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos) in Brazil where she is supported by a CAPES Scholarship. She has a BA in Digital Communication from Unisinos (2020) and is a member of CULTPOP – Research Lab on Pop Culture, Communication and Technologies. Her main research interests are: cancel culture, performances, identities, fan culture and influencers. She’s also a social media analyst and has experience working as a Community Manager.


Hoimawati Talukdar

Hoimawati Talukdar is pursuing her doctoral programme at Gauhati University. She has a dual master’s degree and her field of expertise are media studies, development studies and child rights..  


Yiting Wang

Yiting Wang teaches and conducts research in an interdisciplinary PhD program (Communication and Information Sciences) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She received her communication degrees from the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts in Beijing. Her research interests cover visual communication (focusing on short-video analysis), self-presentation in everyday life, performance and social media. Yiting explores how people appropriate visual media for vernacular activities on TikTok. Her latest award-winning paper uses multimodal analysis to analyze TikTok videos, applying a performative and theatrical framework. Yiting tweets at @YiTing_UHM.


Estu Putri Wilujeng

Estu Putri Wilujeng is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social and Political Science, Universitas Indonesia. Her main key areas are social movement and social change, especially labor movement, also communication, information technology, and media sociology (CITAMS). She also likes to study platform economy and urban development. Future studies also have fascinated her even though not her main focus. She currently uses qualitative research analysis, social network analysis, ethnography, survey, and a small amount of comparative historical analysis to do research. Her main themes on TikTok research are a social movement and science communication


Gene Lim Jing Yi

Gene Lim Jing Yi (Ph.D.) is lecturing at Graphic Communication Design Department, School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia. She has conducted various research on new media literacy and youth digital competency. She is currently working on several projects which include digital competency among young people as well as productive media practices. Her research interests include digital competency, media and social studies as well as visual communication design.


Rocío Zamora-Medina

Rocío Zamora-Medina (Ph.D) is currently Associate Professor at the University of Murcia (Spain). She is a lecturer (Communication Theories and also Campaigning Online) and researcher in political communication with particular interests in digital campaigns innovations and new scenarios for digital political communication. Most recent publications include case studies on how political parties and candidates in Spain use social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Tik-Tok) for their strategic communication. Actually she is an active member of EU COST Action 18230 INDCOR Interactive Narrative Design for Complexity Representations. She is actually visiting fellow at Centre for Comparative Politics and Media Research at University of Bournemouth (UK). Zamora is author and co-author of five books, two dozen book chapters, as well as more than 60 articles published in international journals with relevant contributions attending to international conferences. She tweets at @rzamoramedina


Dorcas Zuvalinyenga

Dorcas Zuvalinyenga was recently awarded a PhD in Applied Sociolinguistics from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research interests include multimodal languaging, socio-onomastics, toponymy, linguistic landscapes, language and gender, critical discourse analysis, language and identity, literary and cultural studies, and intercultural communication. Zuvalinyenga tweets @Dr_S_hero

This page was last updated: 25 October 2021