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Researcher Spotlight: Adrian Athique

Get to know the people involved in ARCH-India. From senior experts to early career researchers, learn about their careers, what makes them tick, and how they are collaborating.

Adrian Athique is Associate Professor and Program Leader in Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland. For the last 15 years, Adrian has been actively engaged with Indian colleagues in the fields of media, communication, sociology, anthropology, and management. He regularly convenes international research symposiums focused on media and communications in India, and has held four visiting fellowships in Indian universities, and taught courses in India's leading research institutions.

What are you working on right now? 
I have been working for some years on the digital transformation in India, tracing the implications of digital platforms both in everyday life and in the wider economy. Having just concluded a Government of India SPARC project on Platform Economies in India from 2019-2021, I am now commencing a four year Australian Research Council project on Digital Transactions in Asia, which will take the rise of digital payments in India as one of its case studies. I am also working with colleagues in India and Australia as part of a large international project on media concentration in the digital era.

What sparked your interest in your field?
I was always interested in the story of modern India as a boy, from books and from meeting incoming migrants in the area I grew up in. I travelled across the entire country as a very young man, and spent many years at university making proper sense of all that – studying modern Indian history, culture and society.

How are you collaborating with colleagues in India? 
I have worked with some wonderful colleagues in India over many years, collaborating on books, research projects, conferences, teaching and engaging with people doing incredible things in industry. Over the past three years, I have been teaching with IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay, and I am editing a book series for OUP India that is introducing fantastic scholarship on the Indian media. Of course, for the past two years, we have all been burning through the bandwidth on Zoom, and so I am very much looking forward to getting academic exchanges happening again. 

What does successful research collaboration look like? 
Successful collaboration has to be based upon mutual respect, long-term engagement and a willingness to bring new perspectives from both inside and outside India to the table.

Different interests, different expertise, different skills, different takes on life – that is what makes vital partnerships work.

Ultimately, the outcome of successful research is inspiring a new generation to take up those questions and ideas, and to see those efforts make a difference to people’s lives.

What is your favourite place to visit in India/Australia? 
In India, I love the mountains perhaps most of all, and in Australia, the forests. But neither place allows you to choose only one spot – they are too big, too diverse and too beautiful. The magic is in the contrasts. 

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