have you ever thought about,

what makes a sandwich be a sandwich? or, how social media debates shape public imaginaries about the future? or, why some identities are (not) represented within technology design more than others?
I have.
It’s what I like to do—ask questions.
Sometimes these questions are trivial. But most of the time I intend for these questions to unpack something that maybe doesn’t get a lot of thought and by doing so, hopefully uncover a little more about why society is the way it is. If we don’t question the things we take for granted, will we inevitably fail to question the things that ought to be interrogated? See, can’t help myself.

My name is Aleesha. I am a community-focused educator, facilitator, organiser, and researcher.

I create community spaces that champion curiosity, connection, and critical thinking. With over 10 years experience developing expertise in humanities and social science disciplines, my passion is people —why is society the way it is and how do we collectively change it to create a truly equitable and just world for all?

As an educator (lecturer, tutor, and facilitator) I believe that every interaction is an opportunity to co-create knowledge, as we share our lived-experience and collectively building a more holistic understanding of the world. Moreover, I believe that playful, engaging, and experiential learning is the best way to develop creative and critical thinking skills, as well as a mindset that appreciates the complexity of the social, technical, and systemic concerns that we face today and in the future.

At present, I’m finalising my PhD at the Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology.

In my PhD research, I conduct a controversy analysis of Tesla’s (big) battery—the colloquial name for what was, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery—in Australia. Controversies are processes whereby diverse publics destabilise existing knowledge and practices by debating the issues that matter to them. Through this process, old associations (with people, events, and technologies) become entangled with new actors and concerns, which in turn, generates novel relations that shift old knowledge and practices in surprising ways. By employing digital methods, I detect, visualise, and analyse online public debates about Tesla’s (big) battery on social media, and analyse its surprising sociotechnical relations that pertain to Australia’s renewable energy future.

You can watch a 3-minute video about my PhD research here.

My broader research agenda examines public communication on digital platforms to explore how people and technology mutually and dynamically, shape each other. In particular, along with colleagues I have explored how short-video platform TikTok facilitates harmful racialized humour, as well as how TikTok users’ exploit the platform features to (not) provide content attribution, and how users of Reddit make sense of the upvote/downvote feature.

Some of my research has featured in The Conversation, TEDxQUT, and ABC Radio.