Julia Velkova

Julia Velkova

Participant in 2015
Work history My work background spans across the fields of internet policy development, the promotion of free and open source software technologies in the public sector; academic research and work in state cultural institutions in Sweden. In the beginning of the 2000:s I was engaged in several UNDP funded projects on the Balkans related to capacity building and development of e-government based on free and open source software technologies. I worked successively for more than 6 years as project coordinator for the Bulgarian chapter of Internet Society, being responsible for fundraising, and project coordination. As part of this work I drafted projects on addressing issues of data retention in Bulgaria, became part of the formation of Creative Commons Bulgaria and engaged in questions related to Internet Governance.
I have also consulted the government of Kosovo on the procedures for obtaining a country code top level domain name.

Since 2011 I moved to academia and in 2012 – 2013 I was a teaching assistant at the Master Program "Communication for Development", K3 , Malmö University (in courses on Research Methodology; New Media, ICT and Development, and Degree Project).
Since 2012 I am a full time, fully funded Phd student with teaching responsibilities in the Media and Communications Department at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Study history 2012- to present, PhD student in Media and Communication Studies, Södertön University

2011 - Master degree in Communication for Development, Malmö University, Sweden. Thesis title: Wikileaks CableGate and the multi-stakeholder model of Internet Governance (selected among “best-of” MA theses for 2011 at Malmö University)

2007 - Master degree in Philosophy and Culture of the East, University of Sofia, Bulgaria. Thesis title: Agnicayana: Sacral geometry in Ancient India

2005 - Bachelor of Science in Communication Engineering and Technologies, Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria. Thesis title: Web-based system for reliability evaluation

Standalone courses at bachelor level:
2009 - 30 ECTS, Scandinavian Studies: Cultural and Social Perspectives, Gothenburg University

Courses taken at PhD level, each 7,5 ects:
2012 - Introduction to Critical and Cultural Theory
2013 - Knowledge theory: truth, construction and subjectivity
2013 - Methods in Critical and Cultural Theory
2013 - Classical canon of Media theory
2014 - Contemporary debates in media research
2014 - Advanced course in Ethnography as research method

Velkova, Julia (forthcoming): ”Ethnography of Alternative Cultural Production: From Participant Observation to Multi-sited Participatory Communication” in Wildermuth, Norbert & Ngomba, Teke (eds,) Methodologies of Communication for Social Change Research, Palgrave.

Velkova, Julia & Peter Jakobsson (2015): "At the intersection of commons and market: Negotiations
of value in open-sourced cultural production’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 1-27

Velkova, Julia (2009): ”Vocational Training on Open Source Software – Needs Analysis”, Report from research commissioned by Internet Society. Available at http://www.internetsociety.org/vocational-training-open-source-software-%E2%80%93-needs-analysis

van Leeuwen, M., Velkova, J., & Morgado, G. (2008). Training for Open Source: A Need not a Luxury. In P. Cunningham & M. Cunningham (Eds.), Collaboration and the Knowledge Economy: Issues, Applications, Case Studies. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

van Leeuwen, M., Velkova, J., & Özel, B. (2006). How to Avoid the Transformation of Barriers to OSS Adoption in Public Administration into Barriers for Regional Development. In P. Cunningham & M. Cunningham (Eds.), Exploiting the Knowledge Economy: Issues, Applications, Case Studies. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

van Leeuwen, M., Velkova, J., & Özel, B. (2006). "F/OSS in European National Programmes, in Towards Open Source Software Adoption: Educational, Public, Legal, and Usability Practices. Proc. of OSS 2006 tOSSad Workshop. (www.tossad.org)

Velkova, Julia & Peter Jakobsson (2015): ”The Production of Difference and Commensurability Between Regimes of Value in Open Source Cultural Production”, presented at the ICA conference ”Communication Across the Life Span”, Puerto Rico, 21-25 May 2015

Velkova, J. (2014) - Thresholds for participation in open animation production: a critical exploration of some assumptions on peer-production. Conference paper presented at the IR15 Conference, Daegu, Korea, October 2014.

Velkova J. (2014) - Workflows, labour and value in open animation production: an ethnographic study of a distributed animation training creation. Conference paper presented at the Dynamics of Virtual Work conference, Hatfield, UK, September 2014.

Velkova, Julia (2011): ”Search for spiritualism in a land now steeped in materialism” in Deccan Herald, Bangalore.

Phd Projects


Making Free Culture: Making Technology and Visual Media in the Domain of Digital Commons

My project is about the cultural significance of techno-artistic practices centered on building and circulating independent media production infrastructures and content in the domain of digital media commons. It is also an attempt to expand the ways in which media production could be theorized within the field of media and communication studies by adding perspectives and ideas on technology from the domains of Science and Technology Studies (STS), cultural studies, software studies, and philosophy of technology.

Starting with a grounded approach and multi-sited ethnography (Marcus, 1995) I engage empirically with an ethnographic exploration of the largest 3D computer graphics community and animation producers in the domain of commons, that of Blender and Blender Institute at its core in Amsterdam and their latest film production “Gooseberry”; as well as its counterpart from the 2D computer graphics field through the Synfig community and the film production “Morevna” in Southern Siberia, Russia.

By studying the production specifics and the processes of meaning making in these communities and film projects I attempt to address four key questions. The first one relates to the ways in which different types of value are created and negotiated through the production of open-sourced animation films. Specifically, I explore the value of using, developing and distributing free and open source software in open-sourced cultural production – value for the animation film producers, the broader Blender and Synfig communities and generally the domain of visual culture production.
Secondly, I investigate the value and role of exposing the production processes, the labor and artwork created for the broader field of visual culture production. I attempt to complicate the discourse around sharing media as commons by using Baudrillard's work on symbolic production, in particular the idea of the gift as ambiguous, representing positive communication and agonistic confrontation.
Then I address the question of how do the different degrees of taking control over technology relate to the possibilities for media producers to exercise different degrees of creative autonomy, and lastly, how are the practices of production of digital visual media commons organised in relation to participation.

The project aims to move away from earlier conceptualizations of practices of digital media commons, and free and open source software production as ideological or anti-capitalist. I argue instead for a more pragmatic conceptualization, also anchored in the history of computer graphics development.


Dissertation title (provisional) Making Free Culture: Making Technology and Visual Media in the Domain of Digital Commons

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