Vanessa Ciccone

Vanessa Ciccone

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

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Research topic

Inclusivity at digital media organizations: Negotiating ideologies through discourse

Technology companies are increasingly concerned with applying inclusive practices to their workplaces, and to the products and services they build. Taking a psychosocial approach, Vanessa's research asks how inclusion is negotiated at platform-based workplaces among employees themselves, and how this may have bearing on the technologies they work with. Her research asks: what ideologies are negotiated through everyday discourses at digital media workplaces; how are employees navigating the industry at large using an inclusive approach; and, how might at-work discourses lead to deeper understandings around issues concerning equity? Vanessa intends to conduct her research using participant observation at a platform-based technology company, as well as semi-structured interviews. She is interested in hearing from companies that may wish to collaborate. 

Supervisors: Dr Shani Orgad and Dr Seeta Peña Gangadharan


Vanessa previously had a career in corporate communications and public affairs in Canada, in both Toronto and Calgary. During her MA at Ryerson University and York University, a joint program, Vanessa researched the reliability of gender assessments in film, and examined their usefulness in industry and policy contexts. Her research was supported by a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as well as a Ryerson Graduate Fellowship. Vanessa was also a researcher for Ryerson’s Media Innovation Research Lab on projects exploring labour in media industries, and acted as a facilitator at two design thinking events that brought together policymakers, industry professionals and artists to identify solutions to precarious work in the creative and cultural industries. Vanessa previously volunteered as a crisis counsellor in Calgary and Edmonton, as a communications advisor at UN Women National Committee Canada, and as a strategist at PurifAid, a social enterprise targeting the water crisis in rural Bangladesh. 

Vanessa’s PhD research is supported by an LSE Studentship.

Expertise Details

workplace inclusion; employee discourse; gender and discourse; online platforms; creative and cultural industries


  • Zboralska, E., Davis, C., Shtern, J. and Ciccone, V. 2017. “Canada’s Policy of Cultural Diversity Reporting in the Audiovisual Industry: Making Monitoring Meaningful.” Quaderns del CAC 20 (43): 73-85.