The Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication was one of AUT's first research centres. Originally founded as the Centre for Communication Research, it was led by Professor Allan Bell - Professor of Language and Communication and now an Emeritus Professor at AUT - for 16 years.
Long-term staff in the institute during its lifetime included: Dr Philippa Smith, Research Manager and Deputy Director; Dr Andy Gibson, Research Officer and Editorial Manager; Trish Brothers, Editorial Assistant; Kristie Elphick, Administrator; Dr Jennie Billot, Deputy Director.
Between 2007 and 2015 the Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication surveyed New Zealand as part of the World Internet Project – a cross-country comparison of people’s internet use.
In conducting this survey every two years between 2007 and 2015 – and adding new common questions agreed to by all the international partners as the technology developed – the institute tracked trends in how online behaviour changed over the years.
In 2017 the World Internet Project in NZ shifted to the AUT New Zealand Work Research Institute. Visit the new project home
The Pasifika Languages of Manukau Project investigated the use of, and attitudes to, the four main Pasifika languages in Manukau — Tongan, Samoan, Niuean and Cook Island Māori — with the intention of contributing to their maintenance.
The project was supported principally by a grant from the Marsden Fund and also by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, The University of Auckland and Manukau Institute of Technology. The four languages were researched through interviews using a 27-page questionnaire.
While the project showed that the Pasifika languages were in a relatively healthy condition, there was a clear trend pointing to a shift away from the community language and towards English.
The Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication in 2003 conducted a comprehensive investigation into violence on New Zealand television.
Commissioned by the ministerial Working Group on Television Violence, the Television Violence Project involved three aspects: an extensive literature review, content analysis and policy survey.
The finished report Television Violence in New Zealand – A study of programming and policy in international context, along with the working party recommendations was made public in 2004.
Working Papers in Communication provided an opportunity for "working" papers or communication research in progress to be published. The journal welcomed submission for full publication online from those engaged in fields related to communication research. Papers then underwent peer review. The last run of working papers was in 2010.
The Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication hosted a number of conferences of international interest, bringing together academics and students from various institutions to share their ideas and research findings.
The institute was responsible for setting up New Zealand's first international discourse conference, NZDC, hosting it at AUT every two years between 2007 and 2015. It attracted delegates from across the globe with an impressive array of plenary speakers who also conducted workshops. Speakers included: Professors Teun van Dijk, Ruth Wodak, Theo van Leeuwen, Adam Jaworski, Allan Bell, Bob Hodge, Margaret Wetherell, Alison Lee, Cindy Gallois, David Grant, Monica Heller, Rick Iedema, Cynthia Hardy and Sigrid Norris.