Collaboration and discussion is an important part of learning that can be hard to find outside traditional institutional environments. Researching topics for projects requires being exposed to ideas or sources that may be outside your current sphere of knowledge. Both of these elements are important to learning but aren’t available to everyone due to geographical or economic limitations.

image of piles of books from wikimedia commons

Thankfully, we have the internet and can discuss our topics of interest with people all over the world. Internet spaces became even more important because of the global pandemic; It’s been a hard year overall to interact socially and find spaces for creative exchange.

Although social media allows us to easily share our work, it mainly seeks to distract us. Instagram can start discussions and twitter can facilitate conversations, but those spaces aren’t really organized for strangers to discuss specific topics. For those of us that grew up using internet forums, for better or worse, the 2021 equivalent is discord servers.

image of computing center from US government

Since discord servers can’t just be found in a Google search, in this article, I’m featuring three discord servers that you can join today for research outside formal institutions, creative inspiration, or collaborative discussion. The topics of these servers center around design, technology, and internet culture. My goal is that you, the creatives in our larger virtualgoodsdealer community, will be able to find people to learn and collaborate with.

The following summaries include self written descriptions and goals of each discord server’s creator(s). The server invite links are posted here with permission from their moderators.

CARI: Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute

by Froyo Tam and Evan Collins

“A group focused on the research and analysis of zeitgeists of consumer design. Our goal is to create a contemporary lexicon on postmodern design since 1970s to the present.”

In addition to the numerous channels for categorizing aesthetic references by period and motifs, CARI has channels for discussing retro tech, fashion, and sharing original work. Learn more about CARI, their research, and how you can contribute to and use their archive on their website or discord server.

discord invite

Lightshine Chamber

“Lightshine chamber is a community for the creation, discovery, and discussion of open knowledge.”

Our Tenets

  1. Knowledge must be accessible and easy to access.
  2. Knowledge is a privilege.
  3. Knowledge means nothing without context.

The Lightshine Chamber contains both general channels for discussion and sharing and more specialized channels on topics such as surveillance, memetics, and anime. Resources that are posted in the discord server are organized in a shared group for easy reference. Learn more about the tenets of Lightshine Chamber, their server events, and their archive of resources by joining the discord server.

discord invite

Meme Studies Research Network

by Idil Galip

“The Meme Studies Research Network is an international and interdisciplinary research network for scholars who study memes. It aims to bring people together and foster discussion about memes from various academic fields, methodological practices and theoretical standpoints. The main goal of the network is to collaboratively establish a meme studies canon, and offer researchers an index of resources that center memes as their main object of interest.”

The Meme Studies Research Network discord organizes an index of scholarly works on memes, hosts a reading group, and features talks with media studies scholars. In addition to channels for sharing and discussing memes and other internet media, there is a channel for finding collaborators. Learn more about the Meme Studies Research Network, their index of scholarly works, and how to attend their events on their website or discord server.

discord invite

Thank you to the creators and moderators of these communities! Feel free to learn more about them and support them below. If you are a moderator of a discord community that’s looking for creators or researchers, reach out to me, ada.wrong, below to be featured in a future virtualgoodsdealer article.