Communication Studies

Melissa Brough

Melissa Brough
Communication Technologies, Participation, and Social Change
Office location:
MZ 356


Dr. Melissa Brough’s work focuses on the relationships between digital communication, participation and social change. Much of her work considers the role of communication technology in the cultural and political lives of youth from historically disenfranchised groups. Her teaching emphasizes critical, cross-cultural, and historical perspectives on communication and media technologies as they relate to questions of social justice.

Dr. Brough’s interest in these areas was sparked by time she spent with an indigenous video project in Chiapas, Mexico, as well as her experiences as a youth media producer, activist, and professional media producer. She has since worked in Medellín, Colombia researching youth movements, digital culture, and community media; in Kenya and Tanzania working with refugees as Program Officer for FilmAid International; and in South Africa as an evaluator of a participatory video program for marginalized youth. She was a founding member of Voces Móviles (Mobile Voices), a cell-phone based, digital storytelling platform created with and for low-wage immigrant communities in Los Angeles. This collaboration fueled her interest in community-based and participatory research and design.

Dr. Brough’s research draws on a variety of research methods including ethnographic and participatory approaches.Her dissertation on youth participation and digital communication in Medellín, Colombia was supported by a Fulbright grant and received top dissertation awards from the International and National Communication Associations. She has published peer-reviewed articles on digital media and social movements, human rights and youth activism, digital citizenship, and participatory design, in journals including the International Journal of Communication and Transformative Works and Cultures, and in collections published by NYU Press and Johns Hopkins.

Prior to joining CSUN, Dr. Brough was a postdoctoral researcher for the Connected Learning Research Network at the Digital Media and Learning Hub, directed by Mizuko (Mimi) Ito, where she studied the relationships between parenting, digital media use, and interest-driven learning among youth in low-income families. She completed her PhD (2014) in Communication at the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California and received her BA from Brown University.