The Effect of Smoking Bans on University Students: A reflection.

For our final research report for BCM212 I researched something near and dear to my heart; smoking. I was really interested in this topic, and I felt like the research I found was really beneficial to the cause, and will probably help future efforts in curbing student smoking.

As a reflection, the first thing that I felt was lacking is student engagement. I felt like it was really a struggle to get other students to take my survey, and I don’t really know how this could be fixed in the future. I think that the small sample size of just students in our class was a factor in this, I know it is because of the rules UOW has in place but I feel like it would have been much easier to get data if we had a larger sample size to work with. again I don’t know if this can be fixed, it’s just one of the things I came across. Other than this, I feel like this research project was a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed being encouraged to research something that I am personally interested in. I felt like our tutor was very helpful in regards to choosing a topic, and a method. She also gave use plenty of time to do our focus groups which I think was beneficial. I could say that the room could have been a bit more nicer to conduct discussions in, it was a lecture sized room and it was evident that everybody would have preferred a more informal setting.

I would like to thank the tutors and the coordinator for their efforts, and I hope my report provides some interesting information.


Sophie Abrahams.


Research Proposal: Smoking Culture in University Students and the Smoking Ban

For our first assignment we are asked to create a research proposal in regards to the later assignment, our research project. As I outlined in my last post, I would like to do a project on the smoking culture at UOW and in university students.

As a smoker myself, I have found that I lean on to smoking as a crutch when I am particularly stressed, and almost every day at uni I find myself going out for multiple smoking breaks. Sometimes I have to walk a fair way to get to a designated smoking area, forcing me to calculate how much time I have between classes, if I have time to even finish a cigarette, and if I need it. The answer is almost always yes. download.jpg

Anyone could just say, well, if you don’t want to deal with it, then just quit! But for long time smokers just like myself, this isn’t an option when we’re drowning under the stress of bills, part time work, and full time study. The extra stress just isn’t doable. In my research task, I would like to explore the effects on smoking on uni students, the international smoking community on campus (through means of a proposed poll), the effects of the smoking bans, and overall the general feeling about smoking on campus.
Through my initial research, most of the studies I have found have been on the effects of smoking bans in American campuses, focusing solely on the percentage of smokers who quit and/or cut down as a result. It is evident that these studies are health conscious, but the direction I would like to take with my study is the cultural impact. I feel like this would be an interesting take on smoking, and even further down the line it could help support people who are looking to quit and cut down.

A study done on the smokers at Michigan State University had one interesting outcome; in regards to the smoking ban, when it was implemented the  only favourable outcome was that casual smokers reduced their habits, and some quit (2016). It had no effect on long time smokers, merely forcing them to wait till they were off campus to have a smoke. Therefore, just an inconvenience. On other campuses, there were no fines handed out, but when someone was found to be smoking on campus they were provided with some resources in order to help them to think about quitting. I feel like this is why this is a great area to explore.

I would like to complete my research with a serious of interactive surveys, on campus, and a series of interviews with student. Perhaps I have chosen too broad of a subject, but I could just shorten it to the percentage of casual/heavy smokers on campus, international smokers, and if they feel the smoking ban has affected their ability at uni.

I feel like it would be a great opportunity to hear from the long time smokers of UOW, as surprisingly I could not find much on the internet.


Dimmer, O 2016, More campuses have smoking bans — but do they work?, USA TODAY COLLEGE, weblog post, 6 October, viewed 16 March 2016, <>

Another Year, Another BCM Subject

Hi all, I’m Sophie. This is my third year of Uni and I’m only just starting 200 level subjects, but that is a story that we will not go into here. I’m here to talk about curiosity. Specifically, an experience with curiosity. I searched my brain box to find something to write about today, and I immediately thought about my recent obsession with the Japanese language.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved the Japanese culture and have always wanted to visit myself, but I always thought “No, there is no way I could learn the language. I’ll stick with subtitles.” This semester I decided to challenge myself and enroll in a beginner Japanese class. At 5 hours in class and countless outside of class, it’s not a subject for someone wanting and easy pass, but I immediately loved it. It’s so exciting to learn new words, to discover that yes, you did remember that symbol! It’s an exhilarating high seeing yourself progress, and learning more about the culture at the same time. This is my current obsession, and curiosity has for sure gripped me. That’s all I have to say for now, see you in class.


Week 2: Reality, Augmented.

This week we delved deeper and deeper into the abstract, where we found a plethora of interesting and boundary-pushing artists ripe for exploration. I realized that technology has really made it easy for us to express ourselves if you think about it (albeit its questionable authenticity); whatever you visualize, you can more than likely create it with a few clicks of a button, or you can easily find someone else who’ll do it for you via the web.

I suppose the closest you’ll get to seeing something through the eyes of many different people would be our series of group works inspired by David Hockney’s Cameraworks; a work named brushesreduxphotocollages.

(CAVA101&2, brushesreduxphotocollages, 2017)


                           “It takes time to see these pictures—you can look at them for a long time, they invite that sort of looking. But, more importantly, I realized that this sort of picture came closer to how we actually see, which is to say, not all-at-once but rather in discrete, separate glimpses which we then build up into our continuous experience of the world.” –David Hockney 

This quote from Hockney is the essence of what we tried to replicate in our work. We took pictures with an Ipad via a program called Brushes Redux. We then started to augment the picture by drawing, tracing and coloring over it. After this,we then pieced all the pieces together to view the image as a whole once again. We glimpsed the world around us and then we hoped to share those unique glimpses. This piece is a combined effort of the many different and creative minds that reside in our class, where each one of us put a unique spin on an image we viewed as a whole. We augmented reality through  our own eyes and we created our visions in place of (or mixed with) our perceived surroundings. This idea of personally augmented reality gives dimension and  depth to works, and I feel like the viewing of them is more personal, and thus more memorable.

(Hockney, The Blue Guitar, 1977)

For research tin class I read The Blue Guitar; a collection of etchings by David Hockney, inspired by the words of Wallace Stevens, who was inspired by paintings by Picasso. I felt liken this string of inspiration really resonated with me, because you can see how each piece and each artist affected each other, and with myself I take great inspiration from other artists. This research helped me understand that it’s not a bad thing to be greatly influenced by someone else, and that often it’s actually beneficial.


Reference List:

  1. Hockney, D. (1977). Manhattan Rare Books. [online] Available at: %5BAccessed 20/03/2017]
  2. Cava101&102, 2017, brushesreduxphotocollages, Ipad Image
  3. Hockney, D 2017. The Blue Guitar, book, [Accessed 20/03/2017] <;.


Sol LeWitt; a study in Instructional Art

MEDA102 Assignment 1

Sol LeWitt – Instructional Art – Sophie Abrahams


For this assignment I am going to analyse Sol Lewitt’s “Wall Drawing #1136” (2004) in regards to the instructions and procedure actions it uses, and examine the history of instructional art and how it relates to the topics we have been discussing in our tutorials. Instructional art is the genre of art that is not created by the artist; rather, the artist conjures up a list of instructions to be decoded and executed. The result is a completely unique piece of work, that exhibits the raw interpretations of its’ creator. This analysis will aim to research and explain exactly what instructional art is, provide examples, and link it all back to our core studies in MED102.

Sol LeWitt made his name being a core leader of the conceptual movement, because of his belief of artists as generators of ideas. LeWitt believed that the idea itself can be art, in its purest form (The Art Story 2016). There are 2 main parts to this piece by Sol LeWitt; the instructions, and the execution. The instructions are printed on normal pieces of paper and are signed by Sol LeWitt. They are composed of both a written component and a diagram, posing a code for the decoder to figure out in order to execute the piece. This certificate is to be always with the piece, and is in a format which is consistent with all of Sol LeWitt’s work prior to his death in 2007. This emphasises the importance of the finished artwork to the fundamental meaning of the conceptual idea.

A Wall Divided Vertically into Fifteen Equal Parts, Each with a Different Line Direction and Colour, and All Combinations 1970 by Sol LeWitt 1928-2007

Sol LeWitt, 2004, Wall Drawing #1136, painting, Fraenkel Gallery, California

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Sol LeWitt, 2004, Wall Drawing #1136, image, viewed August 10 2016

The execution of the piece is composed of a mixture of curved and straight lines of colour that is painted onto the surface of a wall using every primary and secondary colour plus grey. This curve is made up of 9 of these lines of colour, interloping each other and snaking along the wall. The same colours appear again as vertical bands that make up the background. There is no area in the piece left empty of colour, and every band is the same width. This piece was first installed in the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, California in September 2004, and was first drawn by Marta Ayala, Sachiko Cho, Matt Dejong, Amanda Eicher, Melissa Levin, Amy Rathbone, Rick Salas and Paul Wackers. The piece is supposed to be a conceptual one, one which can be drawn over and over and still retain the same meaning. The wall drawing is supposed to be inherently collaborative and participatory, which is depicted by the collective way in which it is executed.

The piece directly relates to what we are studying in our tutorials and lectures. I’m going to refer in particular to instructions and procedure actions. In week 3 we explored the use of instructions in art, as we explored the concept of instructions themselves. We also tried our hand at making some of Sol LeWitt’s art ourselves, which helped us to further understand how instructional art works. We created our own flow charts, which gave me a sort of inside look at creating instructional art. The processes that Sol LeWitt became evident when we began the activities, as the problems with conversion and translation became obvious. These issues can become frustrating when someone is trying to explain the piece, but perhaps that is the point of these artworks. The point is that art is interpretable by anyone, despite the intent. Sol LeWitt just used these things to his advantage and enhanced his artworks by using them.

Many other artists have created pieces like these, such as Yoko Ono. In 1962, Yoko Ono did a series of instructional paintings at AG Gallery in New York. The pieces were made up of just blank canvases and instructions. Ono stated in her 1995 book Instruction Paintings, “I was totally excited by the idea and its visual possibilities. To make the point that the instructions were not themselves graphic images, I wanted the instructions to be typed” (Ono 1995). Ono then created a further set of instructional pieces in 1999; Imagine, Yes, Touch, Fly, Breathe, Reach, Forget, Feel, Dream, Open, Remember. These pieces were linen canvases with single words accompanied, to further enhance the experience of instructional paintings. These pieces directly correlate with LeWitt’s work and ideas.

Through the analysis of this specific artist, it is easy to see its influence on modern art. Our studies into instruction and procedure actions have further explored these concepts and has provided me with more ideas on how to execute similar concepts in works of my own. As artists we need to think about the deeper meaning of creative concepts, and how they influence the audiences that come into contact with them.


Reference List:


  1. 2016, Artist Sol LeWitt, The Art Story, viewed 10 August 2016,
  2. Gurney, S 2016, Instruction Pieces, Yoko Ono, viewed 10 August 2016,
  3. Altshuler, B 2015, Art by Instruction and the Pre-History of do it, viewed 10 August 2016,
  4. Straine, S 2010, Wall Drawing #1136, Tate, viewed 10 August 2016,
  5. Sol LeWitt, 2004, Wall Drawing #1136, painting, Fraenkel Gallery, California
  6. Sol LeWitt, 2004, Wall Drawing #1136, image, viewed August 10 2016


Digital Artifact – Bibliography

For our second assignment we are asked to create an annotated bibliography, so without further adieu, here it is!

These are all the sources I have used thus far in my creation of The Lyric Hero, a twitter bot which reply’s to song lyrics and can tell you what song they are from.



GitHub is a web-based Git repository hosting service. It offers a site where programmers can come and share their code for others to use. They codes are open sourced, and it is free to use GitHub, which means it is widely accessible to everyone.

The codes I use from this site are pre-existing twitter bots that others have coded. I chop and change the code myself to get the outcome I want. People also put up tutorials on GitHub, as it is a very effective way to display and convey code.


My second source is a tutorial for making a generic twitter bot. This tutorial goes through some basic steps you need to do to create one. They have many different tutorials on this page depending on the route you are taking with your bot. For me, I paid particular attention to the node.js beginner tutorial as that is the program I am using. This tutorial was actually very informative for me because it set in place some stepping stones that I can build on as I gather more and more information about how I am going to create my Twitter bot.


My next source is another tutorial in regards to my digital artefact. The reason I have so many of these on my list is because I truly did need to gather information from a variety of sources in order to understand exactly how I was going to implement my ideas and create my digital artefact.

This tutorial featured very clear instructions and also a visually appealing header in order to draw attention. It also names a number of other twitter bots as an example to what is achievable.


My fourth source is an article called “How to Write a Twitter Bot in 5 Minutes” and as you can tell by the title, it communicates a very simple process to create a twitter bot. Unfortunately, this means using their program. They offer a premium service, and a free service, and the free service does not give the creator much freedom as to how the bot performs.

The premium service gives the creator more power, but one could argue that you could forgo the payment by just learning the jargon and skills yourself.


My fifth source is, yep you guessed it, another tutorial! So this one is actually a forum post by someone just like me, who is having trouble coding their Twitter bot. The answers in this thread helped me out with a number of my problems too, and this is why I am including it as a source in this annotated bibliography. The first comment is by a user describing how he created his own twitter bot. This was helpful as it provided some technical support to some questions that I had.


Twitter is the site that I wish to host the bot on, as it has the ability to create apps. A Twitter bot is basically a twitter app that you program. There are many resources online to help me throughout my process of creating the bot, as there are so many bots out there.

As I am only a beginner in coding/programming, this seemed like the most logical way to go about creating my digital artefact, as there are so many online resources available. Through examination of different bots, I gathered be a better understanding of how I wanted my bot to perform.


My seventh source is another twitter bot that has helped me in terms of inspiration; the UOW parking bot. This bot conveniently blasts out a tweet every half an hour to an hour, about how many parking spots are left in each of the different parking bays at UOW. This bot is coded in quite an interesting way; as it changes its response time when it is not peak hours. This way it maximises its scope of interaction with its intended audience.

As this year has been particularly hectic with the parking situation, this app has become a very helpful tool.


This twitter bot is one I have analysed in order to give me a better insight on what I hope to achieve with my digital artefact. This Twitter bot answers when it is mentioned, giving answers to questions it is asked. It is able to perform simple google searches, and this is what I hope to achieve with my bot.

Although this bot does not always get the questions right, it’s still impressive that an act of googling can be automated, through a site such as Twitter.


I have planned to use a program called Node.JS to write my code and program my bod, as it is the easiest form I have found for a beginner coder like me. This blog post effectively demonstrates how to create a Twitter bot through google spreadsheets, which was interesting to read as it provided an alternative route to my end goal.

I have already planned to use JavaScript as a basis for my bot, so this source helped me just to see another side of the process that I need to follow.


In order to create my Twitter bot, I need to use the Command Prompt on my windows laptop. At first, I had absolutely no idea how to use it or know any of the functions I needed to make sure my bot was working. So, I looked it up on google and this page is quite possibly one of the most useful I have come across. It taught me then basic functions I needed to know, and many more. The layout is simple and effective and I had no trouble navigating it. It served its purpose well.

Convergence is the new thing! Haven’t you heard?

Media Convergence is such a huge topic that we cannot fully understand it. How can we explain that literally all the information that we would ever want to know is located in atoms in the air, and is somehow transported to computers? How do we explain how rapidly the Internet took over the world, with new mediums coming to light with every blink? Even right now, I sit here and I’m prompted by Facebook to message my friends, I am emailed by Youtube to let me know that my subscriptions have updated, and my music in the background has just clocked over to a new song because Spotify has created a playlist exactly to my taste.

The ay in which the Internet and the Media has changed itself and molded itself to our tastes is a bit mind boggling; literally anything we want to know/do can be digitalized. Nearly everything online can be customized to fit our criteria. Want to know every time someone tweets about a certain subject? There are Twitter bots for that. Want your phone to remind you when to take your medicine? There’s an app for that. Want a phone that won’t let you text your ex? There’s an app for that! Our world is becoming more and more digitalized, and therefore our needs as people are becoming digitalized too. If that doesn’t represent convergence, I don’t know what does.

Even though convergence has its upsides, such as the ever available news and current events, there are also downsides. Now, when you put up content on the web you have to expect for it to be seen by everyone. That content is no longer yours; it can be seen by everyone and anyone all over the world, all they need is internet access. This brings us to the trouble of privacy on the internet; can you really have it? When the internet can be accessed by anyone and everyone, you have to think logically and realize that no, no one truly has privacy on the internet.

Despite the fact that the media is so vast and intricate now, there are a few downsides. I mean, I have to wiggle my laptop cord a certain way to get it to work, its 2016! Haven’t we converged past that?



Pamela Anderson for PETA


This is an advertisement for PETA with Pamela Anderson modelling. Anderson, a well-known actor and defender of animal rights has been working with PETA to produce a number of advertisements to help provide awareness of animal cruelty and the vegetarian lifestyle.

The message that is provided in this advertisement is clear; all animals are the same, we all have the same parts. So why do we think that it is okay to eat some of them but not the other? Why do we think it’s okay to eat a chicken say, but not a pet dog? Both animals have a brain, a heart, and a consciousness, so why is one okay to eat while the other is not?

The techniques this advertisements use are the use of bright colors when it comes to the modelling of Pamela Anderson, as well as highlighting her sexualized body in order to catch the attention of the viewer. When the viewer first glimpses at the piece, their eyes are straight away pulled to the focal point of Anderson’s body, and then led to the side by the font. A dramatic capitalization of the font has been used to hold the viewers’ attention, and to solidify the point the advertisement is trying to make.

I agree with the message of the advertisement as animal rights are also very important to me; but I do not agree with how they used a woman’s sexualized body in order to make the point. I do not feel like the graphic was necessary; but alas it does its job: it grabs the viewers’ attention and prompts empathy.

The addition of the text at the bottom of the screen: “Pamela Anderson for Peta” adds another level of connectivity to the audience; it adds the familiarity of a household name, making a link in the viewer’s head.

The aim of this piece was to grab the viewers’ attention and prompt empathy, and it successfully delivered it with the use of attractive focal points, grabbing colors and a good line of sight. Anderson has done many other campaigns for animal rights and they all seem to sexualize her body; as this is what gets attention and thus conveys the message.



Picture Reference:

Apple or PC?

8e419831efb7b94621c39fefc1a3f159c0248e108baf85c64cb2dafcc1cdc37a.jpg Ahhh the everlasting fight of the millennium; do you buy a Mac, or a PC?

It seems everybody has faced this predicament in their lives at one point or another. Whether you’re starting uni, want a new gaming rig or just plain need a new computer setup because your old one die; there is always the nagging question in the back of your head saying “or what if I get a Mac?”.

The pros and cons of the situation are these; yes, a Mac is more expensive but, it’s more reliable (and you get to feel cool using a Mac at a coffee shop). But more often than not, PCs are cheaper and faster than their expensive counterparts. The members only club of Apple Mac users is distinguished and renowned, with everyone owning them feeling like they are just that little bit better than everyone else. But why is this so? Why is there a monopoly around something as trivial as what brand of computer you have? The answer lies in marketing, and a human’s natural instinct to follow.