“In my journey, from a little girl with red ribbons in Dayeuhkolot to who I am today, I am indebted to the generations of women before me who paved the way for all the opportunities women enjoy today. I am inspired by the remarkably brave and resilient women in my life who exist, resist, and persist, despite the patriarchy. I am hopeful of the next generation of women who will continue challenge the status quo and fight for equal rights every single day.”
Merlyna Lim, 2020 – a speech when named as one of “Top 10 Women Leaders and Researcher” in Carleton University “who are changing the world through innovative teaching, groundbreaking research and vital community outreach.”
Born and raised in Dayeuhkolot (Indonesia), Merlyna Lim is a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Digital Media and Global Network Society. The CRC program is created by the Government of Canada “to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds.” An ALiGN Media Lab founder/director and Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University, Merlyna’s research interests revolve around the mutual shaping of technology and society, and societal implications of technology–especially digital media and information technology, (social media) algorithms, data, and artificial intelligence–in relation to human connectivity and collectivism. Among her notable publications are Roots, Routes, Routers: Communication and Media of Contemporary Social Movements (2018) and Online Collective Action: Dynamics of the Crowds in Social Media (2014).
Holding degrees in architecture and architectural engineering from the Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB) and University of Parahyangan (Unpar, cum laude) in Indonesia, Merlyna Lim received her doctoral degree in Science and Technology Studies (cum laude) from the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She is an inter and trans-disciplinary scholar who has published extensively in various disciplines, including communication and media studies, urban studies/sociology, geography, anthropology, religious studies, journalism, Asian studies, Middle East studies, information and library science, computer science and information systems (see publications).
An award winning author and scholar, in 2016, Merlyna Lim was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s New College of Scholars, Artists, and Scientists, a recognition of her significant and multidisciplinary research contribution and leadership. On the 2020 International Women’s Day, she was named one of “Top 10 International Women Leaders and Researchers“. Merlyna is a recipient of the 2013 Best Publication Award in Information Systems, elected one of “100 Most Inspiring Indonesian Women” by the Kartini Foundation (2012), named “One of 100 Most Prominent Alumni of ITB” (2020) and one of “25 Notable Alumni of University of Twente” (2023).
She has been awarded dozens of research grants/awards from various institutions such as Canada Research Chairs, Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Canada), Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Fund, the National Science Foundation (United States), the Ford Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, the East-West Center, the Open Society Foundations, and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
Over the course of her career, Merlyna Lim has delivered more than 230 invited talks and presentations and appeared in more than 150 media coverages, including The Guardian, Al Jazeera, and CBC News. Previously she was a Visiting Research Professor with Princeton University’s Center of Information Technology Policy, a Distinguished Professor of Technology and Public Engagement at Arizona State University, and a Networked Public Research Fellow at the Annenberg Center for Communication, University of Southern California.
Beyond her academic life, Merlyna loves cultivating her skills in arts, music, and storytelling (including comedic/humorous types). Carleton University students voted her the funniest professor (2018) and, a bonus, the best dressed professor (2019) ;-). In her past life, Merlyna was an award winning designer and architect. As a young designer/architect, she received an Honourable Mention of “Design Your World Contest” by the AutoDesk International and the winner of Kota Baru Parahyangan Design Competition (with Space for Living Lab), among others. As a high schooler, Merlyna won the first drawing competition she participated in the nation-wide IMA Gunadharma ITB Sketching Competition. Decades later, Merlyna revived her artistic endeavours. In 2017 she participated in her second drawing competition of her life and was awarded the First place Winner of People’s Choice Award of the Jackson’s Art International Urban Sketching Competition. In 2020, she held her solo juried exhibition, “Hands: Medium & Massage” sponsored by the Ottawa Art Council and the City of Ottawa.
Merlyna is also a singer who enjoys playing guitar and piano on her spare time. During her college years, she spent most of her time with the ITB Student Choir who won several awards in nation-wide singing competitions, including the 1st Place in the Vocal Group Competition Priangan. During her doctoral study, she was a lead vocalist, keyboardist, and violinist of two Enschede (The Netherlands) based bands, PPIE-MC and 4U. Currently she is a singer, curator, artistic producer, and an in-house arranger of an a cappella group The Edoens.