My research sits at the intersections between social sciences, digital humanities and education. It is driven by an interest in 1) exploring from a bottom-up perspective the impacts of datafication, digital platforms and technologies on social relations, social justice and inequality, 2) challenging the asymmetrical power relations and distribution of responsibility between private corporations and citizens to build fairer societies and 3) using innovative, digital and participatory research methods to critically engage citizens with data processes and support them to enact their digital rights.
My doctoral research in Sociology examined the complex ways in which young people’s engagement with digital platforms was actively negotiated and at times resisted while also being informed by the platforms’ architectures, the corporate interests and neoliberal ideology underpinning them. To capture this, I repurposed social media platforms’ settings during interviews to explore how young people used and understood the platforms in the different contexts of their lives. The research focused in particular on monitoring and profile-checking practices routinely conducted on digital platforms and normalised as part of social media interactivity. As part of my MRes project, I used participatory photo-voice with young people to explore their lived experiences of everyday surveillance.
Another strand of my research focus on issues connected to increasing datafication. I am currently looking at data governance in the UK as part of an international collaborative project on Smart Publics. The project explores the materialisation of smart cities from a bottom-up perspective and the ways in which smart street furniture (e.g. smart benches) fits into existing urban landscapes and reshapes how different groups interact with public spaces and cities in the process. I am also collaborating with the University of Liverpool on the project Me and My Big Data which examines the existing levels of UK citizens data literacies, and seeks to develop policy and educational materials to support improving it. Finally, I recently took part in a Workshop hosted by the EU JRC Centre for Advanced Studies on the future governance of a digitally transformed European society as part of DigiTransScope.