My research is driven by an interest in 1) examining the impacts of datafication, digital platforms and technologies on social relations, social justice and experiences of inequality, 2) exploring new forms of inclusive data governance and stewardship, and challenging the asymmetrical power relations between private corporations and citizens to build fairer societies and 3) using digital and participatory research methods to critically engage citizens, in particular young people, with data processes and support them to enact their digital rights.
I am currently working on an ESRC-funded research project entitled ‘Scottish cities and local authorities in the era of COVID-19: data needs, capabilities and uses’. The research, supported by the Digital office For Scottish Local Government, examines Scottish cities and local authorities ’ engagement with data in response to the pandemic, especially by focusing on arising data uses, needs, and capabilities, and emergent forms of (collaborative) governance.
I have also took part in the international collaborative research project on Smart Publics. The project explored the materialisation of smart cities in the UK and the ways in which smart street furniture (e.g. smart benches, InLink kiosks) and the data processes entangled within them fit into existing urban landscapes and governance processes. The project report is available here.
My doctoral research in Sociology examined the 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, corporate interests and the neoliberal ideology underpinning them. The research focused in particular on peer 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 also used participatory photo-voice with young people to explore their lived experiences of everyday surveillance.