“Remaking Digital Futures” — BDFI Panel

Pan­elist on “Remak­ing Dig­i­tal Futures”, Bris­tol Dig­i­tal Futures Insti­tute’s inau­gur­al symposium.

Panel talk: Prototyping AI ethics futures—Rights, access and refusal

Pan­el talk at 1:00pm–2:30pm, 23 June 2021 (BST), in asso­ci­a­tion with Ada Lovelace Insti­tute, The British Acad­e­my and The Arts and Human­i­ties Research coun­cil.

Talk: Critical Perspectives on AI Ethics

PhD Scholarships at City

We’d love to have
appli­ca­tions from prospec­tive stu­dents want­i­ng to join the Cen­tre for Human-Com­put­er Inter­ac­tion Design (HCID).

The dead­line is 20th May 2020. For details and appli­ca­tion process, see here.

Top­i­cal­ly, I’m very open to sug­ges­tions. I’d love to see pro­pos­als tak­ing crit­i­cal and per­haps mate­ri­al­ist ori­en­ta­tions to techno­science. Fem­i­nist, inter­sec­tion­al think­ing would also be high on my wish list.

What­ev­er the per­sua­sion, if you have friends, stu­dents, col­leagues, etc. inter­est­ed in doing some­thing excit­ing, please put them in touch.

Bauhaus Futures Book Chapter

Bauhaus Futures Book Cover Photo of Anni Albers from chapter

This chap­ter exam­ines the process­es of scal­ing made vis­i­ble with­in the words and work of the Weimer Bauhaus and, par­tic­u­lar­ly, Anni Albers’ care­ful accounts of weav­ing. We explore whether thread­ing a fem­i­nist pre­car­i­ty into her writ­ing helps illu­mi­nate new ways of exam­in­ing ten­sions between what we scale up and what we scale down.

Read­ing with Anni Albers:
The weave as a live­ly invo­lu­tion of scale, affect, and fem­i­nist precarity

Mov­ing first over and across, we exam­ine Alber’s dis­cus­sions of dif­fer­ent scales of weav­ing, from the hand loom to indus­tri­al machin­ery. Tra­vers­ing then down­ward and below, we con­sid­er Alber’s atten­tion to the body, those fin­gers and hands inter­lac­ing threads along a pli­able plane. Shift­ing around and through, we con­sid­er how an affect is present in Alber’s reflec­tions, and espe­cial­ly in how it pulls against the stur­dy mech­a­nis­tic log­ics vis­i­bly orga­niz­ing her process. Across this writ­ing, we hope to think with Albers, read­ing her prose some­what against the grain of con­ven­tion­al Bauhaus accounts by inter­weav­ing a fem­i­nist positioning.

Matt Rat­to, Daniela K Ros­ner, Yana Boe­va, Alex Tay­lor (2019) Spe­cial issue on hybrid ped­a­go­gies edi­to­r­i­al, Dig­i­tal Cre­ativ­i­ty 30(4), p. 13–217, url, doi:10.1080/14626268.2019.1699576

Daniela K Ros­ner, Alex S Tay­lor (2019) Read­ing with Anni Albers: The Weave as a Live­ly Invo­lu­tion of Scale, Affect, and Fem­i­nist Pre­car­i­ty, Bauhaus Futures, Lau­ra For­lano, Mol­ly Wright Steen­son, Mike Anan­ny (ed.), p. 201–212, Cam­bridge, MA: MIT Press, pdf

A changing academic life

So grate­ful to Geral­dine Fitz­patrick for spend­ing the time talk­ing to me and giv­ing me the chance to put words to my still ill-formed thoughts on liv­ing an aca­d­e­m­ic life. Such a priv­i­lege to be part of her pod­cast series, Chang­ing Aca­d­e­m­ic Life.

In talk­ing to Geral­dine, I’ve tried to be hon­est, find­ing space between my naivety and the intel­lec­tu­al envi­ron­ment I’d love to help build with the many amaz­ing aca­d­e­mics I work with. Find the pod­cast and abbre­vi­at­ed tran­script here (along with some oth­er great inter­views: I high­ly rec­om­mend Ali Black­’s).

Are you Research Excellent?

The UK’s nation­al Research Excel­lence Frame­work (REF) assess­ment is loom­ing. The for­mal dead­line is in 2021, but many will be already feel­ing the pres­sures in their insti­tu­tions and depart­ments to be mak­ing sense of their work in terms of REF’s met­rics and procedures.
I’ve found myself entan­gled in this world of REF recent­ly and want­i­ng to be able to make com­par­isons between insti­tu­tions and their “Units of Assess­ment” (REFs clas­si­fi­ca­tion of research dis­ci­plines and fields).
Using this pub­licly avail­able data, I’ve built a lit­tle tool to see how an insti­tu­tion’s unit of assess­ment did in the last assess­ment (cir­ca 2014) and view this against oth­er UoA results. 

screen grab of REF comparison tool

For now, I’m just visu­al­is­ing data from two units of assess­ment, Soci­ol­o­gy and Com­put­er Sci­ences and Infor­mat­ics.
You can com­pare your own insti­tu­tion’s Soci­ol­o­gy or Com­put­er Sci­ence scores against oth­ers’ in terms of Out­puts, Impact and Envi­ron­ment (the REF assess­ment profiles). 
I post this sen­si­tive to the trou­bles and com­pli­ca­tions that come with enact­ing aca­d­e­m­ic life using these sys­tems of account­ing. I’m grate­ful to Effie Le Moignan for remind­ing me of the troubles.

From the Picket Line

For those of us in UK acad­e­mia, it’s been impos­si­ble to miss the strikes over the last four weeks, with aca­d­e­mics from across the coun­try stand­ing their ground for a fair and equi­table pen­sion. There are many incred­i­bly detail­ing the devel­op­ments and explain­ing how this is about for a walk of life that just does­n’t have to be sub­ject to the warped val­ues of the Neo-lib­er­al project.

Per­son­al­ly, what I’ve found inspi­ra­tional is the cov­er­age from the pick­et line and the indus­try of oth­ers. Nat­u­ral­ly, there have been the march­es, the ban­ners, and the teach-ins. But, with such gen­er­a­tive care and warmth, what has brought spe­cial cheer to me have been the many out­stand­ing exam­ples of cre­ative impulse: of craft (like that record­ed by Jacob Phelps below), of design (from Kat­ja May, Kat Jung­nick­el, etc. at Gold­smiths), and of poet­ry (no less from the fab­u­lous Michael Rosen).

Giv­en it would be hard to add to all the amaz­ing com­men­tary on the pen­sion strikes, what I want to pay spe­cial homage to here is the dance (and a lit­tle song) from the pick­et line. Brows­ing the not-so-dis­tant twit­ter archive, I’ve tried to dig out a few out the high­lights from the last few weeks that can’t help bring a smile to my face. It must be said, that among all the won­der­ful exam­ples, Lan­cast­er goes gold hands down for the PEF (Pick­et Excel­lence Frame­work), and Imo­gen Tyler deserves a spe­cial award of excel­lence for her unwa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to impact dis­sem­i­na­tion, Twitter-wide.

Here’s to all the dancers (and musi­cians) on the pick­et line


For exam­ple, from Jason Hick­el, David Ker­nohan, via Medi­um, etc. Karen Gre­go­ry has put togeth­er a list of UCU Strike Read­ings. Lucy Robin­son’s strike scrap­book also deserves a spe­cial mention.

PhD studentships at City

Just try­ing to pro­mote as wide­ly as possible:

My School has just announced ten PhD stu­dentships. I’d love to have strong appli­ca­tions from prospec­tive stu­dents want­i­ng to join the Cen­tre for Human-Cen­tered Design (HCID).

There’s a list of research top­ics here. The dead­line is 25th April 2018. For the full advert, see here.

Per­son­al­ly, I’m very open to sug­ges­tions on top­ic. It would be thrilling to see pro­pos­als for crit­i­cal and per­haps mate­ri­al­ist ori­en­ta­tions to techno­science. Oh, and fem­i­nist, inter­sec­tion­al think­ing would be high on my wish list.

What­ev­er the per­sua­sion, if you have friends, stu­dents, col­leagues, etc. inter­est­ed in doing some­thing excit­ing, please put them in touch.

“Keeping open”

“… to keep unpack­ing, reveal­ing, open­ing and uncon­ceal­ing, we need also to think dif­fer­ent­ly. Along­side unpack­ing and con­nect­ing we need to argue for dif­fer­ent worlds to those which dom­i­nate us.” 

I’m delight­ed to be start­ing a new job this Sep­tem­ber at City, Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don. I’ll be join­ing the live­ly Cen­tre for HCI Design (HCID). Both Steph and Simone, the centre’s co-direc­tors, have been amaz­ing­ly gen­er­ous in prepar­ing me for my new role and dis­cussing the direc­tions we might take things in. I’ve also begun to rough out new lines of research with my soon to be col­leagues and I eager­ly antic­i­pate set­ting things in motion. Nat­u­ral­ly my chal­lenge will be to keep a lid on my enthu­si­asm, leav­ing the ener­gy to improve my teach­ing and engage a stu­dent cohort in car­ing about the entan­gle­ments between tech­nol­o­gy and social life—and the thrills and spills that come with such a care. (more…)

From Joan­na Latimer and Bev­er­ley Skeg­gs arti­cle, The pol­i­tics of imag­i­na­tion: keep­ing open and crit­i­cal.


After a tremen­dous about of work with Lara Hous­ton, I’m delight­ed to have final­ly gone live with our data pol­i­cy site: data-policy.info. It attempts to detail, in var­i­ous for­mats and cuts, the dis­cus­sions at the day of dia­logues on data, pol­i­cy and civic life, held at Microsoft Research Cam­bridge. More than this though, we want the site to pro­mote fur­ther dis­cus­sion and expand the ways we might think of the rela­tions between data, social/civic life, and pol­i­cy. For me, the inspi­ra­tion here has been the work a few of us have been doing with Teni­son Road in cam­bridge and a com­mu­ni­ty’s efforts to make sense of and use its data. I’d like to think some­thing small and local could make a dif­fer­ence in these big discussions