Centre for Digital Media Cultures (CDMC), University of Brighton.

Online Symposium. Wednesday 10th November, 2pm – 4pm.

A recording of the Keynote presentation for this event is now available. See link below.

Researching and intervening in digital inequalities: shifting objects, shifting methods

Professor Ellen Helsper, Department of Media and Communication, London School of Economics and Political Science (Keynote)

Dr Laura Harvey, Dr Dave Harley, Dr Mary Darking (School of Humanities and Social Sciences) and Dr Jenny Whetham (Consultant in HIV and Sexual Health, UHS NHS Trust)

Digital infrastructure and the touchpoints it forms, and does not form, with people’s daily lives took on renewed significance during the Covid-19 pandemic. Technology became the means through which people, newly-required to work from home, continued in employment; through which children and young people stayed connected with their schools; and through which relationships with friends and family were maintained. It made goods and services accessible from home when shops were closed, and provided entertainment, news and information. It offered a means of engaging with health services when face-to-face care was not possible. Yet not for everyone. For all the ways that technology created opportunities to participate and connect, it by corollary, compounded and amplified existing social and economic inequalities. As Helsper (2021) describes,

“In one reality, the social and digital seamlessly merge. In another reality, the digital is a hard-to-reach, inhospitable land” (2021:1).

Social inequalities are inseparable from digital inequalities, however, the unevenness of digitisation processes means that digital inequalities shift, in non-linear ways, over time and according to context. Therefore, research and innovation designed to prevent the entrenchment of inequality needs to shift too. In this online seminar, we will discuss what forms of project design, research methods and thinking about the digital are best placed to act as effective interventions in digital inequalities.

Highlighting and intervening in the production of digital inequalities is arguably one of the most important contributions that digital scholarship, innovation and arts practice can make. For this reason the Centre for Digital Media Cultures Research is delighted to welcome Professor of Socio-Digital Inequalities at the London School of Economics and Political Science Ellen Helsper for an online symposium. Professor Helsper’s keynote will be followed by presentations from Centre for Digital Media Cultures researchers and research partners.

Photo by fabio on Unsplash
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