I am Assistant Professor in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, where I run a research group on Media Futures. I have two current projects focusing on ethics in practice in the development of new communications technologies: Virt-EU, a study of Internet of Things development contexts where we try to see how developers and designers think about their work, and Understanding Automated Decisions, a university-industry research partnership with Projects by IF. In this project we experiment with different ways of making automated and algorithmic decisions visible at the point they are made. I also coordinate the MSc inData & Society in my department, training students for future careers connecting data practices with ethics and social consequences. My doctoral students investigate self-tracking, the data practices of astronomers in Chile, and the politics of visibility on Facebook.
I have a book Data Sense – Urban Citizenship and Communication Technology under contract with Yale University Press, and I frequently speak on issues connected with citizenship, participation and governance of data, as well as on the ethics of algorithms and automated systems.
I grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada – a university and government city looking out onto the plains of the high prairies. The wide horizons inspired adventure, and I moved across the country to study in the Arts and Science Program at McMaster University.
After completing my bachelor’s degree, I made a brief foray into the television industry. I then moved to Toronto to undertake a Master’s degree in Communication and Culture at York University and Ryerson University. Curiosity inspired my thesis work: an ethnography of an internet café.
Still curious about the role of technology in the places and spaces of cities, I moved to Montreal for a PhD in Communication Studies at Concordia University, and began working with members of Île Sans Fil, a grassroots community WiFi group. I followed the community WiFi movement as it nourished the boom in municipal WiFi projects in North America, and influenced discourses and practices of media reform.
After working at ENST in France, I continued my adventures in the UK. I began at Media@LSE in 2010, after holding a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Oxford Internet Institute.
I was a member of the Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking, the Community Wireless Infrastructure Research Project, and the Ethos Group.
In my spare time, I have been known to build interactive art projects, perform on the trapeze, tend my garden, and explore little-known parts of South London on my bike.
[…] so that someone can translate it into a different language. Why should we bother? I think Alison says it best: “I am committed to undertaking empirical social research that helps to develop communication […]