Monday 31 October 2022

The Materiality of Digital Geographies: Agencies, Affects and Impacts

This Friday 4th November, the Digital Geographies Research Group will be holding its annual symposium as an online event.

The symposium is themed around the topic of materiality, departing from long-outdated notions that equate the digital with virtual realms detached from material reality. We will be exploring the hardwares and infrastructures involved in making what we perceive as ‘digital’, the impacts such technologies have on our physical environment, what agency different people/organisations have to influence how such technologies are used, the politics and possibilities of these potential uses, and the impacts these material processes ultimately have on the bodies, objects and institutions that we live with.

The event will feature a range of session types with plenty of space in between for breaks and lunch. There are three presentation sessions, each with four presentations brought together around particular sub-themes (I’m chairing the session on Place, Platforms, Politics). There is a section during lunch where I’ll be screening digital shorts (videos 2-5 minutes in length that explore an area of research related to the symposium theme). And finally, there will be a keynote presentation from Dillon Mahmoudi, whose research focuses on the relationship between technology, cities and capital. 

You can sign up for the event via the Eventbrite page here, and view the full programme below.

Saturday 30 July 2022

Call for Papers: Digital Geographies Research Group 2022 Annual Symposium

The Materiality of Digital Geographies: Agencies, Affects, and Impacts

Symposium Date: Friday November 4th, 2022
CfP Deadline: Monday September 12th, 2022
Location: Online. Details TBA

Symposium Theme

Digital geographies pose important questions of how digital technologies reshape the production and analysis of geospatial knowledge, and what implications this has on everyday spaces, territories, and places. As digital geographic research continues to attract a wide range of interdisciplinary perspectives, the materiality of digital technologies, software, and data, and their impacts on the natural and built environment has become a focal point of discussion that engender key questions of dematerialization, and the need to better understand the agencies and materiality of technology.

This symposium seeks to discuss and reflect on the agencies, affects, and impacts of the materiality of digital geographies. The objective is to reflect on the everyday relations of technologies, infrastructures, objects, bodies, and institutions that stabilise digital geographies into a coherent body of research. In turn, it is also important to consider the socio-cultural, and politico-economic forces that sustain material investment in digital geographies to better understand the material politics of knowledge production.

This symposium aims to extend our understanding of the materiality of digital geographies by focusing broadly on the historical materialisms, political economies, material affects, and infrastructural affordances that shape the production and dissemination of geospatial knowledge. We aim to better understand the material politics and economies that can steer digital geographic research, including the kinds of tools, labour, platforms and data used to produce spatial knowledge; the impacts of the private sector on academic research; and the ways in which space and place are shaped by political and economic forces.

The Digital Geographies Research Group invites theoretical and empirical contributions that broadly relate to critically understanding the materiality of digital geographies from researchers and practitioners at any level. Topics may include, but not limited to:

- Materiality, agency, and affects
- Political economy and historical materialism
- Infrastructures, interfaces, and Science and Technology Studies
- Everydayness and mundaneness of digital geographies
- Mobilities, boundaries, and hybridities of digital geographies
- Critical theories of inequalities, divides, and exclusions
- Environmental, embodied, and ecological issues of digital geographies
- Digital cartography and territoriality
- Dematerialization, software, and data
- Financialization and digital technologies

Submission information

We welcome abstracts for paper submissions at any stage of research. Beyond paper proposals, we also welcome abstracts for contributions in the form of digital shorts. Digital shorts are short videos (between 2 and 5 minutes in length) that provide an introduction to, or summary of, an aspect of your research. Your video could discuss:

- Recent research findings
- An emerging research idea or interest
- A new or upcoming research output, publication, creative work etc.
- Research methodology
- Approaches to teaching
- Uses of digital technologies within academia

This format has been deliberately designed to require limited preparation, so is ideal for postgraduates, early career researchers, those with caring responsibilities, or other commitments. You can view examples of digital shorts on the DGRG YouTube channel.

Abstracts should aim to be approximately 250 words and submitted before Monday, September 12th.

Please email your abstract to before the deadline.

Wednesday 8 June 2022

YouTube Video: Engaging with Place through Location-Based Games

The video above was produced by me for the Digital Geographies Research Group's Work in Progress YouTube series. The series shares recent or current work being undertaken by researchers on a wide range of topics that connect geography and the digital.

This video briefly summarises findings I made from my PhD research, outlining the key ways that the development and play of location-based games engages with place (where a place, broadly speaking, is a meaningful location). I explain how location-based games are designed to tap into the close relationship between how you navigate an environment and how you perceive the 'story' of it as a place.

Wednesday 11 May 2022

DGRG Work in Progress YouTube Series: Spring Showcase 2022

For the past two years, I have served as Postgraduate Representative on the committee of the Digital Geographies Research Group (DGRG), a research group of the RGS-IBG focused on the relationship between geography and the digital.

Working together with fellow Postgraduate Representative Daisy Curtis, and Events Co-ordinator Maxwell Mutanda, one of the main innovations I have overseen during my time on the DGRG committee is the creation of our YouTube channel. As well as hosting recorded video content from events like our Annual Symposium, the channel is home to our Work in Progress series.

This series consists of short videos between 2 and 5 minutes in length, aiming to communicate recent or current work being undertaken by researchers on a wide range of topics that connect geography and the digital. Topics can include emerging research ideas, approaches to research methodology, research findings, approaches to teaching digital geographies and discussion of research outputs.

Through this series, we want to promote the fascinating, diverse work being done in digital geographies throughout the academic calendar and across the globe, developing our research community further.

By keeping the videos concise, our aim is that making them will require limited preparation and time commitment, helping to ease participation from postgraduates, early career researchers and those with caring commitments, for example. The short video format also makes this content highly shareable, helping contributors to communicate their ideas in a digestible way that can reach a wide range of audiences.            

Towards the end of last year and early this year, we announced a new call for contributions to the Work in Progress series. These videos would make up our 2022 Spring Showcase. I’m very pleased to say that this new batch of videos launched two weeks ago, beginning with a beautifully edited video by Jude Jabali (UCL) on the relationship between digital media and the built environment in the redeveloped area of Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea, London.

Yesterday, we published our second video of the Spring Showcase, featuring Dr. Jamie Halliwell (Manchester Metropolitan University) discussing how fan and sexual identities are expressed within the digital ecosystem of Eurovision fan spaces.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing videos on topics including digital privacy during COVID-19 and the influence of GIS (geographical information systems) on economic geographies. I will also be contributing a video to the series, discussing findings from my PhD research on how people engage with place through location-based games.

New videos are added to the series every fortnight. Subscribe to the DGRG YouTube channel to be notified whenever a new video is released. You can also follow updates from the research group on Twitter @digital_RGS. We have some exciting plans to develop new ways to engage with digital geographies research in 2022, so look out for more announcements soon from the DGRG.