Welcome to the Technologies, Worlds, Politics Research Theme

Our first year of activity involved a number of events.  In March, the Critical Ecologies Stream held a workshop that involved interdisciplinary presentations and discussions on London-based organisations and eco-critical interventions. Participants included Nicola Triscott (Arts Catalyst), Jacqueline Hannam (Soil Scientist, Cranfield University), Sakina Sheikh (Platform), Helen Walker and Harun Morrison (They Are Here), Annie Randall (Grow Heathrow), and Goldsmiths Allotment.

The ongoing research of Critical Ecologies includes questions of global warming, environmental justice, colonial dispossession, climate migration, nuclear cultures, media geology and e-waste from an arts and humanities perspective that takes scientific research and practices seriously. Researchers formalise connections between existing areas of research and practice by bringing together established environment-focused initiatives from across Anthropology, Art, English & Comparative Literature, Media & Communications, Sociology, and Visual Cultures/Research Architecture to develop collaborations, funding bids, and curricula.  The core aspiration is to evolve new academic platforms capable of shaping public debate.

In March, the Digital Worldmaking Stream held a one-day symposium on the role of digital communication technologies and data for humanitarian practice. The symposium, Reimagining Digital Humanitarianism, brought together practitioners from the humanitarian field and researchers in the fields of Anthropology, Computing, Design, Media and Communications, Sociology and Visual Studies in order to develop a multisectoral and multidisciplinary dialogue.

The symposium addressed the claim that digital communication technologies and data have catalyzed a new era of humanitarianism ‘in a networked age’ (UNOCHA, 2012). Yet, systematic evidence about the consequences of digital technologies for humanitarian practice remains scarce. The aim of the symposium was to advance the critical inquiry about humanitarian practice and digital developments. The symposium included screenings of documentaries by Goldsmiths staff as well as a parallel exhibition of installations and interactive platforms in the Atrium of the Professor Stuart Hall Building (PSH).

Members of the Internet Futures and Human Rights Stream have contributed articles to openDemocracy’s Human Rights and the Internet special feature. A partnership between Goldsmiths and openDemocracy and edited by Stream co-lead Marianne Franklin, the special feature engages scholars, digital and human rights activists, artists, technical and legal experts to develop a critical agenda to address the interconnection between human rights and internet futures.