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Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI)

Digital Societies

Digital Societies is a network of researchers and academics working at the interface of digital technologies, AI, data and social sciences. As part of Queen Mary University of London’s new Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI) Digital Societies is characterised by a critical approach to understanding people’s relationships with digital technologies, using digital technologies for research and informing technological innovations and impact. DERI is home to events and partnership building between social sciences and computational sciences/researchers within Queen Mary and national and international university, policy and industry collaborators. These intersecting themes capture our core research activities:

Bodies and Embodied technologies
Wearable technologies, AI machine learning and augmented realities are transforming digital human life.  Our research focuses on the potential and ethics of human-non human interactions (such as chatbots, avatars, drones), augmented reality for immersive experiences, as well as the role of automation in the home and care. Projects also innovate with and critique communications and digital technologies to improve mental and physical health, build solidarities and combate isolation. And research examines the shifting relationship between technologies and behaviours, such as dating and gambling, and how these interact with societal norms.

Digital politics, communities and collaborative spaces
Digital platforms and social media mediate everyday politics, collaborative spaces and community life with significant implications for public/private life, democracy and learning. Our research shapes understandings of digital messaging tools (such as WhatsApp) with respect to migrant communities, social support and everyday politics in India. Projects also investigate the impact of digital technologies on activism and protest in Latin America and the potential of digital technologies to enhance collaborative learning spaces, such as performances and museums.

Data infrastructures, actors and knowledges
State and institutional governance infrastructures are increasingly digitised. Our research contributes to critical debates about the technopolitics of data and knowledge and the making of socio-technical systems. Projects examine the relationship between digital technologies and decision making and discretion in government, internet regulation, the rise of AI in East Africa and the digitalisation of international trade with a focus on the micropolitics of implementation at trade borders

Contact: Philippa Williams: 
and Julia Hornle:


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