Seminar 11: ''Affective Digital Economy: Intimacy, Identity and Networked Realities''

29th Nov 2013

ESRC Seminar Series: Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights

Friday November 29 2013, University of Leicester.

The concept of an ‘affective digital economy’ captures the multiple everyday ways in which online connections, communications and activities feature in personal, family and emotional aspects of life. Diverse forms of social media and virtual connectivity have expanded the affective realm and articulations of identity and relationships manifested wholly or partly through it. This seminar will bring together social innovators, researchers and practitioners from across community, activist, policy and academic sectors to explore the new affective digital economy and its promises, challenges and complications.

Discussions will focus on how identities and relationships are being shaped across online/offline boundaries, and questions of public and private and profit and non-profit in relation to these areas. It will also look at new perspectives on mobile and multiple identities and linkages between place and experience. The seminar will address debates and issues across local, national and global contexts.

Key questions include:

  • How would we define the affective digital economy?

  • Who are the major actors currently shaping this economy and how?
  • How has the accessibility of digital technologies impacted on this area?
  • What is changing in gender and queer studies thanks to affective digital economy?
  • What are the key policy challenges linked to digital literacy, privacy and disclosure?
  • Are we taking ‘play’ seriously enough as a social driver in the digital world? 
  • What are the major dangers and risks in affective digital economy?

Keynote Speaker

Dr Sue Thomas

Independent Scholar and Visiting Fellow in The Media School, Bournemouth University.

'A day off in the cyberpark' – how the growing synergies between nature and technology will soon affect our workplaces and leisure time.

This will be a full day working seminar with limited places (30) to ensure those taking part are as engaged as possible in discussions. Participants will be asked to prepare a brief contribution (maximum two pages) to be shared among those attending the workshop and used as a basis for discussions and to add to the more formal presentations. Contributions can cover the areas outlined above or others related to them and can include examples of projects undertaken and best practice. A summary of key points raised during the workshop will be shared with participants after the seminar.

Anyone interested in participating should contact the seminar organizer Tracy Simmons ( as soon as possible by email with ‘ESRC seminar series’ in the subject line of the email, their full contact details and a short paragraph on their work and proposed contribution and why they would like to be involved. We welcome participation from people working in all areas of research and practice whether from academic, policy, community, business or cultural sectors. We are keen to hear from PhD students whose work on relevant areas is at an advanced stage. These seminars are fully funded covering standard UK travel and accommodation where necessary and all catering so there are no charges for participants.

The ESRC research seminar series Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights (ES/I001816/2) is led by Gillian Youngs, University of Brighton, with Tracy Simmons, University of Leicester, William Dutton, Oxford Internet Institute and Katharine Sarikakis, University of Vienna. A volume from the series edited by Gillian Youngs, Digital World: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights, has recently been published by Routledge.