Prof Gillian Youngs

Gillian Youngs

arts research University of Brighton

Scholarly biography and interests

Gillian Youngs is Professor of Digital Economy and has been researching diverse aspects of the internet’s impact on society and economy for 15 years developing out of her early focus on globalisation. She has given invited keynote and guest papers internationally in the US, China, South Korea, Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Holland, Spain, Austria, Tanzania, and presented over 90 conference and workshop papers at national and international conferences. The third edition of her co-edited book Globalization: Theory and Practice (New York: Continuum) was published in 2008 having been one of the first critical collections on the subject in 1996. Her first monograph International Relations in a Global Age was published by Polity in 1999 and a second Global Political Economy in the Information Age: Power and Inequality was published by Routledge in 2007. Her edited collection Political Economy, Power and the Body was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2000, and an edited collection Digital World: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights from the ESRC research seminar series on digital policy she has led was published by Routledge in 2013. She is currently working on a volume on Virtual Globalization for Routledge.

Gillian has had a portfolio career in journalism, independent communications consultancy, and for the last 20 years full-time in academia. She has worked in high tech areas throughout her career including the civil aviation, airport and simulation sectors. This informs her focus on socio-technical transformations – in other words how social and technological processes interact to produce change.

Gillian is an applied theorist and is actively engaged in knowledge exchange, business and policy related processes, including through the Knowledge Transfer Networks of the UK’s innovation agency the Technology Strategy Board.

Gillian Youngs adopts an interdisciplinary approach to digital economy drawing on her research background in critical international relations, globalization studies, international communications and new media. She studies macro trends in the globalization of the digital economy, digital empowerment and inclusion including in relation to women, and new socio-technical literacies and applications in online production and consumption.

Gillian has recently started to focus on the links between creative and digital economy and the challenge of embedding multimedia and other creative skill sets and approaches more firmly in diverse processes of digital innovation. Her collaborative knowledge exchange work includes leading the new AHRC-funded Brighton Fuse ‘Fusebox’ Knowledge Exchange Project (AH/L504014/1) on a new start-up support programme for innovators at Wired Sussex following on from the Brighton Fuse project focused on the interplay between arts and humanities and digital technology in stimulating innovation and business success.   She has led two ESRC research seminar series, the current one on Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights (ES/I001816/2) 2011-14 involving researchers and research students, policymakers and businesses. Gillian is also principal investigator on a British Academy project Discovering Digital Me: Forging Links Across Digital Identity, Digital Literacy and Digital Economy (SG102167) 2011-14.

Gillian’s research council and other funded work has involved collaborations with colleagues at University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Oxford University, University of Vienna, and Swansea University. She has spent two periods as a Visiting Scholar at University of California Riverside and is currently a Visiting Professor at University of South Wales, where she held a Research Chair in digital economy before joining the University of Brighton. She has successfully supervised seven PhDs in digital economy and communications including case studies in China, Thailand, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. She is interested in supervising research students in diverse areas of digital economy and at the intersections of creative and digital economy. 

Research activity