Centre for Digital Anthropology

fb  tw  yt

Recent books:


Digital Projects


  • Material World Blog was founded by Haidy Geismar and Daniel Miller in 2006 and is an online hub for global research into material, visual and digital culture. We are one of the top ranked anthropology blogs (on top ranked) and have had nearly 500,000 visitors to our site. Our contributors are students, faculty, independent researchers and others from all over the world and we share book and exhibition reviews, topical discussions of objects and visual analyses, notes from the field, as well as being a focal point for relevant listings and announcements. Our Occasional Paper Series is indexed by the Library of Congress and aims to provide a home for exploratory papers that utlize the power of web publishing and would not be easily accessible elsewhere.

Practical and Methods Training


All Digital Anthropology Msc students undertake a practical project, which allows them to explore various methodologies used to understand the everyday experience of digital technology. In the autumn of 2012, we asked each of our students to find a household (preferably one they were not that familiar with). We then asked them to make several visits to the household over the term, and to conduct a variety of different short projects, all of which were focused on documenting technology use within the home.

We worked with My Portfolio, a mahara based system supported by UCL, to both present and discuss our findings in class. By mapping the placement of technology in the house, asking people to keep communications diaries, conducting interviews about online activities, and analyzing timelines of communication we were able to develop a number of insights about the everyday use of technology. For instance, Lydia Nicholas, one of our students commented, in reflection of the project:

The young professional sharers in my study used technology to manage intimacy and space- they were frank about the fact that they were not close friends, but the practical arrangements of using the shared space for cooking and entertaining meant they often spent time in each others' presence. It was interesting to see that so much of what was personal in the home was also private- there were no shared entertainment resources but instead a projector was plugged into individual laptops, the radio was rarely played when two or more of them were present. The housemates all preferred private one-to-one channels, and openly continued conversations with others on their phones and laptops whilst in the room with each other and myself- so that a seemingly crowded, depersonalised space fraught with negotiations over facilities like the oven, washing machine etc, was actually simultaneously a place for private, intimate conversations- with family, friends, or romantic partners. For these young professionals who share living spaces with loose ties, technology seems to be a vital tool in allowing them to control access to intimacy whilst maintaining privacy.

Click here to access an example of one of the practical projects, a study of a student house by Lucasz Alwast. Another example, by Lui Smyth, can be found, here

Page last modified on 17 jun 13 13:50