IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Exploring digital life-worlds: the postphenomenology of writing

01 May 2024, 12:30 pm–2:00 pm

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This UCL Knowledge Lab workshop will explore postphenomenological concepts and research practices.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Dr Kate Gilchrist


Large Seminar Room
UCL Knowledge Lab
23-29 Emerald Street

Postphenomenology employs a variety of phenomenological and empirically grounded methods to capture the everyday, lived experiences of different technologies including disciplined observation of humans employing specific technologies, “interviewing objects” and “thing writing”.

Postphenomenological analysis often begins by first reconstructing “posthuman anecdotes”, that is, descriptions of human-technology-world interactions as they are lived, then subjecting these “reassembled resemblings” to a set of postphenomenological analytic tools to help untangle how humans and different technologies in use are mutually shaping and co-constituting each other. Analytics include studying breakdowns (e.g., the “broken hammer” strategy), attending to the invitational quality of things, and discerning the spectrum of human-technology-world relations.

Incorporating the approaches described above with Max van Manen’s work on the phenomenology of practice (2016, 2023), this UCL Knowledge Lab workshop will provide multiple opportunities to experience postphenomenological concepts and research practices firsthand. Participants will also have the opportunity to experience:

  1. attuning to the lived meaning of specific technologies through using different writing instruments,
  2. writing a postphenomenological description of their experience, and
  3. in small groups, trying one or more analytic techniques (e.g., uncovering human-technology-world relations, phenomenological variation), towards an apprehension of generative AIs and writing

Please note this is an in-person event.

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About the Speakers

Professor Cathy Adams

Professor of educational computing at Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

Professor Adams' research investigates digital technology integration across K-12 and post-secondary educational environments, ethical and pedagogical issues involving digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence, and K-12 Computing Science curriculum and computational thinking (CT) pedagogy. Cathy employs a range of posthuman-postdigital methods in her inquiries including interviewing objects, postphenomenology, phenomenology of practice, media ecology, and other new materialist and sociomaterialist approaches.

Professor Lesley Gourlay

Professor of Education at UCL Knowledge Lab

Professor Gourlay's scholarship focuses on technologies and knowledge practices, with a particular emphasis on textual practices and the digital. Her recent theoretical work has focused on sociomaterial, posthuman and postphenomenological perspectives on engagement in the university, exploring themes of surveillance, inscription, nonhuman agency, and digital media. She is a recipient of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2021-2024) and recently completed a monograph (Bloomsbury) The University and the Algorithmic Gaze: Documentation and Performativity in Digitised Education.