Science and Technology Studies


STS offers degrees at each university level: undergraduate, masters, and PhD


Virtual Event - Is the Metaverse Responsible?

Who asked for the Metaverse? Is it a complete waste of time and money? Who is involved in making it a reality?  

13 October 2022, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm
Online (via Zoom)

In this interactive discussion, Sandra Youkhana (The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment) and Stephen Hughes (UCL Science & Technology Studies) will offer their views on the metaverse and it's relation to Responsible Innovation, before opening things up for a Q&A. Sandra will discuss her doctoral research which focuses on the architecture of virtual worlds, asking, who can participate in their design, and how? She will discuss gaming as a leading form of engagement for the metaverse and invite the audience to consider the challenges that this poses for the industry and its users. Stephen will examine the massive hype behind the metaverse, drawing links between the extraordinary claims made by investors and tech companies and the bizarre conspiracy theories about virtual reality that are currently circulating the internet.

You'll also have the opportunity to find out more about our Responsible Innovation short course. Our CPD-accredited, online, short courses use real-world historical and philosophical case studies to teach you to how to think about your research/science, technology, and engineering reflectively. You will learn to recognise the need for socially responsible solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing society (e.g. climate change, energy and food security and the future of work).

With groundbreaking developments in science, technology, engineering and medicine bringing rapid change across the planet, how do we ensure that innovation is safe, fair and responsible? There is an ever-growing demand for leaders, scientists and engineers who are skilled in responsible innovation and these courses cover the concepts and practices required to meet these challenges by developing skills in creative problem-solving, public engagement, and ethics.

This event has now ended. An on demand recording of this event will be available in the next few days.


Sandra Youkhana 

Sandra is an Architect and Lecturer working across academic, cultural, and gaming industries. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Architecture and Design at UCL which focuses on the architecture of the Metaverse, exploring how the real world is extracted, altered, and applied to virtual environments. She is a co-founder of the design research studio You+Pea with Luke Pearson, and has taught, exhibited and lectured on the relationship between architecture and videogame technologies worldwide. Sandra is co-author of the forthcoming book Videogame Atlas: Mapping Interactive Worlds (Thames & Hudson, 2022). 

Stephen Hughes 

Stephen is a Lecturer in Science, Technology, and Society and Director of UCL’s Responsible Innovation short courses. His work explores cases where responsible innovation and public engagement with science are characterised by discomfort, difficulty, and controversy. He approaches these cases with novel methods which seek to uncover and respond to the emotional and conflictual dimensions of science-society issues. Stephen has spent the last couple of years building UCL's programme of responsible innovation short courses which invite researchers and industry professionals to ask difficult questions about equity, justice, and responsibility in science and innovation.