St. John’s College, Oxford, January 7 & 8, 2019

The two day gathering on 7 and 8 January was hosted at St. John’s College, Oxford. Here we assembled a group of scholars and practitioners to discuss the ways in which digital visualising technologies are convening different types of publics across cities and heritage organisations.

Structured around the themes of digital urban publics and the imagined pasts of urban heritage, each of the two days fostered dialogue between media theorists and digital humanities professionals, digital designers, cultural geographers and urban campaigners. Anchored by keynotes and fleshed out by dynamic panels and discussants, we were thrilled to host such an impressive congress of digital media scholars and professionals.

‘Publics’ and Smart Cities—Jan 7th

Our first day took four cuts through the digital, visual and cultural in urban settings. Examining environmental data, urban screens both large and small, storytelling about urban change, and engagements with future urban technologies, we drew academics and practitioners into conversation to consider the various ways in which publics — both actual and projected — intersect and gather around digital/visual media and technologies. The sessions were as follows:


Jennifer Gabrys (University of Cambridge) in conversation with Kayla Schulte (Friends of the Earth, Oxford) and Tony Bush (Apertum, Oxford). Moderator TBA.

Scott Rodgers (Birkbeck College, University of London) in conversation with Clare Walton and Phillipa Tipper (Community Action Milton Keynes). Moderated by Oliver Zanzetti (University of Oxford, SoGE).

Adam Greenfield (Author, Against the Smart City and Radical Technologies) in conversation with Alison Powell (London School of Economics). Moderated by Adam Packer (University of Oxford, SoGE).

Zlatan Krajina (University of Zagreb), in conversation with Susa Pop (Public Art Lab, Berlin). Moderated by Oli Mould (Royal Holloway, University of London)

‘Publics’ and Heritage —Jan 8th

In contrast with the first day of programming, the second was built around a pair of keynote addresses from Ayona Datta (King’s College, London) and Monica Degen (Brunel University). Where Dr. Datta’s research concerns the digital turn and post-colonial urban futures, Dr. Degen’s takes up questions of urban temporalities with a current focus on the Museum of London’s planned move to a new site. Both considered the various ways in which the future of urban spaces are alternately bound up in complicated histories and imagined futures projected as being distinctly visual. Each keynote was matched with a discussant. We were delighted to welcome both Dr. Padmini Ray Murray (Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology) as discussant of Monica's keynote, and Prof. John Wiley (University of Exeter) as discussant of Ayona’s keynote.

Accompanying these talks was a panel taking up questions of digital heritage as they’re finding articulation both online and in contemporary museum spaces. Here, heritage academics were be placed in conversation with heritage and digital design professionals, moderated by Sterling Mackinnon (University of Oxford, SoGE). Participants were as follows:

Kathryn Eccles (University of Oxford, CABINET project)

Damien Smith (Creative Director, ISO Design, Glasgow)

Head over to our archives page for photos and re-caps of ‘digital visual publics’.