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Monika Buscher supervises 6 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Monika Buscher


Monika Buscher

Bowland North

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YN

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 7890 847166


Research overview

Monika’s research explores the digital dimension of contemporary ‘mobile lives’ with a focus on IT ethics. She combines qualitative, often ethnographic studies of everyday practices, social theory and design through mobile, experimental, ‘inventive’ engagement with industry and stakeholders. An analytical orientation to intersecting physical and virtual mobilities, blocked movements and immobilities of people, objects and information drives this work. Monika’s most recent research brings this perspective to the informationalization of large-scale multi-agency emergency response, which raises opportunities and challenges around social media-based public engagement, agile and ‘whole community’ approaches to disaster response, data sharing, data protection and privacy. 

PhD supervision

I am particularly interested in proposals on:

- mobilities research, design research, Science and Technology Studies (STS),
- art and inventive practice, studies of innovation and socio-technical change,
- ubiquitous computing, computer supported collaborative work, digital economy,
- crisis management, security, IT Ethics.

Methodologically, I am interested in ethnographic, ethnomethodological or STS approaches, mobile, inventive, experimental methods, participatory, collaborative, engaged research, especially informing social innovation, policy or design.

Please contact me to discuss topics for PhD research.

Current Teaching

  • MA Mobilities, Society and Change
  • Media in a Global Age
  • Design: Management and Policy (LICA)
  • Design 101 (LICA)
  • FASS 507 Introduction to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences

Research Interests

I'm interested in how people collaborate, at work or elsewhere. Everyday material and epistemic practices - on the move or in situ - including experiences and practices of place-making, distributed collaboration, collective intelligence are the focus of my studies.

A combination of social science, design, computing and, more recently, IT Law generates analytical insight and leverage. My research develops a deeper understanding of the opportunities and risks inherent in the ‘informationalization’ of increasingly mobile ways of living, with the aim of informing more socially and ethically circumspect, productive innovation in technology and practice. In an era that has been designated the ‘century of disasters’ following a Royal Society report, such opportunities and risks are particularly pressing and my research responds to a growing need to address them. On the one hand, digital technologies allow societies to detect and deal with risks more effectively. On the other, disasters call for exceptions to normal rules (e.g. of data protection), and digital technologies can ease exceptions that may have far-reaching, positive and negative unintended consequences. My recent publications on ‘Privacy, Security, Liberty’, ‘A New Manhattan Project’ and ‘Peripheral Response: Microblogging during the Norway Attacks’ map societal challenges in relation to disaster response. This work defines a broader ‘inventive’ IT Ethics research agenda for efforts of ‘designing’ mobilities and a digital economy, addressing opportunities, such as public engagement, organizational interoperability and data sharing, and risks around privacy and social sorting.

My approach is ethnographic and analytically rooted in ethnomethodology, science and technology studies, mobilities research and phenomenology. My work critically informs participatory, interdisciplinary socio-technical innovation. I actively co-design and facilitate the appropriation of cutting edge ubiquitous computing visions, technologies, platforms, and content in different settings (see, for example,BridgeWorkspace and PalCom).

I am Director of mobilities.lab - an interdisciplinary collaboration between several different departments at Lancaster and a range of international academic and industrial partners. Mobilities.lab research connects different fields of research: Mobilities Research, Design, Ethnomethodology, Science and Technology Studies, Participatory Design, Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), and Ubiquitous Computing.

The book series Changing Mobilities, which I edit together wih Peter Adey, invites contributions that address the empirical realities of changing mobilities and opportunities to inform design, policy and social change.

Please contact me at m.buscher@lancaster.ac.uk

Twitter @mbuscher, @mobslab


Selected Research projects

SecInCoRe (Secure Dynamic Cloud for Information, Communication and Resource Interoperability based on Pan-European Disaster Inventory)

The SecInCoRe project identifies data sets, processes, information systems and business models used by first responders and Police authorities to inform the development of a dynamic and secure cloud based ‘common information space’. The main goals of SecInCoRe are:

  • To develop a pan-European inventory of past critical events and disaster and their consequences focusing collaborative emergency operations and real-time decision making while taking ethics, law, social practices and privacy into account.
  • Understand ethical, legal and social issues and the regulatory environment, and the constraints and possibilities they imply for the use of pan European cloud based information management services.
  • Design of a secure, dynamic cloud based knowledge base and communication system concept including the ability to use emergency information by means of a trans-European communication infrastructure.

Bridge: Bridging resources and agencies in large-scale emergency management (2011-2015)

A collaborative design project funded by the EU Commission. We are co-designing a system to support interoperability (both technical and social) in large-scale emergency relief efforts with stakeholders. The system will be a bridge between multiple agencies: It will help to mediate the activities of the command and professional staff, which is where most of the strategic decision making must occur; it will also help to merge the systems and resources from different agencies into a cohesive whole and support collaboration with user generated 'crisis informatics'.

Citizens Transforming Society: Tools for Change (CaTalyST) (2011-2014)

This project will bring together a group of social scientists (sociology; anthropology), computer scientists (mobile computing; web2.0; distributed systems), management scientists (consumer behaviour) and designers (innovation) to develop next generation systems that empower citizens to create bottom-up innovative solutions to 'wicked' societal problems. It will promote cross-disciplinary working across Lancaster University (and beyond) between the School of Computing & Communications, Sociology, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster Environment Centre, and Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts.

New Interaction Order (2010-2011)

This pilot project studies the 'new' interaction order from different empirical and analytical perspectives. Drawing on sociology, ethnomethodology, criminology, geography, and design, we are carrying out studies of 'behaviour in public places' in Manchester.

Design for Flexibility and Change within Health Service Providers (DFC)

This project explores how medical practitioners can mobilize local and expert domain knowledge and dovetail it with new design and managerial skills to implement the Practice Based Commissioning (PBC) framework to shape NHS service provision. Designing new health and care service models and facilities requires creative, managerial and/or design skills and this 18 month research project is part of the EPSRC funded innovation centred called HACIRIC (Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre).

Innovative media for a digital economy

In this research cluster, we investigate digital economy practices that are emerging around the capabilities of social, mobile and pervasive technologies. We explore how we can develop new services, new forms of exchange and interaction that benefit the whole of the UK economy.

PalCom, Palpable Computing: A new perspective on Ambient Computing, FP6 IST Future and Emerging Technologies, 2004-7.

As computing technologies become an ever more 'invisible' and powerful part of our mobile lives, it is crucial that people are supported in understanding what these technologies are doing and what they could do for them.

WorkSPACE, Distributed Work Support through Component Based SPAtial Computing Environments, FP5 IST Future and Emerging Technologies, 2000-3.

Mobile workers often generate dynamic configurations of spaces, information, and people - within the office, but also beyond. These practices pose great challenges to the computer as-we-know-it today and open up a range of opportunities for innovative design. Spatial computing environments respond to these challenges. They exploit technical possibilities to support the social and spatial organization of work.

PhD Supervisions Completed

Paula Bialski - Becoming Intimately Mobile

Paula's Thesis has been published: Becoming Intimately Mobile. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Paula now works at Leuphania University

Jen Southern - Comobility: Distance and Proximity on the Move in Locative Art Practice

Jen now works at Lancaster University

Lucy Kimbell - An inventive practice perspective on designing

Lucy works as a an artist, service designer and scholar. http://www.lucykimbell.com 

External PhD Supervision

Luzarraga, Arantzazu - 
6/01/14 → 4/04/14
Le Manikas, Maria - 2/09/13 → 30/11/13

Ståhl, Asa - 1/05/12 → 30/06/12
Lindström, Kristina - 1/05/12 → 30/06/12
Jesper Wolff Olsen (visiting PhD student): Palpable computing

Dr. Sergio Benicio (2009/10): Hypermobility

Dr Jamie O'Brien (2008/9) Honorary Research Fellow - now at EngD Centre in Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation Computer Science Department University College London

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