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Citizens Transforming Society: Tools for Change

Project: Research


The social media boom has transformed our lives, shaping everything from the way we shop and socialise to how we do business.

Change-hungry citizens have turned to mobile digital communications during key world events from the London riots and the subsequent ‘clean up the streets’ campaign to the so called ‘Twitter revolutions’ in Tunisia and Egypt.

But do social networking technologies really make it easier for communities to change the world? Or do they merely promote weak links between people rather than the strong links that are needed for real social revolution? And how should we design future digital technologies – technologies with built in grassroots democracy?

Catalyst is a £1.9M project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRSC), which brings together academics and communities to jointly imagine and build the next generation of tools for social change, and to explore innovative, bottom-up technology-mediated solutions to major problems in society.

The three year project will look at how different communities use technology to make ‘the world’ a better place. And, in a series of sub-projects, communities and academics will together envision and build next generation tools more suited to the job.

Catalyst brings together a team of academics from a range of disciplines including social science, computing, design, environmental and management science. It unites these with community organisations – large and small – based in Lancaster, Manchester, Derry-Londonderry, and further afield by working with high-profile partners such as the Manchester Digital Development Agency, FutureEverything, the RSA, and Community Matters.

Catalyst is a project which will bring together academics and communities to carry out transformative research on the theme of citizen-led social innovation.
Effective start/end date1/11/1130/04/15


  • EPSRC: £1,549,569.00

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