I am a digital media researcher and assistant professor in Digital Culture at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. On this blog, I post about my research and reflect on the interplay between digital technology and digital culture. Although I mention these separately, I consider culture an inherent part of technology – and vice versa. I am particularly interested in (and fascinated by) practices emerging from our interaction with digital technology. In consequence, I often discuss societal, political, and ethical issues arising from such techno-cultural entanglements.
My educational background is in sociology (University of Auckland, NZ) as well as in media studies and economics (University of Siegen, GER). Therefore, my work is mostly based on interdisciplinary approaches.
My current research addresses mainly two fields:
- In 2014, I received an NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) grant as co-investigator for the project “Hacking Heritage“. It was led by my UM colleague Karin Wenz. Together, we began to explore how hackathons have been and could be used as events for civic innovation and IT learning. Initiated by my research for this project and inspired by the fascinating people whom I met during various hackathons, I got interested in the communities which are drawn to these events: hacker- and makerspaces, or more specifically of course: their members.
- I have also investigated the influence of digital technology on epidemiological surveillance, with particular regards to implications of big data. For example, I have addressed the ethical challenges emerging from corporate big data projects such as Google Flu Trends. The service aimed at predicting influenza intensities based on users’ search queries, but has meanwhile been discontinued – due to technical issues and ethical concerns. I have also written on the politics of mapping big data, referring to examples such as Healthmap and Flu Near You.
I am a big fan of “space hacking” and have a thing for abandoned industrial buildings, such as the former Sphinx factory in Maastricht (see above). I am also into climbing – since I live in the Netherlands, mainly indoor climbing (for obvious reasons). Occasionally, some related topics might find their way into this blog.