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24 February 2023

Digital Futures Institute to help 'understand what it means to live well with technology'

A new institute, due to launch publicly in April, will investigate the relationship between humans and the technologies that have helped extend our capacities over the centuries.

DFI Story

How can we live well with new and emerging technologies? That’s the question being posed by the new Digital Futures Institute.

This Institute reframes what are usually thought of as technical challenges --to be solved through technical fixes --as human and social challenges that require other ways of knowing and responding. The Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences are central to bringing this essential perspective, and to ensuring we can make a step-change in our response to some of the most significant challenges we face today.

Professor Marion Thain, Co-Director of the Digital Futures Institute

The Institute, led from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, will bring together existing projects as well as promote new and original education and research - focusing on wellbeing and societal impact.

To pose these questions and frame the research being done within the college - the Digital Futures Institute is also home to Net Gains? - a series of features interrogating the question of how well we live with technology.

Existing and new research centres – including Digital Culture, Attention Studies and Technology and the Body – will all be housed within the Institute and provide unique connections to the health, science and cultural spheres. All focused on a central theme.

Our research is not just to think of ways of adjusting ourselves better to technology, or relying on technology to make our lives better, as though we already knew what living well meant. It is to imagine and engineer ways in which technology can help us (or compel us? or impede us?) in the work of understanding what it means to live well in the first place.

Professor Steven Connor, Co-Director of the Digital Futures Institute

Technology, and the need to explore how we live well with it, forces a rethink of what a university education means, both to the individual and to society.

The educational programme will meet this challenge by bringing our unique creative, humanistic and cultural perspectives to teaching and training, both inside the traditional university classroom and outside it. Our ground-breaking partnerships with professional education providers such as FourthRev will connect our world-leading research with innovative educational pathways, through career accelerator programmes and online degree courses.

Professor Stuart Dunn, Co-Director of the Digital Futures Institute

The Digital Futures Institute is due to launch in April 2023.

In this story

Marion Thain

Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Steven Connor

Professor of Living well with technology

Stuart Dunn

Professor of Spatial Humanities