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Digital Culture and its Discontents:
beyond connectivity, after access, use

Role: Team Member
Award: £10,000
Date: June 2016


written by Helen Thornham

The shared history of digital connectivity and accessibility in both the UK and Mexico mark these digital cultures as rich sources of comparison and learning. This project brings together researchers, post-docs, PhD students and communities in two different countries that have been investigating digital culture as discreet: as geographically and socio-economically contingent. Our research focuses on so-called ‘digital natives’ whose digital literacy neither enables, legitimates, nor empowers. We ask what an investigation into the lived realities of digital (il)legitimation reveals for the values inherent in digital connectivity as well as what interventions are possible for the future. The collaboration between the UK and Mexico is what enables this – drawing out the global connections through the sharing of expertise, knowledge and methodologies to develop a shared but distinct critical approach.


This Newton Mobility Grant funding presented the opportunity for a group of scholars from the UK to travel across Mexico, engaging in a wide range of academic activities with the intention of developing future research collaborations. The schedule of events, which included a workshop very closely aligned with my research interests, was rather demanding but the outcomes that were attained made the effort completely worthwhile. Strong links were established with academics at several institutions, but particularly at ITESO, the Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara.