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UN-Predicting the future

Just like in every futuristic movie ever made, engineers wonder how to decide who a self driving car might kill in an accident, robots are automating our industries, we are experiencing the climate crisis first hand and there is a potential global health crisis looming. As policy makers, industries and governments scramble to solve these real-world problems from the top down, we want to challenge the very mechanisms used for predicting the future.

This panel of academic futures thinkers will hold a conversation focussed on disrupting predictable contemporary thinking in the policy, government and industry and innovation sectors for a future that is more ethical, equitable and inclusive.


  • Professor Sarah Pink - Director of Emerging Technologies Research Lab, Monash University will chair the panel, and reflect on her futures anthropology research into self-driving cars, future intelligent mobilities, and energy futures.
  • Professor Noortje Marres - Director of Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, (Warwick University). Noortje is a digital sociologist, and will speak about the tests and experiments that engineers use today to create the future: living labs, online personality tests, and smart traffic systems do not just predict what is to come, but change the present, and this makes it more urgent to figure out how art, design and social research can make possible different kinds of experiments with the future.
  • Dr Nerea Calvillo - Associate Professor ,Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, (Warwick University). An architect by training, Nerea will present In the Air, a visualization project currently on display in the Royal Academy (London), which makes visible the microscopic agents of Madrid´s air. This and other projects by Nerea create embodied, material, and affective ways of sensing our environmental futures.
  • Professor Juan F Salazar - Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University is an anthropologist and documentary filmmaker. Juan will speak about creative practices, poetics of tomorrowing and speculative approaches to futuring Antarctica and Outer Space. 


For more details :

Thu 27 Feb 2020, 09:42 | Tags: front-page-3

Calvillo and CIM co-organise the panel “Air pollution in Cities” (Royal Academy of Arts)

Monday 17 February, 6:30pm, Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Event on Royal academy website 

CIM, in partnership with the Royal Academy, has organised the panel “Air pollution in Cities”, as part of the exhibition Ecovisionaries.

The panel, curated and chaired by Nerea Calvillo, will showcase air pollution visualisations produced by interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners, reflect on how to make data and environmental issues public to improve engagement, and explore how more creative and visual approaches can increase the reach and accessibility of discussions around air pollution in our cities.


 Vasilisa Forbes is a photographer and film-maker.

Andrew Grieve is a senior air quality analyst at King’s College London.

Hanna Husberg is a Stockholm based artist.

Noga Levy-Rapoport is a youth climate justice.

Dr Diana Varaden is a research associate in the environmental research group at King’s College London.


Tue 11 Feb 2020, 13:45

CIM and the Q-Step Centre are hiring a Teaching Fellow in the area of computational social science

Full time, fixed term contract until 30 September 2021.

Applications are invited for a Teaching Fellow in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies and the University of Warwick Q-Step Centre. You will be an outstanding early career or PhD scholar with expertise in computational social science and digital research methodology. You will be expected to contribute to the Q-Step Centre Postgraduate and Undergraduate degrees, and (if required) other existing degree programmes, by teaching on existing modules. You will also be required to develop your own option module in collaboration with other members of the Q-Step Centre. You will be based in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies.

You will have the ability and willingness to teach modules with a focus on big data analysis (QS906) and machine learning (IM931). You will undertake module development, lecturing, seminar and workshop teaching, essay tutorials, dissertation supervision, office hours, marking of postgraduate work, and monitoring of student attendance in accordance with the Centre’s quality assurance practices and, where appropriate, provide pastoral support and guidance during the academic year.

You should have completed a PhD in a relevant subject or have your viva in hand.

All applications must be accompanied by a CV and covering letter and names of three referees. If you have not had the viva for your PhD, at least one of your referees should be a current supervisor.

Please direct informal inquiries to Professor Noortje Marres,

Potential candidates are also welcome to contact the Director of Warwick Q-Step Centre, Prof Ulf Liebe (

Application Deadline: 28 February 2020

For more info see:

Mon 03 Feb 2020, 17:12

The Patterning of Finance/Security: A Designerly Walkthrough of Challenger Banking Apps | Computational Culture

New paper by Michael Dieter and Nathaniel Tkacz published in the journal Computational Culture, “The Patterning of Finance/Security: A Designerly Walkthrough of Challenger Banking Apps.”

Abstract: Culture is being ‘appified’. Diverse, pre-existing everyday activities are being redesigned so they happen with and through apps. While apps are often encountered as equivalent icons in apps stores or digital devices, the processes of appification – that is, the actions required to turn something into an app – vary significantly. In this article, we offer a comparative analysis of a number of ‘challenger’ banking apps in the United Kingdom. As a retail service, banking is highly regulated and banks must take steps to identify and verify their customers before entering a retail relationship. Once established, this ‘secured’ financial identity underpins a lot of everyday economic activity. Adopting the method of the walkthrough analysis, we study the specific ways these processes of identifying and verifying the identity of the customer (now the user) occur through user onboarding. We argue that banking apps provide a unique way of binding the user to an identity, one that combines the affordances of smart phones with the techniques, knowledge and patterns of user experience design. With the appification of banking, we see new processes of security folded into the everyday experience of apps. Our analysis shows how these binding identities are achieved through what we refer to as the patterning of finance/security. This patterning is significant, moreover, given its availability for wider circulation beyond the context of retail banking apps.

Link to the paper:

Citation: Michael Dieter and Nathaniel Tkacz. “The Patterning of Finance/Security: A Designerly Walkthrough of Challenger Banking Apps.” Computational Culture 7 (20th January 2020).

Fri 24 Jan 2020, 14:29 | Tags: front-page-3

Co‐existence or displacement: Do street trials of intelligent vehicles test society?

This paper examines recent street tests of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the UK and makes the case for an experimental approach in the sociology of intelligent technology. In recent years intelligent vehicle testing has moved from the laboratory to the street, raising the question of whether technology trials equally constitute tests of society. To adequately address this question, I argue, we need to move beyond analytic frameworks developed in 1990s Science and Technology Studies, which stipulated “a social deficit” of both intelligent technology and technology testing. This diagnosis no longer provides an effective starting point for sociological analysis, as real‐world tests of intelligent technology explicitly seek to bring social phenomena within the remit of technology testing. I propose that we examine instead whether and how the introduction of intelligent vehicles into the street involves the qualification and re‐qualification of relations and dynamics between social actors. I develop this proposal through a discussion of a field study of AV street trials in three cities in the UK—London, Milton Keynes, and Coventry. These urban trials were accompanied by the claim that automotive testing on the open road will enable cars to operate in tune with the social environment, and I show how iterations of street testing undo this proposition and compel its reformulation. Current test designs are limited by their narrow conception of sociality in terms of interaction between cars and other road users. They exclude from consideration the relational capacities of vehicles and human road users alike—their ability to co‐exist on the open road. I conclude by making the case for methodological innovation in social studies of intelligent technology: by combining social research and design methods, we can re‐purpose real‐world test environments in order to elucidate social issues and dynamics raised by intelligent vehicles in society by experimental means, and, possibly, test society.

Fri 17 Jan 2020, 13:39 | Tags: front-page-1

New Chapter: ‘Circulation and its Discontents’ by Scott Wark (CIM, Associate Researcher) and McKenzie Wark

Written with McKenzie Wark, this chapter uses the circulation of internet memes and the fraught concept of ‘meme magic’ to examine the incommensurabilities – labour and technics – that structure contemporary online culture. It appears in a new edited collection on internet memes, Post Memes: Seizing the Memes of Production, which is open access and available for download from the punctum books website.

Link to book:

Fri 06 Dec 2019, 16:03

CIM is hiring! Applications are invited for a Teaching Fellow.

Applications are invited for a Teaching Fellow in Computational Social Science in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (CIM).

Thu 05 Dec 2019, 16:27

Calvillo's In the Air at “Eco-Visionaries: Confronting a planet in a state of emergency” (Royal Academy of Arts)

Exhibition dates: 23 November - 23 February 2020.

In The Air, an air pollution visualisation project led by Nerea Calvillo is exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts as part of the international exhibition “Eco-Visionaries: Confronting a planet in a state of emergency”, opening to the public this Saturday 23 November. Two pieces will be on display: The video In The Air 24h (2019), commissioned by the Royal Academy and produced with the support of CIM and the Spanish Embassy, has been developed in collaboration with code designer and artist Martin Nadal (Berlin), sound designer and musician Javier Lara (Mexico City), and photographers Imagen Subliminal (New York-Madrid). The second piece is Histories of Pollution (2010), three models developed in collaboration with Martin Nadal.

Curated by Gonzalo Herrero Delicado, Pedro Gadanho and Mariana Pestana, Eco-Visionaries was originally organised by the MAAT (Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnología) in Lisbon (Portugal), Bildmuseet de Umeå (Sweden), House of Electronic Arts (HeK) in Basel (Switzerland) and LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón.

A CIM visit will take place on 17 February, to accompany a public seminar on air pollution visualisations. More information soon, stay tuned!

The Royal Academy of Arts webpage for this exhibition is here.

Fri 22 Nov 2019, 11:18 | Tags: front-page-2

New paper by Nerea Calvillo: “Digital Visualizations for Thinking with the Environment”

Link to paper:

As part of the collectively edited volume digitalSTS: A Field Guide for Science & Technology Studies (Princeton University Press and Open Access), Calvillo’s contribution draws on the air pollution visualisation project In the Air to suggest the production of visualizations as an STS, material, feminist research method, particularly suited to examine the invisible materiality of environmental agents and to think with the environment. Considering air pollution and pollen visualisations as affective airscapes, the chapter reflects on their interfering capacity in re-thinking environmental justice and multispecies urban relations.

Fri 08 Nov 2019, 11:36 | Tags: front-page-1

Naomi Waltham-Smith will be giving a talk title 'A Motley Music: The Music Analyst Lends an Ear to Democracy' at the Music Faculty at the University of Oxford


British democracy is in crisis. Lord Keen QC has just taken the extraordinary step of having to reassure the Justices that the Prime Minister will take all necessary steps to comply with any declaration the Supreme Court makes. Legal experts, political scientists, and the Twittersphere have been exercising themselves in debating the constitutional stakes of a juncture (and hubris) unprecedented in modern times. More broadly, in recent years scholars across a wide variety of disciplines—historians, political theorists, economists, sociologists, philosophers—have offered various analyses of the resurgence of right-wing populisms, the emergence of leaders brandishing authoritarian personalities, and the collapse in the hegemony of the liberal political-economic consensus. But there is another hypothesis that merits exploration, a diagnosis that music analysts are in a privileged position to test and explain—namely, that the crises of representation we are currently witnessing may be analysed as a generalized crisis of listening.

My admittedly provocative argument has two limbs. First, ever since Plato dismissed the people as a motley rabble in the same breath that he rejected certain rhythmic and melodic modes, music, sound, and listening have repeatedly been present at precisely those moments in the European political philosophical tradition when thinkers have sought to specify the limitations and especially the aporias of democracy. I suggest some explanations for the privileged status of this aural metaphorics and draw a number of conclusions from the historical vicissitudes of the concept of listening for understanding the contemporary situation in which there is paradoxically both a democratic deficit and a panacoustic excess of listening.

Second, the changes in social forms of listening are inseparable from and arguably even symptomatic of transformations in the conditions and practices of musical listening undergone as a result of digital mediations. The consumption of music through streaming services, together with the rise of digital personal assistants, affective listening technologies, and the judicial weaponization of forensic sound analysis, have combined to alter radically our attunement to our environment and to others around us. If our relation to this planet, and to the other human and non-human lives it supports, is a function of listening, who better than music analysts to clarify its intricacies, expose its risks, and advocate for its future possibilities?


Mon 21 Oct 2019, 16:41

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