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Scholarly biography

Dr Aristea Fotopoulou is Reader in Digital Communication, Culture & Society at the School af Arts & Media, and Academic Lead of Creative Futures. Her research concerns social and cultural transformations that relate to digital media and data-driven technologies, with current focus on arts and health.

Aristea has published widely on critical issues of digital and emerging technologies from a feminist perspective, including the quantified self, wearable sensors and fitness tracking, citizen everyday data practices, digital media and feminist activism, intersectionality and queer theory. She was UKRI/AHRC Innovation leadership fellow (2019-21) and Principal Investigator on the project ART/ DATA/ HEALTH: Data as creative material for health and wellbeing. Her first book is entitled "Feminist activism and digital networks: between empowerment and vulnerability" (2017, Palgrave/MacMillan), and she is writing her second book Feminist Data Studies: big data, critique and social justice (SAGE Publications). 

She was Postgraduate Research Coordinator of the School of Media between 2019-20, Early Career Ambassador 2017-18, and Course Leader of the MA Digital Media, Culture and Society 2016-2019. Between 2016-18 she served as Chair of the Digital Culture & Communication Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA). She holds a PhD from the University of Sussex, and has previously worked at Lancaster University, in Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, and University of Sussex. Prior to her academic career she worked as an artist using various media, including 3D animation, comics, digital art, painting, murals and tattoo arts. Her current art practice concentrates on figurative painting and portraits. 

Research interests

Dr Aristea Fotopoulou currently leads the project 'Impact of COVID-19 on Arts and Health charities' (funded by UKRI Research England’s Quality-related Research Strategic Priorities Funding (QR SPF) 2020-21). She has recently completed the UKRI Innovation Fellowship/AHRC Leadership Fellowship funded research project ART/ DATA/ HEALTH: Data as creative material for health and wellbeing. The project created an innovative and interdisciplinary process that offered new tools, at the intersections of data science with art practice, to approach two key issues in healthy aging and prevention: digital skills and health literacy.

ART/DATA/HEALTH followed on from Aristea's recent research "Critical data literacy, Creative media and Social equality" (funded by Rising Stars, University of Brighton 2017), which focused on big data and citizen engagement. The project run training workshops with community and civil society organisations to advance their digital and data analytics skills. 

In November 2020 she edited the Special Issue Digital Culture meets Data: Critical perspectives, in the academic journal Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, with Dr Helen Thornham. The special issue follows on from the  conference Digital Culture Meets Data: Critical Perspectives (November 2017, University of Brighton) organised by the Digital Culture & Communication Section of ECREA. 

Her research about wearable sensors and about the Quantified Self in San Francisco was published in the online platform Open Democracy and in Health Sociology Review. She edited a special issue in digital media praxis for Ada: Journal of Gender, Technology and New Media, (Issue 5, June 2014, with Alex Juhasz & Kate O'Riordan). She served as Chair of the Digital Culture and Communication Section of European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) (2016-18), as Vice Chair (2014-2016) and as Early-career scholar representative (YECREA) of the section between 2012-2014. 

Her first book Feminist Activism and Digital Networks was endorsed by high profile academics in her field Prof Nick Couldry(London School of Economics and Political Science, UK), Prof Rosalind Gill (City, University of London, UK) and Prof Carol Stabile (University of Oregon, USA). The book was been described as: 

“highly recommended”, “an urgently needed antidote to […] the invisibility of gender and sexuality as embodied practices in communication studies and social movement studies alike”; and deemed as “required reading for social justice classrooms.”  

Supervisory Interests

Dr Aristea Fotopoulou welcomes PhD projects examining: arts and health; art and science; AI and society; big data & society; critical public health communication and health promotion; gender, sexuality and technology; feminist STS;  robots and society; young people and digital technologies; mental health and technology; innovative and interdisciplinary methodologies; digital inclusion; activism; participatory action research; citizen data.

Current PhD Students

  • Hannah Shelby (ESRC South Coast DTP Scholarship in the Population Change, Health and Wellbeing pathway) (2017-2020). Theme: Mental health and Reality TV.
  • Jun Haelin (2018-2021). Theme: National identity, gender and use of YouTube in South Korean. 
  • Sijuade Olanihun Yusuf (International PhD Studentship) (2019-2022). Theme: Social media and negotiation of identity by African Women in Sub-Saharan African countries

  • Alex Yousif (ESRC Artificial Intelligence and Society PhD Studentship, South Coast DTP) (2020-2023). Theme: Algorithmic bias, gender and health and social care 

 

Indicative Masters and Undergraduate projects supervised:

  • The role of social media influencers in the promotion of sports and wellbeing
  • Representation of gender in Disney films
  • Audience perceptions of privacy and data collection on Facebook 
  • Understandings of bisexuality in social media 
  • Feminist activism and Twitter: #Metoo hashtag
  • Representation of queer characters in Call the Midwife. 
  • Gender in reality TV: The case of Only Way is Essex   

Knowledge exchange

Aristea is member of the steering group of the Arts, Health & Wellbeing of Public Health-Brighton & Hove City  Council. She has worked in partnership with NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, Public Health sector of the Brighton & Hove City Council, Digital Festival, Brighton Fringe, the domestic abuse charity RISE, HERA and numerous other stakeholders and artists (see www.artdatahealth.org).

In 2019, Aristea was Visiting Researcher at the University of Bergen, Department of Information and Media Studies.

In 2014 she was Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Science and Justice. 

In 2013 she participated in the British Consulate Knowledge Exchange as delegate in the establishment of international knowledge exchange activities in the United States, with Institute of the Future, the Computer Museum, Loyola University Chicago, Science and Justice Centre, Santa Cruz, Centre For Digital Storytelling, Berkeley and University of San Francisco (2013). 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Sussex

Award Date: 1 Jul 2012

Keywords

  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • sociology of media
  • Feminist studies
  • critical data studies
  • digital communication
  • datafication
  • intersectionality
  • Feminism
  • Activism
  • Social Media
  • Gender
  • sexuality
  • digital culture
  • emerging technologies
  • science and technology studies
  • quantified self
  • digital humanities
  • Social Movements
  • citizenship
  • participatory research
  • Health Information
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • robotics
  • arts and science
  • arts and culture
  • arts-based research
  • arts and health
  • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine

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