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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dr Aristea Fotopoulou is a UKRI Innovation Fellow/AHRC Leadership Fellow whose research focuses on social transformations that relate to digital media and data-driven technologies (e.g. self-tracking, wearables, big data, AI). 

She is PI in the research project ART/ DATA/ HEALTH: Data as creative material for health and wellbeing. The project creates an innovative and interdisciplinary process that offers disadvantaged groups and the wider public 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.

She is currently Visiting Scholar at the University of Bergen, Department of Information Science and Media Studies, completing her monograph Feminist Data Studies: big data, critique and social justice (SAGE Publications, 2020). 

She is Principal Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Media and Communications in the School of Media, University of Brighton, and Course Leader of the MA Digital Media, Culture and Society.

Between 2016-18 she served as Chair of the Digital Culture & Communication Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).

Her first book is entitled "Feminist activism and digital networks: between empowerment and vulnerability" (2017, Palgrave/MacMillan). Positioned at the intersections of media and cultural studies with science and technologies studies, she has published widely in the themes of information politics and big data, digital engagement, media literacy, intersectionality and queer theory, digital networks and feminism. 


2015-Present:  University of Brighton (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer 2016, Principal Lecturer 2018)

2014-15: University of Lancaster (Lecturer, Sociology)

2014:  Visiting Scholar at University of California, Santa Cruz (Research Center Science and Justice)

2012-13: Research Assistant at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Project: Storycircle, an EPSRC-funded action research project that focused on the social and digital conditions for narrative exchange and knowledge production (PI Nick Couldry, Framework for Innovation and Research in MediaCityUK).(http://storycircleuk.com/)

2012-2014: Research Fellow in the EU-funded project EPINET, a technological assessment of emerging technologies (smart grids, wearable sensors and in-vitro meat) (Integrated Assessment of Societal Impacts of Emerging Science and Technology from within Epistemic Networks, FP7-SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY-2012- European Commission. http://www.epinet.no/) (University of Sussex, Media).


2012: PhD (Media and Cultural Studies), University of Sussex

2009: PGCert (Social Sciences Research Methods), University of Sussex

2008: MA (Media and Cultural Studies), University of Sussex

2007: BSc (Social Sciences), Open Univesrity

2006: BA Hons (Art & Design), Middlesex University

Research interests

Aristea has been awarded the University of Brighton 2017 Early Career Research and Enterprise Excellence Award for her research within 5 years of PhD graduation and 2 years of first academic post. She is the ECR Ambassador of the University of Brighton.

Her current research project "Critical data literacy, Creative media and Social equality" focuses on big data and citizen engagement, with emphasis on digital skills for community organisations and civil society. She is also interested in cultures, practices and new subjectivities that relate to self-tracking, AI and big data. Informed by feminist STS, she currently writes about self-tracking apps and technologies for various purposes, e.g. fertility, fitness, and about the notion of the quantified self.

In November 2017 she co-organising the DCC ECREA conference Digital Culture Meets Data: Critical Perspectives (November 2017, University of Brighton) and she is now editing the Special Issue with the same title in Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, with Dr Helen Thornham.

Her research about wearable sensors and about the Quantified Self in San Francisco were published recently in the online platform Open Democracy and in Health Sociology Review. Aristea has 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 serves as Chair of the Digital Culture and Communication Section of European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA)since 11/2016 and served as Vice Chair (2014-2016) and as Early-career scholar representative (YECREA) of the section between 2012-2014. 

Dr Fotopoulou is currently writing a monograph on Feminist Data Studies (SAGE).

Her first research monograph "Feminist Activism and Digital Networks: Between Empowerment and Vulnerability” was published in 2017 by Palgrave Macmillan.

This book sheds new light on the way that, in the last decade, digital technologies have become inextricably linked to culture, economy and politics and how they have transformed feminist and queer activism. This exciting text critically analyses the contradictions, tensions and often-paradoxical aspects that characterize such politics, both in relation to identity and to activist practice. Aristea Fotopoulou examines how activists make claims about rights online, and how they negotiate access, connectivity, openness and visibility in digital networks. Through a triple focus on embodied media practices, labour and imaginaries, and across the themes of bodily autonomy, pornography, reproduction, and queer social life, she advocates a move away from understandings of digital media technologies as intrinsically exploitative or empowering. By reinstating the media as constant material agents in the process of politicization, Fotopoulou creates a powerful text that appeals to students and scholars of digital media, gender and sexuality, and readers interested in the role of media technologies in activism.

Feminist Activism and Digital Networks has been 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 teaches in the fields of critical media theory, digital research methods and the sociology of media at BA and MA level. She is the MA Course Leader of the MA Digital Media, Culture and Society, and leader of the postgraduate modules: Big Data, Society and Culture; Understanding Digital Culture and Society; and Practising Media Research.

Areas of Doctoral supervision:

Aristea welcomes PhD supervision of research projects examining all aspects of digital culture and activism, big data & society, feminist STS, digital tools for health and wellbeing, issues of gender and sexuality in relation to media, technology and culture, as well as projects with innovative methodological approaches.

Current PhD Students

  • Hannah Runham (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. 
  • ESRC Artificial Intelligence and Society (2018-2022). 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

In 2013, Dr Fotopoulou 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). Prior to her academic career, she worked extensively in the digital media industry. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Sussex


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • sociology of media
  • Feminist studies
  • critical data studies
  • digital communication and culture
  • datafication

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digital media Social Sciences
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Projects 2019 2021


Fotopoulou, A.


Project: Grant

Research Output 2013 2019

Citizen Media and Gender

Fotopoulou, A., 1 Dec 2019, (Accepted/In press) Routledge Encyclopaedia of Citizen Media. Pérez-González, L., Blaagaard, B. & Baker, M. (eds.). (Critical Perspectives on Citizen Media).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearchpeer-review

alternative media
women's press
protest movement

Understanding citizen data practices from a feminist perspective: embodiment and the ethics of care

Fotopoulou, A., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Citizen Media and Practice. Stephansen, H. & Trere, E. (eds.). Oxford, 16 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearchpeer-review

Open Access

From networked to quantified self: Self-tracking and the moral economy of data

Fotopoulou, A., 15 Jun 2018, A Networked Self: Platforms, Stories, Connections. Papacharissi, Z. (ed.). New York

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

Feminist Activism and Digital Networks: Between Empowerment and Vulnerability

Fotopoulou, A., 4 Mar 2017, London, UK. 167 p. (Palgrave Studies in Communication for Social Change)

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredResearch

digital media

Feminism in the era of the Quantified Self: agency, labour and future markets

Fotopoulou, A., 25 Oct 2016, p. 1-3. 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch

Open Access

Activities 2016 2019

University of Bergen

Aristea Fotopoulou (Visiting researcher)
15 Feb 201917 May 2019

Activity: Visiting positionVisiting an external academic institution

Creativity and critical data literacy for advocacy

Aristea Fotopoulou (Presenter)
12 Jan 2018

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation

Audiences, datafication and the everyday

Aristea Fotopoulou (Presenter)
31 Oct 2018

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

Data and Datafication event, launch of the Research Centre Digital Societies

Aristea Fotopoulou (Presenter)
14 Dec 2018

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

European Communication Conference

Aristea Fotopoulou (Participant)
31 Oct 20183 Nov 2018

Activity: EventsConference