Maria Sourbati

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Maria Sourbati is the research lead for ‘Smart Infrastructure: Cities, Travel, Energy and Housing’ at the Centre for Digital Media Cultures. Sourbati's current research explores social implications of emerging technologies with a focus on mobility, age and data.

Maria has developed expertise in communications and social policy, new media and older people, digital media, smart mobility, and age relations. Maria's current research examines digital data, smart mobility and age relations as part of complex sets of relations of power that shape a person’s experience and social inclusion along time and other social markers of difference, including gender, race and class.

Her research has also examined tensions inherent in policy-driven diffusion of digital technologies and locally situated modes of engagement with ICTs. This strand investigates the politics of the digital switchover and user aspects in the 'digital by default' policy agenda from a social inclusion perspective. Maria’s earlier work on historically and technologically situated processes of media regulation has examined public service provision in electronic communications with a focus on diversity, universal access and media literacy.

Scholarly biography

Maria obtained her BA in Political Science from Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Athens). She then completed an MA in Communication Policy (City, University of London) and a PhD at the Centre for Research into Innovation, Culture and Technology (Brunel University). Sourbati’s doctorate examined the co-evolution of television technologies, markets and regulation.

Prior to joining the University of Brighton Dr Sourbati held research posts at the British Film Institute and Goldsmiths College (London) where she led qualitative research into the use of new media by older people. Having realised she is dyslexic Maria developed an interest in institutional dynamics of access, disablement, and exclusion. Dr Sourbati understands disability as an interface of designed environments and a person’s circumstances, including impairment, and culturally situated discourses of discrimination.

Research networks

COST Action Network on Ageism IS1402. Ageism: An international, multidisciplinary perspective ( UK management committee member. EU funded.

Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) Concordia University, Canada. A multi-methodological research network (

Invited talks & keynotes

’Media literacy and social inclusion’, in Media pluralism – how can we deliver? Conference organised by The Council of Europe in partnership with Reporters Without Frontiers, 19-20 March 2019, Strasbourg, France.

’On Age and Equality’, keynote, Battle of the Sexes conference, Greek Society of Adlerian Psychology, 16-17 March 2019, Athens, Greece.

‘Ageism goes digital’ Video talk for the COST IS1402 Conference on ageism from a multi-national interdisciplinary perspective. June 2018  The video can be viewed here:

Lund University Department of Communication and Media Symposium: Senior citizens domesticating ICTs.  Lund, Sweden, 27-28 April 2017.

21st IAGG World Congress: A global dialogue on ageing. COST IS1402 Symposium: Public Policies Related to Ageism. San Francisco, CA. 23-27 July 2017.

'Datafied age: Social data and age relations,  YOY ARE MY DATA symposium, Watermans Digital Performance Weekend, organised by the Watermans Arts Centre and London South Bank University as part of the Being Human Festival (Watermans Arts, Saturday 14 November, 11.00–16.00) This talk can be viewed here:

 ‘Age(ism) in digital information provision: The case of online public services for older adults’ Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population. Design for Aging. First International Conference, ITAP 2015, Part of Human Computer Interaction International 2015, Los Angeles, CA, USA, August 2-7, 2015.

‘Ageism: A barrier to social inclusion in the 21st century’ INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on ACTIVE AGEING & EXPO 2015 MILANO “Nutrire la memoria per nutrire le generazioni: anziani attivi e benessere” OssCom and Centro di Ateneo Studi e Ricerche sulla Famiglia, UCSC Università Cattolica, Room Pio XI & Padiglione EXPO European Commission, Milan, Italy, 11-12 May, 2015.

Active Ageing Round Table, European Union Pavilion, EXPO Milano 2015, Milan, Italy12 May 2015.

‘Ageist by default? Representing older age online.’ Journalism and Media Research Seminar Series. Department of Journalism and Media, University of Huddersfield, 21 January 2015.

Media access and diversity: the digital turn, International Symposium on Media Pluralism organised by the Research Institute for Applied Communication, Cyprus. (2009)


“Can internet literacy foster social inclusion?” Interview on media pluralism, Council of Europe Dir General Human Rights and Rule of Law, Strasbourg, 20March 2019

“When Ageism Goes Digital” (Invited blog post) Ageing Equal Campaign #AgeingEqual & #StandUp4HumanRights, AGE Platform Europe, 25 November 2018

 “How do you know when the news is ‘Fake’?” Interview with Claire Russ, Paris Live, Radio France International, 9/12/2016

Peer reviewing

Convergence (Sage)

International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (Taylor & Francis)

Technology in Society (Elsevier)

Information, Communication and Society (Routledge)

Journal of Applied Gerontology (SAGE)

Journal of Ageing and Social Policy (Taylor & Francis)

New Media and Society (SAGE)

International Journal of Digital Television (Intellect)

Book series and edited collection reviewer for Peter Lang, Berlin, and Sage, London (c. 2009 - 2010)

International conference reviewer, ECREA

Commissioning assessment panel member, Not Equal

Funding application reviewer for the Research Foundation - Flanders (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen, FWO), Belgium

Grant application reviewer for the School for Social Care Research (SSCR), National Institute for Health Research, London School of Economics

Research reports

Behrendt, F., Murray, L., Hancox, A., Sourbati, M. & Huber, J. (2017) Intelligent Transport Solutions for Social Inclusion (ITSSI): Project Report, 22 May 2017, University of Brighton. 128 p.

Carlo, S and Sourbati, M (2015) ‘Older people in digital inclusion policies in the UK and Italy’. COST Action IS1402 STSM:  Comparing digital inclusion of older people policies in UK and Italy. Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy, and University of Brighton, UK.

Sourbati, M. (2004) Internet Use in Sheltered Housing: Older people’s access to new media and online service delivery, from ‘The Digital Age:  Opportunities or Exclusion’ Series, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. ISBN 1 85 935 168 9.

Policy advice

Research presentations to the Accessibility Focus Group, UK Online Interactive, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, The Cabinet Office, Stockley House, London (2003)

The DTI/Generics Group/IPSOS study into Consumer Adoption of Digital Television prepared for the DTI Digital TV Project (2004)

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising doctoral students on a range of topics and themes including smart technologies, age relations, ICT access and mobility, digital inclusion, digital literacies, digital inequality and transport-related exclusion.

My past PhD supervision includes projects in media diversity, media regulation, e-government.

Current PhD supervision

Sijuade Olanihun Yusuf (International PhD Studentship) - Social media and negotiation of identity by African Women in Sub-Saharan African countries.

Vicki Painting - How might the ‘orphaned body’ of my mother living through the fourth age be represented other than within the prevailing construct of abject, unproductive and ultimately unsuccessful ageing?


External positions

External examiner, University of Westminster


Commissioning assessment panel member

2019 → …

External Examiner, London College of Communication UAL

28 Feb 2018 → …

External MPhil Reviewer School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University


External Validator, Media, Film & Culture Programme, Leeds Trinity University



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