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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Maria Sourbati's research explores social implications of technological change and transformation of the media technologies and services through digitalisation and ageing.

Maria has developed expertise in communications regulation, communication and social policy, new media and older people, digital media, disability, age and ageism. Maria's current research examines digital data, media technologies and age relations as part of complex sets of relations of power that shape a person’s experience 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 user 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 (http://www.cost.eu/about_cost/who/%28type%29/5/%28wid%29/45568) UK management committee member. EU funded.

Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) Concordia University, Canada. A multi-methodological research network (http://actproject.ca/mandate/)

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_92htZbB40

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W4i3s404ng

 ‘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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRDR5xJGkCs

“When Ageism Goes Digital” (Invited blog post) Ageing Equal Campaign #AgeingEqual & #StandUp4HumanRights, AGE Platform Europe, 25 November 2018 https://ageing-equal.org/when-ageism-goes-digital/

 “How do you know when the news is ‘Fake’?” Interview with Claire Russ, Paris Live, Radio France International, 9/12/2016 http://en.rfi.fr/general/20161209-how-distinguish-fake-news-real-news-user-s-guide

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

Antigoni Themistokleous, Self-regulation by the press in Cyprus (PhD, completed). Andreas Masouras, Assessing the diversity of television content (MPhil, completed)

Available to supervise on the following research areas and topics: Governance and social implications of digital media technologies, including questions about age, datafication, digital literacies, disability, policy and regulation, public service communications.

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public service Social Sciences
information society Social Sciences
communication policy Social Sciences
inclusion Social Sciences
Internet Social Sciences
communication technology Social Sciences
new media Social Sciences
electronics Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2003 2018

Ageing well? A cross-country analysis of the way older people are visually represented at websites of organizations for older people

Loos, E., Ivan, L., Fernández-Ardèvol, M., Sourbati, M., Ekström, M., Wilińska, M., Carlo, S. & Schiau, I., 28 Feb 2018, In : Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology. 8, 2, p. 63-83 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Intelligent Transport Solutions for Social Inclusion (ITSSI): Project Report

Behrendt, F., Murray, L., Hancox, A., Sourbati, M. & Huber, J., 22 May 2017, University of Brighton. 128 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearch

Open Access
municipal council
policy area

Ageism, social inclusion and digital public service: Considering age relations in the 21st century

Sourbati, M., 15 Jun 2016, L’allungamento della vita: Una risorsa per la famiglia, un’opportunità per la società. Scabini, E. & Rossi, G. (eds.). Milan, Italy: Vita e Pensiero, Vol. 28. p. 229-245 17 p. (Studi Interdisciplinari sulla Famiglia).

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

public service
social effects

Age(ism) in digital information provision: The case of online public services for older adults

Sourbati, M., 15 Aug 2015, Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population. Design for Aging. Zhou, J. & Salvendy, G. (eds.). Berlin: Springer, Vol. 9193. p. 376-386 11 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science).

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

Open Access
public service
social discrimination
information service

Disabling communications? A capabilities perspective on media access, social inclusion and communication policy

Sourbati, M., 31 Jul 2012, In : Media Culture & Society. 34, 5, p. 571-587 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
communication policy
public service