Hilde C. Stephansen (The Open University)

Hilde C. Stephansen is a Research Associate in the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance at The Open University. Her role is linked to two research projects: Catalyst, which aims to research and embed practices of public engagement with research across The Open University and Creating Publics, which seeks to innovate new ways of conceptualising and enacting public engagement with social science research. Previously, she has taught in the Department of Sociology and worked as a researcher in the Department of Media & Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research interests lie in exploring how communication practices of various kinds can contribute to the formation of publics at different scales, and how such publics can facilitate broader social processes of knowledge production. She received a PhD in Sociology from Goldsmiths in 2012 for a thesis which explored the character and significance of media and communication in the World Social Forum, focusing on their relationship to knowledge production and to politics of place and scale.

Nick Mahony (The Open University)

Nick Mahony is Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Publics Research Programme. He is located in the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, which is situated in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University. Nick leads the Creating Publics project which aims to innovate new ways of conceptualising and enacting public engagement with social science research. He is currently a co-investigator on the RCUK-funded ‘Catalyst’ and the ESRC-funded ‘Making publics across time and space’ projects. With Dr. Hilde Stephansen, he is now also building a new OpenLearn website called ‘Participation Now’, at the heart of which is an expanding collection of contemporary participatory public engagement initiatives. The aim of Participation Now is to support practitioners, researchers, students and citizens interested in being involved in these ongoing developments. Nick’s current research interests are in emergent publics, public participation experiments and the mediation of public engagement with social science research.



Giota Alevizou (The Open University, UK)

Clive Barnett (University of Exeter, UK)

Andrea Berardi (The Open University, UK)

Andrea Berardi is Lecturer in Environmental Information Systems at The Open University. His research and teaching focus on supporting and empowering marginalised communities through participatory processes. The goals that drive his activities are social justice and ecological sustainability. He is currently a work package leader in a major European Commission funded project which promotes the use of participatory video and photostories to promote community-owned solutions:

Jesper Christiansen (MindLab, Denmark)

John Clarke (The Open University, UK)

Alice Corble (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)

Alice Corble is a PhD candidate in the Sociology department at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is fascinated by public libraries.  Her research explores how library publics are constituted, mediated and created in the UK.  The project uses a case study approach to examine three different types of public library in London, looking at their relations to ideas of local, regional, national, and global publics, and the concepts of ownership, community, and access associated with these publics. By attending to the complex and layered nature of these issues, she hopes to reveal some answers to the broader question of what and who a public library is for in present day Britain. You will find Alice joining these debates on twitter @alicecorble.

Dan Durrant (University College London, UK)

Dan Durrant is a PhD Researcher at the OMEGA Centre, part of UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning. The OMEGA Centre was established in 2006 to study the decision making of mega transport projects. Dan’s research is into HS2 a, controversial, planned high speed rail connection between London and the North of England. He is examining the role played by civil society in the deliberation and legitimation of transport infrastructure decisions.

Dan’s interest in publics is the way in which they are formed, within civil society, in response to the consequences of transport infrastructure decisions. The public concerned with HS2 reflects a wide range of positions on the project. There is much opposition but there are also organisations that are supportive with others seeking to improve, challenge or set normative standards for this megaproject. Dan’s research contrasts the fluid flexible nature of publics formed within civil society with the formal decision making process which is largely seen as a partnership between state and market institutions. It explores the potential for a better understanding of the formation of publics and a role for civil society in improving decisions on complex, controversial infrastructure.

Aristea Fotopoulou (University of Sussex, UK)

Dr Aristea Fotopoulou is postdoctoral Research Fellow based at the University of Sussex working at the intersections of media & cultural studies with science & technologies studies. She is interested in critical aspects of digital culture, emerging technologies and social change, in network politics, and feminist/queer theory. She is currently engaged in the project EPINET, in a media analysis of three emerging technologies – smart grids, wearable sensors and in-vitro meat. She is also involved in Susnet, a sustainable digital platform for feminist cultural production, art and activism. During the Spring-Summer 2014 she is Visiting Scholar at the Science & Justice Research Center at University of California, Santa Cruz, exploring social issues around tracking biodata devices and practices, and participatory art+science interfaces for public engagement. She blogs about her research at Looping Threads.

Guillaume Gourgues (Université de Franche-Comté, France)

Michael Jemtrud (McGill University, Canada)

Hannah Jones (University of Warwick, UK)

Tobie Kerridge (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)

Alice Mazeaud (Université de La Rochelle, France)

Brenda McNally (Dublin City University, Ireland)

Brenda is currently involved in doctoral research at the School of Communications in DCU, Ireland. Her PhD project, ‘Online Participation in Transition: A collective case study of ICT-driven engagement initiatives about a low carbon future’ zones in on the social shaping process around adaptation to environmental change in Ireland. The research is concerned with the implications of key social actors’ discourses as well as discursive and communication strategies on meaning-making about (potential) citizen participation. In particular the study investigates how publics are assembled and mobilised as well as how participation is circumscribed in internet mediated participation initiatives. In doing so, the thesis presents empirical data on the under-researched topic of on-line participation and socio-technical transition, zoning in on the rationale(s) and manifestations of mediated sites for participation. The aim is to contribute to fresh thinking about the conceptualisation and performance of online public engagement about future sustainability

Her key research interests include communication strategies and media (re)construction associated with environmental risks and sustainability and specifically the socio-cultural and socio-political dimensions. She regularly tweets about issues related to environmental change and citizen participation @brendamcnally

Steven Mullaney (University of Michigan, US)

Janet Newman (The Open University, UK)

Philam Nguyen (McGill University, Canada)

Tehseen Noorani (Authority Research Network, US)

Helen Pallett (University of East Anglia, UK)

Sue Pell (Richmond, The American International University in London, UK)

Sue Pell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications at Richmond, The American International University in London, UK. Her research focuses on the formation of publics, knowledge production, and democratic participation, which she has investigated through social movement archives and struggles against gentrification. In 2011-2012, Sue was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, where she researched squatter archives, comparing documentation practices of radical political groups in London and Vancouver. Her project was funded through a Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Sue holds a PhD from Simon Fraser University (Canada). Her thesis analyzed the redevelopment of the Woodward’s building and anti-gentrification campaigns in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Pollyanna Ruiz (London School of Economics, UK)

Pollyanna is interested in the media’s role in the construction of social and political change. Her research focuses on the ways in which protest movements bridge the gap between their own familiar but marginal spaces, and a mainstream which is suspicious at best and downright hostile at worst. In doing so she looks at the communicative strategies of contemporary political movements, such as the anti-globalisation movement, the anti-war movement and coalitions against the cuts.  She is particularly interested in the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion and focuses on the potentially productive frictions between differently orientated protest clusters. Her work explores activists’ use of non-traditional communications forms such as direct intervention, visual metaphors and social networking.

Pollyanna has a BA in English Literature and Language from the University of Liverpool and an MA in Media and Cultural Studies from the University of Sussex. She completed her PhD, which examines the ways in which coalition movements access the mainstream media, at the University of Sussex in 2010. She is currently Research Fellow in the Department of Media and Communication at LSE. Her book Articulating Dissent; Protest and the Public Sphere will be published in April 2014.

Ellen Stewart (University of Edinburgh, UK)

I am a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and my key research interest is in policies to involve publics in the governance of public services. My doctoral research compared how policies for public involvement in the NHS were understood and experienced by staff, participants and non-participants in one area of Scotland. I highlighted the chimeric nature of much involvement work, and developed an account of ‘public involvement’ as en empty signifier. I worked for two years on a study of direct election of members to governing bodies of Scottish Health Boards, which sparked my interest in the intersections between ‘big P’ politics and the sometimes anti-political practices of ‘involvement’, ‘engagement’ and consultation in health. I am currently working on a study of how academic knowledge and evidence has impact in the ‘real world’ of public health policy, and in 2014 I will begin a four year research project looking at public consultation and protest around the closure of local hospitals. This project will explore processes of claims-making and evidence use by different actors, including public protest groups, in what are enduringly contested decisions.

Stephen Wittek (McGill University, Canada)

Paul Yachnin (McGill University, Canada)

Leigh Yetter (McGill University, Canada)


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