Alison Powell is Assistant Professor in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Programme Director of the MSc in Data & Society.
Her research examines how people’s values influence the way technology is built. Alison started working with community wireless hacker communities in the early 2000s and now experiments with participatory and public engagement methods to investigate how we generate knowledge about technology, citizenship, and our futures. She currently spends time with two projects: VIRT-EU, a Horizon 2020 project examining ethics in practice among Internet of Things developer communities where she is co-investigator, and Understanding Automated Decisions, a university-industry partnership with Projects by IF exploring how to design services to explain how algorithms work, where she is principal investigator.
Alison’s published work covers issues of participation, design, policy and access to the evolving internet, from her article “WiFi Publics” published in New Media and Society in 2008 to more recent work on moral and ethical issues in technology design. She works across theory and practice and embraces interdisciplinary collaboration. In 2017 the article she wrote with Ann Light and Irina Shklovski, ‘Design for Existential Crisis in the Anthropocene Age’ won the Best Paper Prize at the Alt-CHI section of the Computing and Human Interaction conference, and from 2010 to 2013 she was a member of the European Network of Excellence on Internet Science. Her book Data Sense is under contract with Yale University Press and should be forthcoming in 2019. Along with Nick Couldry, she published “Big Data From the Bottom Up” in Big Data and Society, as well as many articles discussing information policy, activism, and open source culture.