Social Justice in the Digital Economy: Summer Webinar Series

Thursday 10th // 6pm – 7:30pm BST

Stories from our socially just, digital futures

Imagination and storytelling are the basis of all social transformations and social movements. They help us visualise, enact and share the kind of futures we wish to shape up together. What stories and what futures do we need to imagine now more than ever?

Carl Di Salvo (Georgia Tech) describes the power of experimentation as a means of cultivating and sustaining imagination.

He was joined by director and playwright Sarah Naomi Lee, who has been thinking playfully about academic ideas using cartoon illustration and Sci Fi writer Al Robertson, reading a sci-fi story written to reflect thoughts and conversations heard during Not-Equal Summer webinars events.

Panel Speakers

  • Dr Carl Di Salvo, Georgia Institute of Technology, ‘Experimentation and Imagination’
  • Sarah Naomi Lee, Plenty Productions, What can the multifarious expressions of sheep (MEOS) tell us about social justice in the digital economy?’
  • Al Robertson, Fiction Writer, ‘Turning the Not-Equal Summer events into fiction’

Chair: Prof Alan Dix, Swansea University


Carl DiSalvo is an Associate Professor in the Digital Media Program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology. At Georgia Tech he directs the Public Design Workshop: a design research studio that explores socially-engaged design and civic media. DiSalvo is also co-director of the Digital Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Center and its Digital Civics initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation, and he leads the Serve-Learn-Sustain Fellows program, which brings together faculty, staff, students and community partners to explore pressing social research themes (the 2016-2017 themes are Smart Cities and Food, Energy, Water, Systems).

Experimentation and Imagination

In this talk, I will share a perspective on experimentation as a means of cultivating and sustaining imagination. From this perspective, the work of the experiment is not to prove some theory, not to resolve some situation, but rather to prompt an appreciation for what is possible. In the context of civics, social justice, and diverse economies, such experimentation and imagination often runs counter to dominant discourses and practices of design. This requires a sense of doing design otherwise, of imagining not only different social worlds, but also different values and purposes of designing


Sarah Naomi Lee has been developing creative and highly innovative arts and media projects since 2002 including a professional touring theatre piece created from stories that were collected from customers in a black hairdresser in Brighton, and a 3-year DFID funded digital media storytelling project which brought together schools in Ghana and the UK. As well as being a professional theatre and BBC radio drama writer Sarah runs her own arts and media Community interest company (Plenty Productions CIC) and she is also the co-founder of Brighton and Hove Black History which recently completed a highly successful Heritage Lottery funded project about Thomas Highflyer, a boy freed from enslavement who lived and went to school in Brighton in the 1870s.

What can the multifarious expressions of sheep (MEOS) tell us about social justice in the digital economy? A creative and playful exploration of the power of illustration as a tool within academic inquiry

This talk is going to be about me using typologies of sheep’s facial expressions within cartoon mapping of conditions to arrive at an understanding of power, hegemony and materiality within the digital economy in response to what is discussed in the summer school. it’s really about getting people to think more playfully and more visually about academic ideas using cartoon illustration as a means of articulating relational ideas through something seemingly far removed from the subject (ie sheep) – this forms part of an ongoing artistic projects on the MEOS which I’m currently working on.


Al Roberton is a writer with two acclaimed science fiction novels, “Crashing Heaven” and “Waking Hell”, which use far-future cyberpunk mayhem to dissect the contemporary workings of power and privilege. His next book’s a near-future techno-thriller about the slippery nature of truth in our modern world. It thinks about how to be sure you’re acting judiciously when you can’t find firm ground to stand on. When he’s not writing books, he helps a local tech scale-up tell stories about information security and privacy management, and gives talks on everything from brand storytelling to the occult roots of modern technology. Find out more at his website.

Turning the Not-Equal Summer events into fiction

I’m going to turn the Summer School’s thoughts and conversations into a short, sharp science fiction story. Then I’ll chat about how the week’s conversations sparked it, how that kind of thinking informs my own and other SF / fantasy / horror writers’ practice and work, and how genre writing’s absorbed, responded to and reflected society’s social justice debates.