A series of half-day workshops will take place on the afternoon of the first day of the Digital Futures 2012 conference (October 23). Following an earlier call for proposals, six workshops were selected and we hope that every delegate will be interested in participating in one of these events.

Outline details for each workshop appear below.

Muttukrishnan Rajarajan
DE2012 Workshop Chair

WS1: Technology At Home: Methods for Studying the Complexities of Household Interactions

Workshop chairs: Michael Brown, Tim Coughlan, Glyn Lawson, Murray Gouldon, Robert J. Houghton, Richard Mortier
Contact email:

Studying the use of current and future technologies in the home is a challenge that faces many researchers within the Digital Economy. The complex and dynamic social interactions in households mean that ecologically valid lab studies are not easy to design. However, holding field trials in the home comes with its own unique set of problems, such as privacy and observer effects. Other methods such as self-reporting or surveys can be useful, but may only elicit limited information about the rich interactions that occur. Though this workshop we will ask researchers from a multitude of disciplines to share their experiences of studying technology in the home, explore the appropriateness of current methods, and examine the potential to develop future methods to tackle the unique challenges of this environment.

WS2: Flash, Bang, Wallop!

Workshop chairs: Erinma Ochu, Helen Thornham, Will Simm
Contact email:

Creatively explore and imagine the next generation of digital tools to support impact. This half-day workshop explores the potential for developing digital tools to support the impact of digital economy research by beginning a dialogue; sharing knowledge and connecting interested parties with a relevant and cross-cutting DE theme. Participants will come away with an awareness of the challenges, opportunities and innovations for developing digital impact tools and a network with whom to explore future opportunities and partnerships. Participants are invited to: (a) share and learn from case studies; (b) work in groups to imagine digital tools to: support ways to capture, store, measure and share impact, consider the inputs and needs of diverse users. To contribute a case study, contact:

WS3: Connecting Creative Communities

Workshop chairs: Nicolas Race, Gorry Fairhurst
Contact email:

This workshop will explore new opportunities for creating video-based content. It will introduce new IP transmission methods and new video formats, as an alternative to linear TV, including live coverage, content aimed at specific interest groups - e.g. targeting regional events, professional groups (e.g. farming channel), specific genres (e.g. Celtic music, small-audience cinema), etc. It will also explore delivery of content to viewers, describing technologies to enable broadcast TV to evolve towards IP delivery and the ability to create content at any location. Together these present new possibilities that will enable more people to engage in content creation. The workshop is intended to allow participants to contribute and to explore key questions, such as how new technologies can be applied, how viewers find the content they wish to see, and how content owners will distribute content in the future.

WS4: Shifting Transport Paradigms: Intelligent Transport Systems and Services (ITSS) Challenge

Workshop chairs: Scott Stephenson, John Nelson, Nagendra Velaga
Contact email: Scott Stephenson:

Transport safety and cost are being tackled seriously because of a more socially and environmentally aware society. The priorities of the personal transport user are moving away from technical vehicle specifications (engine power, desirability, etc) towards the social and environmental impact of one’s own movement. Transport technology development is taking off through increased autonomy, vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communication, and more efficient multi-modal transportation. All of this is driven by positioning and navigation technology, advanced communications, human factors and psychology, and accessible and open-source standards. The transport model appears to be changing, but is it changing enough to be classified as a paradigm shift? This workshop hopes to bring together ideas from a broad range of disciplines to help define a research direction and develop opportunities for collaboration.

WS5: Harnessing the Power of Storytelling in the Digital Economy

Workshop chairs: Ruth Aylett, Deborah Maxwell, Lorena Macnaughtan, Oliver Case
Contact email:

The act of communication is fundamentally an act of storytelling and so the stories we fashion about ourselves to make sense of our life experiences are intrinsically linked to our identity and sense of self. Narrative and storytelling are critical in today’s digital economy – in communicating our work to peers, end-users, and to the wider public as a way of understanding and relating their own experiences and goals to the technology-supported environments of the Digital Economy. This interactive workshop will explore the role and shape of narrative in communities (which may include not only geographically local, but also digital and interest-based virtual and hybrid communities, e.g. health or research communities), in digital, written and oral storytelling forms. This exploration will be framed within the context of the digital economy, with speakers from the RCUK-funded SerenA project highlighting the ways that storytelling has been harnessed in both methods and research outputs. Participants will be encouraged to engage fully with the concepts of storytelling in research projects and community settings, through sharing their own ideas and experiences as well as taking part in hands-on group activities and discussions.

WS6: Visualizing the Hidden Activities in the Digital Economy

Workshop chairs: Muttukrishnan Rajarajan
Contact email:

This workshop aims to provide a forum for discussing the requirements for, and specifications of, visualizations of the complex and dynamic technological and social constructs upon which society increasingly depends. Such visualizations need to communicate how individuals, organizations, and other entities operating and taking risks in the Digital Economy interact with one another via, for example, institutions, laws, and social norms. The workshop will also identify ways to abstract key constructs (of entities, of the ecosystem, of information, and flows) for visualizations that allow representations that may be 'non-obvious' yet both powerful and parsimonious.  The workshop will encourage participants to discuss ways of extracting from visualizations understandings of the ways in which they can be used. For one example, to assess and value risk, security, privacy, and trust. For another, to understand whether there are useful inter- and intra-layer notions of trust domains that can enable interactions, transactions, and ecosystem development.