Digital Health

Fantastic workshop at the Foundation Brocher ‘Citizens’ use of digital media to connect with healthcare: exploring the socio-ethical and regulatory implications’ – organized by Alan Peterson, Claire Tanner and team.

We spent three days hearing about different perspectives on digital health – from online medical testing; global trades in embryos and stem cells; statistical tests, norms and calculators; citizen health databases; health records to hacking health. A framing question might be that of what connects and disconnects – for example connection through some nodes means disconnection through others – or more philosophically what might be the constitutive disconnections of connectivity.

For me one of the questions that came through in relation to stem cells was that of the importance of science communication and its role. In a context in which press releases and PR actors are significant and in which there is an imperative to make optimistic claims about direct benefits of research, media cultures of optimism built up over decades can create a vacuum that enables the conditions in which unproven treatments become popular.

Another key theme was about trust and legitimacy – what are the loci, nodes and conditions for creating trust or legitimacy? In a broader context of uncertainty, do experience and feelings about experience and testimony become ever more significant and do social media platforms exacerbate and intensify this?

The presentations at the workshop included:

Sally Wyatt: The Internet as innovative healthcare technology
Klaus Hoeyer: The data politics of digitalized healthcare
• Kate O’Riordan: Disconnection in the culture of connectivity: health records, digital health promotion and patient care
John-Arne Skolbekken: Meaningless numbers? Reflections on the construction of individual risks
Caroline Sanders: Dissolving and creating boundaries in healthcare via the collection and use of digital patient data on symptoms and experience
Leigh Turner: U.S. clinics using direct-to-consumer online advertising to promote unapproved stem cell interventions: ethical, legal, and scientific concerns
Alan Petersen, Claire Tanner and Megan Munsie: What is ‘trust’ in digitally mediated healthcare?: exploring the experiences of patients and carers who contemplate stem cell treatments
Andrea Whittaker: Digital reproduction
Roberta Raffaetà & Adiano Jannacos: Hacking Health Movement: A win-win game?

The Tablet Book


REFRAME Books publishes open access scholarly contributions to the fields of media, film, music, cultural studies, the digital humanities and journalism in a variety of e-reading formats.

This imprint was launched in Spring 2015 with the publication of The Tablet Bookedited by Caroline BassettRyan BurnsRussell Glasson and Kate O’Riordan, a collection of original research essays which mobilise a range of perspectives and approaches in thinking about and understanding the tablet computer.

This book arose in response to discussion at the Tablet Symposium held at the University of Sussex in April 2013, an event funded by the Centre for Material Digital Culture.

The Tablet Book is online at: 

Art, Publics and Biosensors, 30th October, University of Sussex

Creativity Zone – University of Sussex 30th October 2014

Art, Publics and Biosensors from 1pm + Welcome to the Centre for Material Digital Culture from 4pm

1pm Artists talk and discussion:

Coactive Systems: Interactive Bio-sensing ~ a multi-sensory exploration of biological systems – brought to you by Gene A. Felice II, David Kant, Jennifer Parker, UCSC DANM & Music Departments, Openlab, University of Maine New Media & Interermedia, Coaction Lab

Followed by panel presentations brought to you by Stephen Fortune, Aristea Fotopoulou and Kate O’Riordan, University of Sussex, Lancaster University, EPINET

4pm – Welcome to the Centre for Material Digital Culture – and discussion about the year from 4pm – led by David Berry, Emile Devereaux and Kate O’Riordan

Everyone very welcome to both!

The Creativity Zone is in the Pevensey II building – no 50 on the campus map: