My PhD is funded by the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and delivered through the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training.

84232 Horizon CDT Logos 1ups

I am now supervised in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, but my research journey originally started out with this theme:

My Life in Data

CDT cohorts who have started the four year PhD research programme from October 2014 onwards, now focus on the theme of ‘My Life in Data‘, where research centres around personal data and the traces we leave behind throughout our lives.

From web searches and browsing histories, to likes and dislikes, purchases, tweets, texts, emails, photos, videos and locations – the list of human data we share as we go about our everyday life continues to grow and is increasingly collected and used by commercial and government organisations.

The combination of widespread data capture, data mining, machine learning and large scale cloud computing collectively referred to as “big data” has led to personal data becoming recognised as a major business and societal asset, one that can be used to infer our habits, behaviours, preferences, relationships, risks and even emotional states.

You might ask: what on earth does that have to do with the healthcare experiences of trans and gender non-conforming people? Well, ask any minority group how important the internet has been for connecting with others, learning about themselves and finding information!

The thing with qualitative research is that you have to go into the field with an open mind. I anticipate that simply through asking about experiences more generally that the importance of digital technology for my participant group will demonstrate itself.

Horizon is involved in all kinds of work- from very technical development of technologies and algorithms, to practice based approaches to creating art (like films you can control with your mind!), research on the user experience of people with dementia or brain tumours, to new ways to map the places we live…

For example- here’s a short video from an outreach workshop I helped deliver at The London Design Festival at the V&A the called ‘Planting the Seeds of Wellbeing’.

The project was run by Horizon at Nottingham University and the Royal College of Art. The purpose of the workshop was to help the public explore the ways that the personal data they generate on a daily basis could be used in design to enhance their wellbeing.

I’m excited to see how my own findings will be contributing to the growing body of interesting research that Horizon is producing!