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    SCiM-MK attends inaugural Digital RGS event

    Gillian Rose and Oliver Zanetti were delighted to participate in the excellent inaugural event of the Digital Geographies Working Group on 30 June 2017. The event, entitled 'Revolution, Evolution, Imposition? Thinking, framing and doing digital geographies' drew together exciting new thinking from across the range of scholars working on the digital in geography.

    The event followed an innovative structure mixing panel discussions; so-called 'digital shorts', dynamic two minute presentations of research methods and findings; and, most excitingly, two afternoon breakout sessions whose content was drawn from themes emerging in the morning's sessions.

    From Ian Cook’s research website followthethings.com, via examination of new research methods for new medias by Gillian Rose, to various contributions on digital gaming, gender and sexuality, and much more besides, the conference covered a tremendous breadth of work in the domain of digital geography. The event was livestreamed via Periscope, and the headline panel sessions are still available on the Periscope website. Check out, also, the @digital_RGS twitter feed (scroll down to June 30 2017) for a flavour of the discussions had that day. It’s well worth taking a look.

    SCiM-MK is really looking forward to keeping up with the working group as it develops.

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    SCiM-MK at ESRC Festival of Social Science in autumn

    SCiM-MK's contribution to this autumn's ESRC Festival of Social Science will be enhanced thanks to an award of funding from the Festival which was announced last week. With our project partner Virtual Viewing, SCiM-MK will be exhibiting a range of new visualisation techniques and technologies to the public in a location in Central Milton Keynes. More details on the event will be announced nearer the time.

    The annual ESRC Festival of Social Science runs from 4-11 November 2017. The aim of the event is to celebrate the fascinating work undertaken by social scientists across the country, and to generate public engagement with that work.

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    Focus group on the use of tech by blind and partially sighted people to improve urban navigation

    To build on SCiM-MK's research on the use of smart technology by blind and partially sighted people to improve urban navigation, Sophie Watson and Oliver Zanetti will be running a focus group on the subject in the coming weeks.

    We'd like to invite all blind and partially sighted people who use smart technologies like smartphones to help navigate the city to participate in a discussion about their experiences. Whether you use specialised apps like Blindsquare, or conventional apps like Google Maps, we’d like to hear from you. We’re particularly interested in how these technologies are used and the effect that they have had on how you get around the city. This will help us better understand the social implications of these new technologies.

    The focus group will be held in the evening of 21 June, from 6 until 8pm at the Community Action MK offices at Acorn House, 351 Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 3HP. It promises to be a lively and engaging discussion. For further information, and to register your attendance, please email Oliver at Oliver.Zanetti@open.ac.uk.

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    Gillian Rose speaking on visualisations of the smart city

    Project lead Gillian Rose is doing a number of talks in May and June about smart cities and how they're visualised. Digital images are everywhere in smart cities. You can see them in smart policy documents and vision statements, as data analytics and dashboards, as advertisements and app interfaces, at hackathons and expos and as part of smart cities' engagements with mass and social media. There are a range of different types of visualisations, from the photo real cityscapes of imagined places of the future to animated infographics which represent data visually.

    Gillian has started to examine the ways in which big corporations like IBM, Cisco and Siemens visualise smart cities in their promotional materials on social media. Alongside this research, she is leading a work package in SCiM-MK to investigate how this takes place in Milton Keynes.

    On 10 May she gave a keynote lecture at the Geomedia conference at the University of Karlstad in Sweden exploring how smart cities appear in the images embedded in smart city tweets. On 2 June she'll be at a conference on urban technologies and redevelopment at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, talking about how smart city corporations envisage the future smart city. And on 10 June she'll be at University College Cork in Ireland, at a conference on bodies and the city, giving a keynote lecture on how those promotional materials visualise the people that inhabit smart cities.

    One of the SCiM work packages will be looking at the much wider range of images that are part of various smart activities in Milton Keynes. If you have any thoughts on any smart images that you've seen, please get in touch with Gillian on twitter (@profgillian) or by contacting her through this website.

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    Big data, smart city standards, and citizenship

    How might citizen-centric approaches to smart city developments coincide with big data? While it is routinely argued that they do, there is a paucity of research in this area. SCiM-MK's Matthew Cook, with Simon Joss and Youri Dayot of the University of Wesminster, have attempted to fill this gap by exploring the citizenship mode promulgated by the smart city standard of the British Standards Institution. Matthew recently presented this work at the Urban Big Data Centre in Glasgow.

    Drawing upon the notion of citizenship regime and using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the analysis he presented reveals key discursive frames which shape the smart city and the particular citizenship dimensions brought into play. The findings suggests that there is a strong citizenship rationale guiding the smart city standard, which is emblematic of the emerging smart city development discourse, and displays some shortcomings and contradictions.

    Their paper is forthcoming in the Journal of Urban Technology.

Tomorrow #mindonmk celebrates #mk's past and future with #mkcityfest and #mk50. Venue: Middleton Hall in @centreMK https://t.co/KAVsoJKaeB
by SCiM_MK