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Connected Life

Call for Papers

One Day. Many Possible Futures.

An interdisciplinary conference supported by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII).

Connected Life 2022: Designing Digital Futures provides an engaging forum for an interdisciplinary network of researchers, designers, policymakers, and futurists from across the globe to critically engage with how we shape our digital futures.

“The future will be utopian, or there will be no future” – Slavoj Žižek, 2016


About the Conference

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Amid a global pandemic, an international recession, and a war in Europe, conceptualising digital futures may easily paint gloomy images of people isolated behind their screens, monitored by ubiquitous state surveillance systems and flooded with misinformation. Fragmentation, power asymmetries, deep fakes, algorithmic bias, security and privacy concerns, hate speech, and dark patterns dominate technological and political discourse, with very few instances of solution-oriented, let alone utopian reprieve. Design in all its iterations – from the infrastructure of the Internet to the virtual architectures which constitute our imagined communities, legislative frameworks, and data ethics – swims against this doomsday current with practice-based research and conceptional reimaginations. At Connected Life 2022, we give alternative ways of thinking about, designing, and participating in digital futures centre stage. Through keynotes, panel discussions, art exhibits, and networking spaces, we provide multiple avenues of engagement with the topic of Designing Digital Futures.

Join us on Friday, 17th June 2022, in Oxford, UK, to bridge innovative and creative research with practices that explore, design, and evaluate future digital architectures, models of governance, interactions, and interfaces.

The theme of Designing(1) digital(2) futures(3) includes:

1) A Design Perspective: Our broad understanding of design encompasses design practices; creativity and cognition; law, regulation, and ethics; technical architectures, software, code, protocols, and applications. We are further interested in the broad variety of actors engaged in designing digital futures, whether they are nation-states, regional or international organisations, NGOs, platforms, grassroots community efforts, users, collectives, and/or machines.

2) A Digital Perspective: Contributions could relate to one or several part(s) of multi-layered technological information and communications systems, ranging from infrastructure and transportation (e.g. telephony, broadband, etc.), to Internet management and services (e.g. cloud service providers, data centres, domain name systems, etc.), or to content flows and their respective economic, political, and cultural drivers. This may include discussions of recent technological advances in emerging technologies (e.g. AR/VR, Blockchain, AI, Big Data, algorithmic decision-making, digital identities, etc.).

3) A Temporal Perspective: Possible relationships between the past, present, and future and how this shapes our understanding of both design and the digital world. Proposals which include historical and longitudinal perspectives of digital transformation, such as examining how the past shapes our possible futures, are especially welcome.

To encourage diverse and uncommon perspectives, the organising committee of Connected Life 2022: Designing Digital Futures welcomes both proposals and artworks from researchers, designers, policymakers, students, and faculty across disciplines, including but not limited to digital humanities, law and technology, critical data studies, science and technology studies, surveillance studies, international relations, design, media and communications, politics, sociology, economics, education, computer science, history, and philosophy. Proposals from individual authors are welcomed alongside those from multiple contributors.

Proposals and artworks which address Designing Digital Futures may include:

  • Data Infrastructures and Platform Power
    • The globalisation of data flows
    • Architectures, histories, and philosophies of the Internet
    • Smart cities
    • Surveillance capitalism and data colonialism
    • Digital identity systems
  • Policy, Governance and Law: The Future of Regulation
    • Digital sovereignty and transnational data governance
    • Regulating Artificial Intelligence, algorithmic decision-making, and Big Tech
    • Data protection and privacy
    • Alternative ways of data governance, data commons, and data trusts
  • Ethical Challenges, and Digital Divides
    • Digital literacy and the digital divide
    • Global data justice
    • Ethics in technology design contexts
    • AI fairness, accountability, and transparency
  • Creative Pursuits and Digital Play
    • Creativity and cognition
    • Gaming technologies
    • Embodied Internet and virtual reality
  • Evolving Nature of Design
    • Human-computer interaction
    • Value-sensitive design
    • Design research and user experience
    • Philosophy of design
    • Innovative digital methods

Guidelines for abstract submission:

  • Abstracts must be submitted to: as a Word document in .docx format or as a PDF and contain the name(s) of the author(s).
    • Please include 5 to 6 research keywords for your abstract (e.g. Indigenous Futurity, Design Justice, Participatory Research, Empowerment, Solidarity).
  • Abstracts must be received by the extended deadline of 23:59 BST, 1 MAY 2022.
  • Abstracts must be written predominantly in English and may not exceed 500 words (exclusive of references, appendices, etc.).
  • All work must be the authors’ own.
  • Submissions will be subject to a process of blind peer review by a committee. Authors will be notified of the status of their submission shortly after the deadline.
  • All authors with accepted abstracts will be invited to submit an extended version of their research for a digital collection of all presented work, which will be accessible via the conference website. Submissions are non-archival; they can be previously published or in preparation for publication elsewhere.



Guidelines for exhibition/art submission:

  • An abstract of maximum 500 words, providing a clear description of the work and any relevant images and/or sketches.
  • An appendix with technical details of the artwork and any equipment or support needed for displaying your piece.

We look forward to receiving and reviewing your submissions! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us.

Organising Committee 2022: Amanda Curtis, Diyi Liu, Suzanne Nusselder, Joanna Rivera-Carlisle, and Charlie Harry Smith.



PDF version of Call for Papers





Registration will open in May and will be through this website. Please check back for more details.