Critical Data Research in Praxis Workshop

Research on data and data-intensive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become increasingly critical in the last decade. Decolonial, intersectional feminist and other theoretical frameworks have been employed to make sense of new and existing asymmetries. This workshop proposes to reflect about the implications of this turn for research praxis. Some of the questions explored are: How can research make global-scale claims in a way that is attentive to local agencies? What collaborations are possible between academia and marginalised communities? How can researchers themselves avoid reproducing extractive dynamics?

The four distinguished speakers have conducted work at the intersection of critical data studies and media and communications. The workshop will begin with a welcome lunch, which will be followed by three thematic blocks. Each of these blocks will include a presentation (20 minutes) and group activities designed and led by a chair (30 minutes).

There will be 25 participants, who will range from PhD students to early career researchers. An invitation will be shared with the Cambridge community, which will be extended to potential attendees from other universities depending on availability. The workshop is free of charge.


Professor Mirca Madianou is at the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University. Her research examines the social uses and consequences of communication technologies in a transnational and comparative context. Madianou’s work makes contributions to the areas of migration, disaster recovery and humanitarianism, as well as their intersection with digital technology.

Nick Couldry is Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. As a sociologist of media and culture, he approaches media and communications from the perspective of the symbolic power that has been historically concentrated in media institutions. Couldry is a co-founder of Tierra Común.

Ulises Ali Mejias is Professor of Communication Studies at SUNY Oswego in the United States. His research interests include critical internet studies, network theory and science, philosophy of technology, sociology of communication, and political economy of digital media. Ulises Ali Mejias is also a co-founder of Tierra Común and the Non-Aligned Technologies Movement.

Dr Andrea Medrado is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Media and Communication. Her current research analyses the ways in which digital activists and art-ivists from marginalised communities in Global South countries (particularly Brazil and Kenya) can exchange experiences and lessons, promoting an exploration of mutuality between them. Medrado is currently exploring participatory methods in the study of platforms and data-intensive technologies.

Hosts & Chairs:

Dr Ella McPherson (host) is Associate Professor of the Sociology of New Media and Digital Technology as well as the Anthony L. Lyster Fellow in Sociology at Queens’ College and Co-Director of CGHR. She is also Deputy Head of Cambridge’s School of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Her ongoing research is on human rights fact-finding in the digital age, focusing on struggles around the production of evidence, and she is currently a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at Harvard’s Carr Centre for Human Rights.

Dr Sebastián Lehuedé (host & chair) is CGHR’s Postdoctoral Scholar, a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at the Carr Centre for Human Rights at Harvard University, and a member of the Tierra Común network. Applying decolonial theory, his research focuses on the governance of digital technology in relation to global social justice with a focus on Latin America.

Saide Mobayed Vega (chair) is a PhD researcher at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, working on the intersections between human rights, violence against women, digital technologies, and data. Saide is also a research assistant for The Whistle, a project that supports the use of digital evidence for social change. She co-founded the Femi(ni)cide Watch Platform.