Research activities

A Nudge and a Push: Towards Ethical Sustainability in an Era of (Invisible) Data Harvesting

A series of future-looking public talks emerging from creators of participatory, immersive and interactive experiences. These debates examined topical issues for the VR, AR, XR, immersion, arts and gaming sectors in terms of sustainable and ethical processes, exploring approaches to the production and usage of such outputs, and within the content of the work itself.

The DATUM R&D project is investigating, through shared research, debate and the creation of AR and audio-led gaming apps, new technological and artistic models that could aid sustainable consumption, enable the protection and ethical use of personal data, and generate new ways of relating to other humans, locally and globally.

Across this last year of global pandemic, it has become totally clear that the technologies of our times have permeated into most aspects of our lives, becoming an inescapable part of our work, education, homes, health and leisure time. Public concerns regarding the collection and usage of our personal data, often harvested around us without our knowledge, have come to the surface. Health data pooling, required to combat the virus, is gathered through contact tracing apps, and digital vaccine passports are in global debate. This has increased awareness of the positive and negative consequences of such data gathering, already amplified by the media coverage of the increasing deployment of AI enabled facial recognition, surveillance cameras, biosensors and location trackers.

There is a lack of public debate on the usage and the sustainability of such data gathering, and how this behavioural data is monetized (through business-to-business data sales) for the prediction of future consumption and on the role of corporations in leading sustainable practice. Additionally, this debate is not highly prevalent in the creative industries, in particular in the immersive gaming, entertainment and arts sectors who gathering biometric data (physical, behavioural and physiological traits such as voice, gesture, gaze, gait, motion, facial expression, location etc) for use in the analysis of immersion environments for ongoing revenue streams through in-business sales.  Discussions will include the emergence of new frameworks through which we start to blur the boundaries between the recreational and the functional.

This series of panels aimed to activate this debate about the emerging sustainable options with an aim to find win-win solutions between all involved - the user and the creator, the individual and the business sector.

Speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds - creative industries, academia, policy, culture and business - from the UK and internationally, joined us to explore these topical and important issues online.


The DATUM Webinar Series is curated by Ghislaine Boddington (body>data>space/University of Greenwich) as part of DATUM R&D (Innovate UK), with the support of University of Greenwich, and with inputs from body>data>space, ZU-UK and research groups CLEI, BHRE and LETS Lab.

DATUM R&D is created and produced by ZU-UK (lead partner), University of Greenwich and body>data>space, with support from Innovate UK. This project is partnered with Strategic Research Groups at University of Greenwich - CLEI – Co-creating Liveness in Embodied Immersion, BHRE – Business, Human Rights and Environment and LETS Lab – Law, Emerging Technologies & Science.

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