Keeping In Touch in the Digital Age

16 July 2020 · 39 mins 56 secs

About this Episode

Carey Jewitt is Professor of Technology and Learning at University College London, UK. As Director of the IN-TOUCH project, her work explores how digital technologies shape communication, design, and the arts.

Episode Links

  • Communicating by touch: the final frontier? | UCL Institute of Education — "Sometimes we don't even really understand why we're kind of reaching out to touch..." Find out why Professor Carey Jewitt and her team are looking into digital touch technologies and their potential in transforming the ways we communicate.
  • How digital touch can help people connect | UCL Institute of Education — The REMOTE CONTACT exhibition explores how creative uses of technology might enhance feelings of connection between families and relatives in care and tackle isolation. Created by interactive arts studio Invisible Flock and co-designed with individuals and their families living with dementia, the exhibition was commissioned by the IN-TOUCH project based at the IOE's UCL Knowledge Lab. Lead by Professor Carey Jewitt, IN-TOUCH seeks to explore how digital touch can redefine our experience of communication with those close and distant, and how this may change communicative norms and ethics. More info at and follow the project on Twitter @IN_TOUCH_UCL.
  • Imaginations of Remote Personal Touch Communication, Carey Jewitt — How is haptics involved in knowledge creation? What knowledge is produced in reconceptualizing touch through other means? There is a humanist privileging of a certain kind of knowledge gained directly through the hands in craftsmanship, painting, and skillful training. Some see this as partially translating into digital craftsmanship and computer-aided design. The engineering of force feedback (haptics) involves hands, muscles, and skin in active engagement with digital sensation for the purposes of the design of objects and textiles, then, but also for more wholly embodied entertainment and performance experiences. Videogame controllers buzz in our hands, while haptic bodysuits stimulate hands and other body parts for fun or art. Scientific processes of sensory mapping, the engineering of the interface, electrical and electronic entertainments, and the use of the body in performance each in their own way involve a creative approach to knowledge production: creative arrangements of the senses, translations between modalities, a realm of experimentation in the service of knowing more about bodies, senses, and space – what Michel Serres describes as a ‘mingling’ of the senses. Increasingly, social science understands the importance of such sensory knowledge production, and involves its own creative methodologies and approaches when it comes to bodies and their boundaries. The day will consist of talks and demonstrations around touch, haptics, and performance.