Associated partners, networks and research profile

The Hub is collaborating with several research partners and is involved in networks across the world, through which its distinct research profile is developing.

Associated partners, networks and collaborations

  • Chalmers Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (CHAIR). Contact: Kolbjörn Tunström
  • The metaLAB, a sub-project of the The Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard focused on the intersection of humanities, arts, and AI. Contact person: Sarah Newman.
  • Future Mobilities, Automation and Ethics Group: Sarah Pink, Professor of Design and Emerging Technologies, and Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab, Faculties of Information Technology and Art, Design and Architecture, Monash University; and Vaike Fors Associate Professor of Pedagogy at the Future Mobility Center, School of Information Technology, Halmstad University.
  • The Posthumanities Hub: Cecilia Åsberg Director and Marietta Radomska Co-director, Linköping University and KTH, Stockholm
  • Death Online Research Network, Dorthe Refslund Christensen, Aarhus University
  • The Centre for Digital Humanities, Uppsala University.
  • Professor Barbara Planck, MaiNLP research lab, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Our research profile

The transformations at hand are so momentous that we cannot lock ourselves into different faculties of science and scholarship to address them. We need to work across sectors, traditional scientific and intellectual traditions and epistemic regimes.

As we are an associated partner of Chalmers Artificial Intelligence Centr (CHAIR) at Chalmers in Gothenburg, the Hub promises in line with important visions for the future of humanistic knowledge itself (Ekström & Sörlin 2012) to be: (1) generative: taking active part in setting agendas, influencing design processes and building a human-centric and sustainable world of automation; (2) integrative: offering rich and deep understandings of both the histories and future-oriented imagination of contemporary technological developments, as well as the contexts needed for understanding their roles and consequences for people today, and; (3) extroverted: partaking in extensive outreach activities committed to the greater public interest and in collaborative research with various stakeholders.

Existential media studies

As a home for existential media studies the Hub applies and updates classic phenomenological resources in existential philosophy to contemporary stakes of digital culture and automated media technologies.

The overarching aim is to explore what it means to be human in the digital age, in light of the fact that digital media are both ontologically the infrastructures of our being and anthropological sites of the limit-situations of human life where groups explore, tackle, and cope existentially (Peters 2015, Jaspers 1932/1970). The approach aims to answer questions such as: How do these environmental and increasingly automated and autonomous technologies co-shape and transform our existence? And what are the benefits but also the potential risks of automations of deep-felt existential necessities and needs? Hence, the existential approach implies the exploration of ‘eternal’ or timeless issues in the vital and timely contexts of our current digital age. But by bringing classic themes and key concepts from existential philosophy – such as death, time, being there, being-in-and-with the world and thrownness – to bear on our contemporary technologized culture, research within EMS also enters into a productive conversation with various forms of new materialism and the environmental humanities.

Our foundation

”Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity” (ET) (2014-2018), was a research programme headed by Amanda Lagerkvist, who as Wallenberg Academy Fellow founded the international research field of ‘existential media studies’.

The programme was the first media studies project in the world that researched the existential dimensions of digitalization, both empirically and theoretically. In a unique way, it problematized ‘what it means to be human’ (and mortal) in an age of digitalisation and automation, by drawing inspiration from the existential philosophy for approaching digital culture.

Lagerkvist’s work provides for an empirically founded and theoretically original perspective on digital technologies as both resource and risk. It submits that our lives are increasingly digitally “thrown” (to borrow the language of Martin Heidegger and Søren Kierkegaard before him) into a highly connected, fast changing, increasingly automated and quantifying world that threatens to leave us displaced and vulnerable, but also with the fundamental task to navigate these new terrains and make them meaningful. 

Amanda Lagerkvist. Photo.
Last modified: 2023-02-14