Dr Ben Dalton, Principal Lecturer

Dr Ben Dalton

Principal Lecturer

Ben studies communication design using art and design research methods. Their research is focused on the field of identity and critical infrastructure studies including technical, social, political and aesthetic aspects of identity in digital publics.

Ben is currently undertaking research into identity assemblage and digital goods, including as co-investigator on a recently ESRC Network funded collaborative project into 'Queer Joy as a Digital Good'. Over the last decade, they investigated identity design and the identity play of networked publics, as a member of the Creative Exchange AHRC Knowledge Exchange Hub in the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art, London. They are a Principal Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, Leeds. They have shown work, given talks and run workshops on themes of identity design including at ESA Convention House, Leeds; FACT, Liverpool; MAP University of Regina, Saskatchewan; DUB University of Washington, Seattle; Chaos Communication Congress, Hamburg; Digital Media Labs, Barrow-in-Furness; ICA, London; FutureEverything, Manchester; TodaysArt, The Hague; Berghs, Stockholm; Abandon Normal Devices, Liverpool; WWW, Rio de Janeiro; Sensuous Knowledge, Bergen; and DIS, Newcastle.

Ben has a background in design, ubiquitous computing and mobile sensor networks from the MIT Media Lab, and training from research in the Århus University Electron-Molecular Interaction group, University of Leeds Spintronics and Magnetic Nanostructures lab, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, London. They have been a guest Professor at the Bergen National Academy of Art and Design, teaching workshops on interaction design and geolocated media. They were co-investigator on two EPSRC funded research projects in: visualising pedestrian usage patterns in interactive urban spaces; and wearable computing sensors for ubiquitous computing applications. They have worked on Hewlett-Packard funded development of a GPS music city archive app. They also co-directed with Amber Frid-Jimenez the Data is Political project on art, design, and the politics of information, which has included an international symposium funded in part by VERDIKT (Research Council of Norway).

Current Teaching

  • BSc Games Design
  • BA Games Art
  • PhD Supervision and Director of Studies

Research Interests

Identity design has long been a key element of typography, branding and layout. Identity construction is also key in the politics of social systems and theories of self. These perspectives help uncover the future of designing identity online and in digital systems. Ben's current research investigates identity design and critical infrastructure by looking at the themes of identity performance and digital public space through diffractive methodologies, feminist science & technology studies, and material-discursive agential realism. Ben's research includes developing prototype apps and services that explore contemporary experiences of identity, as well as experimental design, participatory research and art practice. They have talked about identity construction in the workplace and social spaces, following collaborative projects with partners including the BBC and international art institutions.

Digital public space is a growing field of research that encompasses critical infrastructures, personal data stores, networked commons, and construction of sustainable digital publics. Ben's research with the Creative Exchange UK research council-funded Knowledge Exchange Hub built on years of work exploring the role of digital technology in physical public spaces, in particular in relation to government safer spaces agendas and notions of critical infrastructures. Ben has developed apps and interactive media with commercial and government partners including urban big screen interaction, mobile city geolocation games, and festivals.

Dr Ben Dalton, Principal Lecturer

Ask Me About

  1. Agential realism
  2. Research through design
  3. Grounded theory
  4. Communication design
  5. Critical infrastructure
  6. Network
  7. Platform
  8. Pseudonymity
  9. Anonymity
  10. Diffraction
  11. Art
  12. Communications
  13. Computing
  14. Creative technologies
  15. Design
  16. Feminism
  17. Games
  18. Media
  19. Security
  20. Social Media

Selected Outputs

  • Dalton B (2023) Collapsing.

  • Dalton B (2013) Pseudonymity in social machines.

  • Martin K; Dalton B; Jones M (2012) Crafting urban camouflage.

  • Smith ML; Dalton B; Halsall B (2008) Our City, Our Music: using mScapes to map new narratives.

  • Nikolopoulou M; Martin K; Dalton B (2015) Shaping pedestrian movement through playful interventions in security planning: what do field surveys suggest?. Journal of Urban Design, 21 (1), pp. 84-104.


  • Martin K; Dalton B; Nikolopoulou M (2013) Art as a Means to Disrupt Routine Use of Space. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 28 pp. 139-149.


  • Dalton BC; Simmons T; Triggs T (2017) Knowledge Exchange through the Design PhD. In: Vaughan L ed. Practice-based Design Research. Bloomsbury Academic,

  • Dalton B; Martin K; McAndrew C; Nikolopoulou M; Triggs T (2015) Designing visible counter-terrorism interventions in public spaces. In: Stedmon A; Lawson G ed. Hostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism: Human Factors Theory and Application. Ashgate, pp. 261-276.

  • Dalton B; Frid-Jimenez A (2013) Data Is Political: Investigation, Emotion and the Accountability of Institutional Critique. In: Offenhuber D; Schechtner K ed. Accountability Technologies: Tools for Asking Hard Questions. Walter de Gruyter & Co,

  • Dalton B (2012) Kayla: Charisma and Anonymous. In: Frid-Jimenez A ed. La lucha sin fin: on charisma and its persuasive technologies. Jan van Eyck Academie,