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Dr Ben Dalton

About Dr Ben Dalton

Ben is an experimental media technologist who uses research methods of design and art. Their research is focused on the field of identity design including technical, social, political and aesthetic aspects of identity in digital public space.

Over the last several years Ben has been investigating the theme of identity design and 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. Ben is a Principal Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, Leeds. Ben has recently shown work, given talks and run workshops on themes of identity design including 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 has conducted research in the Århus University Electron-Molecular Interaction group, University of Leeds Spintronics and Magnetic Nanostructures lab, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, London. Recently they have been a regular guest Professor at the Bergen National Academy of Art and Design, teaching workshops on interaction design and geolocated media. Ben was 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

Research Interests

Ben's current research investigates identity design by looking at the themes of identity performance and digital public space through 'diffractive' methodologies of 'material-discursive agential realism'. Identity construction has long been a key element of design in 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 research includes developing prototype apps and services that explore modern fragmented 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 like the BBC and international art institutions.

Digital public space is a growing field of research that encompasses personal data stores, networked commons and construction of sustainable digital 'publics'. Ben's research with the Creative Exchange builds 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.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (4)

Chapters (1)

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