Dr. Alison Powell

Department of Media and Communications

London School of Economics and Political Science

Houghton Street London WC2A 2AE

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7955 6649

Twitter (@MediaLSE):!/medialse

Room S119d


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Dr. Alison Powell

Programme director of Media and Communication (Data & Society)


Digital citizenships
Open source cultures
Digital activism, technology activism and hacktivism

About me

I’m an Assistant Professor and Programme Director of the MSc in Media and Communication (Data & Society). I research how people’s values influence the way technology is built, and how technological systems in turn change the way we work and live together.

I am currently working on a book about technological citizenship and governance in data cities and Internet of Things-enabled ‘sensing cities’ and working on several projects related to citizenship, cities, data and ethics. This work tries to understand the discourses, practices and governance structures that are part of our society’s orientation towards data.

My past research projects have looked at community wireless networking and its policy impact, digital rights activism in comparative perspective (including Net Neutrality and the opposition to SOPA and ACTA legislation) and the expansion of open source, DIY and hacking culture from software to hardware to open science. I also often deliver lectures on the civic and governance implications of smart cities and Internet of Things technology projects.

I am delighted to supervise research students in any of these research areas.


I have a Bachelor’s degree in Canadian Literature, training in Science and Technology Studies and critical theory, and many years of field experience working with technical cultures. My PhD (2008) is from Concordia University’s Communication Studies Programme. I integrate these different perspectives to investigate the social significance of how we build communication technologies, and to provide concrete recommendations for policy and practice based on my empirical research.

Research Associations

I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute from 2008 to 2010, where I worked on digital rights and internet governance issues. From 2011-2014 I was a member of the European Network of Excellence in Internet Science. In this project I studied open source hardware licensing and governance.

I am an associated researcher with the artistic research project Museum of Contemporary Commodities, where I have investigated data commodities and everyday life in cities.

I am a member of the Digital Poilcy Alliance working group on the Internet of Things and a member of the BSI standards-setting body on the Internet of Things.

Collaboration Interests

I’m currently interested in projects and partnerships that investigate how to build ethical, reflexive Internet of Things systems, and projects that help reshape how data can be used by citizens for civic or community interest.


Recent publications are availble on LSE Research Online

Elsewhere and Otherwise

I blog at and contribute occasional thoughts on Internet freedom and openness to the LSE Media Policy Project blog. Outside of academia I play the violin, train in circus arts, and get obsessed about my garden.

alison new headshot