Research Projects

Current Research Projects and Initiatives



CATCH-EyoU, Constructing AcTive CitizensHip with European Youth, is funded under the Young 5a stand of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The consortium is led by the University of Bologna in Itlay and in addition to LSE in the UK has partners in Orebro, Sweden; Mararyk, Czech Republic; Porto, Portugal; Athens, Greece; Tartu, Estonia and Jena, Germany.

Project website:


Community through digital connectivity

This project examines the role that communication plays in promoting and hindering community among London’s diverse populations. While symbolic and structural resources such as education, local institutions and property have been systematically studied as community-building resources, communication infrastructures are little studied and their potential as a community asset largely unrecognised. 


Our Data Bodies

The Our Data Bodies Project is a three-year, mixed method, participatory research project explores the nature and experience of digital privacy and “data rights” of adult low-income people in the United States. A team of grassroots organizations will collaborate with principal investigators to conduct qualitative, participatory action research in three cities and a nationally representative survey.


Data Walking

A research process for producing radical data through collaborative walks. Data walking creates a process for observing, reflecting on and seeking to intervene in how data influences civic space. By playing roles as photographers, note-takers and map-makers, participants develop ways to think about and reflect on what data might be, and what role it plays in key social issues. Further information here.


Digital Privacy and Data Literacy

The Digital Privacy & Data Literacy project is a training program that will train 600+ information and library professionals in the New York metropolitan area. Building from and in a parallel to this NY-area focused effort, the project will build a set of online resources. Digital Privacy & Data Literacy training and online resources will both provide an overview of how information travels and is shared online, common risks encountered online by users and the importance of digital privacy and literacy.

Project website: 

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EU Kids Online

EU Kids Online is a multinational research network. It seeks to enhance knowledge of European children's online opportunities, risks and safety. It uses multiple methods to map children's and parents' experience of the internet, in dialogue with national and European policy stakeholders. 

Project lead:  Professor Sonia Livingstone


Justice, Equity and Technology

The Justice, Equity, and Technology Project views technological systems as critical determinants of effective collective self-governance and meaningful participation in democratic society. Using a participatory and mixed methods approach, the project seeks to understand the norms, values, and practices of European civil society advocates whose work on civil and human rights is being impacted by the rise of automated computer systems.

Project lead: Seeta Peña Gangadharan


The European migration crisis and the media

This esearch project will, among other things, focus on understanding how the different histories and politics of European countries shape the variety of attitudes towards the crisis. The research builds on the Department’s earlier work on migration and the media, and on the effects of media ethics on human wellbeing.

Skils uses outcomes

From digital skills to tangible outcomes (DiSTO) 

This study aims to develop new survey measures of people’s digital skills, digital engagement and outcomes of Internet use.

Project lead: Ellen Helsper 

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Global Kids Online

Global Kids Online aims to advance understanding of whether and how the internet amplifies the risks of harm to children and how to optimize digital opportunities that contribute to children’s well-being. It will do this by stimulating and guiding rigorous multi-method investigations of how children around the globe use new digital, networked and mobile technologies.

Government and the Media Project

Government and the media

This project seeks to advance an intensive analysis of the impact of media transformations on the processes of government. The project will contribute to an exciting and emerging area of international scholarship, and aim to offer insights that can assist government in developing long-term strategic relations with media.



Heteropolitics is a project in contemporary political theory which purports to contribute to the renewal of political thought on the ‘common’ (communities and the commons) and the political in tandem.

The common implies a variable interaction between differences which communicate and collaborate in and through their differences, converging partially on practices and particular pursuits. The political pertains to processes through which plural communities manage themselves in ways which enable mutual challenges, deliberation, and creative agency.


Impact of marketing on children's behaviour

In light of raising concerns about advertising practices targeting children, the study examines children's exposure to online marketing content in social media, online games and applications.


LSE-USC Research collaboration

Building on our successful fifteen-years teaching partnership, LSE's Department of Media and Communications and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC (University of Southern California) are joining forces to bring their research activities into a new focus that addresses the profound implications of media and communications technologies for our shared futures.


Mainstream Media Representations of Jeremy Corbyn

With this small-scale project we aim to both present a sound and theoretically informed analysis of the various (or unison) mainstream media representations of the rise of Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate for the Labour leadership and of him as the new leader of the largest opposition party in the UK. This project has the objective to make a contribution to the public debate regarding the role of mainstream media and of journalists in a media-saturated democracy.

Project Director: Bart Cammaerts


Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity (MakEY)

The project aims to further research and innovation in the area of young children’s digital literacy and creative design skills. Research projects will be undertaken in six EU countries (Denmark, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Romania, UK) and the USA in which staff working in makerspaces (including hacklabs and Fab Labs) will collaborate with academics to identify the benefits and challenges of running makerspace workshops in both formal (nurseries and schools) and informal (museums and libraries) educational settings. 

More information here


Mediafrica: New Media Practices in a Changing Africa

This research project examines new media practices in Africa and their relation to processes of change on the continent. Over the course of three years, this comparative project will carry out pioneering and innovative research on the social effects of the rapid spread of new media in Africa. Featured country case studies include Botswana, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. With practice theory as an analytical foundation, the aim of the project is to generate knowledge that is useful for understanding the social and economic developments that Africa is currently going through. 

Project lead: Wendy Willems

Media Policy picture

Media Policy Project

The Media Policy Project’s goal is to start conversations between policy makers, civil society actors, and media professionals about the latest media research.  We want policy makers to have timely, easy access to relevant research and to the range of views held by civil society. We also work to engage the policy community with research on the policy making process itself. Additionally, we provide tools for anyone looking to stay up-to-date on media policy issues, though our briefings, event calendars, dossiers, and lists of on-going consultations.

Project lead: Damian Tambini


Maximising children’s online opportunities and minimising risks 

MOMRO will involve developing a KEI toolkit for the GKO online platform with existing and new partners specifically designed to maximise opportunities and minimise risks online for children around the world.

Global Kids Online is attracting considerable interest from states, private sector and NGOs, and the pilot research in four countries has already informed the development of national policy and practice. Following the launch of the research toolkit in November 2016, it is vital to sustain and extend the project capacity for cross-national knowledge exchange among present and new partners and to embed the growing evidence base within policy and practice. MOMRO will aim to harness the international potential of the growing evidence-based and child rights approach to maximising opportunities and minimising risks in a fast-expanding, globalising digital environment. 

Further information here.


Personalised media and Participatory Culture

The project examines the role that the internet and digital networks can and do play in helping what might be characterized as traditional young Arab audiences to emancipate themselves from the gatekeeping functions of print and broadcast media and to co-create their own media cultures. The research for this project aims to demonstrate how and why hitherto ‘passive’ Arab media audiences may be becoming prosumers (Toffler, 1980; Ritzer et al., 2012: 386) and prod-users (Bruns, 2008: 21) of (amateurish) media content. One of the key aims is to examine how young Arab early adopters use digital platforms to widen the scope of what they consider to be social, cultural and economic freedom; and in tandem, how one might conceptualise their increasing media literacy and criticality.



Polis is the LSE's media think-tank, a part of the Department of Media and Communications aimed at working journalists, people in public life and students in the UK and around the world. Polis is the place where journalists and the wider world can examine and discuss the media and its impact on society.

Director: Professor Charlie Beckett


Preparing for a digital future

In this three-year project, the researchers are undertaking a series of qualitative case studies to investigate how children and young people, along with their parents, carers, mentors and educators imagine and prepare for their personal and professional futures in a digital age.

Principal investigator: Professor Sonia Livingstone

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The price of connection

In earlier modernity the infrastructure of communication required to meet the needs of an expanding economy and society remained closely linked to (indeed co-terminous with) the spaces that were governable by nation-states, and, to a large extent also, compatible with the normative principles on which democratic nation-states were based. But what if the era of late late modernity - characterized by the embedding of internet access, and internet-based connectivity, into actions at all levels of complexity and on all scales across the world - disrupts this precarious balance? What if massively increased ‘connection’ and ‘connectivity’ (prima facie an enhancement of quality of life and a contribution towards fulfilling specific needs of economy and society) has a price, and that price is the undermining of freedom, a value regarded as generally essential to the fulfilment of human life?  


Resilient communities, resilient cities?

This project examines the role of digital communication in the making of cities of refuge. More particularly, it focusses on urban communities’ digital responses to sudden, unplanned and/or unwelcome change resulting from irregular migration into the city.

The project zooms into urban neighbourhoods that receive large number of refugees and migrants. It examines how urban communities mobilise digital communication to respond to disruption and develop capacities to manage change. From the development of local networks in support of refugees, to local training into digital skills, cities’ resilience is tested in the capacity to sustain inclusive, integrated and prospering communities.

The social theory network

The social theory network

The Social Theory Network links the LSE Departments of Media & Communications and Sociology. The Network provides a platform for interdisciplinary debates on social theory. It runs regular seminars and lectures with internal and external speakers, which are open to all LSE staff and PhD-students with an interest in social theory.


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Toddlers and tablets

This three year project (2015-2018) researches the rapidly growing population of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers who are embracing online interactions via iPads, tablets and smartphones. This project investigates family practices and attitudes around very young children’s internet use in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Project lead: Sonia Livingstone


VirtEU: Values and Ethics in Innovation for Responsible Technology in Europe

The goal of this project is to analyze and map the ethical practices of European hardware and software entrepreneurs, maker and hacker spaces, and community innovators in order to: (1) understand how IoT innovators enact ethics as they design future devices, (2) generate a new framework for Privacy, Ethical and Social Impact Assessment (PESIA) and (3) develop tools to support ethical reflection and self-assessment as part the design and development process for IoT technologies.


Selected Past Research Projects