Runze Hu

Runze Hu

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

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English, Mandarin
Key Expertise
ICT, Domestication, Science and Technology studies, Sociotechnical

About me

Research topic

The Cultural Dynamics and Use of Immersive Virtual Environment Technologies in Users' Everyday Life

Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) technologies, or commonly known as Virtual Reality, use head-mounted display, spatial audio and body trackers to replace sensory feedbacks of the physical world with virtual ones. It produces a sense of presence in a computer-generated world. In recent years, IVE hardware varieties, applications and the user base expand, but the field is filled with experimental products with virtually no standardisation. Also, the usage scenarios are not consensually agreed in the industry.  This research focuses on IVE users’ everyday life. It aims to document the ongoing adoption of IVE technologies, to investigate how such a romanticised cultural artefact is redefined by users as it steps out of sci-fi and laboratories to the mundane life. This research will ask how IVE technologies and IVE contents/applications are adopted, appropriated, used and interpreted by the early adopters. It will ask what types of IVE systems/experiences and patterns of use emerge in this process. By using the theory of domestication and a phenomenological approach, this research will look at multiple online and offline settings to uncover how users ‘domesticate’ IVE technologies and their experiences in IVEs.

Supervisors: Sonia Livingstone; Dylan Mulvin


Runze’s research interests are at the intersection of technological innovation, sociotechnical imaginary and users. He is particularly interested in the design, application and sociocultural implications of Immersive Virtual Environment Technologies (also known as Virtual Reality). He holds a BA in Communication Studies from the University of Liverpool and completed his MSc in Media and Communications at LSE. Before joining in the Department of Media and Communications as a PhD researcher, he worked as a brand manager and user researcher in a Shenzhen-based tech startup which specialises in location-based room-scale virtual reality entertainment and Redirected Walking Algorithm.

Expertise Details

Immersive Virtual Environment Technology; ICT users; Domestication; Science and Technology studies; Sociotechnical Imaginary; Media use in everyday life; Mediatised social interaction