Blockchain Ruralities: Novel digital geographies in the Scottish Highlands

Design informatics research seminars

Abstract: Digital technologies bring to mind the urban dweller connected above and below ground amongst skyscrapers, busy streets, and within cafes, bars and other

city spaces. Yet, rural regions can be harbours for innovations in technological changes, and thereby challenge the developing trajectories within cities. In this instance,

we explore the rural applications of blockchain technologies through a small case study done by Masters of Design students of The Glasgow School of Art at the new

Highlands and Islands campus in Forres. The brief tasked the students with investigating Novel Digital Geographies and the potential of blockchain technology for

social innovation in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park, directing their attention specifically to questions of ownership and presence. Its outcome being that

blockchain can used to communicate and explore identity making in rural contexts. This is important because it goes beyond existing economical uses of blockchain

opening up towards new socio-political regional contexts.

Bio: Dr George Jaramillo is a research associate at The Glasgow School of Art’s Innovation School. As a designer and heritage specialist, his interests centre on rural

landscapes, industrial material culture, and future heritage. His research focuses on the fragmentary and distributed

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