Research Webinar – McFall, Thornton, Bassett, Galip, McGowan

Susceptible, Infectious, Recovering: tracing responses to the novel coronavirus in the city

Part 1 Exploring Premises and Absences

Paul Taylor recently remarked that only one of the parameters in the SIR model of the basic reproduction rate (R0) of Covid19 used by scientific groups advising government is a fact. This fact is the average number of contacts per person per day and it is a fact about human behaviour. Among the many dimensions of the pandemic is the way novel human, civic and community responses highlight patterns of social persistence even in extreme situations. Tracing and remembering these patterns and responses should be a crucial first step in recovery if the consequences of the pandemic are to be grasped. This is the first in a series of events and projects and will focus on presenting responses to the pandemic in Edinburgh through its empty premises, the language inscribed in streets, walls and windows, the altered premises of Instagram and #zoomlife.

  • A sociological observatory of pandemic in Edinburgh: #zoomlife and empty premises – Kath Bassett, Idil Galip, Addie McGowan
  • Premises and Absences – Liz McFall and Pip Thornton

Dr Pip Thornton is an artist and researcher in Creative Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, where she takes a critical and creative approach to the concepts of data and value in the digital economy. Her artistic critiques of Google’s search and advertising platforms have featured in WIRED magazine and have been exhibited at the Open Data Institute in London and at the Fruitmarket Gallery BookMarket in Edinburgh.

Dr Liz McFall is Director of Data Civics and Chancellor’s Fellow based in the Edinburgh Futures Institute and Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. She co-edited Markets and the Arts of Attachment (2017), wrote Devising Consumption: cultural economies of insurance, credit and spending (2014) and Advertising: a cultural economy (2004) and edits the Journal of Cultural Economy. She is co-founder of AWED, a collective that make films and installations exploring the orchestration of civic sentiments and data techniques most recently Closes and Opens: a history of Edinburgh’s Futures.

Kath Bassett is a PhD candidate in sociology, who researches urban tourism, locative media platforms, and labour.

Idil Galip is a PhD researcher in sociology at the University of Edinburgh and studies memes, art and digital labour. Her doctoral thesis focuses on how online subcultures and entrepreneurial logic collide on Instagram.

Addie McGowan is a PhD researcher in Architecture and Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, studying the social complexities of the sharing economy in urban landscapes. Her doctoral thesis explores the digital, material, and social nature of Airbnb in Edinburgh.

Running Order

16.00 – Welcome by Chris Speed

16.05 – Introductions to speakers

16:10 – #Zoomlife and #emptyedinburgh: a digital outlook on a pandemic city – Addie, Kath and Idil

16.40 – The work of the Covid city in the age of digital reproducability – Pip and Liz

16.50 – Q&A

17.00 End


Photo credit: Idil Galip

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