**PLEASE NOTE: NEW START TIME OF 4.30pm**
The VOX-Pol Lecture Series, Spring Term, continues on Wednesday 15 March, at 4.30pm UK time with the online presentation titled Emerging Methodologies Panel: Researching the Metaverse. Dr Suraj Lakhani (University of Sussex) will chair the event
Please click the link below on 15 March at 4.30pm UK time to join the webinar
Please note: this event will be recorded.
Speaker 1: Dr Rachel Kowert
Bio: Rachel Kowert, Ph.D is a research psychologist and the Research Director of Take This. She is a world-renowned researcher on the uses and effects of digital games, including their impact on physical, social, and psychological well-being. In her current work, she serves as one of the primary investigators on the first grant-funded project from the Department of Homeland Security about games and extremism. She has spoken about her work to thousands of people across the globe, including the United States Congress, United Nations, and Department of Homeland Security. An award-winning author, she has published a variety of books and scientific articles relating to the psychology of games and, more recently, the relationship between games and mental health specifically. She also serves as the editor of the Routledge Debates in Media Studies series and the upcoming ETC press series Psychology of Pop Culture. Recently, she founded her YouTube channel Psychgeist, which serves to bridge the gap between moral panic and scientific knowledge on a variety of psychology and game-related topics. In 2021, Dr. Kowert was chosen as a member of The Game Awards Future Class, representing the best and brightest of the future of video games. Dr. Kowert has been featured in various media outlets, including NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, and Wired Magazine. To learn more about Rachel and her work, visit www.rkowert.com.
Talk Abstract: “The Metaverse” is a phrase that is used often despite the fact that there is no clear consensus on how to define this space. In this short talk, we will explore the various interpretations of the metaverse and put forward a new definition of “metaverse-like spaces” and explore how these environments are not something to expect in a dystopian future, but are present here and now. We will also discuss the challenges and practicalities facing researchers who wish to study these environments.
Speaker 2: Dr Elizabeth Pearson
Bio: Dr Elizabeth Pearson is a lecturer in criminology at Royal Holloway, University of London, and works with the Conflict Violence and Terrorism Research Centre. Her research interests are in gender, extremism and countering extremism. Her new book, Extreme Britain: Gender, Masculinity and Radicalisation is published by Hurst later in 2023. Elizabeth has a PhD from King’s College London and worked for the BBC before academia.
Talk Abstract: Online extremism and terrorism research has been going on for at least two decades now: although there was some earlier coverage (Lowe 1985), the academic sub-field had its genesis in the late 1990s and early 2000s (Arquilla, Ronfeldt, and Zanini 1999; Conway 2002; Denning 1999). Despite this, understanding its impacts on the people who collect and analyse data on online extremism and terrorism, and who publish their findings, is a relatively new concern. Lizz Pearson discusses the new VOX-Pol report from the REASSURE project, exploring how researchers are harmed, how they prevent harm and what institutions are doing to help. Based on interviews with researchers, we look at how research in the metaverse might change these findings, and how institutions need to adapt to the ever-changing research environment to protect academics.