Ash Watson in Bristol
Dr Ash Watson, visiting fellow at University of Bristol

ADM+S Research Fellow collaborates with field-leading sociologists at the University of Bristol

Author  Natalie Campbell
Date 31 January 2024

ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Ash Watson has recently completed a two-month research visit at the ESCR Centre for Socio Digital Futures, collaborating with field-leading researchers on innovative social science methods.

Through this experience, Ash got to work alongside sociologists Prof Susan Halford and Prof Dale Southerton, and leaders in design including Prof Helen Manchester.

Together, their work considered research methods that prompt critical future thinking, looking at how thinking about the future impacts technological innovation and also shapes how we address problems like digital inclusion and exclusion.

“While I was there, I mostly focused on developing my methodological skills and how I think about method and how we can bring speculative and creative activities into traditional qualitative research approaches.

Doing this allows us to better engage with the future and also reimagine new ways of advancing social change and technological development,” said Ash.

During the research visit, Ash also attended the International Creative Research Methods Conference in Manchester, which brought together researchers from a wide variety of fields who use arts based methods and creative techniques in their scholarship from creative writers to visual artists, to musicians and performers.

“I also attended a one-day symposium at the University of Cambridge, which brought together scholars mostly from sociology, but also from geography and history to think about the place of the text in scholarship and how we can explore the blurry and more porous boundaries of how we understand fact and fiction and knowledge and experience.”

Dr Ash Watson is a cultural sociologist whose work focuses on the meaning of emerging technologies in people’s lives and how they imagine the future. Her research practice focuses on storytelling and belonging, complimented by her passion for writing and editing sociological fiction for the Sociological Review, and So Fi Zine.

This program was supported by ADM+S and Bristol University.