School of Computing Science

Staff Profiles

Dr Austin Toombs

Research Associate


I’m a Research Associate at Newcastle University in Open Lab studying the impact of digital technologies on interpersonal, community, and social care. I am particularly interested in the formation and maintenance of communities whose infrastructures rely heavily on socio-technical systems.

In previous research I have studied maker and hacker communities, and I’ve used care ethics as a methodological lens to uncover the ways in which individuals formulate identities as makers, hackers, and expert amateurs through participating within their particular community contexts. In my dissertation, I worked to explicate the tensions that exist between the values supported by the rhetoric that pervades hacker culture, and the tacitly enacted values of collaboration and care.

My PhD is in Human Computer Interaction Design from the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, with a minor in Inquiry Methodology. My BSc is in Computer Science from Ball State University and my MSc is in Human Computer Interaction Design from Indiana University.