School of Computing

Staff Profiles

Dr Vasilis Vlachokyriakos

Lecturer

Background

I am currently a Digital Civics Lecturer at the school of Computing, Open Lab. My work centres on co-designing, developing and evaluating novel, digitally-enabled models of citizen participation through place-based research in spaces of social innovation and in partnership with social movements and commons organisations. The aim of this research is to develop systems for local service provision (e.g. in education, health, etc.) founded upon their democratic and cooperative ownership and governance.

Since 2016 (while being employed as a Research Associate) I have been running the Open Lab: Athens initiative. OL:Athens, through the engagement with the Social and Solidarity Economy in Greece and the embedding of researchers in contexts of social innovation aims at: designing and developing digital systems to facilitate and extend the practices of solidarity structures and commons organisations (e.g. systems for logistics, communications, decision-making etc.); and to invent digital systems that will extend the solidarity economy by embedding its values (i.e. equity, cooperation, environmental sustainability etc.) in the design of systems for wider reach.

My previous research projects have involved a set of experiments into participatory methods in digital systems. Before starting as a RA, I worked on my PhD projects which were experiments into participatory methods in voting systems. This involved an examination of democracy and the different avenues that it can be manifested in the local and national scale in addition to the distinctive participatory types that these democratic practices entail.

More generally, I am interested in the intersection of technological and social innovation; open source software movements and social and commons movements; e-participation (e-deliberation, e-contestation), e-democracy and Human Computer Interaction (HCI).

For more information visit: Open Lab:Athens and my scholar profile.

Areas of expertiseHuman-Computer Interaction, Digital Civics

Research

At the core of my research is an understanding of designing digital systems as ways that we shape our environments. As is widely known in HCI and explored in Participatory Design research, the dissemination of computing systems in most strata of society puts designers in a position of power against systems’ users - i.e. citizens. This has lately become more apparent due to the substantial implications of these systems in shaping the ways through which we make decisions, we produce, consume and exchange, and the ways through which we understand and participate in politics.

Any system can be described as an abstract representation of its inputs and outputs. The ways through which data is being represented, stored and governed, and the processing logic of the system for transforming and negotiating the data that receives and produces. Taking a Digital Civics approach on systems design, my research raises questions about the provenance of technological innovations, the socio-political effects of the research and artefacts that we produce, our research and systems’ data management and ownership processes and the ways through which multiple passive or active agents negotiate and transform such data. My current research attempts to shed light onto such inquiries by following a commons-based approach for the creation of systems to promote open and participatory production and governance processes.

The approach through which I work to achieve such a co-operative transition include: place-based research with groups active in creating novel methods of production and distribution, configuration of academic partnerships to mirror cooperative work, the design and development of systems to infrastructure local cooperatives, the development of sociotechnical innovations for the dissemination of peer-to-peer methods of production and governance etc.


 

Teaching

I am currently teaching for the Digital Civics MResc the modules CSC8601 Introduction to Digital Civics and CSC8603 Human-Computer Interaction for Digital Civics.

Publications