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Loneliness, touch and digital touch technologies

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This lecture will explore early research findings on connections between loneliness, touch and emerging digital touch technologies.

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This lunch hour lecture will explore early findings from Lili Golmohammadi’s research on connections between loneliness, touch and emerging digital touch technologies. It will draw on a creative online workshop series that she facilitated from May – December 2020 with six participant groups; including people over 70, professionals aged 25-55 working from home, and young people aged 18-24.

The physical, psychological and emotional benefits of touch for well-being, development, and feeling connected are well-documented. Yet physical distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic has prohibited most social touching, and our everyday interactions largely lack tactile experiences as a result. This raises questions about the potential value of bringing touch into the realm of the digital.

At present however, commercial touch technologies are at a very early stage of development. In this lecture, Lili will discuss how her research participants framed touch and digital touch in their experiences of loneliness, through imagining their own digital touch designs and engaging with other design-led methods.

About the speaker:

Lili Golmohammadi, PhD candidate, IN-Touch, UCL Knowledge Lab, UCL

Lili Golmohammadi is a member of IN-TOUCH (directed by Professor Carey Jewitt, @IN_TOUCH_UCL), a 5-year ERC-funded project based at UCL. The project investigates the social impact of digitally mediated touch technologies – Lili is researching the relationships between these technologies, loneliness and touch.

Lili also researches Design Education at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research interests include digital communication technologies, critical design and design education.

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