A.R.E. Taylor, Ph.D.
I’m an anthropologist of digital technology and the Programme Leader of Media and Communication at the University of Winchester. I work at the intersection of social anthropology, media and communication studies and the history of technology. I’m also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Marconi Fellow in the History and Science of Wireless Communication at the University of Oxford.
My research concentrates on the material, temporal and political dimensions of data storage and security. I have conducted fieldwork in the data centre industry, primarily working inside nuclear bunkers that have been repurposed as ‘disaster-proof’ data storage sites for cloud computing companies.
More recently I have been conducting research on digital disconnection, exploring cultural practices of going offline and unplugging. I was the organiser of the 2020 international symposium ‘The Analogue Idyll: Disconnection, Detox and Departure from the Digital World‘, hosted by the Culture-Media-Text Research Centre at the University of Winchester.
My methods are ethnographic, media-archaeological and historical-archival. I study human-technology relations by observing and working with engineers, data security technicians and infrastructure maintenance workers. The analysis of media representations and archival materials plays a central role in my research, as does the materiality of digital infrastructure.
I’m an Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Extreme Anthropology and I am a founding member of the Social Studies of Outer Space (SSOS) Network, a research network joining social scientists working on topics related to Outer Space. I’m also the founder of the Cambridge Infrastructure Resilience Group, a cross-disciplinary research network that brings scholars together with industry leaders, security practitioners and policymakers to explore critical infrastructure protection in relation to emerging global catastrophic risks.
My work has been funded by the Royal Anthropological Institute, The Royal Geographical Society and the Economic and Social Research Council. My essays have been published in journals such as The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Culture Machine and Roadsides. I have also written for Failed Architecture, The Conversation, Weather Matters and The Resilience Shift, among others.
My research interests include: data, technology, futures, outer space, techno-apocalyptic narratives, digital preservation and pre-digital nostalgia.