Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Shenja van der Graaf

Senior Researcher

Personal Description

The common thread that ties my various research activities together is an interest in moments of transition and the dynamics that accompany them. In particular, those arising from innovations associated with ICTs. Indeed, these tend to be revealing moments that show forgotten potentials. They also have implications for how we represent and structure everyday life. I have been struck by the different starting points and assumptions of ICTs across different cultural spaces. In the 1990s, this became apparent as I looked into moments of instability, uncertainty and disruption underpinning the digital transformation of the Hollywood film industry. In the 2000s, I focused on on the design, implementation, and use of platform services within and across firm and city boundaries. Currently, I am trying to understand socio-economic implications of bias in algorithmic systems, platform geographies, and the governance of public space and value.

My training has been in humanities and social sciences (MA 1999, Utrecht University; Postgrad 2000, Leiden University; PhD 2009 London School of Economics). I have held several short and long-term research, advisory and management positions. These include the Berkman Klein Center (Harvard), Research Center for Information Law (University of St. Gallen), Convergence Culture Consortium (MIT), Oxford Internet Institute, and Hakuhodo Inc. In various capacities, I have consulted with public and private entities. Examples of those entities include OECD, European Commission, UN, Turner Networks, BR Petrobas and Microsoft. As a result of this background, I am a strong advocate of interdisciplinary research. I enjoy bringing the perspectives of both the management of innovation of media and communication and the sociology of developments and uses in these areas to my work. This, in turn, has guided various lectureships, (board) memberships and publications.