Of Other Cyber Securities: workshop next week at RHUL

Next week we are organising a workshop titled ‘Of other cyber securities’, loosely inspired (although more direct relation will be drawn in my introduction, and to the work of Peter Johnson) by Foucault’s short piece, ‘Des espaces autres’. The workshop is intended for researchers and PhD students working on interdisciplinary approaches to cyber security, and primarily as an event for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security at Royal Holloway. Please let me know if you are interested in attending (email peter.adey@rhul.ac.uk), places are limited and the event is free.

Here is the blurb and speaker lineup below.

Of Other Cyber Securities: methods, practices, spaces – an interdisciplinary training workshop for the Royal Holloway CDT in Cyber Security, 15th and 16th June 2017

“[W]e know very well the importance of the problems of arrangements in contemporary technology: storage of information or of the partial results of a calculation in the memory of a machine; circulation of discrete elements to random outlets (automobiles, for instance, or even sounds transmitted over telephone lines); location of labelled or coded elements within a randomly divided set, or one that is classified according to univocal or multiple systems, etc […] In our era, space presents itself to us in the form of patterns of ordering.” (Michel Foucault ‘Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias” in Leach, N. (ed) Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory. Routledge, New York, pp.330-336)

It is now obvious to claim that there are other cyber securities. From the work of writers such as N. Katherine Hayles, Louise Amoore, Rob Kitchin, Claudia Aradau and Jeremy Crampton, we find that there have been ‘longstanding intertwining of the practices and techniques of security with computational processes’ (Amoore and Raley 2017). But how to map out and actually research these cyber securities, and how to talk about them? In what ways might this require the conjunction of both technical understandings and approaches with the concerns of social science, the arts and humanities? How in Derek Gregory’s terms, when describing quite different systems and assemblages of security, do we seriously concern ourselves with the how, and determine what interlacing of agency and actors both human and non-human come to produce cyber security, and how are they effected by it? And how can we pin down or make sense of cyber security workings and practices when they are the outcome of generative and abductive machine learning processes that are as uncertain and contingent as the realities they seek to secure? How can we grapple with the hidden, secret and proprietary? And how to make sense of entities that do not occupy a location, or material form, but are nonetheless present?

In this inter-disciplinary workshop we take inspiration from Foucault’s elaboration of other spaces to consider not only the different sites, politics and cultures of cyber security – from the search engine algorithm to the block-chain – but how interdisciplinary approaches may successfully attend to the technical and the political and the social. How to put thought to concepts, design, method and practice – from the practises of writing-up a thesis to writing a piece of Python code, from new collaborations of researchers trained very differently but learning to work together, to new juxtapositions of research materials – from policy documentation to a national television programme – from a computer to a piece of art or creativity?

What species of security and space do we put to scrutiny: securities that are mediated by code, data and algorithmic systems; securities that seek to protect information or reveal it; or securities that are not simply the product of what elites, sovereigns, civil servants and corporate actors have determined best that we seek to protect? Might cyber security be drawn into other relations of security marked more as care, even social security (Heath-Kelly; Coles-Kemp)? And what spaces do we explore: those that are best determined as sites or containers? Spaces augmented, shaped, or brought into being by code (Dodge and Kitchin)? Or other socio-spatial contexts where cyber securities might look differently?

This 2 day workshop will elaborate on how interdisciplinary cyber-security research has been planned, designed and conducted, where we will hear from leaders in the field, as well as emerging scholars. Sessions will be more class-room/seminar style than formal papers, and include discussion and interaction.

The workshop will explore research at the boundaries of both the cyber and security, pulling and tugging at what and where the cyber is and whether it might be addressed as much through software and code as play and creative practice.


Day One:

9.30- 10.00 Peter Adey Introduction to the workshop – ‘Of Other Cyber-Securities’


10.00-11.00 Lizzie Coles-Kemp and Rikke Jensen (RHUL) – Mobile phones and everyday securities: Working with newcomers in Sweden


11.30-12.30 Nat O’Grady (Southampton) – Datafying Governance: Methodological Reflections on Researching Digital Infrastructures in Emergency Response




13.30-14.30 Andrew Dwyer (Oxford) – Situating Cyberspace(s): Ethnography as Depth




15.15-16.15 Tim Stevens (KCL) Keynote: – Cyber Securities: Thinking with Time and Space in the Information Age




16.30-17.30 – Discussion and conclusion.



Day Two:

10.00- 11.00 Peter Adey – Mapping the field: cyber security questions, questions for cyber security


11.30- 12.30 Steve Hersee – Cyber Security, Security Dilemmas and Securitisation




13.30-14.30 Nick Robinson – Building methodology: The Estonian Data Embassy Initiative




14.45-15.45 Pip Thornton– Cyber Security beyond the sciences: Critique and creative practice




16.00-17.00 – Andreas Haggman A Strange Doctorate or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Military-Academic Complex


17.00- Discussion and Roundup






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