Vitalities Lab

The Vitalities Lab is a hub for interdisciplinary research that is lively, exciting, creative and novel. Under the leadership of SHARP Professor Deborah Lupton, the Vitalities Lab brings together researchers working on understanding human experience in the context of the more-than-human worlds in which they move and live.  

When humans come together with things, places and other living creatures, vitalities and capacities are generated that have implications for people’s health, wellbeing and their ability to have agency and affect the world around them. It is on identifying these vitalities and capacities and considering their social and cultural implications that research in the Vitalities Lab will focus. 

Key research questions addressed by the Vitalities Lab include: 

  • What vitalities and capacities are generated with and through more-than-human worlds (for example, when people come together with digital or medical technologies)? 
  • How are agencies opened up or closed off in more-than-human worlds? 
  • Which individuals and social groups benefit most from these agencies – and who may be subject to risks or harms? 
  • How can marginalised groups be given a voice and better agency? 
  • What methods can be used to access people’s multisensory experiences and the affective forces that flow between the actors in more-than-human entanglements? 
  • How do ethics and practices of care come into play? 
  • What are the futures of more-than-human worlds? 

Initial research streams include: 

  • Critical digital health studies: addressing the ways in which people use digital technologies for health, and identifying potential harms or exclusions from access as well as benefits 
  • Living digital data: focusing on people’s everyday understandings, experiences and practices related to the digital data that are generated about them when they interact with smart devices and online environments 
  • Digital food cultures: researching how digital technologies are taken up in food production, processing, preparation and consumption 
  • Innovative social research methods: experimenting with lively methods that can inspire new ways of thinking about, representing and understanding people’s participation in more-than-human worlds.