TMI: Sharing and Surveillance (University of Birminghamm, UK)

deadline for submissions: 
May 20, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
University of Birmingham

Deadline for abstracts: Monday 20th May 2019

Conference date: Friday 19th July 2019 

In the twenty-first century, evolving networks and platforms have opened up the possibility of sharing personal tastes, desires, ideas, and experiences on a global scale. However, these changes also facilitate the tracking of trends and habits via data collated for a wide range of purposes, including commercial, political, personal, and institutional surveillance. This one-day conference reflects on how literature, culture, and new media draw attention to and interrogate aspects of sharing and surveillance in modern and contemporary culture as well as earlier periods. The organisers invite papers about the representation of sharing and/or surveillance across a range of distinct literatures, media platforms, and art forms contemplating the sharing of personal information in an age of precarity, self-tracking, and complicity. We particularly welcome new and intersectional ideas about the formation of identity and the digital, including forms of discrimination but also of community formation, activism, and support.

Papers might reflect on:

  • The cultural and social significances of giving or receiving information.
  • Habitual sharing, social media use, and ‘oversharing’.
  • Sharing within and between online communities (from GChat and Facebook groups to trolling and abuse).
  • Taste making, taste tracking, and ‘influencing’ of personal tastes and activities.
  • Issues of access and/or racial, economic, and patriarchal privilege in sharing and surveillance.
  • Surveillance, sousveillance, and self-surveillance.
  • Monitoring in all forms (i.e. by parents, businesses, the state, other states)
  • Technologies (i.e. CCTV, drones, online platforms, apps).
  • Big data, algorithms and data-mining.
  • Debates about censorship and free speech.

We welcome papers from academics, artists, authors, creative practitioners, and industry workers at all career levels and in a variety of presentation styles. We specifically invite 20 minute papers as well as 5-minute flash papers but also encourage proposals for alternative formats.

Please send enquiries and abstracts including the paper title, speaker name, contact email, abstract of no more than 250 words and a biography (~100 words) to by Monday 20th May 2019. The conference organisers are Dr Dorothy Butchard and Dr Rachel Sykes.

Full details of our attendance bursaries can be found here ( Details of access and child-care facilities are still being finalised but will be updated here ( If you have any initial queries that might affect your ability to attend, please do not hesitate to contact the organisers.