Tech.Culture.Matters. is a research collective at the University of Michigan focused on the study of cultures of technology production and use. With our research situated in specific sites across diverse regions such as the American Midwest, China, Indonesia, Africa, and Europe, we share a commitment to critically examine dominant notions of what counts as technological innovation, design and use, and where they are located. Drawing from methods such as ethnography, critical inquiry, research through design, discourse analysis, electronic arts, and critical making, we study the social, technological, political, and material processes of contemporary technology.

In so doing, we unpack how situated phenomena relate to broader societal and political shifts. For instance, our research has examined how the broader orientation towards “making,” Internet of Things, and tech entrepreneurship is manifesting locally and across diverse political and economic contexts. Broadly, our past and active research topics include innovation studies, creativity, DIY making and hacking, repair, ICTD, critical algorithm studies, critical making, sexual identity, feminist and queer HCI, among others.

Our work is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from and contributing to the following fields:

  • Science and Technology Studies (STS)
  • Human-computer interaction (HCI) & Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Digital Media Arts & Communications Studies
  • Area Studies: Southeast Asian Studies, China Studies, African Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Critical Data & Algorithm Studies

Central to this interdisciplinary endeavor, is the engagement with both researchers and practitioners including but not limited to makers, designers, artists, entrepreneurs, policy makers, industrial producers, citizens, and so on in order to create alternative spaces and understandings of technology and its relation to identity, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, work, and labor.

Our research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Intel, ProQuest, the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, the University of Michigan Spectrum Center, Rackham Graduate School and the School of Information at the University of Michigan, the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, SHIFT Vienna (program to foster innovative art), Austrian Embassy in Indonesia, and the Austrian Ministry of Culture and Education, UM LSA International Institute and the Graham Sustainability Institute.