Why we formed:

Possible Futures Lab is part of the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University of London, dedicated to the human-centered design of protection technologies for identity, trust, and information.

This research path began in 2008 with the advent of the VOME project, based within the The Information Security Group at Royal Holloway. This project was led by Lizzie Coles-Kemp and explored what information people disclose about themselves on-line, and why they do so.  Lizzie led one of three project field teams working with economically deprived communities in the North East of England, exploring privacy and consent in the context of on-line public service delivery. The links with the North East were reinforced when Lizzie worked with artist Alice Angus and performance artist Freya Stang on a project based there, looking at why some families, separated by prison, do not make use of the support services that are provided.

Possible Futures embodies and builds on the spirit of these first forays into user-community research, and provides a platform for their continued development. The Lab  engages in research projects, outreach and teaching. All those involved share a common commitment to designing technologies that assist communities to bring about change and innovation, helping them to overcome their respective challenges.

The Lab is led by Lizzie Coles-Kemp, supported by Claude Heath and Makayla Lewis.This core group works with a diverse range of collaborators (please see individual project pages for further details).

What we’re currently doing:

We currently lead human-centered design on two large research projects: CySeCa and TREsPASS.

Whilst we work closely with traditional computer security and network security research teams, we maintain our focus on user-communities and introduce human-centered research as a fully integrated and vibrant strand to these more traditional information security research topics. On these projects we work with a wide range of user-communities ranging from the information security practitioner community to IPTV use in the home .

In addition to these projects, we continue to support families separated by prison by working with different prison visitors centres as part of an AHRC connected communities dissemination programme. We are also running a pilot study  on the impact of changes to Benefits and Welfare services on security and privacy practices in economically deprived communities.

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