Mark Graham is the Professor of Internet Geography at the OII, a Faculty Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, a Senior Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, and an Associate in the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment.
He has published articles in major geography, communications, and urban studies journals, and his work has been covered by the Economist, the BBC, the Washington Post, CNN, the Guardian, and many other international newspapers and magazines. He is an editorial board member of Information, Communication, and Society, Geo:Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Big Data & Society. In 2014, he was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant to lead a team to study ‘knowledge economies’ in Sub-Saharan Africa over five years.
He leads a range of research projects spanning topics between digital labour, the gig economy, internet geographies, and ICTs and development; and is accepting PhD students with an interest in any of that work.
He has spent the last few years investigating the implications of new types of digital labour and online freelancing for workers in the Global South. This research is ongoing in his team’s research on outsourcing and microwork. At the moment, the tens of millions of workers who do digital work do so in a largely unregulated and socially disembedded way. This clearly benefits some workers, but we should also worry about a race to the bottom occurring as ever more people come online.
He also teaches a course at the OII called ‘ICT and Development‘ that focuses on the winners and losers in the contexts of rapidly changing global connectivity. His current research on this topic looks at digital entrepreneurship and the ways that conditions in African cities shape practices of local entrepreneurs (as part of a large project with Nicolas Friederici about African ‘knowledge economies‘). Previous research has focused on how the internet can impact production networks (of tea, tourism, and outsourcing) in East Africa, and asked who wins and loses from those changes. He also co-founded and leads the ‘Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality‘ and ‘Big Data and Human Development‘ research clusters at Oxford.
Digital Geographies his most long-standing research area. He asks how people and places are ever more defined by, and made visible through, not only their traditional physical locations and properties, but also their virtual attributes and digital shadows. If the places that we live in are increasingly digital, then there are important questions about who controls, and has access to, our digitally-augmented and digitally-mediated worlds. He has written extensively about this topic in both the academic and popular press. He also uses a lot of internet geography maps to tell this story.
He is grateful to have had much of his research funded by a donors such as the European Research Council, the ESRC, the British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust. He is also fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and collaborate with a diverse group of wonderful scholars and thinkers throughout his career.