An exhibition exploring the online relationships and behaviour of people affected by extreme circumstances was on display, last month, at Lincoln Drill Hall. A series of portrait photographs, by artist Anton Want, and thought-provoking statements formed part of a wider collaborative research project, called A Shared Space & A Space for Sharing.
Dave Boothroyd, Professor of Media and Culture at LSFM is pictured and he leads the research about online illicit drug use. University of Lincoln PR officer Laura Jones covered the story: The project explores what information people choose to share online when they find themselves in difficult and dangerous circumstances, such as natural disasters, life-threatening illness and illicit drug use. It considers what this teaches us about how trust and empathy are established and maintained in online relationships, and how sharing, trust and empathy work in the offline world. The project is being carried out by the University of Lincoln in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, University of Edinburgh, University of Warwick, University of Nottingham and King’s College London.
Dave who is the Lead Investigator for the research area, illicit drug use said: “In Lincoln we are investigating how people involved in a range of online illicit drug use cultures, co-create knowledge and share experience on a variety of web platforms. The dedicated blogs, forums and personal story websites we are focusing on are part of the much greater ecology of drugs and drug use information shared, cross-referenced and constantly added to by users of illicit drugs and those who use medicines for non-medicinal purposes.
Our analysis shows that in many of these online settings, there is a broad adherence to a harm reduction ethos and a culture of caution in the context of uncertainty and risk. From the sharing of drug preparation guidelines to tales of addiction and withdrawal, the mediation of dug culture on the internet represents a new dimension of society’s troubled and complex relationship with drugs. At the same time, it provides us with new opportunity to understand better this relationship from the perspective of users and those affected by drug use.”
To find out more, visit the project’s website www.space4sharingstudy.org