Video: ‘Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace’ at Common Ground

NB: Viewers may notice that Nature did not spare me in this video! I filmed the Zoom call in a corner of my south-facing living room. As the session progressed, and despite my attempts to block it out beforehand, the sun first lit me too brightly then dumped me in darkness before moving round to focus on random parts of me and my plants. Out of my control at the time and very embarrassing!

On February 12th 2021 I was the guest of Common Ground Research Networks in a discussion about my 2013 book ‘Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace’. The event was part of The Common Ground Research Media Lab Speaker Series, Imagining Futures and my talk was titled Technobiophilia: Nature in the Digital. The Lab is based at the University of Illinois.

This series offers members of Common Ground a place of learning and interaction through online conversations led by some of the world’s leading researchers, practitioners, artists and civic leaders. The aim is to create linkages that cross disciplinary, geographic, and cultural boundaries. I love this. Transdisciplinarity is what it’s all about!

I really enjoyed the Q&A discussion, which starts at around the 35 minute point. We talked about the most useful ways to think about technobiophilia, how to use it in practical workshops, the role of academics in addressing the crises facing the natural world, and the many applications of technobiophilic design. I’d like to thank Phillip Kalantzis Cope, the Chief Social Scientist at Common Ground, for his thoughtful introduction and chairing of the session.

What has lockdown taught us about digital nature and wellbeing? 7pm BST, 6 July 2021, Cafe Sci.

7pm BST, 6th July 2021. Online. Free.

In October 2013 I gave a talk at Cafe Scientifique Bournemouth about my then newly-published book “Technobiophilia: nature and cyberspace“. At that time, digital detoxing was very popular and the idea of using technology to access the benefits of nature seemed transgressive, to say the least.


But now, eight years and another book later, the Covid-19 lockdown has demonstrated how accessing the natural world via our computers, phones and TVs can contribute to wellbeing in many ways. Whether it’s watching animals on live-streaming webcams, or sharing beautiful photos, or viewing hugely popular nature programmes like The Blue Planet, we are discovering a more satisfying tech/nature balance.

I’m returning to Cafe Sci, this time online, to look back on that talk and discuss how our experiences in lockdown have changed our view of digital nature. Dr Hiroko Oe, of Bournemouth University, will report from a Japanese perspective.

7pm BST, 6th July 2021. Online. Free.