I am a Research Fellow in the Digital & Technology research team at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the UK. I was previously a Research Fellow in the Gender Technology Lab at the United Nations University, Institute of Computing & Society (UNU-CS) in Macau. I joined UNU-CS after completing a PhD in Digital Development in the ICT4D Centre at Royal Holloway, University of London. My doctoral research examined the use of participatory video by women's groups in Zambia and asked whether use of technology can enhance people's critical agency for development.
My first engagement with ICT4D was as a volunteer teaching personal computing in the Nicaraguan Parliament in 1988. For four years I lectured in New Technology & Education in the Innovations Studies Unit of the University of East London before founding and leading two small international development organisations. I was Executive Director of CODA International for ten years before serving as CEO of Computer Aid International for twelve years. Computer Aid International provided a quarter of a million computers to non-profit organisations in over one hundered countries. I was also a founding Director & Trustee of the British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND) and The Restart Project. I'm currently on the international Board of Computers for Schools Kenya, Asikana Network, BongoHive and NewZambian.
I am passionate about understanding why some people feel powerless and alienated and others feel able to transform their personal life and to transform society. I want to know where this sense of 'agency' comes from and whether it is something that we can actively develop in ourselves and others. I am particularly interested in whether digital technologies can play a role in increasing individual or collection agency for transformational change.
Because there are so many people called Tony Roberts I use the name phat_controller on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. You can view my Google Scholar or Orchid-ID online or download my CV below.