About Me

I am a Research Fellow in the Digital & Technology 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 at the ICT4D Centre  of 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. After undergraduate studies I was employed for four years as an associate lecturer in New Technology & Education in the Innovations Studies Unit of the University of East London. I founded and led two small international not-for-profit 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 PCs to non-profit organisations in 100 different countries. I was also 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 KenyaAsikana 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. The 'development' that I am interested in is the development from a state of feeling alienated, unable and constrained to a state of feeling engaged, free and able to effect change for the good. I am also interested in whether technology, and digital technologies in particular, can play a role in increasing individual and collection agency for transformational change.

Because my name, Tony Roberts, is too common, on TwitterFlickrFacebook etc. I use the name phat_controller.

All blog posts

16 April, 2014 - 13:43
31 March, 2014 - 18:30
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2 December, 2012 - 16:31
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