Professor Ben Light

Office Times



I joined the University of Manchester in the late 1990s as a Research Fellow and then move to the Univeristy of Salford in 1999 where I worked for 13 years across a number of departments. During this time held leadership positions such as Research Centre Director, Associate Head of School – Research and Associate Dean – Research and Innovation. In 2013 I took up a Research Capacity Building Professorship in the Creative Industries Faculty at QUT and became a founding member of their world leading Digital Media Research Centre. In 2016 I returned to the UK and rejoined the University of Salford. I am currently the development lead for the Health, Wellbeing and Society Industry Collaboration Zone.

My academic career began within the field of information systems (IS) where I have an international reputation for qualitative studies of large-scale configurable technologies. Starting in the 1990s with early studies of enterprise software packages, I extended this work into environments such as call centres and emergency services.

Over the past 9 years, I have engaged with the interdisciplinary area of Internet Studies resulting in a shift in my intellectual home. In 2006 I began to publish the results of a study I conducted with respect to Internet dating and studies of the appropriation of other digital media including Facebook, Habbo Hotel, and YouTube have followed.

As Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator I have been associated with over £1.7M of personal research income (Funding bodies include the ARC, AHRC, the UK Arts Council, ESRC, EPSRC, NESTA, the NHS and the State Library of Queensland). In my role as Associate Dean Research and Innovation, I also led the institution’s contribution to a successful AHRC higher degree research student block grant partnership award for 2014 totaling £26.3M for up to 200 studentships across the consortium.

I am currently on the editorial boards as Associate Editor for New Media and Society, Social Media and Society, the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, and Senior Editor for the Journal of Information Technology. I was associate editor of the European Journal of Information Systems, from 2005-08 and senior editor from 2008-11.

I sit on the UK’s EPSRC and AHRC peer review colleges. I have also advised on research funding elsewhere, working for the Council of Physical Sciences of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, the USA National Science Foundation and the Royal Society of New Zealand. I have advised on large scale funding decisions such as UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (£4 million Digital Equipment and Database Enhancement for Impact (DEDEFI) call) and the National Research Council of Canada (CAD $45 million Networks of Excellence call).


I have:

  • graduated 7 PhD students as lead supervisor and undertaken 20 external examinations for PhDs.
  • taught on over 30 courses across a range of programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These courses have been concerned with some element of digital media including, social media projects, community projects, the Internet and society, digital culture, research methods and dissertations. I also have teaching experience in the area of science and technology studies, gender and sexuality.
  • led several masters level programmes in the area of digital media, work and everyday life and have been involved in a number of redevelopments and new developments.
  • been invited to engage with taught students internationally and have engaged in CPD education.

Research Interests

My research is concerned with understanding people’s everyday experiences of digital media. I engage science and technology studies bringing it into dialogue with questions of (non)consumption practices, digital methods, gender and sexuality. I am currently working in the areas of digitally mediated public sexual cultures and dating and hookup apps. I am also writing a book about #NSFW for MIT Press with Kylie Jarrett (Maynooth) and Susanna Paasonen (Turku).

Qualifications and Memberships

BA (Hons), MSc,

PhD Member of the Association of Internet Researchers



Books Light, B. (2014). Disconnecting with Social Networking Sites. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Crawford, G., Gosling, V., & Light, B. (Eds.), (2011). Online Gaming in Context: The Social and Cultural Significance of Online Games. London, Routledge. (Paperback edition released, 2013).

Journal Papers

Light, B., Burgess, J. and Duguay, S. The walkthrough method: An approach to the study of apps. New Media and Society (Forthcoming).

Light, B., Bagnall, G., Crawford, G. and Gosling, V. The Material Role of Digital Media in Connecting With, Within, and Beyond Museums. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (Forthcoming).

Light, B. (2016). The rise of speculative devices: Hooking up with the bots of Ashley Madison. First Monday, 21(6).

Crawford, G., Gosling, V., Bagnall, G., and Light, B. (2016). Branded app implementation at the London symphony orchestra. Arts and the Market, 6(1): 2-16.

Light, B. and Cassidy, E. (2014). Strategies for the suspension and prevention of connection: rendering disconnection as socioeconomic lubricant with Facebook. New Media and Society, 16(7): 1169-1184.

Crawford, G., Gosling, V., Bagnall, G., and Light, B. (2014). An orchestral audience: classical music and continued patterns of distinction. Cultural Sociology, 8(4): 483-500.

Crawford, G., Gosling, V.K., Bagnall, G. and Light, B. (2014). Is there an app for that? a case study of the potentials and limitations of the participatory turn and networked publics for classical music audience engagement. Information, Communication and Society, 17(9): 1072-1085.

Light, B. (2013). Networked masculinities and social networking sites: a call for the analysis of men and contemporary digital media. Masculinities and Social Change, 2(3), 245-265.

Light, B. Griffiths, M. and Lincoln, S. (2012). ‘Connect and create: young people, Youtube and graffiti communities’, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 26(3), pp.343-355.

Light, B. and K. McGrath (2010). Ethics and social networking sites: a disclosive analysis of Facebook, Information Technology and People 23(4), 290-311.

Howcroft, D. and Light, B. (2010). The social shaping of packaged software selection, Journal of the Association for Information Systems 11 (3), Article 2.

Griffiths, M. and Light, B. (2009). An investigation into resistance practices at an SME consultancy, Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 22(1/2), 119 – 136.

Light, B. Fletcher, G. and Adam, A. (2008). Gay men, Gaydar and the commodification of difference, Information Technology and People, 21(3), 300-314.

Griffiths, M. and Light, B. (2008). Social networking and digital media convergence: classification and its consequences for appropriation, Information Systems Frontiers, 20(4), 447-459.

Ferneley, E. and Light, B. (2008). Unpacking end-user relations in an emerging ubiquitous computing environment: introducing the bystander, Journal of Information Technology, 23(3), 163-185.

Howcroft, D. and Light, B. (2008). IT consultants, salesmanship and the challenges of packaged software selection in SMEs, Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 21(6), 597-615.

Fletcher, G. and Light, B. (2007). Going offline: an exploratory cultural artifact analysis of an internet dating site’s development trajectories, International Journal of Information Management, 27(6), 422-431.

Light, B. (2007). Introducing masculinity studies to information systems research: the case of Gaydar, European Journal of Information Systems, 16(5), 658-665.

Book Chapters

Duguay, S., Burgess, J. and Light, B. Mobile dating and hookup app culture. In Messaris, P. and Humphreys, L. (Eds.). Digital media, transformations in human communication, 2nd. Edn. New York, Peter Lang (Forthcoming).

Light, B. (2016). Producing sexual cultures and pseudonymous publics with digital networks. In R. Lind (Ed), Race and Gender in Electronic Media: Challenges and Opportunities. London, UK: Routledge (Forthcoming).

Crawford, C., Gosling, V. and Light, B. (2011). It’s Not just a game: contemporary challenges for games research and the Internet, in Crawford, C., Gosling, V. and Light, B. (Eds.), Online gaming in context: the social and cultural significance of online games. London, Routledge.

Crawford, C., Gosling, V. and Light, B. (2011). The social and cultural significance of online gaming, in Crawford, C., Gosling, V. and Light, B. (Eds.), Online gaming in context: the social and cultural significance of online games. London, Routledge.