Richard Dent

phd student at Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

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PhD Student, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

Richard Dent is a PhD researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on aspects of digital society including the sharing economy, social networking, online social capital and political sociology. Pro-social networking sites like Nextdoor.com are growing online spaces where strangers connect with each other for a variety of interactions and outcomes.

This local social networking has implications for society especially in light of UK and other governments shifting public services onto online platforms. A process known as channel shift. Richard’s research examines the impact of digital channel shift on British society. Channel shift has great potential for cost saving and efficiency but also may cause unexpected inequality effects and social power reconfigurations. Richard is trying to better understand these outcomes in order to address any emergent digital inequalities and unsafe digital social environments.

Richard supports the digital sector’s response to the refugee crisis. He is the co-founder of Techfugees Cambridge, a group committed to supporting Internet connectivity for refugee camps. He also works with the Techfugees team in London.

Whilst at Cambridge Richard has been developing a project called OpenPolicy.com. This platform allows users to post then vote on evidence based policy ideas. This has application for direct democracy and public policy development.

Richard is a research affiliate at the Networking for Development lab where he assists with scoping the potential for low cost internet access.

Richard has a professional background in public relations, project management and science communication. Previous projects include: European Commission funded Energy Union, The Tree from Global Campaign Climate Action & Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour documentary and James Cameron's Avatar Alliance Foundation.

Open Policy: http://www.openpolicy.com (password: betaAccess001)

Techfugees: https://techfugees.com