ESRC Digital Good Network


Digital Good from the South

Watch the recording of this webinar with Payal Arora, Jonathan Corpus Ong, and Ranjit Singh

This webinar took place on Tuesday 12 March 2024, 3.00PM – 4.00PM (UK time)

You can watch a recording of it below:

Digital Good from the South

What does the “digital good” look like from the Global South? What are specific “Southern” advocacies in the areas of AI ethics, data privacy, and Big Tech accountability? What emergent practices of academic collaboration can help challenge inequities in global knowledge production? 

Hosted by the ESRC-funded Digital Good Network, this webinar invites researchers across the Global North and South to this timely conversation. Featuring three prominent scholars in global tech studies with institutional positions in the global North, the event prompts personal and collective reflections on power, privilege, risks, and responsibilities in the conduct of community partnerships, policy advocacies, and research mentoring.

The event also formally launches the Digital Good Network Fellowships, particularly the ‘Digital Good from the South’ Fellowships, which seeks to award up to 20,000GBP to successful applicants. 

We will ring fence a minimum of 50% of the funds to be awarded to applicants who are EITHER based in the Global South OR whose proposed activities take place in or are about the Global South. 

For full details of the scheme please visit our Fellowships page.


Jonathan Corpus Ong

Jonathan Corpus Ong

Digital Good Network Internationalization Lead; Associate Professor of Global Digital Media, UMass Amherst.

His research interests include global media ethics, digital politics, misinformation and the anthropology of humanitarianism. From 2020 to 2023, he is also Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center. Jonathan has also been selected as one of 28 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Awardees (2022-2024). He is Principal Investigator of “Global Democracy Frontliners”, a research network supporting South-to-South knowledge exchange and community engagement, supported by Luminate and Reset.

Jonathan’s books include Trolls for Sale (Everything’s Fine Books), Taking the Square: Mediated Dissent and Occupations of Public Space (Rowman & Littlefield) and The Poverty of Television: The Mediation of Suffering in Class-Divided Philippines (Anthem Press). He also runs a podcast on ‘disinformation whistleblowers’,

Payal Arora

Payal Arora

Professor of Inclusive AI Cultures, Utrecht University

Payal Arora is a Professor of Inclusive AI Cultures at Utrecht University and Co-founder of FemLab, a feminist futures of work initiative. She is a digital anthropologist and comes with two decades of user experiences among low-income communities, especially in the Global South, to shape inclusive designs and policies.

She is the author of award-winning books including the “The Next Billion Users” with Harvard Press. Engadget (Top 5 in the ‘Technorati top 100’ and Times endorsed ‘best blogs on tech’) stated that her Harvard book is one of “the most interesting, thought-provoking books on science and technology we can find.” She has an upcoming book ‘From Pessimism to Promise: Lessons from the Global South on Designing Inclusive Tech” with MIT Press and Harper Collins India.

Forbes named her the “next billion champion” and “the right kind of person to reform tech.” About 150 international media outlets have covered her work including The BBC, Het Financieele Dagblad, The Economist, Quartz, 99% Invisible, Tech Crunch, The Boston Globe, F.A.Z, The Nation and CBC. She has consulted on tech innovation and digital inclusion for diverse organizations such as IDEO, Adobe, Spotify, Google, UNESCO, KPMG, GE, UNHCR, and HP and has given more than 350+ talks in 115 cities in 67 countries alongside figures like Jimmy Wales and Steve Wozniak and TEDx talks on the future of the internet and ‘Why we need less innovation.’

She sits on several boards for organizations such as Soteryx (a NYC data security company), Columbia University’s Earth Institute and World Women Global Council in New York. She has held Fellow positions at GE, ZEMKI, ITSRio, MICA, and NYU and is a Rockefeller Bellagio Resident Alumnus. She has a MA in International Policy from Harvard University and a PhD in Language, Literacy and Technology from Columbia University. She is Indian, Irish, and American and currently lives in Amsterdam.

Ranjit Singh

Ranjit Singh

Information Science Faculty, Cornell University and Senior Research Fellow, Data & Society

Ranjit Singh is a senior researcher at Data & Society focused on qualitative research for the Algorithmic Impact Methods Lab (AIMLab), and a research fellow with Siegel Family Endowment.

With a particular focus on research equity, he helps guide research ethics at the Data & Society (D&S) Research Institute and develop equitable research practices both internally and with external partners.

His work broadly examines the everyday experiences of people subject to data-driven practices and follows the mutual shaping of their lives and their data records, aiming to understand how data is increasingly used to imagine and develop new digital solutions for democratizing inclusion. His research sits at the intersection of data infrastructures, global development, and public policy, and uses methods of interview-based qualitative sociology and multi-sited ethnography.

He was featured in Business Insider’s article on AI 100: The top people in artificial intelligence for 2023 under the category of Policy, Ethics and Research.

Singh’s dissertation research on Aadhaar, the national biometrics-based identification infrastructure of India, advances public understanding of the affordances and limits of such data infrastructures in practically achieving inclusive development and reshaping the nature of Indian citizenship. He was involved in developing the Digital Due Process Clinic, a clinical program at Cornell University that studies and supports individuals in their struggles to secure fair representation in data infrastructures. His research has been published in the Journal of South Asian Studies and by ACM CHI Conference, among other venues, and he has presented his work at conferences including CSCW, 4S, AAA, and ECSAS. Singh has a doctorate in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University.