Technology and inequality: project evidence hub
The materials in this evidence hub look at how advances in digital technology mitigate or exacerbate existing inequalities, as well as how existing inequalities pose challenges for access, skills and uptake related to digital technology. The evidence here has been produced through the activities related to our Technology and Inequality project, and the hub is updated on an ongoing basis as we receive new materials and new findings emerge.
Digital Technology and Inequality: Policy Brief
This Policy Brief draws from the findings, evidence and activities across the British Academy’s project on Technology and Inequality to identify two challenges associated with tackling digital inequality in the UK and set out four policy recommendations for government to overcome these challenges.
Understanding Digital Poverty and Inequality in the UK
A summary of insights from our evidence reports
In 2022, the British Academy commissioned six projects that examined different aspects of digital poverty in the UK, to inform policy thinking around the crucial challenge of addressing inequality – and specifically, the relationship between digital technology and inequality – across the UK. This report highlights the central themes and findings that emerge across the evidence base of outputs produced by the commissioned projects and uses these findings to identify six policy lessons to shape policy thinking on how to effectively address digital poverty and its impacts across the UK.
Commissioned Project Reports: Digital Poverty in the UK
In early 2022, the British Academy commissioned six evidence reviews to explore the effects of digital poverty on productivity.
Project lead: Dr Rachel Stuart, Brunel University London
Project lead: Dr Gemma Burgess, University of Cambridge
Project lead: Professor George Dafoulas, Middlesex University
Institute of Development Studies/Digital Futures at Work Research Centre, University of Sussex – ‘Digital poverty in the UK’
Project lead: Dr Becky Faith, Institute of Development Studies
LUMS, Work Foundation – ‘Digital Poverty Transformation: Accessing Digital Services in Rural Northwest Communities’
Project lead: Professor Katy Mason, Lancaster University
During the duration of the projects, we also held two policy workshops that brought together project teams with members of the policy, practice and research communities working to understand and address digital inequality. Project teams presented their ongoing work and received feedback from one another and participants, and attendees discussed connections and contrasts across the commissioned projects. Insights from these workshops were used to inform the write-up of the summary report. We shared our emerging thinking with policy stakeholders (in both local authorities and central government) throughout the duration of the project and used insights from these conversations to feed into our work.
At the end of the projects, draft outputs of the commissioned projects were shared amongst research teams, and teams provided feedback on the full set of reports and identified important common insights or gaps in thinking to inform the summary report. Our Technology and Inequality Working Group also reviewed drafts of the project outputs and summary report.
Technology and Inequality Roundtable Series
In November 2022, the British Academy hosted a roundtable series that explored how digital technologies can be used to deliver public services more equitably and improve policies to tackle inequality.
The British Academy convened three roundtable events focused on the question “How can digital technologies be harnessed to improve policies that tackle inequality, their design, and the equitable delivery of public services?” Each roundtable convened a different set of stakeholders: (1) local authorities, (2) central government, and (3) private sector and civil society organisations. This document summarises the key insights that emerged from these three events.