What We Do

Goldsmiths, University of London

What Is Personalisation?

An Interview Study

William Viney
Scott Wark
Sophie Day

Despite substantial scholarship on particular forms of personalisation, there are few attempts to establish the broad cultural significance of new practices of personalisation. It is unclear how far these practices are replacing a one-size-fits-all universalism in markets, welfare services, and consumer culture.

We assume that personalisation is a key process in contemporary life, affecting emerging technologies, processes, and imagined futures. This project investigated personalising practices as they are formed in different domains, while paying close attention to the points of interaction and contradiction between them.

Our work established histories and techniques of personalisation as they affected a variety of individuals working in and beyond the industries for which ‘personalisation’ is an important process – e.g. medicine and data science, public policy, advertising and more. Based on in-depth interviews and focus groups, we contrasted the views of industry practitioners and consumers with historical and theoretical accounts of personalisation.

For more information see Goldsmiths data and governance.