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portrait of Dr Michael Saker

Dr Michael Saker

Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Contact Information


Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Michael is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications. His research examines digital media technologies and digital cultures along two interconnected lines of inquiry. First, he is interested in the physical, spatial and social consequences of emerging mobile media in urban environments. He is particularly interested in the role locative applications might play in place-making practices and perceptions of urban space. Second, he is fascinated by the broader impact digital media technologies are having on society. As a corollary to this, he is also interested in the transformation of everyday life into data, and how this transformation might lead to new methodological ways of examining the emergent effects of digital media. Broadly speaking, then, Michael's research revolves around digital media technologies and digital cultures, in the context of media and communications. More specifically, he specialises in theories of digitality, often focusing on locative applications, their role in place-making practices and the mediation of daily life.

Michael is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton, as well as a Convenor for the British Sociological Associations (BSA) Digital Sociology Study Group.


  1. PGCLTHE, Southampton Solent University, Southampton, United Kingdom, Oct 2017
  2. PhD (fully-funded), University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom, Oct 2017 – Nov 2014
  3. Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy, York, United Kingdom, Mar 2014
  4. MA Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom, Oct 2004 – Oct 2005
  5. BA (Hons) Media Culture and Communication, University of Greenwich, London, United Kingdom, Sep 2001 – Jul 2004


  1. Senior Lecturer Broadcasting and Digital Creative Industries, Southampton Solent University, Southampton, Sep 2015 – Aug 2017
  2. Lecturer Broadcasting and Digital Creative Industries, Southampton Solent University, Southampton, Sep 2014 – Aug 2015



  1. Evans, L. and Saker, M. (2017). Location-Based Social Media. Springer International Publishing. ISBN 978-3-319-49471-5.

Chapters (2)

  1. Saker, M. and Evans, L. (2020). Personalising the Urban: A Critical Account of Locative Media and the Digital Inscription of Place. Mediated Identities in the Futures of Place: Emerging Practices and Spatial Cultures (pp. 39–55). Springer International Publishing. ISBN 978-3-030-06236-1.
  2. Saker, M. (2018). Mobile Virtual Realities and Portable Magic Circles. Mobile Story Making in an Age of Smartphones (pp. 97–105). Springer International Publishing. ISBN 978-3-319-76794-9.

Conference papers and proceedings (7)

  1. Saker, M. and Evans, L. (2020). Pokémon Go and Parental Play: Emerging forms of Joint media engagement. MeCCSA Annual Conference 2020 Media Interactions and Environments 8-10 January, University of Brighton.
  2. Papangelis, K., Saker, M., Lee, J.H. and Jones, C. (2020). Smart Cities at Play: Lived Experiences, Emerging Forms of Playfulness, and Problems of Participation. CHI '20: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
  3. Saker, M. and Frith, J. (2019). Emerging norms in social VR: An empirical analysis of Facebook Spaces. 69th Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference 24-28 May.
  4. Saker, M. and Evans, L. (2019). Pokémon Go and Parental Play: Emerging forms of Joint media engagement. BSA Annual Conference, Challenging Social Hierarchies and Inequalities, Glasgow Caledonian University 24-26 April.
  5. Saker, M. and Frith, J. (2018). Mobile Virtual Reality and Hybrid Presence: Emerging Forms of Separate Space. BSA Annual Conference, Identity, Community and Social Solidarity 10-12 April, Northumbria University, UK.
  6. Saker, (2017). The personal and public impact of Pokémon Go: contextualising ‘novelty’ within the broader canon of locative media. BSA Annual Conference 2017, Recovering the Social: Personal Troubles and Public Issues 4-6 April, University of Manchester.
  7. Saker, (2017). Ridesharing and restricted mobilities: Using computational social science to examine collaborative mobilities and their impact on experiences of place. MeCCSA Annual Conference 2017, ‘Culture, Media, Equality and Freedom’ 11-13 January, University of Leeds.

Journal articles (14)

  1. Parker, E. and Saker, M. (2020). Art museums and the incorporation of virtual reality: Examining the impact of VR on spatial and social norms. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 26(5-6), pp. 1159–1173. doi:10.1177/1354856519897251.
  2. Saker, M. and Frith, J. (2020). Coextensive space: virtual reality and the developing relationship between the body, the digital and physical space. Media, Culture and Society, 42(7-8), pp. 1427–1442. doi:10.1177/0163443720932498.
  3. Frith, J. and Saker, M. (2020). It Is All About Location: Smartphones and Tracking the Spread of COVID-19. Social Media + Society, 6(3), pp. 205630512094825–205630512094825. doi:10.1177/2056305120948257.
  4. Papangelis, K., Saker, M. and Jones, C. (2020). Smart Cities at Play: Technology and Emerging forms of playfulness. Behaviour & Information Technology, 39(6), pp. 607–609. doi:10.1080/0144929x.2020.1749338.
  5. Wang, Y., Papangelis, K., Saker, M., Lykourentzou, I., Chamberlain, A. and Khan, V.J. (2020). Crowdsourcing in China: Exploring the Work Experiences of Solo Crowdworkers and Crowdfarm Workers. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings. doi:10.1145/3313831.3376473.
  6. Papangelis, K., Chamberlain, A., Lykourentzou, I., Khan, V.-.J., Saker, M., Liang, H.-.N. … Cao, T. (2020). Performing the Digital Self: Understanding Location-Based Social Networking, Territory, Space, and Identity in the City. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 27(1), pp. 1–26. doi:10.1145/3364997.
  7. Evans, L. and Saker, M. (2019). The playeur and Pokémon Go: Examining the effects of locative play on spatiality and sociability. Mobile Media and Communication, 7(2), pp. 232–247. doi:10.1177/2050157918798866.
  8. Saker, M. and Frith, J. (2019). From hybrid space to dislocated space: Mobile virtual reality and a third stage of mobile media theory. New Media & Society, 21(1), pp. 214–228. doi:10.1177/1461444818792407.
  9. Saker, M. and Frith, J. (2018). Locative Media and Sociability: Using Location-Based Social Networks to Coordinate Everyday Life. Architecture_MPS. doi:10.14324/111.444.amps.2018v14i1.001.
  10. Frith, J. and Saker, M. (2017). Understanding Yik Yak: Location-based sociability and the communication of place. First Monday. doi:10.5210/fm.v22i10.7442.
  11. Saker, M. (2017). Foursquare and identity: Checking-in and presenting the self through location. New Media & Society, 19(6), pp. 934–949. doi:10.1177/1461444815625936.
  12. Saker, M. and Evans, L. (2016). Everyday life and locative play: an exploration of Foursquare and playful engagements with space and place. Media, Culture & Society, 38(8), pp. 1169–1183. doi:10.1177/0163443716643149.
  13. Saker, M. and Evans, L. (2016). Locative Media and Identity. SAGE Open, 6(3). doi:10.1177/2158244016662692.
  14. Saker, M. and Evans, L. (2016). Locative mobile media and time: Foursquare and technological memory. First Monday. doi:10.5210/fm.v21i2.6006.


  1. Saker, Smartphones and Pervasive Play: An Examination of the Effect Foursquare has on Physical, Spatial and Social Practices. (PhD Thesis)