Rachel O’Dwyer

PhD; M.Phil; BA

Lecturer in Digital Cultures
Rachel O’Dwyer

My research is at the intersection of digital cultures and cultural economies. It focuses on how digital networks are transforming ownership, value, and production particularly around ‘goods’ like information, knowledge, art and culture. It also focuses on how digital cultures are used as modes of creative and tactical resistance to these new forms of political economy. I, particular, I write a lot about money, art and algorithms and their various intersections, both in scholarly and public contexts.

Dr. Rachel O’Dwyer is a lecturer in digital cultures in the School of Visual Culture in NCAD.


Her research is at the intersection of digital cultures and cultural economies with a particular focus on money, algorithms and art.


Previously Rachel was a research fellow in Connect, the SFI Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin and an IRC research fellow in the sociology department of Maynooth university.


In 2018, she was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to visit UC Irvine, California and research blockchain technologies, crypto-art and art markets. She was also a recipient of the Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grant in 2018 to do research on art markets, freeports and new technologies.


She is an editor for Neural magazine of critical digital cultures and media art and the founding editor-in-chief of Interference, a journal of audio culture (2009 – 2017).


Rachel has published extensively on digital cultures, digital value (money, payment, cryptocurrency) and digital art in both academic and public scholarship contexts (MIT Press, Journal of Cultural Economies, Convergence, Fibreculture, Spheres Journal of Digital Culture, Institute of Network Cultures) and public scholarship contexts (London Review of Books, Circa, World Economic Forum, Longreads, UnDark, the Atlantic). She is regularly invited to present her work internationally (most recently at Moneylab, Institute of Network Cultures, Transmediale and Re:Publica). She is currently completing a book for MIT Press, Leonardo Art|Science Series on the ownership of the radio spectrum.




            2014     PhD Spectre of the Commons: A Political Economy of Radio Spectrum (2014), Trinity College        Dublin. Extern: Tiziana Terranova.

            2009     M.Phil. in Music and Media Technologies Trinity College, Dublin.

            2007     City & Guilds Diploma in Sound Engineering Sound Training Centre, Dublin.

            2006     B.A. Honours in Fine Art (Digital Media) IADT Dun Laoghaire.



            2016 -               Connect SFI Centre for Future Networks and Communications, Trinity College Dublin, Postdoctoral Researcher: Member of Orthogonal Methods Group.

2015 – 2016                 Maynooth University, Irish Research Council Fellow. Writing Monograph for MIT’s Leonardo Art|Science Publications.

            2015                 Microsoft Research, Cambridge, MA, Visiting Research Fellow in Bitcoin, Nov 2015.



                        2013 –  2016 Trinity College Dublin: Teaching Fellow in School of Computer Science & Statistics

                        M.Phil. in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship. Coordinator of Module in the History of the Creative and Cultural Industries.

                        Designed and developed MOOC in Technology & Society for Engineers, for delivery to Thapar University, Patiala, India.

                        M.Sc. in Interactive Digital Media, School of Computer Science.

                        2009 – 2015      Trinity College Dublin:  Adjunct Lecturer on the M.Sc. in Interactive Digital Media, School of Computer Science.

                        2013 – 2015      National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Adjunct Lecturer on the Masters in Design History and Material Culture.

                        Designed and delivered a course in Technology, Design and Society.

                        2011     Maynooth University, Adjunct Lecturer on BA Arts.

                        Delivered Course on Sound Studies.



Orthogonal Methods Group (OMG) TCD, a humanities/engineering collaboration.

Advisory Group for DECODE EU Flagship project on data sovereignty for citizens across Europe and beyond;

ADAPT Ethics and Privacy Working Group;

Irish Blockchain Expert Group;

 Core member of P2P Foundation where I coordinate the academic research network (2013-); Internet of Things (IoT) Council (2012-);

Annual Association of Internet Researchers (2014-);

Member of the International Association for Media & Communications Research (2015-).



2018                  Enterprise Ireland ERC Development Award (Declined)

2018                 Fulbright Scholar Award  (Short Research trip - Blockchain & Art)

2018                 RIA Charlemont Scholar Award (Research in Blockchain & Art)

2015                 Provost’s Teaching Award (Nomination)

2015                 IRC Postdoctoral Fellowship

2014                 SFI Public Engagement Grant

2012                 ESOF2012 Public Engagement Funding for Openhere 2012.

2012                 Science Gallery Exhibition Funding for The Mobile Commons 

2010-2014         Science Gallery Seed Funding for D.A.T.A. 2010 -2014.

2011                 Best Paper Award, Science and Technology Studies ST Global Conference, Washington DC, April 2011.

2009                 IRCSET PhD Scholarship Recipient

2008 – 2009      Visual and Performing Arts Award Recipient, TCD, 2008, 2009


Research Interests:


Digital Value, Money & Payments; Art & Money; Politics of Algorithms, AI & Machine Learning; Tactical Media; Media Art.


My research is at the intersection of digital cultures and cultural economies. It focuses on how digital networks are transforming ownership, value, and cultural production particularly around ‘goods’ like information, knowledge, art and culture. It also focuses on how digital cultures are used as modes of creative and tactical resistance to these new forms of political economy.

Recent Publications:


O’Dwyer, R. 2019. Outside of Borders. Freeports and the Art Market, in Lovink, G. (ed.) State Machines, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures (Forthcoming, February 2019)

O’Dwyer, R. 2019 Contribution to Technologically Fabricated Intimacy, Somerset House Studios and Kings College Cultural Institute, (Forthcoming, February 2019)

O’Dwyer, R. 2019. What’s in a Score?, Review of Lauer, J. Creditworthy, London Review of Books, February 2019.

O’Dwyer, R. 2019, Ether: Can an artefact be immaterial?, in Ontologies of the Artefact, TBGS & NCAD, January 2019.

O’Dwyer, R., 2018. Cache society: transactional records, electronic money, and cultural resistance. Journal of Cultural Economy, pp.1-21.

O’Dwyer, R., 2018. Limited edition: Producing artificial scarcity for digital art on the blockchain and its implications for the cultural industries. Convergence.

O’Dwyer, R.,2018. A Celestial Cyberdimension: Art on the Blockchain. Circa Magazine.

‘Are you Creditworthy? The Algorithm will Decide’ UnDark Magazine, MIT, May 2018 syndicated as ‘Imperfect Score’ at Quartz.com & ‘Algorithms are judging you on your credit score. But are they getting it right?’ at World Economic Forum.

‘Art after Money, Money after Art’ Documentary for Culture File, Lyric FM, April,  2018.

‘Blockchain Just isn’t as radical as you want it to be’, Longreads, February 2018.

‘Things that Transact: How the Internet of Things is transforming payments’ in Lovink G. Overcoming the Hype: Moneylab Reader #2, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2017

‘Does Digital Culture Want to be Free? Smart Contracts and Cultural Distribution’ in Catlow, R. et al.

(eds.) Artists Re- thinking the Blockchain Torque & Liverpool University Press, 2017.

‘Ether’ in Paid: Tales of Cheques, Dongles and Other Money Stuff Maurer, B. and Swartz, L. MIT Press, 2017.

‘Where’s the Money?’ Article on Data Surveillance and Creative Resistance in Kings Review, Cambridge, 2016.

 ‘Blockchains and their Pitfalls’ in Scholz, T & Schenider, N. (ed.s) Ours to Hack and to Own: A new Vision for the future of work and a fairer Internet, OR Books, May 2016.

‘Data Politics and the Internet of things’ in Silicon Republic, December 2016

'Can Code Replace Trust?' In Museum of Modern Art Design and Violence Catalogue, MOMA, New York.

‘Money Talks: The sociotechnical enclosure of mobile payments’ in Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz (ed.s) The INC Moneylab Reader, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2015.

‘A Capital Remix’ (exploring how remix culture and remix art is central to social media business models) in Navas, E. Gallagher, O. and Burrough, X. (ed.s) The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies, Routledge, 2015.

‘The Revolution will (not) be decentralized: Blockchains’ in P2P Foundation Blog, March 2015.


Recent Edited Issues:

Co-editor of Special issue on ‘Cyberfeminism; Neural: Critical Digital Culture and Media Arts, (61) 2019.

Co-editor of special issue on ‘Blockchain: the trust Catalyst’, Neural: Critical Digital Culture and Media Arts, (60) 2018.

Founding Editor in Chief of Interference, a Journal of Audio Culture 2009 – 2017 and editor of Issues 1-4.

Recent & Forthcoming Talks


Debt/ Digital / Empire, Vancouver, Canada (Forthcoming, April, 2019).

Moneylab 6, Institute of Network Cultures, Seigen, Germany (Forthcoming, March 2019).

Freeport: Terminal MCR, University of Manchester (Forthcoming, February 2019).

Ontology of Archive, TBGS, January 2019.

Interview with Bernard Stiegler, Inter-nation Conference, Forthcoming, Gradcam, DIT October, 2018.

Panelist for Cultures of Sharing in the Digital and Platform Capitalism, Digital Cultures Conference, Leuphana, Germany, September 2018.

‘Data & Culture? At ‘Just Speculating’ University of Edinburgh, June 2018.

 ‘Cash or Cache?’ Mappings Art and Technology Festival, Geneva, May 2018.

Stop Making Money: Valuation and Non-Monetary Utopias’, Transmediale, Berlin, February, 2018.

Art and Equity: The tokenisation of art on the blockchain’ Moneylab, Institute of Network Cultures, Somerset House, London, January 2018.

'Coined Liberty: Cash as Resistance to Transactional Dataveillance', Slow Computing Workshop, Programmable Cities, NUI Maynooth, Dec 2017.

‘The Tokenisation of Digital and Physical Art’, Using Blockchain to Secure the Supply Chain, UC Irvine, November 2017.

A Cache Society: What your money is saying about you' at Re:Publica, Dublin, October 2016

 ‘This is Not a Cat’: A Prehistory of Mobile Networks’, Exhuming the Archive Millennium Arts Centre, Portadown, Co.  Armagh, Northern Ireland, January 2016.

Panelist for ‘The Aftermath of the Digital: Critical Engagements, Future Domains’, DAH Conference, Trinity College Dublin, December 2016.

 ‘Other Values’, ‘Tactics for Economic Dissent', Moneylab #2, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, December 2015.

‘A Blockchain for Platform Cooperativism’, Platform Cooperativism, The New School, New York, November, 2015.

‘This Band is your Band, This Band is my Band: An Economy of Radio Spectrum’ Radical Networks, New York, October 2015.

‘Does Digital Culture Want to be Free? Distributed Ledgers, Smart Contracts and Cultural Distribution’, Rhizome, New York, October 2015.

‘Future Money and the Design of Security’, Science Gallery, Dublin, October 2015.

 ‘Curating for New Media in Ireland’, Digital Quebec, BFI London, March 2015.

‘Shifting Ground, Changing Roles – Collaborations and Perspectives’, UCD Art in Science, Dublin, Panel Chair, February 2015.

Co-organiser of Data Politics, Data Markets and the Internet of Things, Conference and Workshop, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin and Science Gallery, Dublin, Dec, 2016.


Lead curator of the Openhere conference and festival, Science Gallery, Dublin, 2014, 2012. 4-day event addressing the social, technological and cultural issues surrounding the Internet. Funded by SFI and ESOF & hosted by Science Gallery.

Organiser of The Robinhood Offices, a weeklong workshop and performance with the Robin Hood Minor Asset Management Agency, November 2014.

Organiser of the Dublin Art and Technology Association (D.A.T.A) 2009 – Present. As the leader of the Dublin Art and Technology Association, I organise an annual program of events and workshops with international invited speakers and facilitators. Recent events include Data and Algorithmic Governance’ with artist Ben Grosser, ‘Using Big Data as Cultural Analytics’ with Lev Manovich and ‘The Internet’s Own Boy’ with Gabriella Coleman.

Events curator for The Quantified Self, The LAB, Dublin City Council, Oct 2011. Quantified Self was an exhibition in Dublin City Council’s gallery the Lab in collaboration with the developers of Shimmer wireless sensor platforms. I designed and facilitated the events program.

Organiser of ‘Ahead of the Game’: a Pervasive Media Workshop and Panel discussion, Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin, June, 2011.

Curator of Sound-Space-Network an event and exhibition for the International Symposium for Electronic Arts, ISEA 2009.

Organiser of Performing in the City, A roundtable on smart cities and artistic engagement, TCD, 2009.