Dr Tom Abba

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  • Qualifications:PhD
  • Position:Director - Digital Cultures Research Centre
  • Department:ACE - Art and Design
  • Telephone:+4411732 85821
  • Email:Tom.Abba@uwe.ac.uk
  • Social media: Twitter logo

About me

Tom Abba leads UWE’s Digital Cultures Research Centre, based at Watershed in the centre of Bristol. Comprising groundbreaking research exploring all areas of our society’s adoption of digital technology and its accordant impact on society and the lived experience, the Centre hosts funded research, symposia, staff and partnerships across the region and nationally. Since 2008, it has conducted collaborative research programmes with institutional and civil partners, developing responsible and sustainable approaches to cultural growth, the creative economy and creative citizenship.

During that time, DCRC has been responsible for delivering significant research programmes within the School of Arts, providing valuable insight to policymakers, stakeholders in the arts, Higher Education Institutions, and the creative economy highlighting the pivotal role that HEIs can play in in the growth of the wider creative sector.

Area of expertise

Tom’s personal research addresses the intersection of technological innovation, immersive experiences and narrative form. He works as a practice-based researcher in the School of Arts at UWE, and leads the School’s response to the Research Excellence Framework as it pertains to Art & Design practice and research.

Tom has developed ongoing collaborations with key figures in the publishing sector, challenging accepted orthodoxies surrounding the impact of digital technologies on writing and publishing. He was named one of the Bookseller’s 40 Most Disruptive Innovators in Publishing, and remains the only academic on that list.

He led the Ambient Literature project from 2016-2018, pioneering new forms of narrative engagement for the publishing industry, producing work that asked how writing, reading and the idea of the book itself might change when technology is used to design stories, rather than just present them. 

The Ambient Literature programme now constitutes an ongoing and sustained body of practice-led research, pioneering new forms for writing immersive literary experiences, and responding to both commercial and creative imperatives.

Ambient Literature
ambient literature

From Bitter Ground reflects the space between the landscape of the weird and what we think of as real, composed as a set of artists’ books providing a bridge into an immersive, location-responsive experience.

From Bitter Ground
from bitter ground

These Pages Fall Like Ash tells a story that weaves between an apparently conventional print book and a digital, ephemeral text emerging from the streets around you. Written with Duncan Speakman, Emile Grenier, Nick Harkaway and Neil Gaiman, the project now has readers in 29 countries across all continents.

These Pages Fall Like Ash

these pages fall like ash


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