Kieran Hegarty is a librarian and sociologist who studies how public institutions and publics are evolving in an era of digital and social media. He is a PhD candidate in the School of Global Urban and Social Studies at RMIT and was a 2022 Digital Humanism Junior Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna. Kieran is also a member of two of Australia's leading interdisciplinary research centres (the Centre for Urban Research and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT) and works collaboratively with leading scholars of digital media in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S).
While an emerging scholar, Kieran has already made several important contributions to the study of digital media and societies. His article, "The invention of the archived web", was published in the leading media histories journal Internet Histories in 2022 and was awarded the journal's 2022 Early Career Researcher Award. Additionally, Kieran's Digital Humanism Fellowship at the IWM saw him pursue a project exploring the ethical implications of archiving the digital traces of individuals and communities. He presented his findings in a range of industry and academic forums in Vienna, including an invited keynote at Austrian Data Day 2022, which was published as a journal article in New Media and Society.
Kieran has also contributed to several collaborative, industry-focussed projects on digital technologies and social infrastructure that have had a direct impact on policy formation. This includes projects on the impact of new developments in cellular technologies on digital inclusion, the changing role of public Wi-Fi, and digital inclusion in remote First Nations communities. Kieran has also presented his research to industry representatives, including in the cultural sector and government (in both Australia and Europe), with the aim of supporting greater collaboration between practitioners and scholars to advance a more equitable digital society. In 2023, he joined the ADM+S as a Research Fellow, where he is a member of the Australian Digital Inclusion Index research team and contributes to a range of ADM+S projects focused on digital inclusion and participation.