Digital Civil Society Lab

Digital Assembly Research Network


The Digital Assembly Research Network (DARN, #DigitalAssembly) is an email community of research and practice. 

We are using this site to nurture a global community of people whose work addresses the ways digital systems influence our ability and right to assemble. Tensions around these rights exist in fully online spaces, in physical spaces, and in the liminal spaces between the two where much of modern life now happens. We see examples of this in a wide range of digital technologies – from social media to Stingray devices, drones to privacy policies, to the algorithms of present-day platforms or payment processing data. Examining how digital systems influence gathering together with others requires a vast array of expertise. We welcome scholars, technologists, advocates, and policy makers to the conversation and hope that new connections will spark new ideas and actions. 


This community seeks to cultivate an academic, policy, and practical agenda around defining digital assembly, protecting people’s abilities to gather safely for peaceful collective action, and work to build broad understanding of how pervasive digital networks shape our actions in physical and digital spaces. Please use this community to further this joint work. We invite you to:  

  • Share articles, research or policy proposals related to people and community coming together in physical or digital spaces and the liminal spaces between them. 
  • Announce events or opportunities of interest to the community. 
  • Ask for information or guidance on research or share work in progress 
  • Extend invitations for publications, conferences, or other opportunities to learn together. 
  • Posit ideas for collaborations among researchers within and across scholarly disciplines, as well as between scholars and others. 
  • Host e-seminars, workshops, demos, or calls for comment with members of the listserv  
  • Help connect this community to adjacent others, such as those focused on misinformation, the social science of news and evolving media definitions. 

DARN it! Community Conversations

 The DARN it! Community Conversations are monthly video chats designed to highlight people in the network and their work, weave new connections, and build some sense of community from a listserv. We invite members of the DARN to join us for these conversations to find new ideas and colleagues, learn about the range of research on and approaches to protecting our ability to assemble, and get to know other network members. 

We encourage all members to share their work, conference or paper calls, and invite ideas on how to interact with the network. You can pitch a session by using this form. Pitches that include clear statement of the topic, a diversity or participants, and interactive or experimental formats are particularly welcome (non-scholar talks).

Conversation Schedule

September 23, 2020 – Social Media, Assembly, and Elections with Rachel Kuo, Poncelet Ileleji, Mon M

October 28, 2020 – The Carrier Wave Principle with Aram Sinnreich, Jesse Gilbert, Elinor Carmi

Community Guidelines

There are two firm ground rules for this community aimed at ensuring appropriate communication and exchange: 

  • Civility is the primary responsibility of membership - we intend to avoid uncivil debates or rhetoric and those who violate this rule will be immediately removed.  
  • To preserve people’s comfort with being open and frank, all exchanges are to be treated as “off the record” unless the member(s) in question explicitly agree otherwise.