Matt Hayler


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I currently supervise doctoral students working on: glitch, post-/unhumanism, and VR; videogame studies; weird fiction and object-oriented ontology; cyberpunk and embodiment; competing feminist and alt-right communities online; metafiction and autopoiesis; and posthumanism and human enhancement.

I’m keen to hear from any prospective students with interests in or related to: posthumanism; transhumanism and human enhancement; technology studies; electronic reading and the materiality of text; digital cultures and digital humanities; phenomenology and postphenomenology; object-oriented ontology; cognitive science and the humanities; critical theory; experimental literature; and videogames and VR.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I completed my PhD on e-reading and the use of technology at the University of Exeter in 2011 and went on to lecture there for three years as a teaching fellow. In that time I taught contemporary literature, devised and convened the first year whole-cohort criticism and theory module, and introduced a module in Digital and Cyberculture Studies. I joined the University of Birmingham as a lecturer in 2014, have directed and co-directed the Centre for Digital Cultures from 2016, and became a senior lecturer in 2017.

Research interests

My current research looks at definitions of posthumanism and transhumanism, the precursors for posthumanistic thinking that can be found in non-European traditions, and the posthumanistic insights inherent in contemporary cognitive science, philosophy, art, pre-digital and digital technology and material cultures, biology, companion species, critical theory, and amateur and professional industrial practice.

For the first 10 years of my career I focussed on electronic reading, the move from page to screen, and the resistance to new technologies, interests which come together in my 2015 monograph Challenging the Phenomena of Technology . This work resulted in my becoming network coordinator for the Cognitive Futures in the Humanities AHRC research network; steering committee member for the AHRC Digital Reading network ; and UK management committee member for the COST European E-READ network. With the AHRC’s REACT knowledge exchange hub I worked with the RSC and two artists on a digital “theatre book”  and I’m CO-I on the AHRC-funded Ambient Literature project which includes commissions for three new works of ambient digital literature.

With Professor Gabriele Griffin I co-edited two volumes on research methods in the digital humanities ( and and an article on collaboration in digital humanities projects and the effects of silencing the work of technical, non-academic, and non-human contributors to the production of knowledge (


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