Global Leadership of Women in Web 3 (GLoW3) (2020-2024)

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Culture Media and Creative Industries


GLoW3 seeks to interrogate, understand and foreground women, non-binary and trans (W, NB and T) contributions to the conceptualisation, commercialisation and creative potential of Web 3.0 screen-based media.

The term 'Web 3.0' accounts for a range of concepts, frameworks, technologies and ideals. It encompasses concepts such as worldbuilding and the metaverse; data-driven frameworks known as the Semantic Web and the Internet of Things (IoT); technologies such as blockchain and immersive realities (including AR, VR and XR); as well as ideals such as decentralisation and the democratisation of the internet. The promise and potential of Web 3.0 has yet to be realised and this is a critical moment of transition where the future is being shaped by public media discourse dominated by hyperbole and rhetoric drawn from a narrow representation of voices and perspectives.

At the advent of any technological screen-based transitionary moment, women have been at the forefront as lead experimenters and innovators - pioneering in spaces where technology and creativity collide. We can see this in the now excavated histories of women innovating in early film production and computer technologies. What these histories also reveal is that as the technology becomes established and commodified, women's histories are rapidly erased as narratives of male pioneers dominate. Contributions made by NB and T people are not acknowledged. GLoW3 seeks to intervene in and disrupt these normative processes and capture the history as it happens. It will do so through a synchronic analysis focussing on W, NB and T people who are currently working at the highest levels of influence and at the cutting-edges of creative innovation in screen-based media at the frontiers of Web 3.0.

GLoW3 involves the direct collaboration with these individuals who originate from a diverse range of global contexts (including UK, Europe, North America, Australia and Africa) and will draw on their expertise and experiences through a programme of engagement which also aims to develop their own global leadership capabilities.

The project is made up by three key intersecting strands of enquiry into Web 3.0 driven screen-based media: conceptualisation, commercialisation and creativity.

The conceptual enquiry will inform new research which will deepen understandings of the concepts of the metaverse and worldbuilding, asking critical questions such as what does worldbuilding mean in a global context? What role does hyberbole play in shaping new screen-based technologies and what are the contributions of W, NB and T in shaping, influencing and leading these narratives?

The commercial dimension of Web 3.0 is built on blockchain technologies. This branch of enquiry will seek to critically examine these through specific W, NB and T-led initiatives, examining how these technologies have impacted upon the realities of their experiences in different global contexts and the complex implications of distributing creative output as Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) including upon labour practices and the environment.

The creative strand will examine the affordances of the emerging media forms of web 3.0 through an artist-in-residence scheme which will target marginalised artists, culminating in a ground-breaking hybrid, multi-sited exhibition: 'Women of Web 3.0: innovators, worldbuilders and leaders' in collaboration with National Gallery and Gazelli Art House. The exhibition, launching on International Women's Day 2024, will bring together new and existing digital artwork from creators across the world innovating at the leading edges of emerging media using Web 3.0 technologies which fuse the physical with the digital.

GLoW3 seeks to make the concepts and practices of Web 3.0 accessible to a diverse range of audiences in highly engaging ways and to amplify and encourage participation of W, NB and T individuals in the processes and practices of screen-based technological innovation.


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