University of Minnesota Press

Modern environments are awash with pollutants. The book Citizens of Worlds is the first thorough study of the increasingly widespread use of digital technologies to monitor and respond to air pollution. Drawing on data from the Citizen Sense research group, which worked with communities in the US and the UK to develop digital-sensor toolkits, author Jennifer Gabrys argues that citizen sensing promises positive change—and also collides with entrenched power structures. 

What are worlds? Who can do environmental monitoring? How might different means of computation tell a more complete story about pollution and its effects? In this episode, Jennifer talks with Helen Pritchard about Citizen Sense’s collaborative research in northeastern Pennsylvania and southeast and central London.

Jennifer Gabrys is chair in Media, Culture, and Environment in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She leads the Planetary Praxis group, and Citizen Sense and AirKit projects. Her books include Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle; How to Do Things with Sensors; and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet. Her work can be found at and

Helen Pritchard is professor and head of research at IXDM (Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures) at the HGK in Basel. Helen is an artist-designer, member of Citizen Sense, co-organizer of The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest, and a contributor to Critical Media Lab. More info:

Citizen Sense is a research initiative funded by the European Research Council that investigates the relationship between technologies and practices of environmental sensing and citizen engagement. More info:

The book Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle is an open-access title, available to read for free at:

Episode citations and references include:
Alfred North Whitehead on breathing, subjects and worlds
Frantz Fanon on combat breathing
Open Air
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Lauren Berlant
Heather Love / Feeling Backward

What is University of Minnesota Press?

Authors join peers, scholars, and friends in conversation. Topics include environment, humanities, race, social justice, cultural studies, art, literature and literary criticism, media studies, sociology, anthropology, grief and loss, mental health, and more.