Dr David Kreps is a trans-disciplinary academic. Combining philosophy with a background in the arts, cultural theory, and sociology, to address a critical perspective on systems theory, David is a critical philosopher of Information Systems – the trans-disciplinary space where computing, the social, and the nature of our relationship with reality intersect.
As of 1st December 2020 David joined the Business Information Systems department of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway.
Until 30th November 2020 David was School Lead for Research at Salford Business School, University of Salford, and a Reader in Philosophy of Information Systems.
For decades David has been an ‘early adopter’, pioneering thinker and commentator, with a fascination for technology and its impact upon society. A web developer since 1995, (making probably the first Arts Centre Website in the UK) he did his PhD thesis on Cyborgism, and has become an expert in Web Accessibility, and explorer into the philosophy of Virtuality, and Cultural Identity in the Socially Networked society. He was formerly Director of Information Systems, Organisations and Society Research Centre (ISOS) at Salford, 2009-12. His books include Understanding Digital Events: Bergson, Whitehead, and Experiencing the Digital (Routledge); Against Nature: The Metaphysics of Information Systems (Routledge); Bergson, Complexity and Creative Emergence (Palgrave); Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment (Routledge); This Changes Everything: ICT and Climate Change – What We Do? (Springer); and Technology and Intimacy: Choice or Coercion (Springer).
Industry Contacts and Activities
David was founding Director of the Development & Enterprise Unit for the Faculty of Business, Law and the Built Environment, University of Salford, between Aug ’06 and Jan ’08. Manchester Digital, the region’s trade association for New Media and IT organisations, has appointed David as Accessibility and Web Standards expert on the Judges Panel for the Big Chip Awards, the regional awards for the Digital Industry, every year since 2006. David has worked with a number of the companies in the Northwest UK region’s Digital Sector, and ran a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with SigmaUK between 2014 and 2016.
In the 1980s, David worked as a jobbing actor in fringe and community theatre. See kreps.org for a retrospective.
During the 1990s, as an Arts Centre Director for Tamworth Borough Council, and then Portsmouth City Council, and as Chairman of Kaos Theatre UK from 1997 to 2008, and of Horse and Bamboo Theatre company from 2009 to 2012, David has gained invaluable experience in leading a wide range of projects in the public sector.
As a technician, he made websites for not-for-profit organisations since 1995 and between 2000 and 2019 did so commercially, through a micro-enterprise called fourquarters. David has been responsible for the production of a range of websites for clients in both Manchester and further afield, and has provided CSS and Accessibility expertise to many other Web Developers through Training courses and seminars. He ran two day courses for Salford Professional Development on Web and WordPress for many years.
Alongside his arts management, web development, and business interests, building on a Bachelors in Theatre and Arts Management, David undertook a part-time Masters in Cultural Theory during the mid 90s, specialising in Cybersociety, and between 1998 and 2003 undertook extensive research in this field, culminating in the award in January 2004 of a PhD from the University of Salford, for his doctoral thesis on Cyborgs. In the same month, he joined the Information Systems Institute (now part of the Salford Business School) full time, after several years working part-time for them. He has since undertaken, part-time, a PG Certificate in Academic Practice, and, with the Open University, a Masters in Philosophy.
Alongside delivering Web Standards based Web Development modules for undergraduates in the Operations and Information Management unit of the Salford Business School for many years, David was creator and deliverer of the first MSc eGovernance in the UK (which ran between 2004/05 and 07/08). David was the Postgraduate Programme Leader for the Information Systems Masters programmes in the Salford Business School from Feb ’08 to Sept ’10.
For the whole of 2018 David focussed 100% on his British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship project, and then for 2019 and 2020 on Research management.
David’s specialism is in Philosophy of Information Systems. His areas of research interest fall broadly under the umbrella of Information Society. He is interested in all aspects of virtuality, and has established a reputation in eAccessibility. His background in Cultural Studies and Sociology bring a critical and philosophical approach to his research in Information Systems. His doctoral thesis focused on the phenomenon of Cyborgism in contemporary society, through interviews with disabled and performance and interactive artists exploring this field, and with reference to the exoskeletal ambitions of the US military. He has since pursued a multi-year research programme looking into how philosophers such as Bergson and Whitehead can be reassessed in light of the developments in systems theory generally referred to as Complexity Theory and applied to contemporary Information Systems.
From 1st January to 31st December 2018 David focussed exclusively on a Project “Understanding Digital Events”, for which he received funding as a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow. The outputs from this project include two books, one published in 2019 and a second due for publication in 2022.
David is Chair of the International Federation for Information Processing’s Technical Committee 9 on ICT and Society, and a member of the IFIP Board. He was Chair, from 2013 to 2018, of the IFIP WG 9.5 on Virtuality and Society. He was Chair of the 12th IFIP TC9 Human Choice and Computers Conference, HCC12 “Technology and Intimacy: Choice or coercion” held at MediaCityUK September 2016, and also Chair of HCC13 “This Changes Everything” held in Poznan, Poland, September 2018. In 2020 David co-Chaired HCC14 “Human-Centred Computing in a Data-Driven Society”, which was due to take place in Tokyo, but had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. The eProceedings were published, nonetheless, in November 2020. See http://www.ifiptc9.org for details and links.
Since General Assembly 2019 David is holder of the prestigious IFIP Silver Core Award, for “significant achievements of the recipient that are important from the point of view of the mission and goals of IFIP.”
He has delivered papers at conferences in many countries around the world.
David is a Senior Editor of the (ABS 3*) journal Information Technology and People
As well as writing about the philosophical and political issues around Complexity and Virtuality, Dr Kreps has written a number of academic papers on the ethical and social dimensions of Web Accessibility, and was one of two speakers at the Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM) on “ICT for the Socially Excluded” at the House of Commons, London, in 2006.
2015 saw the publication of two books: a collection of essays entitled ‘Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment’ edited by Dr Kreps, published by Routledge in February 2015; and a monograph entitled Bergson, Complexity and Creative Emergence published in August 2015. Both these books are now available in paperback.
In 2018 Dr Kreps published Against Nature: The Metaphysics of Information Systems (Routledge), which was reviewed in the journal Information Communication and Society. An interview with Dr Kreps about the book was later published in the journal NANO.
In 2019 Dr Kreps published Understanding Digital Events, a collection of essays on Bergson, Whitehead, and the digital, developed from a Colloquium held at MediaCityUK in June 2018.
In August 2017 David was awarded £106k by the British Academy to be a Mid-Career Fellow for the twelve months of 2018, and to undertake a project entitled: “Understanding Digital Events: A philosophical and sociological study of virtual experience in the everyday”
In July 2014 David began a £120k two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership, with funding awarded by the ESRC and the TSB, with the Macclesfield based company, Sigma UK, to explore User Experience research.
In 2008 David brought over £300k into Salford University winning a place as partner in a consortium for a Europe-wide project, DEHEMS led by Manchester City Council, aimed at improving awareness of home energy usage, and bringing about behaviour change for a reduced carbon footprint.
In 2006 David was awarded over £80k by the European Social Fund to undertake a research project entitled “Combating eDiscrimination in the North West.”
Qualifications and Memberships
- MA Philosophy, Open University 2015-2018
- PGCAP Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Salford 2012-2013
- PhD Sociology of Technology, University of Salford 1998-2004
- MA Cultural Studies,University of Salford 1995-1998
- BA (Hons) Theatre & Arts Management, Dartington College of Arts (University of Plymouth) 1991-1994
- SFHEA – Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- AIS – Member of the Association for Information Systems