Reflections from a Cyborg: Telepresence teaching in Higher Education

Presenters will be presenting via telepresence robots

Two men stood by an iPad
Two men stood by an iPad

7th June 2023
Reflections from a Cyborg: Telepresence teaching in Higher Education

Sophie Savage, Associate Lecturer in Sociology, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol)

With Dr Tillie Curran, Visiting Fellow, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol)

Presenters will be presenting via telepresence robots

This presentation shares my experience of piloting the use of a telepresence robot as a reasonable adjustment for teaching in higher education during the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. I taught from home using the robot to facilitate interactive social science seminars. I will be focusing on realising the impact of meaningful inclusion, the development of relationships with students and colleagues within learning spaces and how a sense of self and value is challenged and defined in this context. I draw on post-human discourse adopting the viewpoint of the cyborg. Where technology is used as an extension of the self, the cyborg narrative challenges dominant discourses of technology that are framed as ‘assistive’. Therefore, centring my experience as a disabled person, is key in understanding ‘virtual embodiment’ and the impact upon my identity during a time which is hailed as ‘post-COVID’. We reflect on the institutional barriers encountered and propose strategies for wide-scale rollout of telepresence as a reasonable adjustment for all. I have dreamed of fleets of telepresence robots being available at all public spaces, and the cost of not supporting this cyborg dream is not a financial one but an ethical and human one. Investment in supporting disabled people’s right to work, and right to a full life can be a practical demonstration of ethical rigour and aligns with the shared missions of equality and diversity present across all higher education institutions.

Access details: 

- This event will be hybrid - in person and online. PLEASE BOOK EITHER AN ONLINE OR AN IN-PERSON TICKET.

- The event consists of two speakers, followed by a question and answer (Q&A) session facilitated by the host. Online, you can use either your video and microphone and/or the chat box to engage in the Q&A.

- The event will begin at 12.00 and finish at 2.00pm.

- This event will be held in The Wave, the new Social Sciences building on campus.

- The Wave has wheelchair access, good signage and lighting, accessible toilet access and lift access.

- If you have any questions regarding accessibility, or there is anything we can do to make this event more accessible to you, please email Kirsty:

Please book your tickets via Eventbrite:




Robot reading books

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