News and events

I am delighted to receive the Busk Medal from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), a senior award from the professional body of British Geographers for my international fieldwork on smart cities. As a scholar of and from the global south, this medal is not only a recognition of my work on smart cities, it is also a recognition of lives in the margins, of co-production of knowledge with those living in slums, squatter settlements, and resettlement colonies where I have worked over the last twenty years. It is also a testament to the work of my team of local research assistants and post-doctoral researchers who have supported me in conducting fieldwork, increasing its impact and empowering participants.

More news here.


On 6 April, I delivered a keynote in the SLOWLAB Conference in University of Oregon, Portland, OR. My keynote is titled ‘Gendered urban futures: Speed, Time and Violence in India’s digital urban age’.


On 29 March 2019, I delivered a plenary lecture in the ‘Smart cities’ panel in European Public Policy Conference in Madrid.


On 7 January 2019, I was delivered a keynote in ‘Digital | Visual | Cultural‘ event in St John’s College,  Oxford

On 22 November 2018, I was spoke at the London Transport Museum in their Late Debate: Race for Space 

My talk was titled: Smart Cities and Gendered Citizenships. It is part of their festival style event offering debates, talks, and workshops to discuss how to future-proof our cities.


On 20 June, I was invited to deliver the opening keynote in the ‘Undisciplining: Conversations from the edges’ conference organised by the Sociological Review journal in Newcastle. My keynote was titled ‘Undisciplining urban futures: Imagining and governing India’s smart urban age’.


On 1 May 2018, I was invited as speaker in UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Integration segment in their headquarters in New York.  The Segment addressed the theme “Innovative communities: leveraging technology and innovation to build sustainable and resilient societies”. I presented my talk at the session on ‘Resilience decoded – building blocks towards 2030’, which aimed to decode’ or ‘unpack’ the multidimensional concepts of resilience and vulnerabilities, or resilience gaps, present at the local, national and regional levels as a way of achieving the 2030 SDG Agenda. Click for Video or for Report


*New research grant*

Ayona Datta (PI) was awarded a two-year ESRC Urban Transformations research grant (£464,000 FEC) in India. The grant is titled ‘Learning from small cities: Governing imagined futures and the dynamics of change in India’s smart urban age.’ She will be working with CoIs from University of Birmingham and Birkbeck, with a number of Indian academic and societal research partners.


From June-August 2018, Prof. Sanjay Srivastava from Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi will be British Academy Visiting Fellow in the Urban Futures Research domain to work with Dr Ayona Datta. His project is titled ‘Urban Futures: Satellite Mapping, Big Data and the Politics of Space at the Margins of the Indian City’