Isis is a cultural sociologist focusing on emerging practices associated with networked technologies. She is currently researching microwork and virtual production networks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.


tel: +44 (0)1865 612775

Isis Hjorth is a Researcher at the OII. She is a cultural sociologist, who specialises in analysing emerging practices associated with networked technologies. She completed her AHRC-funded DPhil (PhD) at the OII in January 2014. Her thesis “Networked Cultural Production: Filmmaking in the Wreckamovie Community” was an ethnographic study of four crowdsourced feature films, tackling the emergence of distributed collaborative production models spanning the boundaries between non-market and market-orientated production. Grounded in critical sociological theory, it examined the division of labour, and theorized the dynamics of the various forms of capital enabling the realisation of these novel forms of cultural goods.

Isis is currently working on the project “Microwork and Virtual Production Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia” investigating the economic and social implications of new forms of economic activities in the context of ICTs for development. Before that Isis was involved with research on learning and interaction in MOOCs, and on participatory digital tools for artistic production.

In 2010/11 Isis was awarded AHRC SLI grant under the Beyond Text programme enabling the delivery of a two-day international conference on Remix Cinema, and various related public engagement initiatives.

Trained in the social sciences as well as the humanities, Isis holds a BA and MA in Rhetoric from the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen, and an MSc in Technology and Learning from the Department of Education, University of Oxford. Prior to joining the academic community, Isis worked in broadcast journalism and screenwriting in her native Copenhagen.

Research interests

networked cultural production, virtual labour, microwork, crowdsourcing, digital ethnography, creative industries, critical sociology, symbolic capital, global inequalities, crowd-based learning, ICT for development

Positions held at the OII

  • DPhil Alumna, March 2014 –
  • Researcher, March 2014 –
  • DPhil student, October 2009 – February 2014

Supervisors at the OII

Latest blog posts

Current projects

Past projects

  • Conceptualising interaction and learning in MOOCs

    Participants: Professor Rebecca Eynon, Dr Chris Davies, Dr Isis Hjorth, Dr Taha Yasseri, Nabeel Gillani

    The overarching goal of this project is to propose a typology that describes the nature of learner interactions in MOOCs that develops our understanding of how learning takes place in such settings.

  • Evaluating Digital Tools for Theatre and Dance: BAC Scratch Online

    Participants: Professor Eric T. Meyer, Dr Isis Hjorth

    Theatre and dance have fallen a long way behind music in the way they connect with audiences digitally. This project aims to understand how audiences can be engaged in the creative process, by evaluating the BAC's Scratch Online platform.

Conference papers

  • Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H., Graham, M. and Hjorth, I. (2014) "Online labour markets - levelling the playing field for international service markets?", IPP2014: Crowdsourcing for Politics and Policy conference, University of Oxford,.
  • Eynon, R., Hjorth, I., Gillani, N. and Yasseri, T. (2014) "Vote Me Up If You Like My Ideas! Experiences of Learning in a MOOC", International Communications Association Pre-Conference, Innovation in Higher Education: Building a Better Future?.
  • Hjorth, I. (2012) "The forms of capital in peer-production", WikiSym Doctoral Colloquium.
  • Hjorth, I. (2012) "Is fuzziness a given: the boundaries of ethnographic enquiry online", Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Doctoral Symposium.
  • Hjorth, I. (2012) "Managerial mechanisms and leadership in peer produced films", Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Annual Meeting.
  • Meyer, E. and Hjorth, I. (2012) "Connecting performance artists with digital audiences: A case study of Scratch Online", Electronic Visualization and the Arts.
  • Hjorth, I. (2011) "The emergence of cultural peer-production: Independent film making in the Wreckamovie community", ECREA's 3rd Digital Culture and Communication Workshop.

Journal articles

  • Gillani, N., Yasseri, T., Eynon, R. and Hjorth, I. (2014) "Structural limitations of learning in a crowd: communication vulnerability and information diffusion in MOOCs.", Scientific reports. 4 6447.
  • Oostveen, A.M., Hjorth, I., Pickering, B., Boniface, M., Meyer, E.T., Cobo, C. and Schroeder, R. (2012) "Cross-disciplinary lessons for the future internet", Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics). 7281 LNCS 42-54.


  • Gillani, N., Eynon, R., Osborne, M., Hjorth, I. and Roberts, S. (2014) Communication Communities in MOOCs.
  • Eynon, R., Gillani, N., Hjorth, I. and Yasseri, T. (2014) "Conceptualising interaction and learning in MOOCs" In: MOOC Research Initiative. Final Report.
  • Meyer, E. and Hjorth, I. (2013) Digitally scratching new theatre: London's Battersea Arts Centre engaging via the web.
  • Oostveen, A., Meyer, E., Cobo, J., Hjorth, I., Reisdorf, B., Papoutsi, C., Power, L., Abdel-Sattar, N., Hale, S. and Waldburger, M. (2011) First Year Report on Scientific Workshop. SESERV Deliverable D1.2, Socio-Economic Services for European Research Projects FP7-2010-ICT-258138-CSA..
  • Davies, C., Carter, A., Cranmer, S., Eynon, R.E., Furlong, J., Good, J., Hjorth, I., Lee, S., Malmberg, L. and Holmes, W. (2008) The learner and their context - Interim report: Benefits of ICT use outside formal education. Interim report for Becta-funded project 'The learner and their context'.
  • M4JAM part of Oxford research on digital economy

    17 April 2015 Disrupt Africa

    South African micro-jobbing site M4JAM is contributing to the OII study of digital jobs, online freelancing and micro-work in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia

  • Delving into the sub-Saharan digital economy

    17 April 2015 Biztech Africa

    A full report on the study of micro-jobbing in sub-Saharan Africa which quotes Isis Hjorth talking about the results of the panel discussions.

  • SA microjobbing site shapes digital economy

    16 April 2015 IT-Online

    South African micro-jobbing site M4JAM quotes Isis Hjorth talking about the series of panel discussions hosted by the OII in South Africa as part of a study into digital jobs and online freelancing in Africa.