An exhibition exploring the online relationships and behaviour of people affected by extreme circumstances is now on display at Lincoln Drill Hall.

The exhibition, which features a series of portrait photographs and thought-provoking statements is part of a wider research project called ‘A Shared Space and a Space for Sharing’.

The project explores what information people choose to share online when they find themselves in difficult and dangerous circumstances, such as natural disasters, life-threatening illness and illicit drug use. It considers what this teaches us about how trust and empathy are established and maintained in online relationships, and how sharing, trust and empathy work in the offline world.

The project is being carried out by the University of Lincoln in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, University of Edinburgh, University of Warwick, University of Nottingham and King’s College London.

Dave Boothroyd, Professor of Media and Culture in the Lincoln School of Film and Media, is the Lead Investigator for the research area, illicit drug use.

Dave explains: “In Lincoln we are investigating how people involved in a range of online illicit drug use cultures, co-create knowledge and share experience on a variety of web platforms.

“The dedicated blogs, forums and personal story websites we are focusing on are part of the much greater ecology of drugs and drug use information shared, cross-referenced and constantly added to by users of illicit drugs and those who use medicines for non-medicinal purposes.

“Our analysis shows that in many of these online settings, there is a broad adherence to a harm reduction ethos and a culture of caution in the context of uncertainty and risk. From the sharing of drug preparation guidelines to tales of addiction and withdrawal, the mediation of dug culture on the internet represents a new dimension of society’s troubled and complex relationship with drugs. At the same time, it provides us with new opportunity to understand better this relationship from the perspective of users and those affected by drug use.”

The exhibition will run until Friday 21st April. To find out more, visit the project’s website: www.space4sharingstudy.org/