Carolina Toczycka Headshot

Research Topic

The aesthetics of analogue and digital visual representations: new modes of controlling and knowing major infrastructure projects
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Research Summary

Carolina studies the use of visual representations in controlling and organising major infrastructure projects. The digitalisation of management tools such as 5D BIM and digital twins promises to address the inherent complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty of complex projects but inadvertently have various impacts on knowing, controlling, and making sense of projects, their spaces, and cultures.

Grounding in Actor-Network theory allows one to view accounting and management techniques not only as tools for rational decision-making but also spaces of engagement, questioning, and effect. Carolina thus studies the aesthetic semiotics (role of visual features such as perspective, scale, detail) and the embodied experience that analogue and digital sociomaterial arrangements afford.

Adopting a historical approach, Carolina retraces the archaeology of engineering drawings, models, and charts used to coordinate and control the cost and time progress. Having identified the historically significant aesthetic features, she proceeds with a 12-month ethnography to observe practices around the cascades of drawings and models on a live major infrastructure project in London.

Bringing together the fields of management accounting, organisation theory, and information systems, Carolina offers a sober interdisciplinary approach to theorising governance in the 'digital' age. Carolina's research also spans the fields of sociology of quantification, valuation, and worth, with experience in benefit measurement, social value delivery, and public outcome-based procurement.

She has technical breadth in project delivery models and the policy landscape for infrastructure delivery in the UK. She is passionate about making the intellectual groundings of her academic work (philosophy, sociology) accessible to practitioners. She has now designed and facilitated several workshops for practitioners, showing how social sciences and humanities can be relevant for designers and engineers. The workshops have supported strategy development, business model transformation, and offered new ways of thinking about taken-for-granted categories.

Carolina is the recipient of a full 4-year EPSRC and Costain plc scholarship. In May 2019, Carolina was awarded funding by Tideway and supported by the i3P to design a framework to measure benefits arising from project digitalisation.

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Background

Prior to joining the PhD programme, Carolina gained experience in strategy consulting, asset management, and transport planning. She is the co-founder of HYPED and is passionate about mentoring undergraduate students. She holds an MA in Management from the University of Edinburgh, including a year-long exchange at HEC Paris. She is fluent in four languages (Russian, French, English, and Polish) and enjoys public debating in her spare time.