dr. A.A.C.G. van der Graaf (Shenja)

Assistant Professor

About Me

Shenja van der Graaf is a digital society scholar at the Department of Communication Science at the technical University of Twente. If there is one common thread joining her research activities together, it is an interest in moments of transition and the dynamics that accompany them arising from innovations associated with information and communication technologies. Interests and expertise focus on production and consumption cultures; media (histories) and everyday life; media infrastructures; media / ICT (responsible) innovation and regulation in the public interest; and, alternative economic and governance systems.

Van der Graaf has held several research, advisory and management positions, in particular in the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Japan, and USA. In various positions she has served as a PI on major grants and consulted with public and private entities, such as OECD, European Commission, UN, Turner Networks, and Microsoft. Her expertise has also been shown and translated into various lectureships, (board) memberships and publications. In this capacity, she has been committed to exploring how greater understanding of media systems can inform and assist citizens, scholars and policymakers in Europe and abroad to advance campaigns for technological literacy, creative expression, social justice, and human rights. 

Before joining the BMS faculty, van der Graaf was Principal Researcher at imec-SMIT, VUB leading the Unit ‘Data Governance & Communities’ (former ‘Smart Cities’), where she also served as a Board member.

Van der Graaf is a graduate of Utrecht University (MA, 1999), Leiden University (Postgrad, 2000) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (PhD, 2009). She has been an honorary fellow at MIT Media Lab (ID3 Hub), a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society (Harvard) and the Research Center for Information Law (University of St. Gallen), a consulting researcher at Convergence Culture Consortium (MIT), an alumna of the Oxford Internet Institute (Oxford), and worked as consultant for Hakuhodo Inc. in Tokyo.



Research at the intersection of digital culture & society. Some keywords:

  • Social life development (in individuals, over generations, communities)
  • Digital polarisation
  • Narrativity
  • Co-creation
  • Ecosystems
  • Niche construction
  • Active inference

I welcome PhD enquiries from candidates wishing to pursue projects in the above subject areas.


Huybrechts, L. , van der Graaf, S., D'Hauwers, R., & Pierson, J. (2021). Belgium: adoption of the sharing economy. In A. Klimczuk, V. Cesnuityte, & G. Avram (Eds.), The Collaborative Economy in Action: European Perspectives (pp. 52-66). University of Limerick.
Montakhabi, M., Zobiri, F. , Graaf, S. V. D., Deconinck, G., Orlando, D., Ballon, P., & Mustafa, M. A. (2021). An Ecosystem View of Peer-to-Peer Electricity Trading: Scenario Building by Business Model Matrix to Identify New Roles. Energies, 14(15), [4438]. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154438
Montakhabi, M. , Graaf, S. V. D., Ballon, P., Walravens, N., & Vanhaverbeke, W. (2021). Defining the Business Ecosystem of Peer-to-Peer Electricity Trading. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on New Business Models
Montakhabi, M. , Graaf, S. V. D., & Ballon, P. (2020). Future Scenarios for Circular (Peer-to-peer) Electricity Markets, Business Model Matrix Analysis. Poster session presented at 5th International Conference on New Business Models, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
m-RESIST Group (2020). A method to compare the delivery of psychiatric care for people with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(20), [7527]. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207527
Montakhabi, M., Zobiri, F. , Van Der Graaf, S., Deconinck, G., Orlando, D., Vanhove, S., Callaerts, R., Ballon, P., & Mustafa, M. A. (2020). New roles in peer-to-peer electricity markets: Value network analysis. In 6th IEEE International Energy Conference, ENERGYCon 2020 (pp. 389-394). [9236480] IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/ENERGYCon48941.2020.9236480
Montakhabi, M. , van der Graaf, S., Ballon, P., & Mustafa, M. A. (2020). Sharing Beyond Peer-to-peer Trading: Collaborative(Open) Business Models as a Pathway to SmartCircular Economy in Electricity Markets. In 2020 16th International Conference on Distributed Computing in Sensor Systems (DCOSS) (pp. 482-489). [9183622] IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/DCOSS49796.2020.00081
Breuer, J., Walravens, N. , Graaf, S. V. D., & Marien, I. (2020). The Right to the (Smart) City, Participation and Open Data. In S. Krishnamurthy, & T. Schröder (Eds.), Architecture and the Smart City (pp. 126-136). Routledge.

UT Research Information System

Google Scholar Link


Digital Polarisation (Dutch Search Experience, partnership with Queensland University of Technology and AWS) (2022 - present)

Digital inclusion and poverty (with Prof.dr.ing. Alexander van Deursen; PhD) (2022 - present)

Prometheus (with Dr. Sjoerd de Vries) (2021 - present)

Snippet (imec-smit, Vrije Universiteit Brussels; co-promotor PhD) (2019 - present)

Sense-Data-Reflect (Vrije Universiteit Brussels; Global Minds, with University of the Western Cape) (2020 - 2022)


Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Drienerlolaan 5
7522 NB Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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