Category Archives: data and society

Feminist approaches to data practices at Data Power Conference

Our panel “Feminist approaches to data practices” has been accepted at the 3rd International DATA POWER Conference global in/securities, hosted by the ZeMKI, Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research, University of Bremen in cooperation with the Universities of Carleton (Canada) and Sheffield (UK), 12-13 September 2019.

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Here is the line-up of papers, in alphabetic order, and the panel rationale.

  • Lina Dencik: “Situating data (justice) in critical social theory”
  • Catherine D’Ignazio & Lauren Klein: “Data Feminism”
  • Aristea Fotopoulou: “Understanding data power from a feminist perspective: embodiment and the politics of care”
  • Stefania Milan: “What feminist theory of datafication emerges from contemporary data activism?”

PANEL RATIONALE

Data-based systems and technologies pose pressing issues in relation to social justice, and there is great need for focused and explicit critiques that addresses intersecting structural inequalities such as gender, race, ability and sexuality. Embarking from conceptualisations of data practice, this panel explores how feminist theoretical, methodological and praxis approaches can help us understand the structures of power and privilege is datafied worlds.

The programme will be announced soon.

Audience, Datafication and the Everyday pre conference

I look forward to speaking at this exciting European Communication Conference (ECC) pre conference in Lugano, on the 31st October with fantastic co-panelists, organised by Ranjana Das (University of Surrey) and David Mathieu (Roskilde University), and supported by the Audience and Reception Studies section of ECREA.

11:00 to 12:45 Round table. Panellists for roundtable are –

Chair: Dr David Mathieu, Roskilde University, Denmark

Do check the Call for Papers and consider submitting, it will be a great day.

 

 

MeCCSA 2018 Critical Data Literacy paper abstract

I enjoyed MeCCSA 2018 in London South Bank this year – lots of interesting papers and it was great to meet old friends there too. I presented fresh findings from our new Critical Data Literacy project (University of Brighton), in what I think was the only data-related panel of the conference. Here is the abstract of the paper, and I will soon be preparing this as a journal article. 

MeCCSA 2018 Dr Aristea Fotopoulou “Creativity and critical data literacy for advocacy”

Abstract

Big data are everywhere, and they are transforming the way we live. But making sense of data and communicating in ways that are relevant to broad audiences and for the social good requires the skills and literacy to access, analyse and interpret them. Literature on data literacy mostly focuses on administrative and technical competences and is aimed at professionals and service providers (Frank et al, 2016). What do community organisations need to know if they want to communicate in an engaging way? How can data become relevant and accessible for the social good? And how can these skills help them address the critical and ethical questions that relate to data? This paper presents work from an ongoing research project that addresses these questions, and argues that there is pressing need to develop practices that allow civil society to use open data for advocacy, to make data more relevant and appealing to communities, and enable their engagement in policy debates. Situated within emerging debates in the fields of critical data studies and data literacy (Carretero, Vuorikari and Punie, 2017; Dalton and Thatcher, 2014; D’Ignazio, 2017; Hill et al., 2016; Kitchin and Lauriault, 2014), it draws from empirical work that identifies key elements of a “critical data literacy”  relevant to community organisations. It reports findings from two workshops with civil society organisations in the Southeast of England where we explored how a combination of creative media, storytelling and analytics allow participants to generate debates around specific issues that affect their communities, and help them tell stories that empower them.

Keywords: community, advocacy, open data, citizen engagement, critical data literacy, critical data studies

References

Carretero, S., Vuorikari, R. and Punie, Y. (2017) DigComp 2.1. The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens. With eight proficiency levels and examples of use. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

D’Ignazio, C., (2017) Creative data literacy. Information Design Journal23(1), pp.6-18.

Frank, M., Walker, J., Attard, J. and Tygel, A. (2016) ‘Data literacy – What is it and how can we make it happen?’, The Journal of Community Informatics, 12(3), pp. 4–8.

Hill, R. L., Kennedy, H., and Gerrard, Y. (2016) Visualizing Junk: Big Data Visualizations and the Need for Feminist Data Studies. Journal of Communication Inquiry 40, no. 4 (2016): 331-350.

Kitchin, R., and Lauriault, T., P., (2014) “Towards critical data studies: Charting and unpacking data assemblages and their work. The Programmable City Working Paper 2.”

 

Critical Data Literacy, Creative Media and Social Equality Research project

My new research project is about to start (once a Research Assistant joins me: see job ad here). I have become very interested lately in what can constitute the principles of a critical data literacy that is central for citizen engagement. Big data are everywhere, and they are transforming the way we live. But making sense of data and communicating in ways that are relevant to broad audiences and for the social good requires the skills and literacy to access, analyse and interpret them. My new University of Brighton research project addresses the need to develop practices that allow citizens to work with data, to make data more relevant and appealing to communities, and enable their engagement in policy debates. Instead then of focusing on enhancing data analysis and technical skills, I am interested to explore how a combination of creative media, storytelling and analytics allows participants to generate debates around specific issues that affect their communities.

I will be working with community organisations in the Brighton area, running a Datahub workshop focusing on sexuality/gender as they play out with other social issues, such as poverty, unemployment and housing. For updates see https://criticaldataliteracy.com.