[Air-L] Culture and politics of data visualisation: a one-day conference, 11th October 2016, University of Sheffield

Helen h.kennedy at sheffield.ac.uk
Wed May 11 03:07:38 PDT 2016

*Culture and politics of data visualisation: a one-day conference, 11th 
October 2016, University of Sheffield*

*As data become more and more abundant, the main way that most people 
get access to them is through their visualisation. To date, much 
academic research about data visualisation has focused on 
individualistic and micro-level factors like memorability and speed of 
comprehension and has not attended to the social, cultural, political 
work that visualisations do, the contexts in which they circulate, and 
the mutually constitutive relationships between visualisations and their 
contexts. More recently, critical perspectives have begun to emerge, 
which point to the ways in which visualisations can privilege certain 
viewpoints, perpetuate existing power relations or create new ones, and 
play a role in the generation and modification of knowledge, cognition, 
perceptions of objectivity and opaque forms of governance and control. 
These critiques exist alongside the apparently contradictory belief that 
data visualisations are a way of 'doing good with data', making data 
transparent and accessible and so enabling greater inclusion in 
data-driven conversations and societies.

This one-day conference addresses the culture and politics of data 
visualisation, brings critical thought into dialogue with the practice 
and potential of visualising data and considers how they might inform 
each other. In this way, it is neither a 'show & tell' nor a critique of 
datavis as ideologically implicated, but a space for productive exchange 
between critical thinking and datavis practice. We invite you to join us 
to consider these questions:

  * How do data visualisations get made, used, circulated and consumed,
    and what are the implications of these processes for society,
    culture and politics?
  * What problems and opportunities does the spread of data
    visualisation bring with it?
  * To what extent do data visualisations get used in the interests of
    power or to act against power?
  * How can the belief that visualisation makes data transparent and
    accessible be brought together productively with critiques of
  * How should we account for the affective dimensions of data
  * How can visualisation be used in socially useful ways?
  * What does critically-informed, reflective data visusalisation look like?

We invite participants to submit their own visualisations for 
presentation in an exhibition at the conference. Participants who wish 
to do so should indicate this on their paper proposals; organisers will 
then select visualisations from those proposed to exhibit.

Confirmed keynote/plenary speakers include:

  * Catherine D'Ignazio, MIT Center for Civic Media/Emerson Engagement
    Lab, USA
  * Cath Sleeman, Quantitative Research Fellow, NESTA.

Important information*

  * Conference website:
  * Submit 200 word paper proposals by 15^th June 2016 at
  * Decisions will be communicated by 30^th June 2016.
  * The conference fee is £40 waged, £25 unwaged/student.
  * The conference is sponsored by the University of Sheffield's Digital
    Society Network (DSN). Find out more about the DSN here:

  * For more information, please contact scs-events at sheffield.ac.uk
    <mailto:scs-events at sheffield.ac.uk>.
  * Registration will open at the end of May - return to this page for
    further details at that time.
  * The conference organisers are: Professor Helen Kennedy, Dr Annamaria
    Carusi and Dr Mark Taylor at the University of Sheffield.

Professor Helen Kennedy
Department of Sociological Studies / Faculty of Social Sciences
Elmfield, Northumberland Road
Sheffield S10 2TU
T: 0114 2226488
E:h.kennedy at sheffield.ac.uk

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