Activities and Events

Picture of data visualisation event

Daring to mix (methods): epistemological challenges in mapping communicative spaces at the Tramlines Festival

DSN-sponsored seminar from the Sheffield Methods Institute (SMI), with Dr Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat, Sheffield Hallam University

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
2pm
SMI Student Area, Level 2, ICOSS Building

Communicative spaces can be considered as interfaces for social interaction that extend across digital media and physical spaces and setting priorities, hegemonies, peripheries and chances for individuals to interact with each other. The affordances of this interface enable – or disable - social participation in the communication process. As interface, communicative space is simultaneously designed and interpreted, material and virtual. Communicative space is thus defined by relations, information flows, understandings and networked opportunities.

Empirically dealing with such complexity poses a methodological challenge that also hides some epistemological pitfalls. On the one hand, researching the communicative space asks for a mixed methods approach: the combination of data obtained from observers on the ground and interviews highlight the materiality of space, whereas digital data obtained from online participation and geolocative mobile devices allows access to the virtual connections across software platforms. On the other hand, a reductive consideration of the communicative space as a three-dimensional grid, or generating a dispersion of senseless data, could lead to uncertain results and to invalid conclusions.

This presentation draws on a research project involving the incorporation of geolocative technologies and ethnographic research to explore the configurations of the Tramlines Festival as a communicative space. From here, the epistemological and methodological discussion deals with the mixed methods applied. In particular the presentation pays close attention to the process of conceptualising data collection and data analysis together within the epistemological conditions of critical discussions about power and governance within the urban city festival.

Bio:

Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat’s work is about social and spatial (in)justice, digital media technologies and power legitimacy. His research explores the shape of the public democratic debate in the digital society. He is currently a Senior Lecturer and course leader in media studies at Sheffield Hallam University. Prior to this he was a postdoc researcher at the Chair for Media Governance at the University of Vienna.

The blurred line of digital-social inclusion in real world practice

James Hart, Tom French & Alice Mathers, Good Things Foundation (formerly Tinder Foundation)

Thursday 15th May
12pm – 1pm (refreshments at 11.30)
ICOSS Conference Room

We are living through a new industrial age, the age of digital transformation and discovery. This has far reaching economic and social impacts on how we live, work, interact with others and develop as a society. If all UK citizens had basic digital skills, benefits to individuals and society (including increased productivity) would contribute over £14 billion to UK economy by 2025. However 12.6 million people in the UK lack Basic Digital Skills, with many of the country’smost excluded people still unable to reap the benefits of digital due to barriers related to ‘income, education, age, geography and disability status.’ It is our mission at Good Things Foundation to change this.

Based in Sheffield, Good Things Foundation is one of the UK’s leading digital and social inclusion organisations. Since 2010, we have helped over 2 million people in the UK to improve their lives through digital. With a broad portfolio of partners, funding and projects, we are currently involved in delivering programmes of digital inclusion, digital health, financial capability and ESOL; we work with and provide specialist support to groups including older people, disabled people, jobseekers, homeless people, people with mental health problems, and isolated BAME women.

We are a research-led organisation, carrying out evaluation of major projects independently and in partnership, as well as innovating through pilot programmes to seed new social interventions aimed at engaging severely excluded people. To ensure there is a deep understanding of the impact of our work, we are driven by a commitment to embedding and sharing robust research and evaluation findings from both our national programmes and targeted projects, so that we and others can address the key barriers to digital inclusion of skills, access, and motivation.

In this seminar we will:

  • Give an overview of our strategic approach to making impact happen and how we’re 
evolving to do this;
  • Show how today’s current social challenges are informing our approach to working 
with different population;
  • Use key programmes and projects from our portfolio to demonstrate how taking a 
research-led approach helps us to plan and deliver them, including academic collaborations;
  • Explore our use of external and internal data sets to describe the contextual 
landscape within which we work; demonstrate our impact; and build practical models 
to guide our activities and those of our existing/potential partners.

Invite discussion as to how research collaborations between Sheffield University and 
Good Things Foundation could inform innovative social interventions.

Data Justice: Examining datafication and social justice

DSN-sponsored departmental seminar from Journalism, with Dr Lina Dencik, Cardiff University

Wednesday 7th June
1pm
Room 123, Department of Journalism, 9 Mappin Street

ESRC Big Data, Employee Health & Well-being Seminar Series (supported by DSN)

Exploring the potential to assess the health and well-being of staff (and their organization more generally) via the vast amounts of digital data that is collected on their work practices and IT use.

Find out more...

Big Data and Journalist Safety

A networking event to bring established external Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) contacts and potential external contacts to the University of Sheffield to discuss and promote collaboration between researchers, representatives from NGOs, UNESCO and journalism in order to develop an interdisciplinary large scale, further details to be confirmed research funding application.

Identity and movement across Europe, 1945 to the present day

Journalistic representations of the movement of peoples within and across Europe from WWII to the present and ways to improve accessibility to these representations using digital technologies: scoping activities.

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