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Culture and politics of data visualisation: A one-day conference

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10 October 2016
ICOSS, The 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 visualisation-as-control?
  • How should we account for the affective dimensions of data visualisation?
  • 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.

Important information:

  • The conference takes place in the ICOSS building on Portobello, opposite the new Diamond building: www.sheffield.ac.uk/icoss/contact.
  • 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.
  • The conference organisers are: Professor Helen Kennedy, Dr Annamaria Carusi and Dr Mark Taylor, all at the University of Sheffield.
  • For more information, please contact scs-events@sheffield.ac.uk.
Keynote abstracts & biographies

Keynote abstracts and biographies

Image of Catherine D'IgnazioFeminist data visualization and the view from nowhere

Catherine D’Ignazio, MIT Center for Civic Media/Emerson Engagement Lab, USA

What would feminist data visualization look like? Drawing on feminist approaches in Science & Technology Studies, Human-Computer Interaction, Digital Humanities and Critical Cartography, I will outline six preliminary principles for what a feminist approach to data visualization can look like that were co-designed with my colleague Lauren Klein. While the dominant paradigm of data visualization is the "view from nowhere", a feminist approach opens up possibilities for the "view from a specific place, by a situated body, for a particular community". We might think of feminist data visualization as a way to bring the bodies back into data visualization.

Biography

Catherine D'Ignazio is a scholar, artist/designer and software developer who investigates how data visualization, data literacy and new forms of storytelling can be used for civic engagement and community empowerment. Her research at the intersection of technology, design & the humanities has been published in the Journal of Peer Production, the Journal of Community Informatics, and the proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM SIGCHI). Her art and design projects have won awards from the Tanne Foundation, Turbulence.org and the Knight Foundation and exhibited at the Venice Biennial and the ICA Boston. D'Ignazio is an Assistant Professor of Civic Media and Data Visualization at Emerson College, a Principal Investigator at the Engagement Lab and a Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Civic Media.

Image of Cath SleemanData visualisation in practice

Cath Sleeman, Quantitative Research Fellow, NESTA

Interactive data visualisation can be a highly effective tool for communicating insights from data. At Nesta we now regularly publish data visualisations alongside our reports and blogs. They cover topics as diverse as measuring Antiobitic Resistance to mapping the Creative Economy. In this presentation I will talk about why we think data visualisation is an effective tool, and how the visualisations are created. This includes using data visualisation at multiple stages in the design process, and the importance of open source tools. I will also discuss recent developments, such as greater viewer participation and the large increase in available tools. Lastly, the talk will cover the challenges currently facing the field, from showing data uncertainty to dealing with canvas uncertainty.

Biography

Cath is the Quantitative Research Fellow at Nesta, working in the Policy and Research team. She is interested in machine learning and interactive data visualisation. In 2015, she won the Bank of England data visualisation award and was short-listed for a Kantar Information is Beautiful Award. Prior to Nesta, Cath completed a PhD in Economics at the University of Cambridge. He thesis evaluated a number of public policies in the UK, including the 2008 temporary cut in VAT. Prior to this, Cath was an Economist at Morgan Stanley, covering the UK economy. She has also worked as a Senior Economic Analyst at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in its research and modelling teams.

Programme

Click on a panel title to view abstracts of papers in this panel.

Monday 10 October 2016
8:45am Registration
9:15am Introduction
9:30am: Keynote 1: 'Feminist data visualization and the view from nowhere' by Catherine D’Ignazio, MIT Center for Civic Media/Emerson Engagement Lab, USA.
10:30am Break
12:15pm Lunch
2:30pm Break
4:15pm: Keynote 2: 'Data visualisation in practice' by Cath Sleeman, Quantitative Research Fellow, NESTA.

5:30pm Reception and exhibition

7:00pm To the pub.

Accommodation

Places to stay in Sheffield

Hotel Contact details Rates per room per night*

Halifax Hall Hotel
Endcliffe Vale Road
Sheffield
S10 3ER

T: 0114 2228810 (ext 28810)
W: Halifax Hall

For information on Inox Dine restaurant-

T: 0114 2226043 (ext 26043)
W: Inox Dine

Single en-suite: £65.00 per room
Double en-suite: £75.00 per room

Both include a continental or full cooked to order breakfast

All staff bookings must be confirmed through a University email or by quoting the bookers Ucard number.

Hilton Hotel Sheffield
Victoria Quays
Furnival Road
Sheffield
S4 7YA

Client Name: UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
Client ID: D228147328

T: 0114 2525500
F: 0114 2525511
W: Hilton website

Single: £93 inc breakfast

Double: £93 inc breakfast

On the website www.hilton.com when searching by hotel there is a link which says "Add Special Codes" click on this and enter D228147328 into the Corporate account box. Your corporate rate will then appear in the search results. If you call to book, you can still quote the corporate account number or just quote University of Sheffield, either way you will be able to access the rates.

Holiday Inn Express
Blonk Street
Sheffield
S1 2AB
T: 0114 2526533
W: Holiday Inn Express website
£62.00 inc express breakfast
Holiday Inn - Royal Victoria
Victoria Station Road
Sheffield
S4 7YE
T: 0114 2526504 or 0114 2526511
F: 0114 2724519
E: stay@holidayinnsheffield.co.uk
W: Holiday Inn website

£80.00 inc breakfast

The rates are per room for either a Twin, Double or Single

IBIS Hotel (City Centre)
Shude Hill
Sheffield
S1 2AR
T: 0114 2619400
F: 0114 2419610
E: h2891@accor.com
W: Ibis website

Single: £45.00 *

* This is a room only rate: breakfast is £7.95 per person

Jurys Inn
119 Eyre Street
Sheffield
S1 4QW
T: 0114 2912222
F: 0114 2912211
W: Jurys Inn website

Single: £65.00 inc breakfast

Double: £75.00 inc breakfast

Kenwood Hall Hotel
Kenwood Road
Sheffield
S7 1NQ
T: 0114 2583811
F: 0114 2505677
E: julie.conway@principal-hayley.com
W: Kenwood Hall website

Single: £79.00 inc breakfast

Double: £99.00 inc breakfast

Leopold Hotel
2 Leopold Street
Sheffield
S1 2GZ
Please quote reference 71140066 when booking

T: 0114 2524000
F: 0114 2524001
E: res.sheffield@leopoldhotels.com

All bookings should now be made by visiting the hotels own website

W: Leopold website and utilising your ID Codes.

Double rooms: £75.00*

Deluxe King rooms: £90.00*

Mezzanine suite: £95.00*

*Available only on a Monday- Thursday, inclusive of full English breakfast, WiFi (up to 256KB) and VAT. Based on solo occupancy

Friday-Sunday, Best Available Rates (BAR) plus a 5% discount on a room only basis
Quote reference SAVE5 when booking

Should you wish to book accommodation through graduation please quote GRAD15 to gain 5% discount from the best available rates.

Mercure St Paul's Hotel
119 Norfolk Street
Sheffield
S1 2JE
T: 0114 2782068
F: 0114 2782013
E: H6628-re@accor.com
W: Mercure website

From £114.00 inc breakfast

Novotel Sheffield Centre
50 Arundel Gate
Sheffield
S1 2PR
Please quote reference 100008 when booking

T: 0114 2781781
F: 0114 2787744
E: h1348-re@accor.com
W: Novotel website

From £99.00 inc breakfast

Premier Inn (City Centre)
Angel Street
Sheffield
S3 8LN
T: 0870 2383324
F: 0114 2502802
W: Premier Inn website

Rooms start from £29.00

Rutland Hotel
452 Glossop Road
Sheffield
S10 2PY
T: 0114 266411
F: 0114 2670348
E: reservations@rutlandhotel-sheffield.com
W: Rutland Hotel website

Single room only: £50.00*

Double room, single occupancy: £60.00*

Double room, twin occupancy: £70.00*

Executive room: £100.00*

*Breakfast can be added for £10.00 per person per night.

When booking quote "Sheffield University".

Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel
Blonk Street
Sheffield
S1 2AU

T: 0843 1787101
W: Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel

Single: £55 inc breakfast

Double: £63 inc breakfast

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Book your place

Book your place

The conference fee is £40 waged, £25 unwaged/student.

Bookings are being taken until 23 September 2016.

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