Data Publics: Investigating the formation and representation of crowds, groups and clusters in digital economies

Lancaster University, March 31 / April 1 & 2, 2017

This conference will investigate the diverse ways in which publics are, and can be, constituted, provoked, threatened, understood, and represented. This includes examining the role played in the formation of publics by new on- and offline infrastructures, data visualisations, social and economic practices, research methods and creative practices, and emerging and future technologies. Specifically, the event will facilitate cross-cutting conversations between designers, social scientists and creative technologists to explore the new challenges and opportunities afforded by thinking and working with “Data Publics”. For more information, see the original call for papers.

The conference runs over the course of three days.

Day one provides hands-on introductions to key methods for investigating data publics, involving two workshops running in parallel. One workshop – ‘Digital Methods/Data Visualisation’, led by David Moats – introduces the digital methods and data visualisation approaches that can be used to conduct research in this field. The other – ‘Strategies, Tools and Participatory Processes’, led by Clara Crivellaro – explores the practicalities of using design strategies, tools and participatory socio-technical processes to support the emergence and formation of publics. The day will end with participants from the two workshops entering into dialogue.

The next two days feature a mixture of academic paper presentations and exhibits from participants, with a focus throughout on the way a diverse array of methods, analytical approaches, representational techniques and practical engagements might be related to one another, put in conversation and combined.

The full programme is shown below and Data Publics programme.

The book of abstracts can be downloaded here.

[registration for the workshop & conference is now closed]


Friday 31st March

Data Publics workshops [registration closed]

9.30-10.00 Registration & coffee [LICA foyer]
10.00-13.00 Parallel workshops

Digital Methods/Data Visualisation
Led by David Moats (Linköping University), with Anne Helmond (University of Amsterdam), Fernando N. van der Vlist (University of Siegen), and Laurie Waller (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Strategies, Tools and Participatory Processes
Led by Clara Crivellaro (Newcastle University), with Rob Comber (Newcastle University).








Parallel workshops (cont.)


Keynote [A27]

John Bowers (Newcastle University)

Dinner [Private Dining Rooms, Lancaster University]


Saturday 1st April 


Registration & coffee

Welcome & introduction

9.50-10.40 Keynote [A27]

Noortje Marres (Warwick University)




Activating publics [A27]

Citizen social science and its publics
Alexandra Albert (University of Manchester)

Investigating datafication through entrepreneurial research
Mirko Tobias Schäfer, Gerwin van Schie and Thomas Boeschoten (Utrecht University)

Data-drifts: An inclusive route to remote community engagement with open data
Johanna Walker (University of Southampton), Louise Mullagh (Lancaster University)

Shifting spaces of activism
Elif Grant (University of Roehampton)

12.40-14.00 Lunch + exhibits [LICA foyer, A23, A36]

Featured exhibits:

Deadly crossings to Europe
David Bihanic (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Twitter-things: Retooling the parliament into issue-oriented data publics
Andreas Birkbak (Aalborg University Copenhagen), Tobias Bornakke (University of Copenhagen), Irina Papazu (Copenhagen Business School)

Publics, pluralism, protest, periods
Manu Bruggemann, Emma Young (Lancaster University)

Like to display
Sandy Claes, Jorgos Coenen, Andrew Vande Moere (University of Leuven)

14.00-14.50 Keynote [A27]

Helen Kennedy (The University of Sheffield)

14:50-15.00 Break [LICA foyer]


Parallel sessions

(a) Governing publics [C01]

The materiality of surveillance publics
Lonneke van der Velden (University of Amsterdam)

Data publics: A new political imaginary?
Helen Pallett (University of East Anglia)

The smart meter in parenthesis: Creating new territories and publics
Casper Menkman (Maynooth University)

(b) Provoking publics [A27]

Citizense makers: Collective sensemaking of data
Aare Puussaar (Newcastle University)

Using experimental methodologies in creative practice to interrogate how machine learning datasets build canonical categorisations of group identity
Anna Ridler, Georgia Ward-Dyer (Royal College of Art)

Critical reflection on data publics: A multi-methodology perspective
Justin Larner, Louise Mullagh (Lancaster University)

16.10-16.30 Break [LICA foyer]
16.30-17.20 Keynote [A27]

Michiel de Lange (Utrecht University)

17.20-18.45 Exhibition & drinks reception [LICA foyer]

Featured exhibits:

Bicycle barometer
Sandy Claes, Andrew Vande Moere (University of Leuven)

Walking with data: mapping wearable and digital data in Morecambe Bay
Louise Mullagh, Serena Pollastri, Maria Angela Ferrario (Lancaster University)

Anthology of the algorithmic self (Parts I & II) and Youtube & the bass
Anna Ridler, Georgia Ward-Dyer (Royal College of Art)

Jen Southern, Sam Thulin (Lancaster University)

Turning the tables: How individual investors make use of data publics to take advantage of institutional investors
Emre Tarim (Lancaster University)

19.15 — Dinner [Lancaster House Hotel]

Sunday 2nd April

9.00-9.10 Welcome back and introduction [A27]


9.10-10.00 Keynote [A27]

Alex Taylor (Microsoft Research)

10.00-10.15 Break [LICA foyer]
10.15-11.45 Emergent publics [A27]

The hands that steer us: Notes from an ethnography of software developers
Paula Bialski & Ori Dov (Leuphana, University of Lüneburg)

Liquid data audiences: Tracing data flows between ad platforms and third parties
Anne Helmond (University of Amsterdam), Fernando N. van der Vlist (University of Siegen)

Tweeting to #Repealthe8th: Challenging the legal regime and Irish attitudes to abortion?

Rajalakshmi Kanagavel, Sara O’Sullivan (University College Dublin)

Why is there no healthy data public for public health data?: Big Health Data, Health Insurance and the NHS
Liz McFall (Open University), David Moats (Linköping University)
11.45-11.55 Break [LICA foyer]


 11.55-12.45 Infrastructural publics [A27]

Open data repositories: Intimating data publics through file formats
Anne L. Washington, David Morar (George Mason University)

What do data portals do? Tracing the politics of public information infrastructures on the web
Jonathan Gray (University of Bath)

12.45-13.45 Lunch + exhibits [LICA Foyer, A23, A36]



















Parallel sessions

(a)  Future publics [C01]

Reflections on representing non-representationally: Publics, pluralism, protest, periods
Manu Bruggemann, Emma Young (Lancaster University)

Ethical (re)configurations of data publics
Malé Luján Escalante (Lancaster University)

The monism in public data contribution
Steffen Krämer (University of Hamburg)

From incubators to ecosystems: Evaluating the startup digital economy cluster of Hull City
Josep Almirall (University of Hull)

(b) Tracking publics [A27]

Capturing the value and meaning of interventions and infrastructures in digital public spaces
Roger Whitham (Lancaster University)

Filter bubbles or multifaceted and diverse audiences? Studying media practices of Dutch-speaking citizens on Twitter
Daniela van Geenen, Mirko Tobias Schäfer, Thomas Boeschoten, Piet Bakker, Erik Hekman (University of Applied Sciences Utrecht / Utrecht University)

Journalism as a data public: Mapping code ecologies for data valuation on GitHub
Liliana Bounegru (University of Groningen, University of Ghent), Tommaso Venturini (King’s College London)

The personal broadcaster: Serving the public in the age of big data#
Karin van Es (Utrecht University)

15.25-15.45 Break [LICA foyer]


Keynote [A27]

Anders Koed Madsen (Aalborg University)

16.35-17.00 Wrap up [A27]