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Participatory Data Design

Sat, September 7, 1:00 to 2:30pm, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, Floor: Five, Grand Ballroom D


In a series of recent projects, the Techno-Anthropology Lab and its collaborators have developed an approach to making & doing STS, which we now call participatory data design (PDD). In this paper, we first describe the conditions that have enabled the development of PDD. In particular, we point to the confluence of inspiration from the Scandinavian tradition of participatory design and the last decade’s dramatic increase of available data and tools for data visualization. In the second part, we outline the key elements of the PDD approach: (a) Our strategy of approaching problems by ‘datafying’ them; (b) Our deployment of flexible visualizations which allow us to arrange workshops (‘datasprints’) where we explore different way of ‘cutting’ the data together with external stakeholders; (c) Our commitment to produce digital maps, databases, interfaces and other tangible outcomes that may become starting points for future collaboration with our external partners. In the final part of the paper, we discuss some of the issues, implications and unintended consequences that we have experienced while pursuing these types of experiments with co-creation of data and data practices.