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This event is free, but please book to secure a place.

Twitter: #dataTransformations

In recent years cultural, social and political landscapes have been redrawn as unprecedented amounts of data has entered the public domain. This in turn has posed significant questions cutting across issues of privacy, security, culture and politics, giving birth to new aesthetic, political and social practices. This free one-day symposium brings together an interdisciplinary mix of artists, designers, academics and developers to reflect upon this phenomenon, show work, exchange experiences and signpost important trends.

Questions the symposium will explore include

  • How are artists and designers using data? What approaches are they taking? What issues are they tackling?
  • What can and can’t data tell us about the world? What are its limits in terms of representation and application?
  • What cultural institutional structures are emerging in response to data, what opportunities does this provide for creative practitioners?
  • How can we understand a political economy of data, and what alternatives to its use might this approach enable?

Speakers include

Mark Graham Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford.

Mark's research focuses on internet and information geographies, and the overlaps between ICTs and economic development. As an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the OII, he has published articles in major geography, communications, and urban studies journals, and his work has been covered by the Economist, the BBC, the Washington Post, CNN and the Guardian.

Christian Fuchs Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), University of Westminster

Christian is Professor and Director of CAMRI. His research involves social media, internet & society, political economy of media and communication, information society theory, social theory and critical theory. He is the author of numerous publications in these fields, including Digital labour and Karl Marx (Routledge 2014) and Social media: A critical introduction (Sage 2014).

Julie Freeman Artist, Open Data Institute, Queen Mary University of London

Julie’s work spans visual, audio and digital art forms and explores how science and technology changes our relationship to nature, through transforming complex processes and data sets into sound compositions, objects and animations. Based in London, she is a TED Senior Fellow, a co-founder of the Data as Culture art programme at the Open Data Institute (ODI), and a PhD candidate in Media & Arts Technologies at Queen Mary University of London.

Hannah Redler Independent Curator

Hannah works with international artists and ambitious organisations on projects that bring together art, science, technology, new media and photography. Current projects include working with the Open Data Institute Data as Culture Programme ODI Curator in Residence and working as consultant art curator for the Institute of Physics. From 2005–14 Hannah was Head of the Science Museum Arts Programme, and also between 2011–14 head of the Science Museum's photography gallery Media Space, which opened in 2012.

Joanna Boehnert Designer and design theorist, Centre for Research in Education, Art and Media, University of Westminster (CREAM)

Joanna’s research is concerned with visual mapping of climate communication and issues of the emerging green economy. She is currently finishing a book titled Design/Ecology/Politics: Within and Beyond Error for Bloomsbury Academic and is she is founding director of EcoLabs.

Tom Corby and Gavin Baily Artists, Centre for Research in Education, Art and Media, University of Westminster (CREAM)

Tom is a Professor of Visual and Interdisciplinary Art at CREAM, and Gavin is Director of Tracemedia (, specialists in visualisation, mapping and digital arts. Together they been exploring alternative and critical uses of data since the mid-1990s, with a predominant focus on intersections of the environment and social behaviour. Their data-driven installations and images have been widely exhibited at numerous galleries and museums including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Online and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, among many others.

Doug Specht Doctoral Researcher and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster

Doug explores how digital media, data and GIS are used in legitimising and codifying local knowledge within the context of International Development. He is also the Director of VOZ, a PGIS platform that supports human and environmental rights through community mapping. He has worked extensively across Latin America and is an editor for the Environmental Network for Central America.

Giles Lane Director Proboscis

Giles’s practice since 1994 has fused emerging technologies with social and cultural concerns, and he has pioneered groundbreaking collaborations across disciplines and sectors, bridging grassroots communities with government, industry, academia and NGOs and the arts. He is currently exploring 'data manifestation': seeking ways to express data in physical forms that allow different human senses to interpret and make meaning from it. Giles is an Honorary Research Associate of the Extreme Citizen Science Research Group at University College London as well as the founder and director of Proboscis.

Anastasia Kavada Symposium chair, is Senior Lecturer in the Westminster Faculty of Media, Arts & Design at the University of Westminster

She is Co-leader of the MA in Media, Campaigning and Social Change and Deputy Director of the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI). Her research focuses on the links between online tools and decentralised organising practices, democratic decision-making, and the development of solidarity among participants in collective action. Anastasia’s case studies include, among others, the Global Justice Movement, Avaaz, and the Occupy movement. Her work has appeared in a variety of edited books and academic journals, including Media, Culture & Society and Information, Communication & Society.

The project is the result of collaboration between the Centre for Research in Education Art and Media (CREAM), the University of Westminster; and the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford and is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of its Digital Transformations theme.

For general enquiries contact [email protected].