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Doing Participation with Data

Doing Participation with Data

Slides from talk on "Doing Participation with Data? Configuring Engagement in Open Data, Data Activism and Data Journalism Projects" at Media and Publics Conference, Roskilde University, 28-29th April 2022.

Jonathan Gray

April 28, 2022

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  1. Media and Publics Conference, Roskilde University, 28-29th April 2022 Jonathan

    Gray / King’s College London / @jwyg / jonathangray.org Doing participation with data? Configuring engagement in open data, data activism and data journalism projects
  2. “Data, in short, is the new means to remake the

    world in capital’s image.”
  3. “A key question for the data-driven age then is how

    do we ensure that the deployment of digital technologies is truly citizen-centric? That they are created and used in the best interests of citizens? That citizens are actively involved in decision-making concerning their design and deployment?”
  4. “What kinds of publics does data assemble, which kinds of

    capacities does it support, what kinds of politics does it enact and what kinds of participation does it engender?”
  5. Table of Contents Introduction: Making Data Public, Making Public Data

    1. Origin Stories and Conventions of Open Data 2. Ways of Seeing, Knowing and Being with Data 3. Doing Participation with Data 4. Coordinating Data Collectives and Transnational Data Worldmaking 5. Missing Data and Making Data: Data Infrastructural Interventions 6. Doing Data Differently? Towards a Critical Data Practice Conclusion: Recomposing Data Worlds
  6. Many different kinds of practices and formats: social media engagement,

    hackdays, interactive websites, co-design, prototyping, platforms, portals, indexes, labs, crowdsourcing, citizen generated data, community data infrastructures…
  7. Both for problematising participation with data, 
 as well as

    for considering how it might be done differently
  8. 1. Invitations to take part with data 2. Invitations to

    make with data 3. Invitations to make data
  9. 1. Invitations to take part with data 2. Invitations to

    make with data 3. Invitations to make data
  10. “informational citizen”: 
 “the one in need of information in

    order to adequately perform his role of opinionated, decision-making subject” (Marres, 2012)
  11. “your name” “your location” “your politician” “your interests” “your email”

    Democratic ambiance and 
 personalising parliament (informing you)
  12. Action Object Find a… bicycle, toilet, school, charging station, nursery,

    polling station, defibrillator, property, politician, public tender that you can bid for, job, missing dog, legal document, kindergarten, vegan or vegetarian restaurant, open workspace, bus, route, parking space, playground, fire station, siren, neighbourhood, park, road, waterway, greenway, trail, spot, unit, race, monumental tree, recycling centre, religious holiday… Adopt a… fire hydrant, drain, soldier, street, highway, block, lot, stream, river, tree, siren, sidewalk, park … Monitor / check / track / assess… tap water quality, UV exposure, air quality, quality of life, noise levels, traffic, property prices, amount of green space, safety, shops and services, traffic ticket status, spread of COVID-19, swimming pool water quality, … Be notified of… Northern Lights, International Space Station, your political representative speaking, planning application in your area, changes in local air quality, when your allergies might get worse, price of crops change, checking into a restaurant at risk of being closed for health code violations, …
  13. Project Type Description Adopt-a-Hydrant (Boston) Original “Claim responsibility for shoveling

    out a fire hydrant after it snows.” Adopt-a-Hydrant (Madison) Fork “encourages citizen engagement by letting individuals sign up as a caregiver for a fire hydrant when the snow storms hit” Adopt-A-Drain (Savannah) Inspired by “Become a #DrainWarrior and adopt a storm drain in your neighbourhood” Adopt a Trash Can Fork “A web application that allows citizens to "adopt" civic infrastructure, such as trash cans that need to be emptied regularly.” Pledge to Donate Fork “This Holiday Season and beyond, consider pledging to donate your Food, Toys or even just your time to one of these many Food & Toy drives in and around Ventura County” Adopt-a-Sidewalk Fork “Chicago-based website for collecting and displaying resident submissions around snow emergencies.” Adopt-a-Siren Honolulu Used code “You agree to listen for the siren test and report any problems.” Adopt a Drain Oakland Used code “Claim responsibility for clearing a storm drain entrance and reporting any problems.” Adopt a Drain SF Used code “By pledging to keep your drain free of leaves and debris, you are joining your neighbors in helping to protect the environment, manage stormwater, and minimize flooding.” Adopt-a-Tree Minneapolis Used code “Beautify your street by watering a tree.” Adopt a Drain Durham Inspired by “Prevent storm drain pollution by clearing leaves, dirt, litter, and other debris around city storm drains.” Adopt-a-Hydrant (ESRI), Brooklyn Park, MN Inspired by “Winters are cold and snowy in Brooklyn Park. Fire fighters need quick access to hydrants, which means they need to be clear of snow and ice. You can keep yourself, your house, and your neighbors safe by adopting a hydrant today! Find a hydrant (or two) near your house, work, or school, and click on it to adopt it!” Hydrant Hero Inspired by “An interactive map created to engage the public to adopt a hydrant in their neighborhood and keep it clear of snow during the winter.” Adopt-a-Hydrant as open source “adopt an anything app”. 
 Attempts to script care and responsibility.
  14. 1. Invitations to take part with data 2. Invitations to

    make with data 3. Invitations to make data
  15. Data portals as aspirational sites of data innovation – between

    institutional datafication and broader societal participation
  16. 1. Invitations to take part with data 2. Invitations to

    make with data 3. Invitations to make data
  17. Diagramming participation with citizen generated data “Levels of participation and

    engagement in citizen science projects” (Assumpção et al, 2018, adapted from Haklay, 2013) “Selected studies represented in the typology of VGI (volunteered geographic information)” (Assumpção et al, 2018) “Types of crowdsourced geographic information from the review characterized by framework/non-framework and active/passive” (See et al, 2016)
  18. 1. Invitations to take part with data 2. Invitations to

    make with data 3. Invitations to make data
  19. One crucial aspect of the politics of inviting participation with

    data is how tensions are navigated and negotiated
  20. For whom and what will these arrangements not work? Who

    and what else is taking part with data? Which forms of involvement do not fit? What cannot be made with data? What cannot be made into data? Who and what is missing?
  21. The uses of not Thirty spokes 
 meet in a

 Where the wheel isn’t 
 is where it’s useful. Hollowed out, 
 clay makes a pot. 
 Where the pot’s not 
 is where it’s useful. Cut doors and windows 
 to make a room. 
 Where the room isn’t, 
 there’s room for you. So the pro fi t in what is 
 is in the use of what isn’t. 
 - Ursula Le Guin’s edition 
 of the Tao Te Ching