DATACTIVE presents 'Big Data for the Social Good' (November 16-17)

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The DATACTIVE Research Collective is proud to present 'Big Data for the Social Good', in Amsterdam on November 16-17.

As every aspect of our daily lives becomes susceptible of turning into data being collected, analyzed and repurposed, the question arises what kind of consequences this process will bring for society. The goal of this event is to reflect upon how activism, data, and research may be mobilized for social good. The speakers are experts developing projects related to topics such as human rights, environmental justice, and international law, from an approach located at the crossroads of academia and civil society.

The event is in two parts: an evening session on November 16 open to the public and organized in collaboration with SPUI25 and a day-long session on November 17 with restricted participation, and a combination of talks (in the morning) and moderated sessions in the afternoon.

DAY 1: Data for the Social Good (SOLD OUT)
16 November 2017, 8pm-9.30pm, @ SPUI25, Spui 25, 1012 XA, Amsterdam
This event is fully booked, but tickets might become available just before the start. Also, a live-stream will be set up by Spui25 here at 8pm.

Join us for an evening about ‘research that matters’, exploring ways of collecting and processing data for social causes. Just as socioeconomic data about us are used by institutions to decide upon the allocation of budgets for public health, housing or urban planning, and behavioural data helps businesses to determine their location or set their prices, digital data are also mobilised by activists to legitimize their struggles against poverty, racism or injustice. Recently, as every aspect of our daily lives has turned into data susceptible of being quantified, processed and repurposed, it is not only the metrics created about us that are used as input for all kinds of decision-making, but those generated by us through the daily use of different types of technologies.

Although we hear a lot about the risks of (personal) data being used by corporations and states, there are also many examples of usage by organisations or individuals with the goal of improving society. From crowd-sourced maps about the ‘femicide’ epistemic in Latin America to the analysis of videos and photos to reconstruct drone attacks, data produced by people is mobilised for social good. The goal of this event is to reflect upon the possibilities for research and activism (and potential combinations) brought about by the massive production, collection and availability of data.

With the help of Charlotte Ryan (Media Research and Action Project/ MRAP, University of Massachusetts Lowell), Lorenzo Pezzani (Forensic Architecture, Goldsmiths), and Jeff Deutch and Niko Para (The Syrian Archive), the event will focus on discussing different dimensions of activist research. Fieke Jansen will be moderating the evening.

DAY 2: Data for the Social Good: A Focused Encounter
17 November 2017 9am-4pm, @E-Lab, Turfdraagsterpad 9 (room 0.16*), 1012 XT Amsterdam
* turn right after the entrance, room 0.16 is located at the end.

Should you want to participate, please drop an email to Seating is limited but we particularly welcome scholars interested in exploring the relationship between academia, action and policy.

Event rationale
DATACTIVE: Focused Encounter will be an exploration into ‘data activist research’ through a one-day workshop. The event will be the first in a series of seminars organized by DATACTIVE as an attempt to bridge theory and praxis, as well as to establish a network of activist-researchers and researching-activists working on themes of mutual interest around the politics of datafication.

DATACTIVE explores the responses to datafication and massive data collection, as they are implemented by citizens and organized civil society. As part of this program, we have adopted an ‘engaged’ approach to research by virtue of which we produce scientifically sound knowledge, while simultaneously paying attention to the impact this process might have on people and communities (see Milan, 2010). Furthermore, since we want to contribute to empower activists and citizens to think critically about datafication, empowerment and surveillance, we are currently exploring experimental research methods capable of bringing together activist communities and academia to develop joint research questions and/or projects. In this sense, on a more practical level, the goal of this first Focused Encounter is to start charting out a ‘data activist’ research agenda that takes into account this community building, mutual learning and knowledge-sharing mission. On a theoretical level the goal of the Focused Encounter is to discuss different aspects of inclusion and democracy, evidence and knowledge production, and the promises and perils of data activism and datafication more in general.

The event will consist of a morning program (9:15 – 12:30) featuring three speakers who will showcase ways of doing engaged research as well as the related challenges, followed by a moderated discussion. After lunch there is room for discussion and knowledge exchange in small moderated groups, for those who are interested (highly recommended), followed by about an hour of focused discussion and brainstorming. We will work together until approximately 16:00 and then have drinks.

Schedule day 2

9:15 -9:30 Welcome by Stefania Milan.
9:30 -10:00 Charlotte Ryan. “Building sustained research collaborations.”
10:00 – 10:30 Lorenzo Pezzani (Forensic Architecture). “Forensic Oceanography: Documenting the violence of the EU’s Maritime Frontier.”
10:30 – 10:45 COFFEE BREAK
10:45 – 11:15 Jeff Deutch and Niko Para (Syrian Archive). “Archiving for accountability: Collaboratively preserving, verifying and investigating open-source documentation of rights abuses in Syria.”
11:15 – 12:30 Discussion on ‘Data activist research’, moderated by Lonneke van der Velden.

The afternoon session will provide space to reflect and look forward. What is needed, for us as a data-activist community, is to accelerate and expand our engaged and action-oriented research practices? Based on the diverse expert insights we gained during the morning session we will collectively start crafting an engaged research agenda for data activist research.

13:30 -14:00 Collective brainstorm. Moderator: Kersti Wissenbach.
14:00 – 16:00 Break- out sessions
15:30 – 16:00 Reporting back.
16:00 Closure

After 16:00 Drinks @Cafe de Jaren (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20 – 22, 1012 CP / Amsterdam)