Co-Laboratory for Data Impact

 

The Co-Laboratory for Data Impact focuses on narrative data strategies and is committed to advancing civic-oriented and impactful visual storytelling for issues of public urgency in the areas of diversity, transparency, and sustainability. The lab will serve as the university hub for faculty, staff, and students looking to communicate visually with data in the public sphere and for external partners of various kinds seeking expertise in this domain.

The Co-Lab was soft-launched on Nov. 14, 2018, and will formally launch in Fall 2019.

Through creative practice and research, the lab will contribute to the fields of design and data journalism, exploring areas such as visual poetics, metaphors, and evidentiary aesthetics. We will aim to expand the vocabulary of public data storytelling by using the wellspring of a broad range of approaches: journalistic, design-centric, and artistic. We aim at facilitating sense-making around digital information, while providing the tools for public audiences to understand the world in new impactful ways. We value quantitative rigor and data integrity while risking innovative, poetic and metaphoric data portrayals. We will collaborate and influence and advocate for the power of visual arguments and data narratives. We want our audiences to say, loudly, “Wow.”

 

Learn about the team and their publications. And check out the upcoming events!

dustzone

Staubmarke is a public space installation in Stuttgart – a city affected by airborne particulate matter pollution. Controversies between public health advocates, the city, and the local industry often manifest in disputes about proper methods of measurement and the veracity of citizen-collected data. The project visualizes air pollution by calling attention to the patina on the city’s surfaces. The dustmarks are executed as reverse graffitis, making the accumulated pollution visible by partially removing it. By calling attention to dust as a material rather than an abstract value, the project contextualizes the sensor measurements with their physical basis.

Simulated Dendrochronology of U.S. Immigration 1790-2016

Nature has its own ways of organizing information: organisms grow and register information from the environment. This is particularly notable in trees, which, through their rings, tell the story of their growth. Drawing on this phenomenon as a visual metaphor, the United States can be envisioned as a tree, with shapes and growing patterns influenced by immigration. The nation, the tree, is hundreds of years old, and its cells are made out of immigrants. As time passes, the cells are deposited in decennial rings that capture waves of immigration.

Art of the March

Art of the March is an online archive and interactive presentation of protest signs and posters collected in the aftermath of the historic Boston Women’s March on January 21, 2017. This website contains digital images of over 6000 signs placed by protesters on the iron fence of the Boston Commons old Central Burying Grounds and along its perimeter as the march ended. A trio of college professors asked city parks workers, who were prepared to clean the site and trash them, for permission to collect them and volunteers from the public joined in gathering them from the site and loading them into a rented van.

Maps of Daesh

The ongoing Syrian civil war raises new cartographic challenges, including the ethical question of how the self-proclaimed Islamic State should be represented. States and news organizations face a conundrum: by mapping IS territory, they implicitly acknowledge its statehood. This project investigates how different mapping methods carry different connotations for representing the strength and nature of the terror state, arguing that the statehood the IS is symbolically contested through cartographic choices that reflect the diverging interests of map makers.

The State Financial Disclosure Project

While national debate in the United States continues over financial disclosure practices for federal officials, personal financial disclosure for state and local officials remains an under-studied area also in need of more sunlight and scrutiny. This research project scores each U.S. state based on relevant disclosure policies and practices. This score is also integrated with other related measures to assess overall transparency around potential conflicts of interest by public officials. We also compute levels of corruption in each state to situate the transparency data in meaningful context, providing a unique, data-driven perspective on the current ethical climate in each state.

Events

 

The Co-Laboratory for Data Impact will continue to host data storytelling hackathons that serve as the interface connecting students and faculty with the public, stimulating exchange beyond the classroom and generating ideas that are inspired by the pressing needs of affected communities. Our hackathons foster an ethos of “thinking by doing” and critical reflection through material practices and bring together designers, data visualization researchers, information scientists, civic technologists, public policy makers, government professionals, journalists, community and advocacy groups and NGOs.

Wed, Nov 14, 4:30-6:00

West Village H, Lobby

2017-2018 Dean’s Research Fellows: Data Storytelling Team

Naturalizing Immigration (Exhibition and Reception)

Pedro Cruz, Art+Design

Sarah Jackson, Comm Studies

Brooke Foucault Welles, Comm Studies

John Wihbey, Journalism

https://camd.northeastern.edu/event/reception-naturalizing-immigration-exhibition/

Thu, Nov 15, 3:00-4:00

102 West Village G

Spatial Storytelling in Urban Studies and History – Guest Lecturer Nil Tuzcu

Co-sponsored with NULab, NUVis, and the Digital Scholarship Group

https://web.northeastern.edu/nulab/event/nil-tuzcu/

Thu, Nov 29, 10:00-11:30

CAMD Interdisciplinary Lab, 171 Holmes

Exploring AR/VR for CAMD Curriculum and Research

Bobette Buster, Journalism

Miso Kim, Art+Design

Dani Snyder-Young, Theatre

David Tames, Art+Design

Thu, Feb 7, 4:00-6:00

RP 909

Chenjerai Kumanyika and Jack Hitt of the Uncivil Podcast

Co-sponsored with NULab

https://web.northeastern.edu/nulab/event/uncivil/ 

Thu, Mar 28, 12:00-1:00

CAMD Interdisciplinary Lab, 171 Holmes

Brown Bag with 2018-2019 Dean’s Fellows Data Storytelling Team

Traces and Evidence: The Materiality of Public Controversies

Jennifer Gradecki, Art+Design

Meg Heckman, Journalism

Ang Li, Architecture

Dietmar Offenhuber, Art+Design


Cruz, P., Wihbey, J., Ghael, A., Costa, S., Chao, R., and Shibuya, F. 2018. “Process of simulating tree rings for immigration in the U.S.” In IEEE VIS Arts Program Annotated Projects. Berlin, Germany. [download]

 

Cruz, P., Wihbey, J. 2018. “200 Years of U.S. Immigration Looks Like the Rings of a Tree.” National Geographic. [online]

 

Howe, J., Bajak, A., Kraft, D., and Wihbey, J. 2017. “Collaborative, Open, Mobile: A Thematic Exploration of Best Practices at the Forefront of Digital Journalism.” Storybench. [working paper, download]

 

Wihbey, J., Beaudet, M., and Cruz, P. 2017. “There are huge holes in how the U.S. states investigate politicians’ conflicts of interest.” Washington Post/Monkey Cage. [online]

 

De la Torre-Arenas, I. and Cruz, P. 2017. “A taxonomy of motion applications in data visualization.” In Proceedings of Expressive’17 – The joint symposium on Computational Aesthetics and Sketch Based Interfaces and Modeling and Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering, Los Angeles, article 7. [ACM]

 

Wihbey, J. and Beaudet, M. 2017. “State-level Policies for Personal Financial Disclosure: Exploring the Potential for Public Knowledge on Conflict-of-Interest Issues.” In Proceedings of Law & Policy Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference. [AEJMC]

 

Offenhuber, D.. 2017. Waste Is Information — Infrastructure Legibility and Governance. Cambridge: MIT Press [link]

 

Offenhuber, D. 2017. “Maps of Daesh – the Cartographic Warfare Surrounding Insurgent Statehood.” GeoHumanities. [pdf][link]

 

Sam, A. and Offenhuber, D. 2017. “Auditive Space – Its Limitations and Its Materiality.” GAM. Architecture Magazine, no. 13. [pdf]

 

Offenhuber, D. 2017. “Sticky data – context and friction in the use of urban data proxies.” In Data and the City. ed. Rob Kitchin, Tracey P. Lauriault, and Gavin McArdlel. New York: Routledge. [pdf]

 

Wihbey, J. and Beaudet, M. 2016. “Transparency, Corruption, and the Information Needs of Communities: The Case of Personal Financial Disclosure”. Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 278-2016. [SSRN]

 

Offenhuber, D. 2016. “Urban Entropy.” In What Urban Media Art Can Do: Why When Where and How?, edited by Susa Pop, Tanya Toft, Nerea Calvillo, and Mark Wright. S.l.: Av Edition Gmbh.

 

Offenhuber, D. 2016. “The Transactionalization of Infrastructure as a Case for Accountability-Oriented Design”. Design and the City Conference, Amsterdam. [pdf]

Co-Directors

Innovation lead

Research Development