Data Storytelling, Visualization, and Communication

The College of Arts, Media and Design is exploring new storytelling techniques, debating visual communication best practices, and researching new methods and high impact tools for data analysis, exploration and communication. By bridging a distinctive group of disciplines, platforms and practices, our faculty and students are pushing the boundaries of human communication. Supported with funding from federal agencies and leading foundations, our interdisciplinary faculty drive new discoveries in the science and practice of narrative and communication.

 

Associated Faculty

 

News

 

Assistant Professor Pedro Cruz (Art + Design) and Assistant Professor John Wihbey (Journalism) investigate U.S. Census data and represent U.S. immigration patterns in the form of tree rings.

 

Associate Professor Dietmar Offenhuber (Art + Design, Public Policy) Explores the Power of Data and Design in Video by Bloomberg Media Studios.

 

Assistant Professor Ang Li (Architecture) Explores Alternate Endings for Buildings and Materials.

 

CAMD Alumna Irene de la Torre Arenas (Information Design and Visualization) Creates Graphics and Visualizations for Global Audience at BBC.

 

CAMD Graduate Student Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee (Information Design and Visualization) Develops Interactive Data Visualization to Illustrate School Segregation in Chicago

Dean’s Research Fellows: Data Storytelling, Visualization and Communication

The Dean’s Research Fellows conduct cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research that expands the boundaries of traditional disciplines.

Jennifer Gradecki, Assistant Professor, Art + Design

Meg Heckman, Assistant Professor, Journalism

Ang Li, Assistant Professor, Architecture

Dietmar Offenhuber, Associate Professor, Art + Design

 

Traces and Evidence: The Materiality of Public Controversies

 

This research team is preparing a public exhibition that explores the role of evidence and practices of evidence construction – both physical and digital – in public controversies and civic life. The exhibition will take place in a Boston-area venue and feature four case studies focused on climate change, preservation, government transparency and crisis storytelling. Each component will be rooted in the individual academic discipline, but the project will illuminate common themes around memory, community and social practices with the goal of creating overlapping experiential narratives.

 

One case study (Gradecki) will take the form of an interactive installation about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Automated Case Support (ACS) information technology infrastructure. The project will be built using information from FOIA files and academic articles. Another case study (Heckman) will reconstruct online news coverage of the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. This project will use interviews with the journalists involved to document their work and better understand its place in media history and public memory. A third case study (Li) will examine the ways in which monumental public works projects serve as catalysts for local preservation movements through their ability to spatialize archival processes that unfold at the scale of the city. This project purposes to retrace the public memory of the Central Artery/Tunnel construction that took place in Boston between the years of 1991 and 2007, focusing in particular on how the construction sequence was documented through archaeological digs and aerial photographic surveys. A final case study (Offenhuber) investigates the concept of sensory accountability. Climate change and environmental pollution are complex phenomena that are in many ways inaccessible to direct human experience. This may be because their temporal and spatial scales are too large, their agents are too small or too entangled with other confounding factors, or because they are measured through synthetic indicators based on computational models that are difficult to visualize and contextualize with sensory experience. The case study consists of a documentary part discussing such practices, and a concrete artwork exploring new ways of making environmental changes in the City of Boston visible.

Data Storytelling and Exploration: Population Flows and Identity in the United States

 

Pedro Cruz, Assistant Professor, Art + Design

Sarah Jackson, Associate Professor, Communication Studies

Brooke Foucault Welles, Associate Professor, Communication Studies

John Wihbey, Assistant Professor, Journalism

 

 

This research team is using census data to examine and make visible the population flows in and to the United States from 1790 to 2010. Their study focuses on three areas: 1) resident foreign population by place of origin, 2) internal U.S. migration flows and extraction of underlying network, 3) identification of missing populations and stories that bring to light issues of race and inequality in the United States. Data visualization tools are used to illustrate findings and create awareness about issues of immigration, race, and justice. The team will create an exhibition featuring physical objects that tell stories based on the data, and will work toward the creation of an online interactive visualization tool allowing users to compare states and specific population groups. The project serves as a poignant example of how the arts, humanities, social sciences, and data science can work together to illuminate trends and patterns that underscore historical and contemporary inequalities in the U.S.

Northeastern University Visualization Consortium (NUVis)

NUVis is an interdisciplinary cross-university initiative funded through a collaboration between the College of Arts, Media and Design and the College of Computer and Information Science. It supports research efforts in visualization and connects faculty and students to foster a visualization community. Associate Professor Dietmar Offenhuber, head of the Information Design and Visualization graduate program, is Co-Director of the initiative.

Information Design and Visualization

https://nuvis.northeastern.edu/

 

Storybench

Explore a wealth of information about new techniques and best practices in data storytelling and digital journalism. This unique website is created and maintained by Northeastern’s School of Journalism.

http://www.storybench.org/

 

The Scope

The Scope explores the factors and issues that drive, explain, and contextualize urban inequalities. It is a product of the School of Journalism’s Media Innovation Program, which focuses on digital fluency in storytelling.

https://www.northeastern.edu/thescope/about/