15th June 2022 – Digital Arts and Humanities special edition

We’re excited to announce a Digital Arts and Humanities special edition of the DataViz Interest Group being held in-person as part of Bristol Data Week, 12:00–1:30pm at St George’s Bristol. We have four talks illustrating the spectrum of activities in this fast-developing area of research.

Wednesday 15th June, 12:00–1:30pm
St George’s Bristol
Part of Bristol Data Week

Digital Security by Design and the Secret Life of Data

Genevieve Liveley
Professor of Classics, University of Bristol

When we think about the security of data on our phones and computers, we might think about passwords and permissions, or about data encryption – but we rarely think about what our data looks like, or what is does as it moves around hidden inside our phones, computers, digital devices, our apps and networks. This invisibility – this secret life of data – makes it difficult to communicate the benefits of innovations such as Digital Security by Design (DSbD) and to imagine futures where this paradigm shift in technology can be most beneficial. This presentation explores the value of creative storytelling as one way to explore the sociotechnical impacts of DSbD.

Genevieve is Professor of Classics, RISCS Fellow, and Turing Fellow at the University of Bristol. As a narratologist, she has particular research interests in stories and their impact on futures thinking – especially in the context of emerging technologies and cyber security. She leads the Futures strand for the UKRI’s Digital Security by Design (DSbD) Discribe Hub+ programme, and as RISCS Fellow, heads the ‘Anticipation and Futures Literacy’ research theme.

Mapping Intercultural Conversations

Jo Crow
Associate Professor in Latin American Studies, University of Bristol

The Mapping Intercultural Conversations project started in 2014, with a series of workshops involving many different people in Chile and the UK who wanted to share knowledge and ideas about Mapuche history, interculturalism, representation and self-representation, memory and digital culture. It centres around three prominent Mapuche leaders in early 20th century Chile, whose contested legacies live on to this day: Manuel Manquilef, Manuel Aburto Panguilef, and Venancio Coñuepán. We asked ourselves the questions: Why and how did these figures become the important political spokesmen that they did? Part of the answer lies in the vast web of connections that they built up over the years. The project webpage invites you to look into their complex social networks, and in turn serves as an entry point to a history of Mapuche political activism in Chile which challenges overly-simple identity categories.

Jo’s research interests include Chilean cultural history, nationalism and nation building, and Mapuche history, intellectuality and politics. Her new research project investigates the production of knowledge and circulation of ideas about race and indigenous cultures in twentieth century Latin America, focusing specifically on Chilean-Peruvian intellectual networks.

Corpus Creation in Digital Humanities: A Work in Progress

John David Vandevert
Postgraduate in Musicology, University of Bristol

When dealing with historiographical information and its contemporary development in Humanities research, it is well-known that a researcher must examine how “historical importance” and “historical truth” are being comprehended. But in Digital Humanities work, the requirement is greater, as leading any project is a subjectively-created corpus of aggregated data. Ergo, in the inescapably flawed process of “datafication,” how do researchers grapple with questions of ‘vantage point’ and epistemic authenticity? In this talk, I will introduce some early challenges regarding corpus creation in my digital project on contextualizing Russian Hip-Hop’s aesthetics and the need for a reexamination of how a corpus is created.

John is a postgraduate in the faculty of Musicology, currently studying Russian Hip-Hop, specifically Dmitry Kuzenstov’s 2020 album “Hoshkhonog”, to guage how the genre’s aesthetics embodies or negates the presence of the historically-defined quality of “musical Russianess.” His main interest lies in understanding how beliefs on national identity and cultural belonging, along with accumulated life experiences and personal ideologies present themselves in a composer’s musical vocabulary. He plans on pursuing Doctoral studies on the subject in the fall of this year.

Mapping American Socio-Commercial Networks

Thomas Larkin
Augustine Heard Fellow, University of Bristol

Mapping American Socio-Commercial Networks is a pilot digital humanities project intended to demonstrate the extent of networking and mobility between China and the West in the nineteenth century. Intended to draw together researchers from Bristol, Aix-Marseille, and Vancouver, the project catalogues foreigners, their networks, and their movements in nineteenth-century China using GIS and Social Network Analysis. The ultimate goal is to produce a user-friendly digital platform for visualising socio-commercial networks and transnational mobility. Aimed at researchers and students, the platform will both serve as a reference tool and address the need for alternative pedagogical approaches to teaching global history.

Thomas is an historian of China and the United States with particular interests in global-microhistorical and transimperial methodologies. His research engages broadly with themes related to culture, gender, race, and identity construction in colonial and (semi)colonial spaces.

21st March 2022 – Tips to improve interpretability and accessibility

Our friends at RIOT Science Club are hosting an interesting looking talk from Dr Tracey Weissgerber, a meta-researcher at the BIH QUEST Center for Responsible Research (Berlin Institute of Health at Charité).

RIOT Science Club (reproducible, interpretable, open, transparent) presents a talk by Dr Tracey Weissgerber: Tips to improve interpretability and accessibility. 21st March 2022. 12-1.30pm GMT

The talk will cover:

  • Strategies for designing figures that resonate with a broad audience
  • Techniques for creating clear and informative image-based figures (photos, microscopy, electron microscopy, etc.)
  • Tools and techniques for creating colourblind accessible figures

Monday 21st March, 12-1:30pm

3rd March 2022 – trajVis and climatearchive.org

We’re delighted to have two 20-minute talks from the creators of two awesome web-based data visualisation tools. Raff Mares presents trajVis, a tool for viewing animal movement on interactive maps, and Seb Steinig presents climatearchive.org, a 3D earth model for viewing climate simulations from the extreme past or future (check out the screenshots of both tools below!)

Thursday 3rd March, 1-2pm

trajVis: a web tool for viewing animal movement data on interactive maps

Dr Raff Mares, Data Analyst at Internet of Elephants

Movement data from wild animals, invaluable for conservation purposes, are increasing in volume as tracking devices become smaller and cheaper. Similarly, the detailed interactive maps that can put these data into context are ubiquitous and super easy to use. Putting the two together, however, isn’t straightforward: there is no tool that lets you easily playback movement data like a video on an interactive map. As the data scientist at Internet of Elephants, a mobile games company that uses wildlife data to tell conservation stories, I needed a quick and efficient way to view and share the amazing animal tracking data we were getting from our conservation partners. I created trajVis, an open-source web tool for visualising trajectory data on interactive maps, to fill this exact need – no installing software, manipulating data or coding required.

Raff is a wildlife biologist and web developer based in Bristol, with an interest in animal movement, spatial data visualisation, and games for conservation. They’ve always been fascinated by how animals move in their environment and have been lucky to study this from ocelots to meerkats, across the rainforest and desert.

climatearchive.org: the Google Earth for climate data

Dr Seb Steinig, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

We can only fully understand the past, present and future climate changes by bringing together data and process understanding from a broad range of environmental sciences. In theory, climate modelling provides a wealth of data of great interest to a wide variety of disciplines (e.g., chemistry, geology, hydrology), but in practice, the large volume and complexity of these datasets often prevent direct access and therefore limit their benefits for large parts of our community.

We present the new online platform “climatearchive.org” to break down these barriers and provide intuitive and informative access to climate model data to our community and the public. The current release enables interactive access to a compilation of 109 climate model simulations covering the climate evolution of more than 500 million years. Key climate variables (temperature, precipitation, vegetation and circulation) are displayed on a virtual globe in an intuitive three-dimensional environment and on a continuous time axis. The software uses the JavaScript library “Three.js” for real-time GPU-accelerated rendering of complex climate model data. We use this technique to not only explore our Earth, but also the wider solar system and even fantasy worlds like “Dune” and “The Wheel of Time”. “climatearchive.org” runs in any web browser — including smartphones — and promotes data exploration, appeals to students and generates public interest.

Seb is a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol. They are currently using numerical models and paleoclimate data to understand how and why climate has changed in the past. They are particularly interested in how we can share our climate model data and research findings with the wider public.