Social Justice in the Digital Economy: Summer Webinar Series
Wednesday 9th // 6pm – 7:30pm BST
Making Data Work for Social Justice
Not all data is made equal. As data is increasingly mobilized in the service of governments and corporations, their unequal effects on both individuals and groups become increasingly difficult for data scientists. We ask data science by whom? Data science for whom? Data science with whose interests in mind?
Catherine D’Ignazio (MIT) helped us consider how feminist thinking can be operationalized to enact more just data practices, and Giselle Cory talked about the role data science has in the social sector.
- Dr Catherine D’Ignazio, MIT – Data Feminism
- Giselle Cory, DataKind UK – What role does data science have in the social sector?
Chair: Clara Crivellaro , Newcastle University
Catherine D’Ignazio is an Assistant Professor of Urban Science and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. She is also Director of the Data + Feminism Lab which uses data and computational methods to work towards gender and racial equity, particularly as they relate to space and place. D’Ignazio is a scholar, artist/designer and hacker mama who focuses on feminist technology, data literacy and civic engagement.
As data are increasingly mobilized in the service of governments and corporations, their unequal conditions of production, their asymmetrical methods of application, and their unequal effects on both individuals and groups have become increasingly difficult for data scientists–and others who rely on data in their work–to ignore. But it is precisely this power that makes it worth asking: “Data science by whom? Data science for whom? Data science with whose interests in mind? These are some of the questions that emerge from what we call data feminism, a way of thinking about data science and its communication that is informed by the past several decades of intersectional feminist activism and critical thought.
Illustrating data feminism in action, this talk will show how challenges to the male/female binary can help to challenge other hierarchical (and empirically wrong) classification systems; it will explain how an understanding of emotion can expand our ideas about effective data visualization; how the concept of invisible labor can expose the significant human efforts required by our automated systems; and why the data never, ever “speak for themselves.” The goal of this talk, as with the project of data feminism, is to model how scholarship can be transformed into action: how feminist thinking can be operationalized in order to imagine more ethical and equitable data practices.
Giselle Cory is Executive Director of DataKind UK, a charity that supports other charities to use data science, through a community of pro bono data scientists. DataKind UK has supported hundreds of charities to make better use of data, over its nearly 10 years working in the UK. Giselle has spent over a decade working in social change organisations: from Government (Cabinet Office and Treasury), to national charities and think tanks. They believe that smart, responsible data collection and use can help the social sector tackle some of the UK’s biggest challenges.
What role does data science have in the social sector?
Drawing from DataKind UK’s experience supporting social change organisations to use data science, you’ll hear real-life case studies from charities, local government, and social enterprises across the UK. We’ll situate the role of data science in the social sector, and the ethical implications. You’ll gain insight into how the social sector can use data science to improve their operations, understand their clients better, evaluate their services, and increase their impact.