DataVisFest on (In)equality and Incusion

The DataVisFest is a DataFest fringe event, aiming to develop creative data visualiztion concepts, prototypes, and future collaborations between data collaborators, visualization designers, and the general public. This event is for everyone interested and/or skilled in data visualization, data analysis/data science, physical making, graphic design, storytelling, open data etc..

Inequality and inclusion are timely global issues. To understand these issues, their long term impact on society as well as what specific measures promise improvement, decisions have to be made based on data and facts. Because they are complex phenomena tied to gradual processes that unfold over decades, data about them can seem abstract and removed from our daily experience.

Data on inequality and inclusion are being gathered through a variety of services, governmental organisations and charities. These data are often stored in repositories and databases, accessible primarily to people with the particular interests and skills to use them. There is a great opportunity to make these data more accessible to people without technical data skills, helping them to connect with critical issues in their communities and beyond.

Through the Community Empowerment Act, the Scottish Government is providing communities, i.e. people, public bodies, associations, with more self-governance and empowering them to engage in public decision making. The ability to engage with data, particularly publicly-available data, can play an important role in empowering communities.

This participatory and collaborative event focuses on data visualisation practices and aims to explore the question of how to (re)present data about (in)equality and inclusion in a way that engages a public audience. How can abstract, invisible, intangible, and steadily updating “data” be grasped in a way that helps us humans discuss and make better decisions about the future of politics and society as well as on a daily basis?

Our DataVisFest is similar to a hackathon, but it does not necessarily involve coding.  It aims to bring together people with different backgrounds and skills to design and create data visualisation projects that enable a wider audience to engage with issues around equality and inclusion. Projects can include, for example, infographics, data videos, data comics (http://datacomics.net), tangible visualisations, interactive websites, etc. Get inspired here and here.

The goals of our visualization collider are to

  • inform people about the existence of relevant types and sources of data,
  • create accessible ways to visualise and interact with that data, and
  • engage people in effectively exploring, visualising, and communicating data about issues that they care about.
  • Through this event, we will connect people across domains, teach the foundations of visualisation and storytelling as well as explore the potential for a public data visualisation exhibition in the near future.

The event will take place in Evolution House at the Edinburgh College of Art from 16-18 March 2018 (schedule). No specific skills are required except interest in the data, creativity, and curiosity. Breakfast, coffee, meals and snacks will be provided.

To register, visit our Eventbrite page. Places are limited to 30 people.


This event is organised by the School of Informatics and the Edinburgh College of Art. For more information, please contact:

Benjamin Bach, Lecturer in Design Informatics and Visualization, University of Edinburgh

Cat Magill, Research Assistant, University of Edinburgh

Dave Murray-Rust, Lecturer in Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Ewan Klein, Professor of Language Technology, University of Edinburgh


Bettina Nissen (Design), Research Associate, University of Edinburgh

Larissa Pschetz (Interaction design) Lecturer in Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Sally Kerr, City of Edinburgh Council

Data Collaborators:

Edinburgh City Council

Peace Agreement Database

Edinburgh Living Lab

CRESH – Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health

Data and Inequalities research project

Scottish Statistics Data, SIMD

Joseph Rowntree Foundation (to be confirmed)

ScotGov (to be confirmed)

Urban Tide / U-Smart (to be confirmed)

More on becoming a data collaborator here.