Speaker abstracts

Jennifer Pybus (King’s College London)

When I hacked my smartphone: A participatory approach

My talk will focus on strategies for increasing data literacy and digital agency in our everyday lives. With the proliferation of mobile devices our social relations and cultural practices are being transformed into discrete data points. Yet so little is known about how these platforms capture, circulate and monetize our engagement. While we are adept users, most of us lack the knowledge and skill to understand what lies behind these opaque blackboxes. I will focus on our interdisciplinary research project Our Data Ourselves which explored innovative approaches to accessing and utilising the social data we produce as a way to practically address data inequalities.

To consider the transformative potential of potential of participatory and action research approaches, this talk will focus on i) our preliminary investigation that accessed the possibilities that arise when young people are given back the data which they are normally structurally precluded from accessing and ii) our ‘techno cultural methodology which we used in a follow-on workshop with humanities researchers, social scientists, undergraduate students, and members of the community who wanted to gain a clearer understanding of the technological objects embedded in the mobile ecosystem we inhabit. Each of these interventions were meant to open discussion and consider ways in which communities can be more actively involved with the ubiquitous flow of social data that they produce.


Graham Lally (OCSI)

In this talk, Graham will draw on OCSI’s 15 years of work with open data and community-level evidence to consider why the data that we deliver is trustworthy in a policy context. Our end users cover a wide variety of needs, skills and experience, and backgrounds – how can our end users understand and be confident in the thousands of datasets that constitute the ‘data supply chain’ that OCSI is a part of? What factors affect how users perceive the data they receive – and more broadly, the organisations responsible for processing this data – to the extent that fair and progressive real-world decisions can be trusted?

Graham is a Director and the Head of Technology at OCSI. He has been with the company for ten years, leading the delivery of data-centric services to over 100 public and third sector clients. He previously studied AI and Science and Technology Policy at Sussex University, and is driven by the potential for simple technologies to be used wisely and to solve global questions.


Claudia Abreu Lopes (University of Cambridge)

What does Twitter data reveal about violence against women in Brazil?

Social media data has been used in social research to gauge public opinion across a range of topics. More recently, social media data has also been used to monitor progress through sustainable development goals, providing timely information to shape interventions. But the validity of social media data is not well-established and questions related to measurement and representation remain central to understand its value for social research.

This talk discusses critical questions about big data and presents a study with a hybrid method that combines Twitter data and survey data to understand violence against women in Brazil. It demonstrates how Twitter data may be a complement to traditional data in tracking social norms towards violence against women providing longitudinal and regional trends.