Data Justice Lab Seminar with Professor Richard Heeks

We are honoured and delighted to have Professor Richard Heeks from Manchester University join us for a seminar on Wednesday 6th of December to discuss his groundbreaking work on data justice. Below are the details for anyone who wants to join us!

Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 4pm, Rm 0.05, Bute Building

Professor Richard Heeks (University of Manchester)

Title: Conceptualising and Applying Data Justice

 Abstract: Building from the literature on justice, this presentation will discuss different ways in which data justice may be conceptualised.  This includes just impacts of data systems (instrumental data justice), just handling of data (procedural data justice), and deeper ideas around rights-based and structural data justice.  The presentation will then explore the results of current research utilising a combined conceptualisation that draws from Amartya Sen’s ideas on justice as growth in freedoms and capabilities.  This is applied to recent pro-equity digital interventions in urban contexts of the global South, such as community mapping and e-participatory budgeting.  It finds incremental improvements in data justice relating to visibility and engagement of marginalised urban communities; but that structural constraints have so far limited the extent to which data justice is delivered.  The presentation concludes with some ideas on future research and practice priorities for those wishing to promote data justice.

 Bio: Richard Heeks is Chair in Development Informatics at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, UK; and Director of the Centre for Development Informatics.  He has been consulting and researching on informatics and development for more than 30 years.  His book publications include Implementing and Managing eGovernment (2006), and Information and Communication Technology for Development (2017).  His research interests are data-intensive development, e-resilience and e-sustainability, digital development, and the digital economy in developing countries.

Data Justice Lab Seminar with Dr Anna Feigenbaum

We are delighted to welcome Dr Anna Feigenbaum (Bournemouth University) to the Data Justice Lab at Cardiff University. Anna will give a talk on uses of data in social justice research in relation to her new book Tear Gas published by Verso. The talk will take place on Wednesday 29th of November at 4pm in Bute Building, room 0.05. The talk is free and open to all. Further details about the talk and Anna below.

From Scraping to Storytelling: Dealing with Data in Social Justice Research

Drawing from my experience founding the Bournemouth University-based, Civic Media Hub and Datalab project, in this reflective research presentation I highlight challenges and opportunities that come with practices of data storytelling for social justice. Specifically, I reflect on data gathering, the ethics of data visualization, and the problem of data distortion, particularly when working with sensitive issues and vulnerable populations.

While the rise of big and open data diversifies the kinds of stories we can tell with numbers, sensitive subjects often have no straightforward data source, documents are scattered across agencies and organisations, or are kept hidden. This ‘uneven transparency’ raises important questions about the duty to document (Larsen 2014), particularly in regard to vulnerable populations (prisoners, detainees, those living in conflict zones).

In relation to data visualization, recent years have seen an increasing popularity of the use of infographics, maps and other media interactives. At the same time, giving visual narrative to numbers comes with risks and ethical issues that researchers must address, including the statistical and graphic representation of people’s lives and deaths.

Linked to these challenges of access to data and its representation, perhaps the biggest challenges in data-driven storytelling is data distortion. In every stage of the data storytelling process, from gathering information to circulating a visualisation on social media, distortion can come into play. For this reason we believe that transparency around data storytelling processes and data sources is at the heart of data storytelling for social justice.

Dr. Anna Feigenbaum is the author of  Protest Camps (Zed 2013), Tear Gas (Verso 2017) and the forthcoming Data Storytelling Workbook with Minute Works design studio (Routledge 2019). She is a Principal Academic in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University where she is the PI and founder of the BU Civic Media Hub and Datalabs project. Established in 2014, this project was designed to bring together a multidisciplinary, cross-Faculty team of academics and students from Communications, Geography and Data Science to work in collaboration with Journalists, NGOs and digital designers to co-create effective ways of engaging sensitive social issues through data analysis and communications. Through continued workshops and public events, our team engages in a participatory approach to data storytelling that combines principles of design, narrative theory, scaffolded technology learning and hacklab style collaborations. Read more at:

Research Assistant on ‘Data Scores’

The Data Justice Lab is looking for a Research Assistant (9 months, fixed term) to work on the project ‘Data Scores as Governance: Investigating uses of citizen scoring’ and assist with developing the profile of the Data Justice Lab.

Main responsibilities:
– Investigate the use of data scores across different levels of government, through internet research, document analysis, and academic literature reviews
– Plan and conduct research interviews with members of public, private and non-profit sectors
– Support the development of digital research outputs, including a visual interactive map
– Help organise a project-related workshop
– Contribute to research publications and presentations
– Help with the development of the Data Justice Lab, including administering the Lab’s website, exploring funding opportunities and institutional collaborations, and developing research ideas.

You should have a degree (MA or PhD) in media and communications, social sciences or a related field; an understanding of, and interest in, the role of ‘big data’ in society, and the processes and implications of datafication; knowledge of research methods and techniques, particularly interviews; and be comfortable working with partners from a diverse background (academia, policy, technology, civil society).

Deadline for applications: 4th of December, 2017
Expected start date: 1st of January, 2018
Apply here:

For queries, contact Lina Dencik (, Arne Hintz ( or Joanna Redden (

Research Assistant on ‘Data Policies’

The Data Justice Lab is looking for a Research Assistant (3 months, part-time) to work on the project ‘Data Policies: Regulatory Approaches for Data-Driven Platforms in the UK and EU’.

Main responsibilities:
– Conduct a review of academic literature, policy papers and online resources on the implications of recent policy changes in the UK and EU for data processing by internet platforms
– Conduct a review of academic literature, policy papers and online resources regarding policy innovations for data collection, analysis and use
– Prepare research interviews with policymakers and other relevant stakeholders
– Help organise a project-related workshop

You should have a degree or other relevant experience in media studies, law, political science, or a related field; an understanding of, and interest in, the role of ‘big data’ in society, and its policy environment; relevant research skills; and be comfortable working with partners from a diverse background (academia, policy, technology, civil society).

Expected start date: 1st of January, 2018
Application deadline: 4 December 2017.

Apply by sending a CV and cover letter that explains your interest and relevant experience to

Data Justice Lab to participate in the Glass Room exhibition

We are very excited to be participating in the GLASS ROOM exhibition curated by the Tactical Technology Collective, which will run in London from 25th of October until 12th of November. We will be doing a workshop on citizen scoring on November 5th from 3pm-5pm. You can find details here and register for the workshop:

2 fully-funded PhD studentships on ERC project DATAJUSTICE

2 Fully-funded PhD studentships to work with Dr Lina Dencik on the ERC Starting Grant project DATAJUSTICE at Cardiff’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

The project DATAJUSTICE explores the meaning of social justice in an age of datafication.

It is premised on two significant developments:

  1. the shift to a focus on the collection and processing of massive amounts of data across social life
  2. the increasing concern with the societal implications of such processes.

Whilst initial concern with the technical ability to ‘datafy’ and collect information on ever-more social activity focused on surveillance and privacy, increasing emphasis is being placed on the fact that data processes are not ‘flat’ and do not implicate everyone in the same way, but, rather, are part of a system of ‘social sorting’, creating new categories of citizens, and premised on an emerging order of ‘have’ and ‘have nots’ between data profilers and data subjects. In such a context, questions of social justice and datafication require detailed study. This project frames this research agenda around the notion of ‘data justice’.

The project will focus on developments in Europe and will combine the study of technical systems with the study of practices, experiences and policy frameworks in different contexts. It is principally concerned with examining the impacts of datafication on marginalized communities and implications for social and economic rights.

Projects should particularly engage with developments in Europe concerning data systems and algorithmic decision-making in relation to one or a combination of the following areas:

  • governance of refugees and migrants
  • hiring and management of low-wage work
  • discrimination in law enforcement and policing.

European Research Council (ERC) studentships are highly competitive. You should hold a 1st or strong upper 2nd class Master’s or equivalent degree in one of the following disciplines: sociology, media and communication, politics, international relations, development studies, criminology, industrial relations.

Experience working with social justice issues and marginalized communities will also be considered, and applicants with such backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply.

Deadline for applications: October 20th, 2017

Interview date: November 8th, 2017

Start date: February 1st, 2018

Apply here: