Posts By / afeigenbaum
Do you have an incomplete paper that you’ve been sitting and can’t seem to finish? Have you recently presented at a conference, but haven’t written-up a paper out of your presentation yet? Did you get a rejection and are struggling to get motivated again? Or maybe you’ve written a couple chapters of your PhD and are hoping to turn one into a publication?
Whatever the scenario, CEMP’s new Publishing Partnership Initiative (PPI) can help you to collaborate with another researcher to turn your ideas into a viable REF-ready journal article. And did we mention, you can win a free dinner for two?
Publishing Partnership Workshop
Thursday January 26th
Talbot Campus, BU
WG 05 (Weymouth House)
To launch the initiative, this workshop will introduce the Publishing Partnership Initiative and help you find a good match to develop your REF output. We will also discuss strategies and tips for working toward REF submissions:
11:00-11:15 Introductions and coffee
11:15-11:30 Welcome to the PPI scheme (Anna and Richard)
11:30-12:00 Hear No Evil, See No Evil: What you need to know about REF and the Sterne review (Julian & Dan J)
12:00-12:45 Interactive session: Strategies for fitting writing into our busy schedules (Brad & Karen)
12:45-13:15 Academic Match.com: Finding the right journal and writing partner for your research output (Anna and Isa)
13:15-14:00 Catered planning lunch with our publishing partners
To participate: Send a 500+ word rough draft or outline of a potential research paper to firstname.lastname@example.org AND Richard email@example.com by Monday 23rd January 2017. This might be an abandoned draft, a conference version of a paper presentation or an outline for a possible research paper. At this stage, any draft you have might be gold, so don’t be shy!
To be a mentor or writing partner: Send an email with a list of your research and methodological areas of expertise to firstname.lastname@example.org AND Richard email@example.com by Monday 23rd January 2017.
Eat your Success! Partners who successfully submit a paper to a peer review journal within the 5 month time frame will receive a ‘dinner for two’ voucher to celebrate their success.*
*Voucher is worth up to £45.00. Does not cover alcoholic beverages.
We will aim to pair colleagues around expertise either in the same research area or in relation to the methodological approach. At least one partner will be accustomed to journal publishing and the REF process, as well as to the challenges facing us to find the time to research and write. In the first instance, this workshop is geared toward UoA 25, 34 and 36 entries (covering Education, Media Practice and Media Studies). For full details see: http://www.civicmedia.io/events-2/publishing-partnership-initiative/
*This project was initiated by Anna Feigenbaum and Richard Berger. It is supported by the UoA 25 development fund, CEMP, the Civic Media Hub & the Journalism Research Group.
A catered lunch will be provided. Events are open to all staff and students, but places are limited. RSVP to attend an innovation lunch to firstname.lastname@example.org
Exploring Methods for Investigating Algorithms and Data Processes w/ Lina Dencik (Cardiff University)
Wednesday December 7th @ 13:00-14:00 F305 (Fusion Building, Talbot Campus)
As algorithms tell us what we want to watch and predict the years we have left to live, few aspects of our social, cultural and economic lives are left untouched from data processes. Despite popular claims, this datification of society is never neutral. What does it look like to study data as emerging sets of power relations? How can we approach algorithms as social processes? Join us for an interdisciplinary discussion on methods for investigating algorithms and data processes.
Bio: Dr Lina Dencik is Senior Lecturer and Director of the MA in Journalism, Media and Communication in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, UK. Her research is concerned with the interplay between media developments and social and political change, with a particular focus on globalization and resistance. She has recently been working on issues relating to surveillance, visibility, and the politics of data. Her most recent book is Critical Perspectives on Social Media and Protest: Between Control and Emancipation (co-edited with Oliver Leistert, Rowman & Littlefield International, 2015).
Our French samples of CS gas would leave our audience feeling sick, so for now we stick to power points when our tear gas research hits the road. Since the new year, members of Bournemouth University’s Civic Media team have had the opportunity to travel all around the country giving talks and workshops at UK Universities. Our Tear Gas project brings together academics, NGOs and digital designers to respond to the need for more publicly accessible information regarding tear gases’ effects on human life, animals and environments. We also consult and advise with organisation’s like Amnesty International on the policies and practices associated with the tear gas trade to help support human rights work around the world.
In February project lead Dr. Feigenbaum was invited to talk at the University of York as part of their Social and Political Sciences speaker series. Then it was over to the University of Sussex in early March, sharing two of our Fusion Funded BU Datalabs projects on Mapping Tear Gas and RiotIDs. Later in March, Dr. Feigenbaum headed into London for an invited talk on ‘Tear Gas and Other Media‘ at the University of Westminster. Then the whole team went up North in April for a RiotID workshop hosted by the University of Sheffield‘s Crick Centre as part of an ESRC Seminar Series. Postgraduate students and Senior Research Assistants Oz Demirkol and Daniel Weissmann, as well as URA Laura McKenna helped deliver a co-creation workshop alongside industry graphic design partner Minute Works and our NGO partner Omega Research Foundation.
To explore the innovative methodology our project employs, combining investigative and data journalism practices, in early May we teamed up with Kings College London‘s new Centre for Digital Culture to host a two-day investigative research workshop, bringing together academics, NGOs and journalist from around Europe. The event was co-sponsored by both MeCCSA Social Movement Network and the Political Science Association, as well as by our research groups at BU. Later that month we were back on the train headed for Keele University’s Media Environments workshop in May. Dr. Feigenbaum and Minute Works co-designed an interactive workshop using our Fusion model for how to turn research into information visualisations for making impact.
Then it was back to London in June for a double header of events on security and arms control at the University College London. First up was a paper presentation on the Wellcome Trust funded part of our research looking at the Communication of Medical Knowledge in Tear Gas History. This two day interdisciplinary and international event was hosted aat UCL’s Global Governance Institute. A symposium directly followed on History, Security and Arms Control that marked the end of Professor Brian Balmer’s AHRC project on the Biological Weapons Convention. Speaking to an audience of 50 academics, policy-makers and NGOs, Dr. Feigenbaum presented on ‘Communication Approaches to the History of Tear Gas’, highlighting how policy-based research can engage with new digital technologies, information design and digital storytelling to make meaningful interventions in arms control.
Up next, in July Dr. Feigenbaum and summer URA Lauren Weeks are heading to the International Association of Media and Communication‘s annual conference to present their paper on the project’s use of social media in addressing issues of policing and human rights. Then it’s time for a holiday!
Our Tear Gas project has brought Bournemouth University’s Fusion vision to universities around the country. This work grew out of two fusion-funded grant projects. It has benefited from Fusion’s cross-faculty collaborations, partner networking opportunities, and working with four URA students over the course of its three years. The fruits of this collaborative labour can be seen in the steady stream of invitations we receive to take our cross-partner, co-creation project on tour–sharing and inspiring about issues that matter.
Check out the interactive maps on our BU Civic Media Hub website to find out!
Everyday tear gas is used around the world, from Brazil to Bahrain, from Thailand to the Occupied Territories of Palestine. Yet, while journalists file news stories of tear gas deployments, there is no national or international data recorded on its use or its effects.
Researchers and campaign groups work hard to raise awareness of the true effects of tear gas, yet its health effects remain undetermined and its death toll ill-defined. Data on tear gas is dispersed across nations, suppressed by governments, and spun by corporate manufacturers with a vested interest in keeping sales figures high. Largely unregulated and unmonitored, the for-profit transnational trade in tear gas continues to raise legal questions, as people around the world face its repressive and often violent effects.
Our 2015 Mapping the Media project sought to aggregate news reports on tear gassing in efforts to make public the frequency and motivations for its use. The maps form part of a larger research project led by Dr. Anna Feigenbaum, Senior Lecturer in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University. The 2015 mapping was done by Dr. Feigenbaum and her Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) Laura McKenna with support from Dr. Pippa Gillingham and the BU Datalabs Team that came together through CCCP Fusion Grant in 2014.
Find out more about digital storytelling for impact from Dr. Feigenbaum’s blog post on the topic.
Responding to a request for more data on tear gas misuse in Council of Europe member states, the BU Datalabs team hosted a daylong data hack day to aggregate information and produce a report for the Council of Europe. The report offers a brief summary analysis of Human Rights investigations into the misuse of tear gas on peaceful and civilian protesters. It covers member states of the Council of Europe that came under investigation in a sample of publicly available reports published between 2006 and 2016.
Our summary report shares a number of key findings regarding human rights concerns. These findings include data indicating that tear gas is frequently being used in confined and enclosed spaces, which can increase the likelihood of suffocation, stampeding and related injuries and deaths. Tear gas is also being used in places with uninvolved bystanders, and in places where there are vulnerable populations, such as near, or even inside, hospitals and schools.
Another major finding of the report reveals the lack of adequate and transparent record keeping on police use of force. No Council of Europe member state currently keeps publicly available statistics on police use of force with tear gas or other less lethal weapons. This means that there is no access to information on the amount of tear gas that is used, where it is used, or what injuries and deaths it causes.
We conclude our report with a list of 9 recommendations for change. Primary among these is a call for member states to comply with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
Our full report is available to read and download here:USE OF TEAR GAS ON PEACEFUL PROTESTERS BY COUNCIL OF EUROPE MEMBER STATES
Dr. Anna Feigenbaum, Laura McKenna, Ozlem Demirkol, Tim Sontheimer, Daniel Weissmann, Charlotte Souter-Phillips, Thomas Dence, and Wilfred Collins-Fierkens conducted research for this report. With thanks to Dr. Phillipa Gillingham and Dr. Einar Thorsen for guidance, and a special thanks to Laura McKenna who worked as the Research Assistant throughout this project.
The Omega Research Foundation is part funded by the European Instrument on Democracy and Human Rights.
Civic Media Hack Day: Human Rights and Policing
Feb 9th 2016
W403 (Computer Lab, Weymouth House)
Open to all UG students, PG students, staff and the wider BU community. To register email: email@example.com
On Tuesday February 9th Bournemouth University’s Civic Media Hub – Datalabs team will have a ‘Hack Day’ at Bournemouth University, pulling together news and human rights data to feed into an investigation for the Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.
The Council and UN Special Rapporteur is looking for figures on death and serious injury from tear gas in member countries for their March 2016 policy meeting. Our Hack Day at BU stands to have a direct impact on European human rights policy-making, shaping the regulation of policing in member states. There will also be opportunities to write and pitch journalistic stories arising from the investigation, as well as for mapping data.
During the hack day, we will use investigative web searching, as well as basic data scraping techniques to aggregate and verify records of tear gas deaths and serious injuries in Council of Europe member states. This will involve, in particular, working with data and reliable sources from human rights reports, news organisations and medical institutions. If you are new to these methods, mentorship will be provided on the day – all welcome.
There will be a briefing on the task from 10:00-10:30. After that, you are welcome to come for all of the day or part of the day. It is also fine to pop in and out.
There will be lunch and refreshments provided throughout the day.
Please RSVP if you would like to attend by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
At Engage 2015 we focused on how data visualisations of research processes, findings and outputs can be created to reach different kinds of audiences. Stressing the importance of combining storytelling techniques, design principles and communication strategies into data visualisation, we designed two hands-on exercises for participants to put their public engagement expertise to work.
Sharing the ‘aesthetics of research’ with participants, James looked at how a data visualisation approach—when embedded throughout the research process from data gathering to research promotion—can increase public engagement and build pathways to impact. He noted that without data visualisation, there was little audience for this data on Iran’s human rights records, but after it’s re-imagining it as a data visualisation project, engagement soared.
On Tuesday 13 october 2015, Dr. Darren Lilleker, Dr. Dan Jackson and Dr. Anna Feigenbaum from the Faculty of Media and Communication travelled up to London to lead sessions at the Political Studies Association’s first annual PSA Schools Conference. The event brought together 150 Sixth Form students from schools around London and the South East for an afternoon of exploring Pressure Groups, Anti-politics and Representation. In packed out workshop room, Dr. Lilleker and Dr. Jackson sparked debate over the rise of digital politics, asking in their session on Social Media and Political Communication, “Does social media offer a new way to develop a more dialogical relationship between citizens and their elected representatives?” Reflecting on the workshop, Dr. Lilleker said, ““It was interesting to hear the views of young people on digital media use and get them thinking about how their behaviour links to broader social trends in political engagement.”
Dr. Anna Feigenbaum’s session drew from her research into protest camping. She engaged students in a hands-on activity, designing blueprints and political strategies for their own hypothetical protest camps. Choosing Women’s Equality as their campaign issue, following a compelling keynote by Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party, the students choose their protest sites, including Parliament and the Playboy Mansion. From clever hashtags to lodging people on houseboats in the Thames to politically subversive games of pin-the-tail-on-the-bunny, students showed their creativity and tactical savvy.
Taking part in the Question and Answer Panel Session that rounded out the day, Dr. Anna Feigenbaum joined Campbell Robb, CEO of Shelter; David Bowles, Director of Public Affairs of RSPCA; Graham Smith, CEO of Republic and Maddy Ryle of the Democracy Centre in a lively discussion facilitated by Dr Andy Mycock (University of Huddersfield) that ranged from the purpose of direct action to strategic uses of the law in political campaigning. Covering questions of Britishness and the Monarchy and the ethics of lobbying, sixth formers in the audience showed they were far more than an apathetic generation of youth. Politically reflective and insightful, they spoke of media misrepresentations of the working class, the need to scrutinise profiteering bankers, growing inequality in representative politics and when engaging in civil disobedience might be justified.
Speaking of his participation in the event, Dr. Jackson – who also convenes the PSA Media and Politics Specialist Group – said, “It is great to engage young people with some of the big political challenges of our day. Plus, this is a great way to put Bournemouth on the map, in terms of politics education at BU, as we develop our curriculum around politics, political communication and social movements.” Based on the success and positive feedback from this first event, the Political Science Association has plans to make the conference an annual affair. An exciting opportunity to share our BU Research in an interactive way with young people, we would encourage colleagues to join in future events!
With thanks to James Ludley and Helena Djurkovic of the PSA for organising this innovative event.
Dr Anna Feigenbaum, a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Media and Communication, last week launched the #RiotID project along with John Horne from Birmingham University and the Omega Research Foundation. An output of the Fusion funded BU Datalabs project, #RiotID is a civic media guide helping people identify, monitor and record the use of riot control agents against civilians. The web-based and downloadable #RiotID guide was designed by Minute Works and is currently being distributed at Banksy’s Dismaland as part of the Cruel Designs Exhibition curated by Dr. Gavin Grindon.
Everyday, around the world, law enforcement officers use tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and other riot control weapons on civilians. While these devices are marketed as safe and humane ‘less lethal’ weapons, they regularly cause injuries and even deaths.
The Turkish Medical Association states, “As doctors we declare that the use of tear gas whose acute and chronic effects on health have been sufficiently proven must be fully prohibited.” Likewise, members of the European Respiratory Society have shared their concerns over these weapons, “Our findings suggest that people who live and work close to protests are also seeing harmful effects on the lungs from the use of this gas. We have also found that the effect on the protesters lasts longer than we previously thought.
The ‘less lethality’ of riot control weapons is largely predicated on their appropriate use, following strict, clinically trailed guidelines. Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials that is meant to regulate the use of riot control weapons. Yet, while regulations and guidelines are provided by the UN, there is currently no effective legal oversight or international regulation of their export, trade or everyday use.
#RiotID in Action
The #RiotID guide has already made its way into real world use during an inter-faith community protest in Beit Jala against Israel’s separation wall in Palestine that appropriates residential land. Peaceful protest participants carried the#RiotID guides with them as the marched.
#RiotID is designed to help people medically respond, monitor human rights violations, challenge use of force abuses, and identify the manufacturer and country of origin of these devices. It aims to help close the gap between how police are advised to use these weapons and how they are used in reality in ways that cause danger to civilians.
The guid enables people to photo document and upload images to twitter for identification by our team of experts. The guides are currently available in English and Arabic from: http://riotid.com/print-your-own-riotid/ More translations will follow.
Carried out between January 2015 and July 2015, our Fusion CCCP and RKEO Small Grant funded BU Datalabs project explored the possibilities and challenges associated with the communicative power of visualizations, maps and related interactive digital media for telling data stories on sensitive subjects of societal importance.
We use the term Data Storytelling to refer to the process of creating data-driven stories, from data collection all the way through to crafting the visual and contextual narratives that give data meaning(Greshon and Ward 2001).
Through a series innovative Datalabs events and workshops, we used a hands-on, participatory approach to teaching that combined principles of scaffolded technology learning and hacklabs (Hmelo-Silver et al., 2007). Activities included:
- Data Scraping & Cleaning – Monday March 16 and Tuesday March 17, 2015
- Data Visualisation with Mapping – Monday April 27 and Tuesday April 28, 2015
- Digital Storytelling with Data – Thursday May 14 and Friday May 15, 2015
- Mapping for Justice – 2 June 2015, w/ Richmond, American University in London
- Interdisciplinary Research Week: Turning Numbers into Narratives: An introduction to digital storytelling with data –14 May 2015, Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University
- Festival of Learning: Datastorytelling: How to Give Narrative to Numbers –13 July 2015, Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University
- Civic Forensics Design Workshop – 20 July 2015, Friends House, London
Prioritising collaborative exchange, we brought together researchers, students, journalists and NGOs to generate key insights and co-create tangible outputs. Partners included the Omega Research Foundation, who co-author reports with Amnesty International, and Minute Works, whose sustainable design roster includes Greenpeace. Together with our partners we co-created visualisation outputs including the Data Distortion Layer Cake, the Reclaim Brixton map, and the #RiotID civic forensics project. Partners also went on to put their new visualisation skills into action. Our partner IRIN, a humanitarian news agency, created infographics and maps, including this interactive map of migrant deaths.
Feedback from our survey of Datalabs participants showed that most people’s familiarity with the tools and concepts taught during the workshops increased substantially, with most participants leaving the workshops feeling ‘familiar’ or ‘experienced’ with the basic tools and techniques of Data Storytelling.
Challenges and Opportunities
The emergent area of data storytelling provides both opportunities and challenges. Like any new digital skill, visualising data requires time and resources. This puts NGOs and small organisations at a disadvantage in terms of their ability to tell compelling data stories with visualisation. This disadvantage does not only manifest itself in the lack of resources to afford certain technologies, but also to afford know-how in the form of data visualization designers that are being “snatched up” by the corporate sector to work under Non-Disclosure Agreements (Wilson 2015).
In addition, while the rise of digital tools and techniques certainly diversifies the kinds of narratives we can tell with numbers, not all data stories are easy to capture. Sensitive subjects often have no straightforward data source, documents are scattered across agencies and organisations.
Our BU Datalabs project contributed to broader initiatives to bridge the emerging ‘big data divide’ that stands to leave the third sector and SMEs behind. Here at BU, we can help to narrow this divide by bringing together our skills and resources with stakeholder partners, to co-create visual resources and data stories for public engagement.
Our BU Datalabs Report reflects on the key insights that arose out of this co-creation project. The aim of the final report is to show how other universities and organisations can use our model as a template, enabling their organisations to co-create data stories with public stakeholders. A preliminary version of the report was presented at the Data Power conference in Sheffield in June 2015. A further presentation is scheduled for November 2015 at the Media Education Summit in Boston, USA.
This year we are working to institute Datalabs activities and Data Storytelling education at BU through continuing collaborations between the Faculty of Media and Communication, the Data Science Institute, and the GIS Lab. We also continue to work with our partners as we prepare for larger bids.
Our next public Datalabs event is scheduled during the ESRC Festival of Social Science. This day long workshop on Datastorytelling will take you through the full process of creating a data story, from scraping and cleaning to crafting the narrative.
Gershon, N. and Ward P., 2001. ‘What Storytelling Can Do For Information Visualization’. Commun. ACM, 44 (8),pp.31-37.
Hmelo-Silver, C.E., Duncan, R.G. and Chinn, C.A., 2007. Scaffolding and Achievement in Problem-Based and Inquiry Learning: A Response to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist, 42(2), pp.99-107.
Wilson, M., 2015. What Killed The Infographic? Fast Company, [blog] 6 May, Available at: <http://www.fastcodesign.com/3045291/what-killed-the-infographic> [Accessed 27 July 2015].
EB202 (Lansdowne Campus)
Friday 3 July
Sea levels rise, droughts, floods and superstorms destroy livelihoods and force migration. Entrenched in militarised security cultures, nature is rendered unstable, a risk, a threat to be mitigated and controlled. And those people, displaced and disenfranchised, are deemed by security discourses as byproducts. They too must be managed, subdued, contained. It is no longer only the boundless threat of terrorism that fuels xenophobic pursuits of absolute security, now too, the climate is coming. As hybrid, state-private security partnerships enter ever more profitable deals to secure borders, investment firms are busy weatherproofing the rich, and protest against the corporate purveyors of climate change continues to be violently cracked down. This workshop considers the contours of Policing the Anthropocene, interrogating the cross-sections of climate, capitalism and security.
Dr Nafeez Ahmed Institute for Policy Research & Development
Dr Anja Kanngieser AUSCCER/ Department of Geography, University of Wollongong
Dr Steve Wright Politics and Applied Global Ethics, Leeds Beckett University
They are all tools for digital storytelling. On Thursday May 14th, the Fusion-funded, inter-faculty BU Datalabs team presented at Interdisciplinary Research Week. Guests from across the University and beyond came to learn about digital storytelling and how visual data stories can better communicate the significance of research findings to policy-makers and the public.
Weathering the rain, the event kicked off with a reflective exercise called ‘Analogue Twitter.’ Participants were asked to write down a story of their research in 140 characters or less. From sports management to midwifery, research stories spanned the disciplines.
To get things going, Senior Lecturer in Digital Storytelling, Dr. Brad Gyori brought his expertise in interactive media, and his experience as the Head Writer of the Emmy award winning show Talk Soup, to introduce the audience to the many storytelling patterns that have emerged with the rise and innovation of digital platforms. Digital storytelling can range from Fishbone narratives that have one main linear narrative with suggested diversions, to the Amusement Park that offers loosely clustered, different perspectives with no central hub, as we see in Highrise: Out of my Window.
Next up, Dr. Anna Feigenbaum, a Senior Lecturer from the Faculty of Media and Communications, introduced the audience to the power of storytelling with maps and infographics. Drawing from her own tear gas project and others’ expertise, she explored how visuals can act as ‘infobait’, drive curiosity, and interrupt dominant narratives.
After lunch, BU Datalabs project partner Malachy Browne from the social media journalism outfit reportedly shared insights and strategies for using online tools to do investigative research, share your findings, and dig deeper into social data. From apigee for APIs to mine social media data, to wolframalpha that can return the weather from any date in history, Browne made connections between the tools of his trade and the possibilities for expanding our digital methods in academia.
For more information on the BU Datalabs project, email: email@example.com If you would like to get involved, we will be hosting a meeting open to all staff and students in early July. Details to follow.
Digital transformations in communications have led to the increasing popularity of data visualisations and the use of maps and other multimedia interactives for representing complex data. Often, these visual data stories can better communicate the significance of research findings to policy-makers and the public. Beyond engendering greater comprehension, this turn to the visual can also tap into our emotions and cultural values.
Next week the Fusion CCCP funded Datalabs project brings you Datalabs 3: Digital Storytelling with Data. Bringing together academic colleagues, learning support and IT staff, UG and PG students, as well as external stakeholders and community participants, the Datalabs project is co-creating digital skills and data literacy through hands-on workshops. Our first two events have been oversubscribed, so please register early to secure your participation!
Datalabs 3 hosts two events.
14 May 2015 register here
MASTERCLASS: Turning Numbers into Narratives: An introduction to digital storytelling with data
Time: 11:00-14:00 (Please note there will be lunch served at 12:30)
Location: KG01, Kimmeridge House, Talbot Campus
In this Masterclass, we will introduce the audience to the emerging interdisciplinary field of data storytelling research. Drawing on a range of contemporary examples, we will present a variety of techniques and technologies for creating data stories.
Friday 15 May 2015 register here
WORKSHOP: Digital Storytelling with Data
Time: 10:00-16:00 (Please note there will be lunch served at 12:30)
Location: W403, Weymouth House, Talbot Campus
In this hands-on workshop we will engage with data visualisation tools, gaining insight into the process that data storytellers use to get information online and out into the public. We will take participants from spreadsheet to headline, looking at how narrative practices shape the ways we design visualisations to tell stories with data. We will also reflect on the ethical questions that come with turning numbers in narratives.
Digital technologies like google maps have transformed the ways people relate to visual representations of geographic space. From zoom functionality on street view, to rainbow coloured social network graphs, people are engaging their geographical imaginations to produce visual representations that matter to them and their research.
This second Datalabs event introduces participants to mapping tools and techniques for visual analysis and storytelling with spatial data. On Day 1 you will explore open source software for mapping location-linked data, discovering how to scale, symbolise and tell stories with the maps that you make. Then on Day 2 we learn how APIs work to retrieve information from social network sites like twitter and facebook. You will explore how to turn this social media data into maps and create mashups with other data, creating stories for public engagement and finding new, collaborative research questions along the way.
Our innovative datalabs format combines Masterclasses with hands-on workshop sessions to enhance and share skills around working with data for civic and humanitarian research and public engagement. Datalabs involve students and staff from across BU’s faculties, as well as participating NGOs, journalists and digital designers.
Our popular first event was oversubscribed, so register early to take part in this exciting interdisciplinary initiative! Monday April 27th – Tuesday April 28th: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/datalabs-2-maps-and-mashups-tickets-16433088811
Datalabs is a Fusion CCCP Funded project. The project team includes: Dr. Anna Feigenbaum, Dr. Einar Thorsen, Dr. Pippa Gillingham, Professor, Dr.Hamid Bouchachia, Dr. Dan Jackson, Dr. Shelley Thompson, Dr. Nathan Farrell, Dr. Edward Apeh, Dr. Duncan Golicher, Dr. Rebecca Edwards, Robert Munday, Oz Dermirkal and stakeholder coordinator, John Horne.
The Civic Media hub was established in 2014 and brings together a multidisciplinary, cross-Faculties team of researchers and students that work in collaboration with external stakeholders to co-create effective ways of tackling important social issues. We combine expertise from humanities, social sciences, geography, computer science and data analytics. Bios for the Datalabs team can be found at http://www.civicmedia.io/#team
On Thursday March 26th, a dozen colleagues from around BU participated in a seminar on REF and Impact Monitoring in the Social Sciences. The Impact session organised by Professor Ann Brooks from HSC was led by Sociology Professor John Scott, an active academic citizen and prolific writer, often at the cutting edge of his field. Professor Scott has served on the Sociology RAE/REF panel for the past 15 years of exercises, as well as overseeing a submission for Plymouth University.
Professor Scott started the seminar with a brief history of the development of research assessment, setting the exercise in the context of our ‘audit culture’ of regulation in academia. As the REF changed once more for the 2014 cycle, the big question we now face is: how will the ‘impact agenda’ influence and shape research practice?
Speaking of the challenges of creating REF input plans, Scott discussed the personal cost that comes with making strategic decision of who should be included in what subject area. People doing very strong research can end up excluded from a submission because they are not a good fit with the university’s strategy for putting units together. Taking seriously the effects of this interpersonal dimension of REF planning should be incorporated throughout the process.
Scott summarised the profiling system used in REF 2014 that is likely to run again for REF 2020. Panels judge Outputs (65%), Environment (15%) and Impact (20%). He explained that the process works similar to exam second marking. After rating a sample of submissions from across these profile elements, panel members met to look for patterns and reach consensus on the reasoning behind allocating 3* and 4* marks. This was done across subject areas, for example, trying to compare an architect’s built shed and a medical researcher’s new diagnostic system.
Scott reinforced that citation indexes were not the driving factor in rankings. While citation indexes might be discussed as evidence, there is a clear understanding now with HEFCE that high citations can be because a paper is great—or terrible.
Impact in REF 2014
With the new impact component for REF 2014, universities submitted one case study for every 8 academics, with a minimum of 2 case studies needed for any submission unit. Alongside the Case Study comes an Impact Statement on strategy and approach to impact, which is equally assessed. Tracing some of the history of the rise of the impact agenda, Scott noted the role government expectations played and the fuzziness of the definition of impact.
As this was people’s first go at writing impact statements, universities took very different approaches. The retrospective collection of evidence often led to an ‘impact as add-on’ and the top-down approach to grouping together impact case studies. With more planning time for REF 2020, it is important to take a more systematic and dynamic approach to grouping case studies.
Scott emphasised that economic impact is only one aspect of impact. Cultural and Societal value does not need to be measured in financial terms. Panels in the Social Sciences and Humanities understand that impact has different definitions and overlaps between spheres. He highlighted that impact can be on the local, regional, national or international level.
For REF 2014, people tended to play it safe, going for the most obvious and easy to measure kinds of impact. It was difficult to find a balance between offering guidance and keeping things open so people did not feel constrained. Offering the example of a case study on conversation analysis, Scott discussed how researchers’ documented the ways their work was taken up by people working with pension claimants to improve relationships and workplace effectiveness.
Scott described how impact is assessed in terms of reach and significance. ‘Reach’ is not a reference to geographical scope, but how many people in a given area of impact you reach. For significance the assessment is for ‘how much’ something changed—a policy, a practice, a mode of delivery — but this is still a qualitative judgement.
In the second half of the seminar we moved to discuss methods of collecting and demonstrating impact in our research. Scott opened the conversation with another exam metaphor—panel members can only assess what is on the page.
Unlike outputs that you can carry across institutions, impact case studies must be for research undertaken in your submitting institution. While this can be hard for researchers changing home universities, for universities it means that, in principle, impact for former, retired or deceased colleagues can be counted. This was a big issue in REF 2014 and may arise in the consultations for REF 2020.
For REF 2020 it is likely that Jan 1st 2000 will be the start date of the research period, with impact demonstration assessed from January 1st 2014. This means that for the next REF esearch we have already conducted may be evaluated for impact, though there is room to include ‘emerging impact’ for later research.
Scott emphasised the need to have mechanisms in place for collecting evidence of impact. For REF 2014, researchers largely collected this on their own, but for REF 2020, it is important that institutions support this process, in addition to it being built into the research project.
In assessing impact, REF panels are looking for three key aspects:
- Quality underpinning research: the 2* threshold
- Significance and reach of impact: the evidence
- Compelling narrative linking research
The different time frames for outputs and impact means that the (1) underpinning research being evaluated is often not the same as your research outputs. In relation to what ‘counts’ as underpinning research we discussed nontraditional research from both ends of the spectrum—research done under commercial or government secrecy agreements, and research done in entirely open access and digital forums. For REF 2014 these cases were dealt with on an ad-hoc problem-solving basis. For REF 2020, if people become more adventurous in their submissions, more dynamic modes of assessing impact will be needed.
For all submissions, Scott noted the importance of disentangling research processes from research impact. For researchers engaged in participatory and action research methods, this means explicitly linking the background academic context and theoretical basis of your research, separately from the purely applied aspects. It becomes very important to demonstrate both how your new academic research is innovative and how you evaluated its impact (i.e. carrying out an impact assessment within your own project).
In relation to (2) Scott discussed the ways you can use either qualitative or quantitative forms of evidencing impact—anything from press reports and media coverage, to a survey carried out independently, to letters of support from policymakers or industry. You can also track feedback and comments you have gotten from readers, as well as hits on your website. These are a starting place for evidencing impact and the kinds of things that institutional support will be helpful for.
This is also where (3) narrative is so important. With impact, you are telling a story that goes from the academic context of your research through to the demonstrable effects your research has had beyond academia.
Key Questions the REF 2014 panels asked about impact were:
- What was the research activity: a person, a project, or a programme?
- Was research actually carried out at the university?
- Was the research carried out within the time period allowed?
- Did the impact occur within the time period allied?
- Did the research actually contribute to the impact?
- Is there supporting evidence for the impact?
REF 2020 – Going Forward
For the next REF, HEFCE is looking into refining impact assessment. This includes their analysis of measurement tools, expansion of impact criteria, and reflection on how to best operationalise these.
As universities devise institutional support mechanisms for collecting evidence of impact, here are some practical things you can do:
- Look for reviews that make reference to your research
- Track website visits, press appearances, public forms of citations
- Keep a folder of emails you receive from outside academia mentioning how your work is being taken up
- Make sure to devise mechanisms for tracking impact into your research projects from the start (surveys, feedback)
Returning to strategy to finish off the session, Professor Scott reminded us that not everyone has to be putting out 4* outputs and 4* impact case studies! When organising for REF 2020 it will be important to embrace and support the diversity of our colleagues’ strengths.
FOR MORE ON REF REFLECTIONS & HEFCE READ: http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2015/03/26/ref-update-hefces-reflections-event-25-march-2015/
Big data, small data, everyday data. New technologies have reshaped what we know and how we find out about world events, conflicts and scandals. The collection, the aggregation, and later the manipulation and visualisation of open and shared datasets are now essential across many fields of research and public communication.
Next week at Bournemouth University we are hosting the first of three Fusion funded co-creation Datalabs. Datalabs are participatory workshops designed to enhance and share skills around working with data for civic and humanitarian research and public engagement. Datalabs involve students and staff from across BU’s faculties, as well as participating NGOs, journalists and digital designers.
Our first Datalab on Scraping and Cleaning combines a Masterclass and workshop to introduce participants to tools and techniques for scraping data from the web. We will go over how you format and organise data in spreadsheets. Discussing basic methods for data storytelling, the workshop will provide training in how to find data stories within datasets. We will also introduce geo-coding, making data ready for mapping.
To register to attend March 16th and March 17th Datalbs, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the project and future sessions see: http://www.civicmedia.io/datalabs/
To get the most out of the day we ask that you arrive promptly for the slotted programme sessions.
On Friday February 13, 2015 eighteen researchers across all stages of their careers came together for our CEMP Research Away Day. Hosted at the Old School House By the Sea in Boscombe, the day focused on how we can foster our media & education research culture, from REF strategy to collaboration building, both at BU and beyond.
Kicking us off with REF and Impact, Rebecca Edwards from RKEO spoke about key issues including the new Open Access Guidelines and how we can work to evidence our impact. She summed up 8 key points to takeaway:
1. Know your Open Access
2. Go Gold when possible – use RKEO fund
3. Collaborate with other institutions and international colleagues
4. Identify and developing Impact Case Studies
5. Evidencing your Impact as you go along (testimonials, visitor counts, etc)
6. Promote your research on the BU research website
7. Aim to increase research income
8. Focus on PhD registrations and completions
Sound like a gigantic task for just one person? These goals are not for individuals to accomplish alone. Working in teams and groups is key for doing innovative research, producing outputs and building successful bids. Making connections between our work is a necessary beginning.
Isabella Rega’s Making Connections session got the group talking about where our interests intersect. Using three different coloured post-it notes, we wrote down the issues (green), methods (pink) and stakeholders (yellow) that we work with. Participatory research methods, HE teaching and learning, and Education and Social Change emerged as key overlaps.
Out of these connections some concrete plans emerged, including turning fusion project output into educational resources and a participatory methods workshop day.
From project plans to project afterlife, we shifted to speak about documenting and evidencing impact. We looked at four case studies of research projects including ETAG and Copyrightuser.org, their significance and who they reached. Rebecca Edwards provided advice on how we evidence, measure and track our project’s impact. Sometimes these impacts can be anticipated, but more often there is serendipity and surprise.
-Tiers of influence
-Is influencing an organisation enough? How do we understand what this was?
-Formal letters from key institutions
-If you’ve done research at another institution it doesn’t count at our institution. Impact stays at institution. Reason is because it is usually about groups.
-Entire groups can be rewarded for impact
-Demonstrate the evidence of impact on policy —> Following the story
-Distinct contribution of the University
-Can’t always see the impact from the outset —> serendipity involved, not always
-visitors counts and the result of them
After a tasty, if unidentifiable food-filled lunch from Bosconova, we ran a reflection session on barriers to research bidding and publishing. Designed to get us thinking about the personal and structural constraints on our research, the session helped us room-source practical solutions to common challenges.
Richard Wallis got us back up on our feet with a enthusiastic round of Research Speed Dating. Partnering up with colleagues for short bursts of time, we quickly exchanged project ideas offering feedback and fostering more research connections. Julian McDougall and Richard Berger rounded out the afternoon with a go-around. Everyone shared their upcoming plans and outlined the support they would need to achieve them.
Described by participants as a “fantastic day,” we left feeling the best kind of inspired: more excited and less exhausted about the research plans that lay ahead for CEMP’s growing educational research community.
Anna Feigenbaum is a CEMP Fellow. To find out more about CEMP and how to get involved, check out the website: http://www.cemp.ac.uk/