Very recently my colleagues, Dr Anna Feigenbaum (FMC) and Aria Alamalhodaei, co-authors of the recent The Data Storytelling Workbook (Routledge, 2020), for which I am a research illustrator, have collaborated again to create a webcomic that responds to data literacy needs highlighted by the emotional responses to COVID-19 data visualisations which are very prominent during this time.
From instructional hand-washing infographics, to calls to ‘flatten the curve,’ data visualisations are telling us how to live, and predicting our possible futures. As the cascade of open data relating to the COVID-19 virus grows, so too do the charts and graphs claiming to decipher, decode, and translate this data for everyday understanding.
Our hope is that by presenting data literacy principles to our readers we can provide analytical tools needed to give back a sense of empowerment and grounding when encountering COVID-19 data visualisations. In order to do this we have presented key points made by designers, researchers, and data storytellers who are working to educate on and highlight practices that do not contribute to ‘fake news,’ alarmist and harmful data visualisations.
COVID-19 Data Literacy is for Everyone was published on Nightingale, The Journal of the Data Visualisation Society on Medium. Within minutes of being live the webcomic was selected as a quality contribution and will be featured on Medium more broadly to the data science community.
In order to have a positive impact through this work, we are currently putting together a multi-audience based lesson plan for educators to use with their students. Since sharing we have received positive feedback from across the web and, based on one of these interactions, are now working with a new collaborator to translate the webcomic into Italian.
If interested in reading our comic please following this friend link: https://medium.com/p/covid-19-data-literacy-is-for-everyone-46120b58cec9?source=email-e838f6276def–writer.postDistributed&sk=dcae1f34f7812bfc80662b0c305bd5bb
If you are interested in Research Illustration and Design-led Knowledge Exchange Anna and I will be delivering a talk on this subject for the FMC Research Process Seminar (internal seminar series), organised by Dr Dan Jackson and Dr Sae Oshima, on June 30th at 2pm. Please do get in touch if you want more information on that.