Putting data in its place
On Thursday, we had our first meeting with Dan Hurring, the event producer recruited to help us make a reality of the idea I’ve been working on with Create Gloucestershire and Active Gloucestershire for a one day accessible conference on data in Gloucestershire.
As you might expect, with a creative team meeting amidst the snow in the wonderful setting of Hawkwood’s library, we explored a lot of event ideas and ways of framing the event (I’m particularly looking forward to seeing designs for the event’s ‘Festival Poster’ in the new year, and exploring commissions for someone to lead ‘for(u)m theatre’). However, one idea that struck me from our discussion, was the idea of ‘putting data in its place’: helping organisations who feel they are being ‘ruled by data’ to instead see data as a resource and a tool, that they, and their communities, can have a powerful say over.
I found this idea resonated also when I was looking at draft notes for a video Jonathan is leading production of, to try and communicate in 90 seconds or so, some of the key Connected by Data messages. Having a powerful say over data involves inverting the common conceptual frame of a ‘cloud of data above us’, to seeing data as part of the ground we walk on, and in: beneath, and within reach and control, of the people it should exist to serve.
Alicia Carey (CEO at Hawkwood) also encouraged us to think also about including strands on the philosophy of data in the event, which also has me thinking about the idea of a Rousseauvian moment for data: the need for a clear articulation of the social contract in which the power of data is not abolished, but is made clearly subject to the democratic will. Moving from people having become subject to data, to data being subject to the people.