[okfn-discuss] Call for Participation - Data Activism at Digital Methods Summer School University of Amsterdam - extended deadline *May 24, 2016*

Kersti Wissenbach krwissenbach at gmail.com
Thu May 12 07:19:44 UTC 2016

Curious about data activism, the politics of data, data infrastructure,
data ethics? We have still limited availability for the Digital Methods
Summer School at the University of Amsterdam (27 June - 8 July 2016)!
This year's theme is "Only Connect? A Critical Appraisal of Connecting
Practices in the Age of Social Media". The first week is devoted to explore
"connective action", with a keynote by Lance Bennett (University of
Washington).. and more. The second week is entirely dedicated to *data
activism*, and is organized by the DATACTIVE research collective/project (

For more info, and how to apply, see
https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/SummerSchool2016 (under 'Application').
The extended deadline is *May 24, 2016*.

**Call for participation**
The second week of the Summer School is dedicated to the study of 'data

*What is data activism?*
With the diffusion of big data, citizens become increasingly aware of the
critical role of information in modern societies. Today’s world is awash
with data. Never before have we created such a quantity of data by and
about people, things, and their interactions. While this data has captured
the imagination of governments and corporations alike, people are also
increasingly responding to this new technological landscape.
>From open data initiatives to privacy enhancing technologies, a growing
number of people are developing new tools and practices in response to
massive data collection and availability. People take advantage of the
possibilities of data for civic engagement, advocacy, and campaigning
(pro-active data activism). At the same time, people resist its harms
through the development and use of encryption and free and open source
alternatives to centralised software and online services (re-active data
activism). Data activism is a signal of a more general change in
perspectives and attitudes towards massive data collection. For more see

*Experiments with methods*
Data activism emerges at the intersection of the social and technological
dimensions of human action. This raises the question: how are we to
understand and study this phenomenon? We think that it is important to
experiment with methods. We want to investigate how people make use of data
and interact with the socio-technical infrastructures that enable their
circulation. This is especially relevant, since these are often complex,
proprietary and opaque. For this purpose, we want to test and refine
research approaches that enable the study of technological practices and
infrastructures. This can involve configurations of digital methods and
ethnographically informed traditions bridging media studies, science and
technology studies (STS), informatics, and anthropology.
* Can we develop an approach to 'software ethnography’, which traces and
explores assemblages of data, infrastructures, technology designers and
technology users?
* How can we learn how (big) data infrastructures actually function and are
used in practice?
* Technology is always changing. How can we trace changes to the
socio-technical infrastructures of tools over time?
* How can new software tools help us understand the workings of different
kinds of data infrastructures? Can we develop tools to reverse-engineer
algorithms, analytic techniques, or surveillance infrastructures?

Participants will work 4 days in self-organised groups on a project to
explore these questions, together with several invited subject matter

Outputs can include short research reports (wiki’s) describing process and
results, tool prototypes, or creative interventions.

For questions, please contact info at data-activism.net

Kersti Ruth Wissenbach
International Consultant

strategy & policy advice | implementation | research
Transparency & Accountability | Civic Tech | ICT4D kerstiwissenbach.com

Academic Researcher data-activism.net

+31 (0)634193966
S kersti.wissenbach
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