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Creativity Cluster March 2016 – Reflecting on the Big Bang Data Exhibit

Written by Kirsty Devaney, graduate teaching and research assistant, PhD student
@KirstyDevaney

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On the 6th February the creativity cluster attended the Big Bang Data exhibition in London. You can read more about the exhibit from Becky Snape and Geof Hill in their blog posts. In the creativity cluster meeting this March we were asked to prepare questions which reflected the themes that we felt were highlighted through the exhibition.

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Consent and privacy:

George Turvey felt the exhibit raised questions around personal data collection asking about what is happening with the data we create and who owns the data at the end of the day:

  • Where are we going with our endless production of data – in colossal and ever-growing quantities?

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Apple’s cloud data centres

  • Does it matter? (Why? Do we care? Do we know what’s happening? [in terms of use of technology and data including by us])
  • How is data being used? – including data that relates to us and is sometimes personal data
  • Is the data we produce still ours? – e.g. texts over mobile networks, soFBcial media posts crossing the internet and causing interactions in huge, distant data centres, photos stored on our own harddrives, online or in cloud storage
  • Does our technology and use of data enhance life or make us ‘better people’?

PhD student Becky Snape asked similar questions around consent:

  • To what extent have our private lives become public, and what implications does this have for society and the individuals who negotiate it?Twitter
  • Do we have to accept that we give up some of our rights to privacy when we use the Internet?

Many in the cluster brought up the work ‘The Others’, from the exhibit, by artists Eva and Franco Mattes:

The Others is a slideshow of 10,000 photographs stolen from hacked computers, sound-tracked by songs taken from the same hard-drives. The series provokes ideas about our concept of public and private space, and how it is becoming more and more blurred.’

This work had a significant impact on the group as it raised concerns about the consent of the participants in this piece of art.Alex Wade made an interesting comment that we are ‘selling our lives for convenience‘. Personally, the exhibit made me feel that on the surface social media has its benefits but it can also have a much darker side. It feels like a time-bomb and at some point it could be turned against us if needed.

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Redefining the Rules:

Questions around ‘power’ and ‘rules’ in research we raised. Who determines if research is done ethically? Who defines ‘good’ data collection. Becky Snape discussed data collection through social media and the idea of consent from participants. Victoria Kinsella wondered if we, as researchers, can learn from the artists in the in the exhibit – can we can start challenging the norms and ‘rules’ of research – redefining what research and data mean:

  • What is the relationship between the knower and the unknown?
  • Disrupting ways of seeing
  • Foucault – notions of power and the gaze

The exhibit made the group consider how we can communicate data and meaning besides just using the written word. We discussed why we perhaps choose writing as the dominant form of communication and how we may challenge this norm. I thought about two examples of how I use images and music to communicate meaning:

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1) The first image is of my Primary PGCSE class – I get the students to draw their route into the uni – we then use their graphic journeys to create music.

2) The second set of images below are pictures of music classrooms for my PhD research. I have been amazed about how one image can stimulate a number of discussions and topics raised in my PhD and how the images link to the interviews and observations. These images are a vital part of the research.

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All of these extensive topics have important relevance to the research taking place in CSPACE. The exhibit has made us challenge our own perceptions of data, dissemination, communication, privacy, power, consent and ethics.

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Dr. Jackie Musgrave visits the Childhood and Family Health Cluster

Written by Dr Carolyn Blackburn, Research Fellow in Early Childhood Studies, HELS

@blackbu5

In January in a joint initiative between the Rethinking Childhood Cluster and Family Health Cluster invited Dr. Jackie Musgrave from the Worcester University to talk about her PhD research on including children with Chronic Health Conditions in early years settings.jackie-musgrave-education-university-worcester_rdax_200x230 download

Jackie’s doctoral research brings together her professional and personal interests in children’s health and early education.  Her research explored the effects of chronic health conditions (asthma, anaphylaxis, diabetes, eczema and epilepsy) on young children’s inclusion in early childhood education and care.  The research methods included a postal questionnaire, interviews with practitioners and parents and observations of ‘DJ’ in his early years setting over the period of year.  ‘DJ’ has asthma, anaphylaxis and eczema.  The opportunity to observe ‘DJ’ gave the opportunity for a prolonged engagement to examine how these conditions affected his participation in his early childhood education and care.

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The aim of her talk was to give an overview of her doctoral research which explored how chronic health conditions, specifically anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes, eczema and epilepsy, can impact on children’s health, as well as exploring how early years practitioners include children with these conditions. Her talk was attended by education and health staff.

A thoughtful discussion about the implictations for education and health practitioners followed her talk which highlighted the opportunities for and benefits of interdisciplinary training and practice.

Jackie also talked to Early Childhood Education Studies students about her work thereby enhancing the experiences of students at BCU.

 

Review of the Big Bang Data Exhibition by Geof Hill

The creativity cluster had an exciting day out visiting the Big Bang data exhibition at Somerset house in early Feb. Reader in education Geof Hill has written a review on the exhibit and presents some interesting reflections on data collection, use and meaning.

big-bang-advertising“One strong theme that was evident throughout the exhibition was the adage ‘a picture tells a thousand words’…”

“A second installation spoke to me of the humanity that often gets overlooked in collection and representation of quantitative data.”

To read the full review go to: https://supervisorsfriend.wordpress.com/

**Watch this space**
More blog posts to follow from staff and students reflecting on the exhibit and trip