ART/DATA/HEALTH: data as creative material for health and wellbeing

The Critical Data Literacy project has now ended (2017-18). It was a pilot study funded by the University of Brighton Rising Stars scheme, and it led to successful external funding of the project ART/DATA/HEALTH: data as creative material for health and wellbeing, (AH/S004564/1 2019-2021) funded by the UKRI-AHRC Innovation Leadership Fellowship (PI: Dr Aristea Fotopoulou) (2019-2021). For more info visit: 

The project offers members of the community new skills in data science and art practice to improve health and wellbeing. ART/DATA/HEALTH aims to develop a participatory interface that involves creativity and use of data for the social good, in order to tackle health inequalities and digital inclusion.

For inquiries about the project please use the contact form or email us at

Datahub workshops – information to participants

We’re looking forward to welcoming participants from a number of local community groups to our first Datahub workshop. It will be happening on the 5th of January 2018 at the University of Brighton (get in touch for room details).


If you have any questions please contact:

Peter Eyres – or

Dr. Aristea Fotopoulou –


10.00-10.15 Arrival and Introductions

10.15-11.00 Introduction to data for advocacy

11.00-11.15 Coffee break

11.15-12.15 Finding stories in data

12:15-1.00   Lunch

1.00-2.00      Working with Data I

2.00-2.15     Coffee break

2.15-3.00      Working with Data II

3.00-3:30     What is next? Further resources


Getting There

The workshop will be held at the University of Brighton at the the Moulsecoomb Campus, in Mithras House (Lewes Road, BN2 4AT).

For maps please visit the University of Brighton Moulsecoomb Campus page. You can reach Mithras on foot from Brighton centre (20-30 mins), by train, by bike, bus or car.


By bike

Mithras house is just north of the vogue gyratory on Lewes Road on the right as you head out of town. Look out for the car park in front of the building.


By Bus

The following buses stop at the Coombe Road bus stop, which is a couple of minutes walk from Mithras House:

23, 24, 25, 38, 48, 49, 50U, 70, 74, and 78.


By train

Moulsecoomb station is situated behind the Watts and Cockcroft buildings and is two stops from the main Brighton station. Mithras is 5 mins walk from the Moulsecoomb station – just walk down from the station and when you reach Lewes Road cross it and walk towards the South (turn right). You will see an a big brown building.

2018 MeCCSA Annual Conference

Dr Aristea Fotopoulou will be presenting an update on the Critical Data Literacy project and Datahub workshops for community organisations at the 2018 MeCCSA Annual Conference at London South Bank University, 10—12 January 2018. The theme of the MeCCSA 2018 conference was Creativity and Agency.

Here is the abstract of the paper, and we will soon be preparing this as a journal article. 

MeCCSA 2018 Dr Aristea Fotopoulou “Creativity and critical data literacy for advocacy”


Big data are everywhere, and they are transforming the way we live. But making sense of data and communicating in ways that are relevant to broad audiences and for the social good requires the skills and literacy to access, analyse and interpret them. Literature on data literacy mostly focuses on administrative and technical competences and is aimed at professionals and service providers (Frank et al, 2016). What do community organisations need to know if they want to communicate in an engaging way? How can data become relevant and accessible for the social good? And how can these skills help them address the critical and ethical questions that relate to data? This paper presents work from an ongoing research project that addresses these questions, and argues that there is pressing need to develop practices that allow civil society to use open data for advocacy, to make data more relevant and appealing to communities, and enable their engagement in policy debates. Situated within emerging debates in the fields of critical data studies and data literacy (Carretero, Vuorikari and Punie, 2017; Dalton and Thatcher, 2014; D’Ignazio, 2017; Hill et al., 2016; Kitchin and Lauriault, 2014), it draws from empirical work that identifies key elements of a “critical data literacy”  relevant to community organisations. It reports findings from two workshops with civil society organisations in the Southeast of England where we explored how a combination of creative media, storytelling and analytics allow participants to generate debates around specific issues that affect their communities, and help them tell stories that empower them.

Keywords: community, advocacy, open data, citizen engagement, critical data literacy, critical data studies



Carretero, S., Vuorikari, R. and Punie, Y. (2017) DigComp 2.1. The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens. With eight proficiency levels and examples of use. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

D’Ignazio, C., (2017) Creative data literacy. Information Design Journal23(1), pp.6-18.

Frank, M., Walker, J., Attard, J. and Tygel, A. (2016) ‘Data literacy – What is it and how can we make it happen?’, The Journal of Community Informatics, 12(3), pp. 4–8.

Hill, R. L., Kennedy, H., and Gerrard, Y. (2016) Visualizing Junk: Big Data Visualizations and the Need for Feminist Data Studies. Journal of Communication Inquiry 40, no. 4 (2016): 331-350.

Kitchin, R., and Lauriault, T., P., (2014) “Towards critical data studies: Charting and unpacking data assemblages and their work. The Programmable City Working Paper 2.”

Can data be neutral? //This Side of Reality

Dr Aristea Fotopoulou took part in this live podcast This Side of Reality in October at the Brighton Digital Festival.
Aristea, Tanya (DR TANYA KANTLecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex), Chris (CHRIS MIDDLETON, Journalist / Author / Robotics Expert / MusicianandCJ had all interesting insights to share, and it was great to be on the panel for this episode (episode 3: Can Data be Neutral?). They discussed various matters around data and discrimination and Aristea introduced the Critical Data Literacy project.
You can now listen to the edited podcast (and of course share if you’d like) on iTunesTotallyRadio and SoundCloud.

Brighton Digital Festival explores the unexpected realities of digital culture in a new live podcast. Hosted by CJ Thorpe at 68 Middle Street. Broadcast live from the event on TotallyRadio DAB and

12 Oct 2017 – Episode 3: Can Data Be Neutral?

We think of data as science – indisputable collection of facts.

With machine learning taking over important aspects of our lives, we need to ask: can data ever be neutral? Are we running risks of automating existing biases and prejudice into our digital future?

From big data being used to determine employability, insurance, and criminal convictions, to personalised search results and newsfeeds stifling learning and democracy – we talk about the politics and ethics of data and machine learning.

What is Open Data?

Or even, what is data, and why is it important to learn how to use them?

Are data information? Are they knowledge? Do they tell objective and unbiased truths?

These are some basic questions we will be exploring with participants in the DataHub workshops, prior to looking at Open Data. When thinking about data, it is important to ask questions about access, license, sharing and use. For example, is there anything restricting the use of a dataset, such as a commercial agreement? If so, then it is not really ‘open’.

Here is the definition that the Open Data Institute provides:

Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share.

Open data has to have a licence that says it is open data. Without a licence, the data can’t be reused. The licence might also say:

  • that people who use the data must credit whoever is publishing it (this is called attribution)
  • that people who mix the data with other data have to also release the results as open data (this is called share-alike)

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Joel Gurin’s Google talk video is also a useful resource for getting a sense of how Open Data can be seen as a new source of value for society and economy today.