A workshop at the Participatory Design Conference, which will be held in the twin cities of Hasselt & Genk, Belgium, between August 20-24, 2018

Big Data analysis and data-driven decision making are buzzwords that are quickly becoming aspirational goals within industry and government settings. This so called data revolution has resulted in what some have called a data divide, where those with privileged access and knowledge about such data are given a seat at the bargaining table, while the voices of those who lack such skills, continue to be ignored (Boyd and Crawford, 2011). The data literacy workshop we are proposing is designed to work with the data newcomers within our communities, to give them a chance to use publically available data as a resource to advocate for change. Grounded within the Participatory Design goals of equalizing power relations through democratic practices, the workshop activities allow data newcomers to engage constructively with issues that they care about. Our goal in proposing these sets of activities as a workshop is to generate discussions around data literacy, engagement, empowerment, access, power and privilege that are typically associated with data and cities, and also build connections between the PDC audience and the data literacy practitioners so they can take this research forward in innovative ways.


Boyd, D. and Crawford, K. 2011. Six provocations for big data. In A decade in internet time: Symposium on the dynamics of the internet and society. (2011).