[Newbies] Grafoscopio and the Data Week: Critical code+data literacy practices and pocket infrastructures from/for the Global South

Offray Vladimir Luna Cárdenas offray at riseup.net
Mon Feb 5 17:45:15 UTC 2018


Following the idea of talking about educational practices powered by (a
flavor of) Smalltalk. I would like to share two of them, mainly by
sharing some links and small phrases/paragraphs about the.

  * Grafoscopio [1] is what I call a "pocket infrastructure" for data
    activism, digital citizenship and reproducible research and
    publication. It tries to approach critically to the exclusionary
    "fashionist" concept of "Big Data", by arguing that other
    infrastructures and practices can bootstrap citizenship around data
    without being constrain by the size of data or the computational
    resources to process it. An example is the Panama Papers as
    reproducible research[2] project, that shows how this pocket
    infrastructures can be used, even in the case of the biggest data
    leak in the history of journalism.
  * The Data Week [3](Spanish) is a recurrent Hackathon+Workshop where
    people learn how to use, extend and modify Grafoscopio, so they can
    tell Data Stories to amplify their voices and community concerns. We
    choose problems where data and its visualizations give visibility to
    grassroots communities and help to bridge the gap between "user" and
    "maker", "coder" and "citizen", among others. We try make and
    enactive  critic of the (also) "fashionist" hackathon, going beyond
    the "pitch", or the meeting of "sleep deprived strangers" to create
    a "tech innovative solution" in a weekend to complex social
    problems. Next Data Week will overlap with the Open Data Day, and we
    are going to address the political discourse on Twitter, as a way to
    improve awareness on upcoming presidential elections in Colombia,
    but we think that this (pocket infrastructures) approach could be
    used as a way to use critical code+data digital literacy practices
    to enable informed citizenship discourse and voting in the times of
    social networks noise and post-truth.
  * Recently we have expanded our actions and infrastructures to the
    publishing field by going beyond "open access" (as promoted in
    practice by the Creative Commons movement) to "reproducible
    publishing". One example of that is the "Data Driven Journalism
    Handbook"[4] (Spanish). More are planed, using "remix-traslation" to
    bootstrap a more fluent South -> North dialog, because most of the
    ideas of Non-English and Non-Writing cultures are kept outside of
    the public discourse. By non-writing I mean cultures with strong and
    rich oral traditions, but low writing/publishing practices, let
    alone non-coding citizens in the Global South.

Grafoscopio and the Data Week are developed as part of my PhD research,
where I ask about "how we can change the digital tools that change us?"
(or the reciprocal modification between digital artifacts and
communities of practice), in the context of a Hackerspace in the Global
South (Bogotá, Colombia). Such research is informed by participatory
action research, ethnography and design research traditions, and is
trying to approach "wicked problems" to build a path in the present with
possible and desirable futures. I'm now finishing to write the
dissertation, so I'm tight on time, but I would be glad to keep this
conversations (or others) going.


[1] http://mutabit.com/grafoscopio/index.en.html
[2] http://mutabit.com/offray/blog/en/entry/panama-papers-1
[3] http://mutabit.com/dataweek/
[4] http://mutabit.com/repos.fossil/mapeda/


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