Very recently my colleagues, Dr Anna Feigenbaum (FMC) and Aria Alamalhodaei, co-authors of the recent The Data Storytelling Workbook (Routledge, 2020), for which I am a research illustrator, have collaborated again to create a webcomic that responds to data literacy needs highlighted by the emotional responses to COVID-19 data visualisations which are very prominent during this time.
From instructional hand-washing infographics, to calls to ‘flatten the curve,’ data visualisations are telling us how to live, and predicting our possible futures. As the cascade of open data relating to the COVID-19 virus grows, so too do the charts and graphs claiming to decipher, decode, and translate this data for everyday understanding.
Our hope is that by presenting data literacy principles to our readers we can provide analytical tools needed to give back a sense of empowerment and grounding when encountering COVID-19 data visualisations. In order to do this we have presented key points made by designers, researchers, and data storytellers who are working to educate on and highlight practices that do not contribute to ‘fake news,’ alarmist and harmful data visualisations.
COVID-19 Data Literacy is for Everyone was published on Nightingale, The Journal of the Data Visualisation Society on Medium. Within minutes of being live the webcomic was selected as a quality contribution and will be featured on Medium more broadly to the data science community.
In order to have a positive impact through this work, we are currently putting together a multi-audience based lesson plan for educators to use with their students. Since sharing we have received positive feedback from across the web and, based on one of these interactions, are now working with a new collaborator to translate the webcomic into Italian.
If interested in reading our comic please following this friend link: https://medium.com/p/covid-19-data-literacy-is-for-everyone-46120b58cec9?source=email-e838f6276def–writer.postDistributed&sk=dcae1f34f7812bfc80662b0c305bd5bb
Originally published at: BU Research Blog
Doctoral researcher and Research Illustrator
My PhD, titled Graphic Medicine Exhibited: Public Engagement with Comics in Curatorial Practice and Visitor Experience since 2010, explores the intersections of the comics medium, health, and exhibition to understand potential methodological approaches and sociocultural values of these experiences. My collaborative projects, namely with Dr Anna Feigenbaum and Aria Alamalhodaei, have explored such topics as public health, data storytelling and visualisation, comics (graphic medicine, graphic social science, data comics), and creative-led knowledge exchange. As a research illustrator I have worked on a number of projects, including the recent The Data Storytelling Workbook (Routledge 2020) and two COVID-19 webcomics. As a curator, I explore how different media, such as comics and zines, can create more emotive connections between different cultures, place, and time, contribute towards decolonisation, and foster social justice and care in upcoming museum professionals.