The Data Storytelling Workbook

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data storytelling book2


Published on 6th March, 2020

From tracking down data to symbolising human experiences, this book is your guide to telling more effective, empathetic and evidence-based data stories.

Drawing on cross-disciplinary research and first-hand accounts of projects ranging from public health to housing justice, The Data Storytelling Workbook introduces key concepts, challenges and problem-solving strategies in the emerging field of data storytelling. Filled with practical exercises and activities, the workbook offers interactive training materials that can be used for teaching and professional development. By approaching both ‘data’ and ‘storytelling’ in a broad sense, the book combines theory and practice around real-world data storytelling scenarios, offering critical reflection alongside practical and creative solutions to challenges in the data storytelling process, from collecting hard to find information, to the ethics of visualising difficult subjects like death and human rights.

The Data Storytelling Workbook features over 30 interviews that spotlight key people and projects that are innovating the field of data communication.
Table of Contents


1. A Narrative Approach to Data Storytelling

2. Navigating Data’s Unequal Terrain

3. Visual Data Storytelling

4. Data Storytelling with Maps

5. Future-Proof Principles

The Data Storytelling Workbook features mini-exercises as well as longer activities that can be used for teaching and professional development training.
The Data Storytelling Workbook is accessibly written and filled with helpful advice, excellent examples and useful activities. It is a welcome resource for everyone trying to engage – and engage with – data in responsible ways.
Professor Helen Kennedy
Chair in Digital Society, University of Sheffield
The Data Storytelling Workbook is A breath of fresh air! The book combines cutting-edge theory, visual ethics, and pragmatic design advice in an entertaining and accessible format. Educators, journalists, mediamakers, advocates and data scientists should have this on hand for guidance in navigating the complex (and urgent) questions surrounding how we use numbers responsibly to move people to action.
Catherine D’Ignazio
Director of the Data + Feminism Lab, MIT
Anna and Aria have constructedA delightfully contemporary text that translates a complex topic into a truly accessible one. They elegantly weaves together robust theories with nuanced pragmatism, practical tactics and compelling case studies. This is a compelling, wide-ranging workbook that will equip academics, students, and professionals alike with the confidence to fully embrace this in-demand capability.
Andy Kirk
Visualising Data Ltd
This remarkable book inspires as it teaches us how to tell better stories with data. It’s a book We’ll be turning to it again and again to learn from the range of international projects represented, to get ideas and practical tips we can incorporate and to share with colleagues and students. It’s a book we’ve been missing and we’re so glad it’s here.
Data Justice Lab
Cardiff University
Anna Feigenbaum Administrator
Professor in Digital Storytelling

I am a writer, researcher, teacher and workshop leader specialising in data storytelling for civic good. From digging into dusty archives to data visualising absent deaths, I am drawn to the difficult, the messy, the ethically challenging questions that exist around the edges of debates over how we tell stories with science and data. As a consultant and trainer, I collaborate with charities, NGOs, Public Health organisations, investigative journalists and other researchers to explore empathetic and effective ways to tell data stories. I believe that it is often those without access to big budgets and fancy tools that hold the data stories we most need to change the world.

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Aria Alamalhodaei Contributor

Co-author of The Data Storytelling Workbook.

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 timecontribute towards decolonisation, and foster social justice and care in upcoming museum professionals. 

Dom Latham Contributor
Book Designer

Book designer of The Data Storytelling Workbook.

Jimmy Edmondson Contributor
Book Designer

Book designer of The Data Storytelling Workbook.