2017: Situated Analytics                                                                       

Happy New Year from the Heads of Lab!

2016 was a busy year for us, with a fantastic range of activities taking place within the Lab. You can take a look at our great Newsletter archive, but to name but a few things by way of summary – we collaborated on a datasprint with the Digital Humanites Lab at the Royal Library on “Representing History through Data” and an excitingly competitive Datathon for Diabetes hosted in collaboration with Deloitte, IBM and NovoNordisk. We helped out with a Cryptoparty, supported a dedicated MA Thesis Study group, and the whole community benefited from visits and publicETHOS talks by Geoff Bowker, Richard Rogers, Noortje Marres, Mathieu Jacomy and Katja de Vries. In August we launched our pilot Summer Lab on the theme of Experiment and the autumn semester continued with our ongoing Python study group, Q’s & Brews and so much more. Many thanks to Michael Hockenhull (who now moves to a PhD role) for Lab Managing, as well as to Cæcilie Sloth Laursen, Rasmus Rosendahl for their work towards the end of the year. A big welcome to Marie Blønd, who takes over as Lab Manager for 2017.

We are looking forward to a packed research program in 2017, with two new research projects kicking off in the Lab. Data as Relation (PI Brit Winthereik) will be exploring the uses of big data in public life, and Values and Ethics in Innovation for Responsible Techology in Europe (or VIRT-EU for short, PI Irina Shklovski) will analyze and map the ethical practices of European hardware and software entrepreneurs, maker and hackerspaces and community innovators. We are also collaborating on the Mapping Colonial Copenhagen project.

Our thematic emphasis this year is on Data/Ethnography, and the theme will have a role structuring our PublicETHOS Lecture series and shaping the emphasis in our research discussions. 2016 was a year of failures of analytic prediction, whether for Brexit or the American Election, and the promises of data did not translate into an accurate picture of peoples interpretations, as anthropologist Paul Stoller noted in his article for the Huffington Post. As part of our mission to be a site of experiments with methods, ETHOS Lab reads big-data and digital methods alongside the thick description of ethnography, to make sure that people, their concerns, the texture of everyday life is part of critical enquiries that exploit new sources of data and analytics. This form of ‘situated analytics’ will inform the whole Lab’s ongoing dialogue and collaborations with programmers, software engineers, ethnographers, STS-ers, designers and makers, putting participation and observation at the heart of ETHOS Lab’s investigation of contemporary methods debates.

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Rachel, Marisa and Brit