How can we use data visualizations to facilitate discussions about community challenges and priorities? I hypothesize that data visualizations that convey emotions, embodiment, and arise from a participatory design process grounded in design justice and data feminist principles, can inspire the collective discussions and perspective shifts required for communal cohesion. This thesis highlights projects in which communities, teams, and collaborators have done this well: The Exhibit of American Negroes, Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, and Data Zetu. Finally, I propose a project, Crowns of the South, to put these ideas into practice in an African American community data visualization project, concerned with Black education and employment rates in the United States South.
About Elizabeth Borneman
Elizabeth is a designer, writer, and researcher interested in how art, computation, and communication can combine to strengthen community structures, and enhance learning across learner backgrounds. A Florida native, Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology from Georgetown University. There she led a research team in the Culture and Emotions Lab investigating the campus climate for patterns in students’ belonging and social engagement across university locations and situational contexts. She also spent a semester in Cape Town, South Africa as a field researcher studying plant systems and animals’ optimal foraging, ideal free distribution, and territorial defense behaviors.
She most recently worked as a designer and programmer artist in Xaq Pitkow’s Computational Neuroscience lab, where she designed and prototyped interactive graphics and games for teaching and communicating concepts in computational neuroscience and in color vision grounded in visual perception. She’s excited about the power of info-visualization. At MIT, Elizabeth works in the Teaching Systems Lab designing multi-media practice spaces and curriculum for equitable teaching in Computer Science and STEM. Outside of study, Elizabeth likes to go dancing, spend time on the water, and explore outdoors.