My current project on Data Storytelling draws on practitioners’ experiences and current research to explore how the rise in big and open data can be put to use to tell better data stories for social change. From tracking down hard to find information, to the ethics of visualising difficult subjects like death and human rights, my forthcoming Data Storytelling Workbook will look at the challenge and opportunities this emergent area brings. To create this workbook I’ve teamed up with Minute Works design studio and Routledge, curating content from academics, journalists and NGOs.
This autumn 2017 Verso publishes my most recent book Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WW1 to the Streets of Today. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities grant, I used archival and data storytelling methods to track the movement of tear gas from the trenches of WW1 to the streets of today, asking ‘How did it become normal to police communication with poison’? I’ll be on tour with the book around the UK and North America.
I am also a co-author of Protest Camps (Zed 2013) and a co-editor of Protest Camps in International Context (Policy 2017), which explore the media, governance and social practices of protest camps around the world. From the Aboriginal Tent Embassy to Occupy Wall Street, our work on protest camps looks at how strategies of resistance travel and adapt as they move around the world.
You can find more of my writing in edited books and academic journals such as South Atlantic Quarterly, Feminist Media Studies and Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. I also write for a number of alternative and popular media outlets.
I currently work as a Principal Academic in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University in the Southwest of England where I teach multimedia journalism and convene the Civic Media Hub and BU Datalabs project. Before joining BU I taught at RAIUL and held fellow positions at the Rutgers University Center for Historical Analysis, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Institute for Historical Research at University of London. I graduated from McGill University in 2008 with a PhD in Communication Studies. My doctoral research, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada and the Beaverbrook Fund at McGill, looked at creative resistance and technology at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.
For me, social justice is inseparable from teaching and education. Critical thinking and compassionate dialogue are what put research into practice. I actively engage in teaching quality enhancement and learning innovation through my roles as a Fellow at the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice and as an Associate and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. As part of this commitment, I am an avid supporter of open source pedagogies and collaborative learning, running the wethinking the classroom project and serving on the advocacy forum for the Open Library of Humanities.
Beyond the university, I run a variety of workshops on creative action planning, digital communication strategies and data storytelling for journalists, NGOs and local community groups. I also provide consultancy for campaigns, archives and museum exhibitions related to my research. This has included contributions toward the Cruel Designs Exhibition at Banksy’s Dismaland, Disobedient Objects show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2014, the Signs of Change exhibition and the Heritage Lottery funded Music & Liberation traveling show.