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New UC San Diego Symposium Stirs Dialogue Among Data Science and Arts and Humanities Experts

The intersection of data and culture takes center stage at UC San Diego’s Cultured Data Symposium

Data code

Photo by Markus Spiske/ unsplash.com

On February 7 and 8, UC San Diego will host the Cultured Data Symposium, bringing together experts from data science and the arts and humanities to examine the emerging relationship between data and culture. The event will provide a forum for artists, historians, philosophers, literary scholars, political scientists, and computer and data scientists to engage with the public, exploring how analytic techniques can unveil new understandings of culture, and how the proliferation of data in everyday life changes how culture is produced, distributed, and influenced.

“The growing digitization of the cultural record has given us a unique opportunity to further explore how our new data generation, collection, and analysis can result in what we’re calling ‘cultured data,’” said Erin Glass, digital scholarship librarian at the UC San Diego Library. “This symposium will shed light on how data scientists and cultural professionals can work together to create a more just, informed, and culturally-rich future.”

Organized by Glass and Robert Twomey, postdoctoral scholar at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and data science lecturer at UC San Diego, the symposium will feature two keynote speakers (one per day), four panels, an adjacent art exhibition, and sound performances. Speakers on each panel will share perspectives from academia, industry, and the arts, giving attendees a well-rounded viewpoint on the topic.

The two-day symposium has been thoughtfully programmed to include both on- and off-campus locations:

  • Day 1 | Friday, February 7 | 1-7 PM
    • The first day of the symposium will be held at the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego and include a single panel on the datafication of the cultural record, a keynote, live performances by artists from Singapore and Nokia Bell Labs, a reception, and a self-guided tour of STREAMING, an art exhibition which explores networked culture streams and their ecological and social costs.
    • Panel topic:
      • Datafication of the Cultural Record
  • Day 2 | Saturday, February 8 | 8:30 AM-7 PM

    • In an effort to engage the wider San Diego community, the second day of the symposium will be hosted off-campus at Bread & Salt, a popular arts warehouse in Barrio Logan. The program includes three panels, a keynote, live performances, and a reception. 
    • Panel topics:
      • Humanistic Theories of Data
      • A Generative Renaissance: New Data-Driven Modes of Authorship
      • Synthesis: The Future of Data and Culture

The keynote speakers for the symposium are Shannon Mattern, Ph.D., professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research, who will be speaking on Friday, and Jessica Marie Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University, who will be speaking on Saturday.

Professor Mattern will examine the ecological aspects of technology and critical data reform, as well as the technical aspects of climate activism surrounding the Green New Deal. Professor Johnson will be discussing her critical research on race, slavery, data, and code studies. Other highlighted speakers include Bradley Voytek, neural and data science associate professor in the UC San Diego Department of Cognitive Science, and Ryan Germick, principal designer at Google.

“Our goal in hosting this symposium is to further explore the relationship between data science and the arts,” said Twomey. “We hope attendees will walk away inspired to forge new partnerships and change the ways in which these two disciplines work together.”

The Cultured Data Symposium is made possible by generous support from the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, UC San Diego Library, Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, Division of Arts and Humanities, Institute of Arts and Humanities, and the Department of Visual Arts.

All events are free and open to students, faculty, staff and the publicregistration required. Detailed schedule available here. For more information, please contact UCSDLibrary@ucsd.edu.


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