The lab space is open for everyone. In order to facilitate including non-members into our activities, we promote our events through posters, email invites and on twitter. In doing so, we hope to inspire discussion about our activities by physical and online discussion.
In addition, we work towards formats that allow explicit participation by the public. We employ some techniques suggested by colleagues in STS: We take inspiration from TANTLab to develop participatory formats using digital data and data stories. Resting upon the Scandinavian design tradition of “Participatory Design”, “Participatory Data Design” or PDD for short, involves stakeholders and heterogeneous users in the design of technological systems, visualizations and data stories. Throughout the entire “data pipeline” stakeholders are involved in deciding what data to collect, what to complement when data is missing, how to prepare the data and visualize it in a way that is appropriate to their concern. We engage in PDD in our teaching activities, which turned PDD both into a lab concern and an opportunity for students to co-design.
To give an example, In the winter term 2019/2020, we develop together with a class of interdisciplinary undergraduate students from Social Science and Applied Informatics, data visualizations on ecological issues. Students were asked to group together with 3-4 Social Science students and 2 Applied Informatics Students. They develop the group’s focus and participatory/political impact themselves and collaboratively with each other and with local partners. Students searched, cleaned and prepared data to tell stories that transpire change for local partners. The interactive maps are accessible to the public (datastories.rub.de).