Overview of “Swinging and Flowing”: Inclusion and Diversity in the Age of Data

In April 2012, the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative hosted a workshop on “Swinging and Flowing: Inclusion and Diversity in the Age of Data.”

The inital big topic was if new media tool production is diverse and equitable, given how gender and race diversity is very poor among IT workers. The discussion quickly moved to a more fundamental question about the role of gender and race diversity in higher education, which feeds the ranks of IT professionals. Even more fundamental was the question of why and how universities act as validators of human efforts. The insight gained from this discussion is that we should cultivate more diverse sources of cultural, technical and social validation.

One of the themes of the conference was the impact of Big Data on our universities and community. How has the Internet changed the way we think about a university education and how we educate our students? How has Big Data changed the traditional subject matter and how can it help solve social problems?

Another central theme was “How does new media validate its content, and who can validate and distribute information about whom?” Despite broad privacy concerns, new media is changing the way all information is shared and valued. Throughout the online community, every click is a validation for some aspect of new media and for some aspect of new media communities; every click is a vote.

The event organizers would like to thank Dr. Charles Henry, Chair, African American Studies, for support of the conference, and Greg Niemeyer (co-director of The Data and Democracy Initiative at CITRIS).

Playlist of the conference is available at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL712D006321CD2343&feature=plcp

View more event photos on the CITRIS Facebook page

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