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Data Justice Lab launched

20 March 2017

A digital gavel
The Data Justice Lab will research digital media, social justice and data power.

The Data Justice Lab, which is set to research the relationship between datafication and social justice, has been launched by the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

The launch featured keynote lectures from Virginia Eubanks (New America), Malavika Jayaram (Digital Asia Hub) and Steven Renderos (Center for Media Justice).

The new lab will create a dynamic space for research and collaboration at one of the UK's leading media research Schools. It will seek to advance a research agenda that examines the intricate relationship between datafication and social justice, and in doing so highlight the politics and impact of data-driven processes and big data.

The lab is co-directed by Dr Lina Dencik, Dr Arne Hintz, and Dr Joanna Redden.

Dr Dencik said, "Our financial transactions, communications, movements, relationships, and interactions with government and corporations all increasingly generate data that is used to profile and sort groups and individuals.

"These processes can affect both individuals as well as entire communities that may be denied services and access to opportunities, or wrongfully targeted and exploited. In short, they impact on our ability to participate in society. The emergence of this data paradigm therefore introduces a particular set of power dynamics requiring investigation and critique."

The lab will sit within the School's Digital Media and Society research group.

Asked about the challenges facing the new lab co-director Dr Hintz said, "With the launch of the lab we will be asking what does social justice mean in an age of datafication, how are data-driven processes impacting on certain communities, in what way does big data change our understanding of governance and politics and what can we do about it?"

The Data Justice Lab will harness the University's academic expertise in this area whilst building upon existing research such as Dr Hintz's ESRC funded study 'Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society', Dr Dencik's OSF funded project 'Managing Threats: Uses of Social Media for Policing Domestic Extremism and Disorder in the UK' and Dr Redden's contribution to Infoscape Research Lab's 'Social Media and Big Data' project.

Further details of the lab's research and events can be found on its website whilst @DataJusticeLab on Twitter will feature the very latest news and events.

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