Developing stories through data

Posted on January 31st, 2013 by Chris Twigg

A much needed update about new project developments.

Since I’m researching around data visualisation and storytelling I found that it’s a complex but, I believe, really rich area for developing practice.

One of my practical case studies for this research, with which I’m going to test out some different approaches to design, will be topical and is also something of great personal interest.

archive

Wonderful, wonderful data: at an archival reading room

On the night of 21st June 1944 one hundred and thirty three Lancaster bomber aircraft, each containing seven men, took off from RAF airbases in Lincolnshire to attack an oil production facility in Germany. Of those aircraft thirty seven failed to return – representing the highest loss rate for any mission of World War 2. Who was involved? What was their fate? What was the objective? What is the wider context?

Here I’m developing an approach to ‘narrative data visualisation’ that, I do hope, can be valuable in any scenario that involves communicating complex phenomena to non-expert audiences. All of this is based on a premise that data are complex, disparate and problematic on the one hand; yet as a kind of ‘raw material’ hold the potential to unlock new ways of experiencing and understanding. I’ll be exploring different approaches to data visualisation in this regard as I move to understand the potential (and problems) that data visualisation brings into story exposition and understanding.

So, as it stands, the project is in the early stages where I’m data gathering, sense making and sketching. What form any visualisation work may take is yet to be defined, where at the same time I’m considering the benefits and drawbacks of different technologies as a platform for this work. OK, back to the drawing board…

Chris.

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