On Data and Design MeetUp „Speaking Data“

Data is everywhere. Some call it „the new oil, “ others a threat to democracy. It offers a powerful potential, but how we want to deal with data in a better, more meaningful way remains an open issue.

Facilitating the necessary conversation between data practitioners from different professional backgrounds is the aim of the „On Data and Design“ meetup – hosted at B-Part Am Gleisdreick for the second time on February 13th by the Urban Ideation Lab fellows nexTT, with Olga Kononykhina and Jeffrey Heer addressing the idea of speaking with, through and about data.

Quantitative sociologist and data scientist Olga Kononykhina shared her experience from data-driven research projects for numerous organizations and institutions like the UNESCO or the Goethe Institute and how she goes from gathering data to final visualizations for different purposes. Olga also talked about pitfalls and tradeoffs she had to make on the way to reach audiences as well as clients and policymakers.

The second speaker Jeffrey Heer is a professor of computer science & engineering at the University of Washington and a co-inventor of the dataviz languages Vega and D3.js. Jeffrey spoke about the challenges around data ethics from his perspective as an interactive tool creator. He showed some of the very inspirational work coming from his lab, including the exploration tool data voyager.

A dedicated audience followed up with detailed questions and shared their own experience.


The „On Data and Design“ meetup was initiated by Darjan Hil from dataviz studio Yaay in Basel and grew into a loose series of events in different locations. It brings together data visualization designers, data analysts, data scientists, but also researches around topics such as interface design, software development or data ethic, and data literacy. The events are about sharing experiences, methodology, work process requirements, and also research results and inspiration.  

Video of the Lecture: