Relevant Research Series

Join the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship and Spark for the Relevant Research Series. Presented by leading thinkers, this series of intensive workshops will provide you with knowledge and skills to make your research more relevant to the public and policy.

This workshop series is supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


1. Communicating Research Beyond Academia

13 and 20 November, 2020 | View Workshop 1 | View Workshop 2

Faciliated by: Mihaela Gruia, Research Retold, UK

How many times have you committed to sharing your research with the public while not quite knowing how?  Mihaela Gruia from Research Retold joins us from the UK for a two-part workshop series on developing a communications plan.  Learn to effectively share research findings with a broad range of audiences.  Hear Mihaela talk about the goals of the series at: Research Retold – pre workshop video

2. Transcending Mental Models

04 and 10 December, 2020 | View Workshop 1 | View Workshop 2

Faciliated by: Brian Southwell, Senior Director, Science in the Public Sphere. Research Triangle Institute

This workshop explores the latest understanding of how social and political opinions are formed and re-formed, and the implications for how researchers should think about designing the message that communicates their work.

3. Telling data-driven stories: Lessons from data Journalism

Relevant Research: Telling data-driven stories. Lessons from journalism. 
With photo of presenter, Roberto Rocha

January, 2021 | View Workshop
Faciliated by: Roberto Rocha, Data Journalist, CBC/Radio Canada

Data journalism is the marriage of data analysis and visualization with public-interest storytelling, where datasets and reproducible analysis methods inform (and are informed by) the development and communication of a compelling narrative. In this multi-session event, Canadian data journalism pioneer Roberto Rocha will use principles and examples from data journalism to help attendees consider how they can create compelling data-driven stories about their own research outcomes. The sessions will consist of a keynote presentation, a go-at-your-own-pace workshop, and a follow-up live Q&A period. 

Those who have worked through the module are invited to join Mr. Rocha on 28 January for a discussion and feedback session.

4. Design Principles for Data Visualization

Facilitated by: Juan Velasco, 5W Infographics

Perception & data visualization design principles

5 March, 2021 | 10:30 – 12:00 EST | Register

This session will help participants understand why design is an important part of data visualization. It will also introduce important visual perception principles that should inform data visualization design.

Tools & resources for data visualization

12 March, 2021 | 10:30 – 12:00 EST | Register

Participants will have access to a video and exercises to practice applying their design skills, including the option of using Tableau, Datawrapper or Flourish to create a visualization of their own. In this session, Juan Velasco will review participants’ data visualizations to provide feedback on their design choices. Then, he will provide an overview of various tools and resources that are available for data visualization without programming, such as Excel, Illustrator, Tableau, Flourish, and Datawrapper.

5. Creative Research and Building Feminist Data

Relevant Research: Creative Research and Building Feminist Data. With photo of presenter Caroline Sinders.

Facilitated by: Caroline Sinders

Research Driven Art

9 April, 2021 | 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST | Register
Caroline Sinders is an artist and researcher whose work explores the intersections of critical design, trauma, data, and AI as art. This talk will explore the methodology she’s created to guide both her art and research practice, called “research driven art.” Inspired by photojournalism, critical design, and open source software, research driven art is a process driven artistic methodology and approach to knowledge mobilization.

Feminist Data Set Workshop

16 April, 2021 | 10:00 – 2:00 ET | Register

Can data collection itself function as an artwork? Can it act as a form of protest? In this workshop, participants will collect feminist data beginning with an introduction to machine learning, data, and design thinking, and leading into a collaborative and facilitated process with the objective of building a feminist data set from the ground up. This workshop explores how data collection can be used as an artistic practice and a collaborative, community practice.

The Feminist Data Set project will result in a large scale data set, a re-imagining of a mechanical turk system to create a feminist mechanical turk, then creating an algorithm. All of this will then be a part of the Feminist AI system. But to get there, you need data. The majority of AI and chatbot projects think of the AI component and the algorithms used as the entire project, but Feminist Data Set focuses equally on creating a data set that’s never existed before, and then using that data set to create Feminist AI.

The workshop is open to anyone interested in exploring the project but please note that the Feminist Data Set is intersectional and trans and non-gender binary inclusive.