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Critical Data Practices: Remaking Data Archives, Subjects and Technologies


Info about event


Tuesday 4 June 2024,  at 09:30 - 18:30


Langelandsgade 145, Building 1584, room 212 8000 Aarhus C

Extending the framework of Critical Data Studies, this symposium foregrounds Critical Data Practices to interrogate the ways in which data are collected, analysed, generated, archived, reused and disposed of, and to emphasize how data can be practiced through critical methods. Data processes are at the core of governance of people, artifacts and natural phenomena and therefore require novel interdisciplinary inquiry that productively queries the challenges that emerge across these various domains.

Critical data practices wish to account for histories of data collections, including colonial practices, conditions of climate change, ethical challenges, and social, legal and regulatory concerns that emerge from the currents of digital transformations at all levels.Driving this is the recognition that data is both: 1) an active agent and material in production and representation of knowledge, governance of societies and individuals, and, as such 2) that data is practised in complex ecologies of people, artifacts, machines, software and natural phenomena. We see data as generative of relations that complicate object/subject separation while establishing new ones.

Simultaneously, Critical Data Practices move beyond normative approaches to data that assume what data is and what it can do, to instead question and shift the terms of its certainty towards ambiguity and material and interpretative complexity. Critical Data Practices push for other conceptions of data (or ‘capta’) that strive to make room for embodiment, unknowing, loss,  friction and other dimensions that data processes do not easily accommodate. 

This one-day symposium, which marks the launch of the Center for Critical Data Practices at the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, will engage with these questions by looking at data processes that inform contemporary practices of curation as data management, and governance and management of people. The symposium features different projects and approaches bridging critical data studies, software studies, STS and artistic research.


9:30 – 9:45 Introduction 

9:45 – 11:15 Keynote 1: Annalisa Pelizza Professor of Science and Technology Studies Aarhus University , and University of Bolognia

Title: Scripts of Alterity: How Data Schemas Enact People on the Move as Irregular Subjects at the European Borders 

11:15 – 11:35 Break 

11:35 – 13:00 Panel 1: Data Subjects at the Borders 

Sophie Kloos (Asylos, country of origin research volunteer network, Amsterdam)

Nanna Dahler (Department of Gender Studies, Lund University) 

13:00 14:00 Lunch 

14:00 – 15:30 Panel 2 – Troubling the Lifecycles of Data

Nicolas Malève (Department of Aesthetics and Culture, Aarhus University)

Ofri Cnaani (artist and researcher) 

15:30 – 15:45 BREAK

15:45 - 17:15 Keynote 2: Nanna Bonde Thylstrup Associate Professor (Promotion Program) in Modern and Digital Culture, Copenhagen University

Title: Encountering Data Losses

17:15-17:30 Closing remarks  

17:30 – 18:30 Reception