New project – Co-designing with Speculative Data Stories: Higher Education After Surveillance

“There will be no miracles here” – installation by Nathan Coley, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Photo licence cc:by Ghost of Kuji.

‘After Surveillance’ network members Jen Ross, Amy Collier, Anna Wilson and Martin Hawksey, along with our colleague Jane McKie, have just successfully applied for a small research grant from the Edinburgh Futures Institute. These grants are aimed at supporting “projects with a focus on the production and application (through innovation) of multi-disciplinary research for the public good”. The project will work across education, design and creative writing fields to help inform the development of the Higher Education Surveillance Observatory that members of the network have been discussing in recent months. One of the key steps we identified as necessary for that work is some co-design with potential stakeholders to help scope the purposes and nature of the Observatory. This project contributes to that co-design process.

It is also, importantly, an opportunity to to develop speculative methods for understanding and imagining possible surveillance futures. In this project, we will run ‘speculative data stories’ workshops with groups of colleagues in UK universities whose roles involve supporting, promoting and working with learning technologies. Insights from these workshops will be linked with the ethical educational technology strategy of our project partner, the Association of Learning Technology (ALT), to produce and disseminate stories about what the future of surveillance might be like in universities. These stories will help inform new approaches to interrupting, reducing or reconfiguring surveillance practices in higher education; including directly informing the design and development of the Observatory. 

Outcomes from the project will include engagement with groups of learning technologists in UK universities; design and methodology briefing papers; a briefing paper for ALT; speculative data stories; and a research talk and paper.

It’s an ambitious project and a tight timescale, but we are very excited to be able to undertake this work, and looking forward to sharing findings and outputs as they emerge.

Email Jen Ross with any questions about the project.

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