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Louise Mullagh

Research student

Louise Mullagh

InfoLab21 Lancaster University Bailrigg Lancaster LA1 4WA


United Kingdom

Current Research


Datadrifts: A participatory method for environmental data collection.

My research explores geographical and social inclusivity in the realm of 'big' environmental data, in particular that there is a tendency to overlook people and their tacit knowledge, experience of place and the issues faced there. The urban dominates this paradigm, with many rural and remote areas left out as a result. Data is seen as having many answers to complex problems but many people have difficulties understanding what big data are, and in turn are unable to navigate what is often invisible and collected automatically. Through the lense of the Critical Theory of Technology, the research takes a practice based approach in developing new ways of engaging people, place and data.

The data-drift is an exploratory method that seeks to engage stakeholders who traditionally do not engage in the collection and use of environmental data in conversations and activities with organisations and individuals engaged in big data collection and use.

Through exploring data and place this research asks how data are collected about and by them, what data means in their own place and how heterogeneous data might enable them to take part in this new paradigm. This method also seeks to explore the possibilities for heterogeneous data (such as literature, memory, lived experience, physical objects, photographs) to be included and embedded in flood models. By placing this 'rich' data within this traditionally data-dominated realm, questions are raised as to the importance of considering people and place not only in the collection of data, but in the use of models by a wider audience in order to engage communities in conversations and action about climate change, and the big data paradigm.

I am interested in walking as practice and a method of engaging different stakeholders in conversations regarding technological issues.  



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