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Art of Data Conference

April 4, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT

The Art of Data conference is an annual gathering of researchers, practitioners, artists, and journalists, to discuss issues related to data, cities, and visualization. It is organized by the Columbia University Libraries in collaboration with the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at the Journalism School. The conference will take place on April 4th from 3pm to 6pm, followed by a small reception.

This year’s theme is Processing New York, which emphasizes how we produce, collect, clean, analyze, and process the data that we use. For this iteration we are putting together three panels: one, The Story of NYC, which will deal with humanities related data; two, Uncovered New York, which will talk about data that is rarely collected (think rodents); and three NYC Data in Action, in which we will examine the positive and negative effects of technology and data in the way we manage and live our cities. Each panel will have two speakers, each one talking about their work for 20 minutes followed by a 20 minute Q&A. A rough schedule is outlined below.

3:00 – 4:00pm NYC Data in Action

Chris Whong, is a public-sector entrepreneur and civic technologist. As Founder and Director of the progressive digital services team NYC Planning Labs, he promotes the use of agile methods, human-centered design, and open technology to build impactful tools at the NYC Department of City Planning. Chris is a leader in the NYC civic technology community, and a former Code for America brigade leader.

Ben Wellington, is the creator of I Quant NY, a data science and policy blog that focuses on insights drawn from New York City’s public data, and advocates for the expansion and improvement of that data. His data analysis has influenced local government policy including changes in NYC street infrastructure, the way New Yorkers pay for cabs and the design of NYC subway vending machines, and his talk on urban data was featured on TED. Ben holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science (Natural Language Processing) from New York University.

Panel moderated by Kae Bara Kratcha, Entrepreneurship & Social Science Librarian at Columbia University Libraries.

4:00 – 5:00pm The Story of NYC

Rachel Egan, is a Brooklyn-based artist and information scientist. Her creative practice includes coding, drawing, and needlework, while her research is focused on applying semantic technologies and open access mechanisms to cultural object cataloging. She currently leads The Art Genome Project, the classification system and technological framework that powers Artsy, the leading platform for collecting and discovering art. Egan is a former Linked Open Data Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a researcher for the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings Catalogue Raisonné, and has provided archival and data services for Artnet, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Gagsoian Gallery, and Greene Naftali Gallery. She received her Bachelor of Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and Master of Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute.

Grace Afsari-Mamagani, is a doctoral student in English at NYU, working on a dissertation that reads post-9/11 American fiction representing the lived experiences of marginalized communities as the site of a theory and ethics of interaction design for educational resources. In her teaching and research, she centers the relationship between everyday information structures and long, violent histories of colonialism and nation-building. She currently serves as a doctoral fellow in digital research and pedagogy with the NewYorkScapes research collaborative, which seeks to build community at the intersection of cultural heritage, spatial and urban studies, and digital methods. Grace is a member of the 2018-2020 HASTAC Scholars cohort, a former Polonsky-Brine digital humanities fellow at NYU, a former MLA Connected Academics fellow, and a recovering marketing agency project manager. Her professional interests include instructional design, educational technology, and digital project consulting.

Panel moderated by Sophie Leveque, Social Work & Social Science Librarian at Columbia University Libraries.

5:00 – 6:00pm Uncovered New York

Jason Munshi-South, is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Louis Calder Center at Fordham University. His lab studies the ecological and evolutionary consequences of urbanization for wildlife populations, with a particular focus on New York City. Of particular fascination for Jason are the rodents that live in and around our urban homes, but his lab studies organisms ranging from mammals to lichens.

Grga Basic, is an Associate Research Scholar and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP); his work and research focus on critical, narrative, and investigative cartography. He joined the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes (CRCL) in 2018, coming from the Center for Spatial Research. At CRCL, Grga acts as a mapping expert, developing and overseeing spatial analysis and cartographic representations for all projects. At GSAPP, Grga also co-teaches Points Unknown, an interdisciplinary course focused on pairing journalistic techniques with design practices through spatial data analysis and visualization. Prior to joining GSAPP, Grga held academic appointment at the Harvard Urban Theory Lab and worked as an architect at the Atelier Seraji in Paris. His cartographic representations have been exhibited at the Venice, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Rotterdam Biennials of Architecture.

Panel moderated by Wei Yin, Research Support & Data Services Librarian.


April 4, 2019
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT
Event Category:


Brown Institute for Media Innovation
Columbia Libraries


Brown Institute at Columbia
2950 Broadway
New York, NY 10027 United States
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