Engaging with data

Anne Pässilä, Lasse Kantola, Annika Wolff, Antti Knutas, Teija Vainio

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientificpeer-review


The aim of SciberCity was to examine how environmental data could act as a bridge between people and nature. We were interested in the experiential aspects of engaging with data and how we might foster creative and sensory experiences with it to build environmental empathy. The project combined data literacy and arts-based methods with a focus on pre-text process drama which is influenced by oral storytelling and literary and performing art techniques. The intended end result was a set of methods that can be utilised to support data sensemaking in more-than-human design for sustainable cities.
To achieve these aims we developed a set of activities designed to lead participants through engaging with data in the process of building a SciberPunk character, a type of ‘future persona’ that channels the voice of the environment and can be used in a design process. It has special abilities for feeling and expressing data, such as the ability to smell or hear it, or communicate it through living tattoos on the skin. Activities included drawing, writing and performing and were framed by a single story that took participants on a journey through time: past, present and future. We chose environmental data about Linnaistensuo in Lahti to develop SciberPunks but as the project took place during the initial lockdown of COVID-19 we also included COVID data and discussed how SciberPunk concept could bring people closer together when they need to be physically apart. Co-design workshops took place online via both Zoom and WhatsApp and via a set of activities designed to help participants understand and develop their own Sciber character. From their origins in the swamp, through the covid situation and into an unknown future where they transform to have special abilities. Overall, participants produced a variety of characters with unique skills, including a shaman, a shapeshifter and a fairy, all with special skills connected to nature.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventLahti Science Week - Lahti, Finland
Duration: 16 Nov 202020 Nov 2020


ConferenceLahti Science Week
Internet address

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