2/7/2018 - 7/7/2018

Data in Democracy Summer School (The Hague, the Netherlands)


From criminal justice to transportation, poverty to “fake news,” large-scale data are helping us both understand and address some of the most pressing issues facing modern democracies. And yet analyses and applications of those same data can do real harm. Algorithms used for setting bail can perpetuate racial biases. Calculations employed to improve the efficiency of postal delivery may divert already-scarce resources away from impoverished areas. Enhancing political engagement on social media platforms can promote misinformation, polarization, and distrust.

And the list—unfortunately—goes on.

How can we maximize the effectiveness of, and minimize potential harms resulting from, the use of data in contemporary democracies? One important answer is to bring more social science into our data practices. Social science perspectives permit a deeper understanding of the social and political processes that generate data—allowing us to more critically unpack what the data represent. And social science research can tell us a great deal about the likely effects of various applications resulting from data analysis.

The Data in Democracy Summer School brings together a select group of practitioners and academics for five days to learn about and apply crucial insights from the social sciences concerning the forms, functions, and impacts of data in democratic societies. Participants will receive a series of lectures with built-in practical exercises, engage in social and networking activities, and, on the final day, take part in a “hackathon” that capitalizes on participants’ diverse backgrounds and experiences as they work together on a problem using real-world data.

The core of the Data in Democracy Summer School program is broadly relevant to anyone who uses data to unpack and address contemporary social and political problems, be it as a journalist, technologist, academic, or data analyst in either the public or private sectors.

Find out more here.