ART.20.002 – Making sense of crisis data through art-science collaboratories

Route: Art: research and innovation in the 21st century

Cluster question: 068 How can we promote and utilise creativity and innovation?

We are in the midst of an ‘infodemic’. Scientists and citizens alike urgently need new tools to make sense of an increasing deluge of data. The aim of this research project is to bring scientists, artists and humanities scholars together in unique collaborative settings to interrogate the problem of data in three intersecting crises of public health, finance, and the environment. Our ambition is that through these novel arrangements of creative practitioners, we will be able to generate innovative ideas from and about data. The mission of the consortia will be to investigate the following two questions: Can artists and researchers in the arts offer new methods for understanding crisis data? Could multisensory approaches to sharing such data-experiments engage publics in new ways with science and the arts? We need to move beyond a dominant focus on quantitative models and algorithms in understanding crisis data. One way to achieve this is to draw on sensory methodologies pioneered in ethnographic and artistic research. Such participatory methods offer new ways to engage meaningfully with communities and their relevant data, not only in times of crisis. Research in this project is organized through Sensory Data Collaboratories. These collaboratories are shared problem spaces established through artistic-scientific experimentation that bring together practitioners from different disciplines to reflect on shifting notions of ‘sense making’. Through collaboration, our Sensory Data Collaboratories engage data sets from the fields of epidemiology, finance and ecology. The aim of each collaboratory is to find new forms of ‘making sense’ of relevant data by bringing in new sensory modalities (movement, tactility, smell, vision, sound and taste, for example). The outcome of this project is the development and evaluation of new collaborative data-experiments that impact our understanding of, improve our knowledge about, and advance our engagement with human experiences of crisis and data.


art-science, artistic research, data, ethnography, infodemic, information, participatory methods, science communication, sensory knowledge

Other organisations

Marres House for Contemporary Culture, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences


Organisation Maastricht University (UM)
Name Dr. A. (Anna) Harris