Meet the #ASCmap Team -- The SFU ICASC/ASC! and BIG DATA/KEY Collaborators!
For the last few months, our team @ICASC/ASC! has been collaborating with KEY, SFU’s Big Data initiative, on an exciting project to collect, analyse, and visualise data on community-engaged participatory art for social change (ASC) organizations in BC. Over the last few weeks, we have released posts #1 and #2 about the project, including an introductory piece, and an informative article covering our data categorization process.
In this post, we are happy to introduce you to our #ASCmap data project team and their thoughts on the project!
SFU ICASC/ASC! Research Project
Cary is a master of many trades. He is a writer, scholar, music educator and musician. Enrolled in Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) PhD program, in the Faculty of Education, Cary is also the co-founder and editor of the website/arts group philosophasters.org and a member of the alt-rock band moondle.
“I am excited by what this project can tell us about the work that is going on in community participatory arts”, says Cary. He highlights that various types of mapping work has been done all over the country. However, the #ASCmap project has the distinct potential to raise more awareness and recognition of community-engaged ASC work as the important sector it is. This data project intends to increase understanding of ASC work among communities, policymakers, and institutions.
“This project represents a first step in just trying to know what is out there. What's happening and how is it happening? Also, with and by whom, and who is supporting this work? Hopefully, people will want to conduct similar initiatives in BC, as well as other provinces."
Srijani, much like Cary, juggles different roles outside school work. While completing her Masters in Political Science at SFU, Srijani works as a teaching and research assistant in her department. She is also the Assistant News Editor of the school paper ‘The Peak’, and a Community Advisor for the university residences. Born and brought up in a family of artists, Srijani has dabbled in theatre and dance, and has an innate appreciation of the role art plays in the lives of individuals and the community as a whole.
Srijani is excited by the potential of the #ASCmap project. “Any kind of activism needs organized knowledge to sustain its cause. We are trying to do just that. Take the information on ASC sector available out there and organize it, categorize it, look for patterns – make it more comprehensible. And, the collaboration with Key has been invaluable in this process.”
Srijani adds that, “While our research project has a limited scope, primarily focussing on not-for-profit ASC organisations BC, it has immense potential for future expansion.”
Kim has been part of the ICASC family for almost 6 years now. She is currently the Community Liaison for the ASC! research project at SFU. With over a decade in communications, community engagement and programming, passionate about social and environmental justice, Kim is keenly interested in creative exchanges that foster empathy, understanding, and action on the pressing issues of our times.
As one of the key members of the ICASC team, Kim states, “I am very interested in the potential benefits and uses that this data visualisation project may bring to the many people involved or interested in community-engaged participatory arts, be they not-for-profits, artists, ASC practitioners, scholars, government officials, funders, policy makers, activists, and/or advocates. It is our intent that the data will work to support the community-engaged arts sector and the invaluable social change work they do across BC and Canada.”
“The collaborative process on this data project has been so interesting, exciting and rewarding! Rada, Stan and Steven bring whole other dimensions to our data. Our team has learned a lot from them. We are so pleasantly surprised that the collaboration has been, in some ways, similar to ASC work, in that it is very much a sharing, iterative, creative process amongst people passionate about what they do. We are so grateful to be working with KEY and VIVA on this project, but mostly for being able to explore, learn, and create with Rada, Stan and Steven while getting to know them!”
Kim is hopeful that others will use this pilot project as a starting point to gain further information and insights, to flesh out more questions and answers (more data) on community-engaged ASC in BC and across Canada.
SFU Big Data/KEY Team
Steven Bergner is a research faculty member in Computing Science at SFU with technical interests including visualization of multi-dimensional data, machine learning, and user interfaces that make it easier to work with computational models. As head of the consulting team at KEY - SFU's Big Data Initiative – he mentors academic and industrial clients on data related problems.
Speaking about our collaborative team work, Steven says that he appreciates this “chance to learn about community-based art and am happy to be part of a diverse team that seamlessly integrates contributions between ASC!, VIVA, and KEY at SFU. I hope our work can make positive impact on the arts funding landscape and serve as a fruitful basis for follow-up work.”
Stan Nowak is a Masters student at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU. His research interests revolve around Visual Analytics and Information Visualization. As a part of the KEY team in the ASC mapping data project, Stan has helped us prepare data and design data visualizations.
Stan says that his main interest is focussed on finding out “how this type of project will be received and used in the context of activism.”
He hopes that in the future, organizations who wish to gain exposure may want to update the ASC data visualizations with their relevant information. He believes that future iterations of this project may provide a system that allows organizations to update their own most timely data to best inform stakeholders and community members.
Rada, a recent graduate from the Beedie School of Business, is currently working as a Research Assistant for KEY while happily exploring the intersection of business, data, and technology. Born into a family of artists, she has a background in music and theatre and understands the invaluable impact arts has on communities and individuals.
When it comes to our project, Rada expresses her utmost excitement to see how we can connect organizations and individuals to help drive momentum within the participatory arts community. She states, “It is inspiring to work with a group of people that are so passionate about the goal of this project and the communities it serves. This collaborative project has been the perfect opportunity to apply technical knowledge to an art-focused initiative, while getting to know a handful of the talented and purpose-driven people behind ICASC.”
We are nearing the close of our project and putting in the final touches.
Stay tuned for further bi-weekly posts on the #ASCmap project!