Workshop Themes

We invite authors to share diverse perspectives on the workshop’s topic. Contributors may wish to address a range of themes including but not limited to:

Making data actionable. Technology is never neutral and neither are the various visual and tangible representations and the embedded data structures that characterize environmental data. As specific technological features, such qualities uniquely shape the uptake of concrete actions to responsibly inhabit, protect, or restore the environment. We invite discussions on how and when data become meaningful, the different practices and collaborations that make them meaningful, and on the different values data might have for different actors and stakeholders. Challenges associated with data literacy, transparency, or data ownership are relevant to this theme. We encourage contributions illustrating the partnerships, power relations, and political and economic factors (e.g., relations between technology and governance, business models) that underpin the creation of environmental data, and that shape how data can be used for environmental sustainability.

Entangling data. Scholarship within Sustainable HCI (SHCI) has outlined the need to focus on current circumstances to understand what can be in the future. Eli Blevis’ call to ‘See What Is and What Can Be’ puts emphasis on the production of action (as opposed to the mere action alone) as a relevant aspect to understand how sustainable actions come to be, and how design matters in the ecology of that action. Relatedly, previous work has emphasized that acts of care for the environment can be seen as interconnected and additive. This practically means considering how the outcomes of specific interventions (e.g., collection of data about urban littering) can activate other acts of environmental care (e.g., from policy-making to developing awareness), and what type of resources (e.g., evidence to enforce policy change, educational material) such outcomes become in that context. We invite authors to discuss case studies that illustrate the mechanisms and processes whereby data become actionable. This can include the participatory production of data, the development of multi-stakeholders collaborations, interactions with governance, policy, and policy-making. Accounts of the political and power dynamics that might actually hinder the disclosure of environmental data (e.g., air pollution) are particularly relevant to this theme.

Situating data. Studies within SHCI have been criticized for abstracting and simplifying sustainable actions, by merely focusing on individual behaviors, attitudes, and cognition. We welcome theoretical and analytical frameworks, as well as design interventions and examples of existing technologies that highlight the ecology of relations that exist between environmental data, environmentally sustainable practices, and broader social contexts — e.g., physical infrastructures, governance, the law and other regulations. While the “good” of data is often associated with the idea that data can easily grow and globally scale up, we invite authors to reflect on the locally bound qualities of environmental care, the global relevance of data collected at specific localities, and the extent to which aggregated data sets can mobilize actions across contexts.

The workshop aims at developing visions and possible scenarios to use data from within an action-oriented perspective to sustainability. The workshop’s goals can be summarized as follows:
Identify data sources and structures that can better address urging environmental actions;

2) Identify conceptual, empirical, and technological examples that unpack how data can become resources to structure collective acts of care for the environment;

3) Account for power structures embedded in data sources, the interfaces and affordances that enable their creation and
representation, as well as in the narratives that promote the use of such data;

4) Account for the work, the political, ethical, and power relations that underpin the creation of partnerships, collaborative projects, or design interventions whereby environmental data is made available and become contextually meaningful and instrumental to environmental protection.

5) Brainstorm ideas for future studies that can contribute better understandings of data-enabled sustainability and the work to infrastructure action-oriented sustainability;

6) Synthesize ideas into future plans for research collaborations and dissemination beyond the time frame of the workshop

7) Develop strategies to encourage collaborations and partnerships between researchers, practitioners, public and private institutions, and other actors for whom data can be a means to structure and sustain environmental care over time