UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Viewpoints/Points of View: Building a Transdisciplinary Data Theatre Collaboration in Six Scenes Snyder-Young, Dani; Arnold Mages, Michael; Bhargava, Rahul; Carr, Jonathan; Perovich, Laura; Talmadge, Victor; Wason, Oliver; Zellner, Moira; C-Dina, Angelique; Birnholz, Ren; et al.


Data now plays a central role in civic life and community practices. This has created a pressing need for new forms of translation and sense-making that can engage diverse publics. Research-based Theatre (RbT) has proven to be an effective approach to delivering qualitative data to community stakeholders. We extend this tradition by proposing “community-engaged data theatre”. This approach translates quantitative data into theatrical language to engage communities in deliberative conversations on relevant issues. Community-engaged data theatre requires bridging multiple disciplines and involves creating new definitions and shared vocabularies in discourses that formerly have had little overlap in meaning. In this article, we share key insights from our initial experiments in which we adapted quantitative and qualitative data to devise a pilot piece in collaboration with a local community partner. In this essay, we communicate our collaborative process in polyvocal, artistic form. We edit and adapt materials from our conversations and creative practices into scenes illustrating how we taught and learned from each other about data science, participatory modeling, material deliberation and Composition to pilot our lab’s first community-engaged data theatre prototype.

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CC BY 4.0