The use of big data and data visualisation in addressing young people's inequalities and their participation in cultural and social life.

Lead Research Organisation: Birmingham City University
Department Name: ADM Birmingham Sch of Media


To examine critically Big Data and their potential to combat but also reinforce young people's social, economic and cultural inequalities through the agency of the creators and communicators of this data in order to better understand the causes of their inequalities and how they might be more effectively addressed.

A Visiting Fellow at Aston University since Oct 2012, I co-authored and then was project manager/researcher for the FP7 EU funded project Citispyce which investigated youth inequalities and potentially innovative actions of young people to combat them. In this project, we were concerned with those affected by inequalities at the local level and those who try to manage the consequences of it nationally (e.g. governmental policies and actions) and locally (municipal and other actors in civil society).

From 2013 to 2016, I set-up and managed 3 EU funded projects to explore disadvantaged young people's attitudes towards the EU and politics in general, including the General Election in 2015 and EU Referendum in 2016. Through these, I got to know and work closely with Beatfreeks and wrote up a Citispyce Case Study on their innovative approach to overcoming young people's inequalities.

Prior to this, I worked on strategic European, urban and cultural issues for Birmingham City Council (BCC) for 20 years. Between 1997 and 2008, I was responsible as Deputy and then Head of the Division which provided expert advice to BCC as well as NGOs and private sector bodies in the city on EU and urban policies, funding, projects and networking. I helped set up the Eurocities network and its various specialist committees (especially Culture and Social Affairs). I provided guidance on Arts Lottery funding and undertook preparation of new arts strategy for the city whilst working P/T for Finance and Leisure Services Directors between 1994 and 1996.

Since coming to Birmingham in 1982, I have been involved in its cultural life as a performer (Ex Cathedra) and arts administrator with experience in marketing, press and PR, sponsorship and outreach particularly with young people. With BCC, I commissioned a survey of arts provision to support bids for ERDF funding for cultural regeneration and destination marketing initiatives in the city. I also drafted guidance for applicants to new festivals funding scheme and worked on outreach projects like Artsfest and Gallery 37 and surveys to demonstrate the value of the arts to the city.


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