Reimagining Data Futures: Data and Agency

Thinking about agency is an essential part of thinking about the distribution of data power. But how might we think about agency in its relation to data? Some scholars define agency with regard to the sense-making processes of individuals and communities based on how they understand and respond to their lived experience. For others, agency is much less reflexive considering that the digital platforms are enclosed spaces managed by corporations and the readily available tools are designed to sustain the highly commercial and unjust big data culture. Data subjects have their own agendas with data in some way but they are often caught up in power structures.

Can we talk about different experiences of datafication and a bottom-up data subjectivity? Covering a range of data practices and initiatives, this panel will discuss data and agency in the work of reimagining data futures.

Moderator: Imge Ozcan, LSTS, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


  • Minna Ruckenstein, Consumer Society Research Centre at the University of Helsinki
  • Mirko Tobias Schäfer, Utrecht Data School and New Media & Digital Culture at Utrecht University
  • Stefania Milan, DATACTIVE project and New Media & Digital Culture at University of Amsterdam
  • Jonathan Gray, Digital Humanities, King’s College London (via video call)

See full program here.