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Friday Lecture by Kate McDowell: Storytelling as Information Research and Critical Data Storytelling

Info about event


Friday 24 November 2023,  at 14:00 - 16:00


Peter Bøgh Andersen Auditorium, 5335-016, Finlandsgade 21, 8200 Aarhus N


Storytelling is an old practice with new implications for the evolution and dissemination of information. Building on the data, information, knowledge, and wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy, the S-DIKW framework (S for Storytelling) provides a theoretical framework for understanding information and misinformation in story form. Applications of storytelling include strategies for the defense of public institutions—especially libraries and public health agencies—currently under attack politically, financially, and via disinformation. The in-development Data Storytelling Toolkit for Librarians provides a working example for how information professionals can combine data and storytelling to fortify information institutions, and this is the basis for the in-progress book Critical Data Storytelling for Libraries. This work draws on a new concept of critical data storytelling that focuses on storytelling power, uncovering who has it, how it operates, and its consequences for peoples’ lives. Rooted in critical theory, the book promotes ethical use of data storytelling by recognizing its potential to both include and exclude. These theoretical approaches have practical implications for communities, social justice, and data literacy, and as a foundation for practical intervention into contemporary information crises.


Dr. Kate McDowell focuses on storytelling as information research, social justice storytelling, and how the history of library storytelling can enhance contemporary data storytelling. Her writing appears in Library QuarterlyCollege and Research Libraries, and JASIST, where her article Storytelling wisdom: Story, information, and DIKW theorizes storytelling as a fundamental information form. She leads the nationally-funded Data Storytelling Toolkit for Librarians project to equip libraries with narrative tools for data-informed advocacy. McDowell is an associate professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (USA), where her storytelling teaching was internationally celebrated with the ASIS&T Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award in 2022.