Data Practice for a Politics of Care: Food Assistance as a Site of Careful Data Work

Carl DiSalvo, Chris Le Dantec
Ashley Boone

As data plays an increasing role in civic decision making, diverse organizations are facing pressure to engage in data work. The HCI community has explored both the potential of and challenges to integrating robust data practices in mission-driven organizations. At each step "from collection, to storage, to analysis, to maintenance "these organizations need to develop tools and practices that balance internal operational needs and external community priorities. This work reports on an 11 month-long collaboration with an organization resulting from institutional bricolage that has carefully designed tools and procedures for collecting data that enact an ethic of care. This caring data practice is characterized by defining success through relationships, attending to the social and cultural community context, and protecting vulnerable populations through non-collection. We share the organization's practices, analyze how they support the organization in providing care, and offer recommendations for building caring data systems.

Christopher Le Dantec

The Participatory Publics Lab is a group of researchers concerned with community engagement and design. We are part of the Digital Media program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech.

We explore the design of mobile and social media in the context of community development and activism. We do this through different modes of participation: in the design of these technologies; in the development of discourses about these technologies; in the use, adoption, and appropriation of these technologies.

We investigate forms of civic and community engagement through participatory design, design research, ethnographic research, and critical scholarship. Our research is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and as part of the Intel Science and Technology Center in Social Computing (ISTC-Social).