Emily Carr University of Art + Design  has received funding to study data aesthetics, which looks at the visual and cultural effects of how society manages and uses data. Emily Carr University’s Studio for Extensive Aesthetics was awarded almost $57,000 from this year’s BC Knowledge Development Fund . The money will go toward purchasing equipment for a dedicated research facility and the project supports the work of the Canada Research Chair in art and design technology.
Since entering the digital era, people have relied on visual interpretations of data. The wide variety of data collected by governments, corporations and individuals needs to be presented in a way that is easy to understand. Data visualization is a way of finding meaning within large sets of data and making it easier to understand.
“Funding a diverse range of research projects at public post-secondary institutions such as Emily Carr University allows students to get hands-on experience in applying their knowledge,” stated Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “Investments such as this one will help keep our province at the leading edge of research and technology, benefiting British Columbians.”
The research project, led by associate professor Amber Frid-Jimenez, applies artistic research and design projects to explore the way data appears visually. This is a growing research area with the potential to make data more meaningful. The studio also fosters critical debate about ethics and the cultural importance of data use.
“How a person perceives data is increasingly important in our modern, information-driven society,” added ECUAD president Ron Burnett. “The provincial government’s funding of research at Emily Carr will support our work on studying the effects of data visualization and aesthetics.”
The three key themes of the project include the aesthetic effects of visualizing data, the cultural and ethical implications of data collection and the use of data-driven artworks to engage the public in thinking about information culture.
“Designers and artists play a key role in helping us understand the aesthetic and cultural effects that the massive data flows of the 21st century have on our lives, now and in the future,” concluded Associate professor Amber Frid-Jimenez.
The BC Knowledge Development Fund has awarded six public post-secondary institutions in B.C. with a total of over $40 million for more than 100 research infrastructure projects in 2014, with more awards expected in 2015.
- Since 2001, government has invested more than $2 billion to research and innovation in B.C.
- The government has leveraged an additional $1 billion in research funding from other sources.
- That’s a total of $3 billion for research and innovation.
- $550 million has been awarded through the BC Knowledge Development Fund.