Materializing data: new research methods for feminist digital humanities

Brianna Wiens, Stan Ruecker, Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Milena Radzikowska, Shana MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper argues that materializing data may be a useful methodology in intersectional feminst digital humanities, because it requires close attention not only to the content of data and the contexts in which it is produced, but also to the individual, situated, differing knowledges that researchers leverage in the processes of generating, analyzing, and disseminating research data. We introduce two approaches to data materialization currently used at the qCollaborative, an intersectional feminist design research lab with nodes at the University of Waterloo, Mount Royal University, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The outcomes of these methods, which we call "forcing connections between the digital and the material"and "dwelling with embodied data in research scenes", have included productive opportunities to: Relax behavioural expectations and inhibitions; leverage tacit as well as explicit knowledges; engage in processes of vulnerable co-creation; engage in equitable co-creation of knowledge across differences in lived experience; cycle through stages of public representation, gathering, and presentation; account for the complex events, actions, and contestations that influence our processes of data-production, analysis, and remediation; generate research products that can become future research scenes for equitable data-dwelling processes; and leverage old-media tactics to intervene into harmful, normative digital cultures; and generate new conceptual paradigms; and: Make explicit interventions into institutional cultures. These outcomes suggest the need for further work to develop a validated, transferable data materialization methodology for use by qCollaborative and and other digital humanities researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdscn.373
JournalDigital Studies/ Le Champ Numerique
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 24 2020


  • Collaborative
  • Dwelling with data
  • Feminist digital humanities
  • Forcing comparisons
  • Materializing data
  • Research scenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications


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