We are excited to have been chosen to present our work at Universities Week 2014, which aims to open up a national conversation about the relevance of university research and its everyday impact on our lives, through a week-long series of engaging activities taking place in the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum in central London. During Universities Week, universities across the UK are inviting everyone to be inspired, get involved and discover the work that they are doing to improve the way we live our lives.
So what will we be doing there? We’ll be aiming to show the world in a way that many people will have not have thought about or experienced before: the world as revealed by the online social information they create every day. By mapping the traces people leave in their daily lives (on Facebook, Twitter, Google etc) we aim to encourage people to reflect on their online activities; how the Internet represents and relates to physical space (something that is usually overlooked when we think of things being ‘online’ – wherever in the world that is!); and how uneven and unequal global society still is. For instance, there are more Wikipedia articles about Tolkien’s Middle Earth than any country in Africa. Using our data and maps, we want people to think about how our world and society are represented online: who is included, and who is left out.
Universities Week 2014 is being run by Universities UK with Research Councils UK, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement.