Data + Design = Impact

Getting people interested in the conclusions of academic research is difficult. Vse Yasno is a data visualisation workshop organised by the Prague Civil Society Centre and Verstak Design Bureau that aims to make research on social issues accessible to a wider audience.

 

Prague hosted a four day data visualisation workshop that paired researchers and designers together to repackage research on some of the region’s social challenges in an engaging way.

“How do I get people to read it?” is a question familiar to researches faced with the thankless task of drumming up interest in their work.

Vse Yasno (Russian: everything is clear), a data visualisation workshop organised by the Prague Civil Society Centre and Verstak Design Bureau, aimed to provide a solution to this conundrum.

Hosted in Prague, Vse Yasno paired eight researchers from the region, each with a completed research project on a social issue in the region, with eight illustrators, designers and animators from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The objective: find a way to present the research and issue in an engaging way and present a plan on how to use it to affect change.

The research tackled important social challenges in the region, ranging from sex education in Kazakhstan to palliative care in Russia and decentralisation in Ukraine, mapping out ways to implement change based on their findings.

The project that won the popular vote among the participants was an online game created to help Belarusian citizens better understand which political figure best aligns with their views. It was based on research on Belarusian opposition figures conducted by Kirill Goroshko of the Institute of Political Studies “Political Sphere”. Players are asked a series of questions on their political views, with their answers then being used to generate a Frankenstein’s Monster-esque illustrated montage of their would-be perfect politician. The more in common you have with a certain politician, the more of that public figure makes up the final face.

An example of a completed Belarus face montage

Vse Yasno also allowed the researchers to see their own work through a new lens, as well as learn important new skills outside of academia. Dasha Pyrogova, whose research looks to find ways activists and authorities in Ukraine can work together, is looking forward to taking what she learnt about product promotion in the media and on social networks back to her think tank in Ukraine to better promote their work.

The event demonstrated that academic research can be used as a tool to spur civic activism and initiatives and how important effective design is to communicating the findings to a wider audience.