The Visualization Workshop

On Friday, a few students met in the Inforum to take part in a hands-on visualization workshop, based on Gauntlett's visual sociology methods. As many of you know, we built clay models of our research ideas in order to externalize our proposal and share it with other students for feedback.

The following agenda was used: introductions, icebreaker, research visualization and debrief. The icebreaker consisted of asking each participant to build her favorite animal our of clay. This stage was very interesting as each person created a unique model with a very personal story attached to it. The trust and comfort this created set the stage for the more complex research visualization stage.

Although there were no rules given to how literal or abstract the model had to be, it was interesting to see different approaches. Some people kept to quite literal figures (virtual library = a person with a computer), others resorted to conventional signs (money = dollar sign) while others kept to incoherent figures that could not be read without explanations (balls of clay representing people). Each student explained her research idea in detail, and the conceptualization was critically examined by the other students. This led to attempts to clarify, reframe and explore the research.

Clay proved to be an effective medium. While it was perhaps more intimidating than lego at first, requiring students to be more artistic than some of them might be used to, after the icebreaker students seemed much more at ease. It was commented at the end of the workshop that clay is much more flexible and tactile than lego, which lends itself to linear structures. All in all, we concluded that this method could be useful both in the practical setting (community workshops) and the academic setting (research).
Thank you to all who participated!


  1. Thank you Eleonore and Jennette for yr efforts for the Visualiation workshop. Really its good to know the ideas / thoughts of each other about thier research.

  2. Looks like it was amazing guys! Sorry I couldn't be there.