Julia Nishizaki – Looking Outwards – 08

I am using one of my grace days for this late submission.

Maya Ganesh’s 2013 talk at Eyeo, “Visual Influence”

The individual I chose to listen to and learn more about was Maya Indira Ganesh. On her website, Ganesh identifies as a “feminist technology researcher, speaker, and writer working with arts and culture organisations, academia and NGOs.” I was drawn to her work because she focuses on technology in advocacy, by exploring how to bring together data and art in order to progress social issues. In 2013, at the time of her Eyeo festival talk, Maya Ganesh was the Evidence and Action program director at Tactical Technology Collective, and organization that works with activists, right advocates, and data specialists to help visualize information and enact change. Ganesh is a writer and speaker, rather than a designer or technologist, so during her talk, she referenced her interests, focuses as a researcher, and “Visualising Information for Advocacy,” a book that she had worked on with Tactical Technology Collective, rather than personal works or projects.

A photo taken from the website for the book, “Visualising Information for Advocacy,” describing an example of how we visualize information and move those around us to enact change

I really admired how she spoke and presented her ideas. Throughout the presentation, she used the space around her very effectively. Rather than just reading notes or relying on her slideshow, she kept eye contact with the audience, and spoke almost like she was talking directly to you. Moreover, she framed her presentation with stories and examples of how people used technology and design to shift people’s perspectives. By framing her talk through narratives, she helped the audience to better understand the power of information and data visualization, and ultimately, her goals and inspirations.

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