Collective for Gender+ in Research Engagementship: Distributing a Guide for Data Justice in Community-Based Data Collection Projects (Cohort #5)

Overview:

This project originated in May 2020 with the numerous calls for the collection of disaggregated data along multiple axes of identity, many of which were amplified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This includes calls to collect race-based data; sex-disaggregated data; data including Indigenous communities; those who are differently-abled; and those in the LGBTQI/2S community; among others. Less well understood or addressed are the ways in which this kind of data collection fails to incorporate the social construction of race as a category; the politics of collecting identity-disaggregated data; the ways in which context can be stripped from datasets; the effects of surveillance on populations and communities; and how public citizens might be called into these activities on a voluntary basis. Some of these latter concepts might be held under a “data justice” conceptual umbrella in which “…fairness in the way people are made visible, represented and treated as a result of their production of digital data is necessary to determine ethical paths through a datafying world” (Taylor, 2017).

To explore the many follow-up questions arising from the increasing need to collect data and the ways in which community organizations might go about this work, the Collective for Gender+ in Research (UBC ORICE) launched a research “engagementship” in which multiple cohorts, building on each others’ work, addressed a number of questions related to data justice and community-based research, and how community organizations might engage with these concepts. 

Four cohorts have now worked with us on this project, attending teach-ins, workshops, and conducting their own research on how the concepts of intersectionality and data justice are engaged in community-originated research. The work of the first four cohorts has now coalesced into a ‘community guide’ whose primary focus is to introduce the concept of ‘data justice’ to community organizations who work with data or are looking to work on a data-based project, by providing definitions, examples, and reflexive questions to engage with. Striving for accessibility and usability, this guide takes the form of a PDF file, a website, and a series of posters. 

Recruiting for this, the fifth cohort of this project will work with both regional and international community organizations/partners to share and distribute this guide amongst pre-existing networks of trust. Far from pretending to reinvent the wheel of data collection and management processes, this project acknowledges that community organizations already work with data and seeks to identify points of convergence between current methods of data collection, and Gender+ lenses.  

We are looking for dynamic and engaging communicators who have previous experience in community organizing and who are passionate about ‘making visible’ the issues that surround data justice.

Scope:

Throughout the term, a team of 4-5 students will spend 3-5 hours each week to think through a distribution strategy and organize a series of events/initiatives that will ‘put the guide out into the world’ and achieve maximum accessibility. To conduct this work, students will be asked to engage in various activities, including, but not limited to: participating in weekly scheduled calls, strategizing the accessible distribution of this guide to a diverse range of stakeholders, planning and hosting interest-sparking events, facilitating guide-related workshops, leading a social media campaign, and constantly collecting/working with the ideas and feedback generated in this process. 

Deliverables:

By October 4th, the team will familiarize themselves with the guide and with the assets created by the previous cohorts. They will also strategize the distribution plan that they will follow (social media campaign, planning of the delivery of the workshops, etc.). Over the course of the term, the students will lead their distribution strategy by hosting the events, facilitating their workshops with the concerned organizations, engaging on social media, and being attentive to (as well as proactive with) the ideas and feedback generated in the process. By the end of the term, students will be asked to provide a final report with resources for continued engagement (for instance, a workshop facilitation plan) and give a short presentation to the Collective for Gender+ in Research about their key learnings. 

While the program’s facilitators have drafted the program structure and suggested milestones for the project, students will be given the flexibility to co-design and modify their final outcomes as they deem relevant and in coordination with ORICE project managers. The students participating in this cohort of the Gender+ collective will be supported by ORICE team leads throughout the duration of this project.

Academic integration:

Please note this is a not-for-credit unpaid opportunity. If you are interested in making this a student-directed study course, please contact ubc.orice@ubc.ca to discuss the process to explore this option.

Anti-Racism and Ethics of Engagement:

The Collective for Gender+ in Research and the Office for Regional and International Community Engagement (UBC ORICE) are committed to embedding anti-racism in our daily work and ongoing projects. Students are encouraged and expected to consider how they can take an anti-racist lens to the work they produce around citizen science, data collection and use, and connections between community-based organizations, academics, and government. This might include, but is not limited to, ensuring the incorporation of the ongoing and often unrecognized work of organizations advocating for justice for minorities, particularly during the pandemic; or engaging with the politics of citation in including and citing the work of non-white scholars and other researchers. 

Eligibility

  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student (domestic or international) at the University of British Columbia with 60 or more completed credits as of  May 1st, 2021. (Note: recent grads are welcome to apply but priority will be given to current undergraduate students);
  • Have access to a reliable internet connection and computer to collaborate with peers and attend all meetings remotely;
  • Demonstrate ability to think critically and creatively;
  • Demonstrate ability to take initiative and work in a collaborative environment;
  • Prior experience engaging with community organizations is an asset;
  • Experience with workshop facilitation and public speaking is an asset;
  • Prior knowledge about or interest in data justice, gender intersectionality, and community-based data collection initiatives is an asset, but not necessary. 

Timeline:

Deadline: September 12, 2021 @ Noon 12.00pm PST (updated) 
Successful shortlisted candidates contacted by: September 13, 2021
Short interviews on: September 13th week
Project dates: September 20, 2021, to December 7, 2021

How to apply:

Apply here, noting the following deadlines and dates for the engagementship.

Please reach out to us at ubc.orice@ubc.ca if you have any questions.

About the Collective for Gender+ in Research:

The Collective for Gender+ in Research works to promote a community for rich dialogue in which gender and other intersections, including race, Indigeneity, class, sexuality, and ability (among other intersections of identity), are considered when conducting community-based research. The Collective focuses on capacity building and providing the tools researchers need to utilize a gender+ lens. The Collective is housed within and supported by the UBC Office for Regional and International Community Engagement (UBC ORICE).

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Taylor, L. (2017). What is data justice? The case for connecting digital rights and freedoms globally. Big Data & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951717736335

 

The Collective for Gender+ in Research acknowledges that we organize, research, and learn on unceded traditional  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory. We understand that both gender and research have been used as tools of colonization on these lands, and commit to working towards disentangling gender+ research from colonialism and Indigenous genocide.