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“My Data, My Self” at Dutch Design Week

Navigate through the co-design experience of three people living with their personal data.



Design researchers at Imagination Lancaster partnered with colleagues at the Institute for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh to work on a joint project exploring novel ways in which data can produce value and experiences for individuals. Working with a group of participants using creative approaches to co-design and co-creation tools and techniques, the Qualified Selves project produced new and exciting prototypes for data storage, processing and analysis, based on the individual needs of participants who each had a different set of requirements for their personal data.

The ‘My Data, My Self’ exhibition featured virtually at Dutch Design Week 2020, showcasing the findings of the research team. The exhibition explores the data needs and expectations of three participants, how their data needs were being met by corporations, also being confronted with speculative design prototypes showing the breadth of what can be done with data objects. Inspired by these provocations, participants designed their own prototype to solve their bespoke data problems. Along the way, the exhibition unpacks the ethical challenges the participants face as large commercial and civic organisations control how their data is used.

In addition, the project also produced a 5-part online Vimeo TV series, also aired at Dutch Design Week. The series introduces the primary concepts of co-designing with data and features Imagination’s Dr Georgia Newmarch and Professor Leon Cruickshank in episode 2 ‘Data-Day Lives’, where they are part of a panel discussing data ethics and the part they play in object creation, especially in the co-design process.

For a more in depth look at the exhibition, episode 5 of the series sees Professor Chris Speed, principal investigator for the Qualified Selves project, lead of the Institute for Design Informatics along with Caroline Parkinson, Sector Engagement Manager for Creative Industries at the Edinburgh Futures Institute both at Edinburgh University walk you through the exhibition, navigating the journey of the three participants in the project, who co-designed new ways of living with their personal data, each tracking their data to help them in their daily lives.


The Qualified Selves project was led by principal investigator Professor Chris Speed of the University of Edinburgh, with Co-investigators Professor Leon Cruickshank, Dr Dan Richards and Dr Bran Knowles from Imagination at Lancaster University. It was funded by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

These are all the films we made as part of the project:

This is the film Lancaster led:

This is about the exhibition itself with a walk through: