Playful Visualizations at Work, Working Visualizations at Play

the poster post.

I like school.  I’ve always liked school (which explains, incidentally, why I’m still in school).  Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a poster, which immediately has taken me back to third grade book reports.  Ok, so, granted, my poster will not look like my third grade report on The Giver, (though Mrs. Burns, my 3rd grade teacher, did give me an A and a gold star), but it brings back the joy that is found in combining all of your research and presenting it in an aesthetic manner (which plays into our pretty/useful dichotomy).  It’s a chance to talk about all the things you find interesting and to exhibit your results of study.  ForThe Giver  I had a crayon drawing in the center in black and white with a red apple in the middle.  Surrounding the apple, I put quotes I found important that fell under one theme or another.  I think I also used glitter.  Third-grade Claire liked glitter.  I’m sure this poster is still in my parent’s basement.  This year’s poster, a mere 20 years later, will have less crayon and glitter (sadly); but plenty of visualizations.  I have included the color deformance of the novel, a few word trees (from Many Eyes), and a cool Phrase Net (also from Many Eyes, that I have yet to post on this site).  The poster is not done yet, I have two pending visualizations: 1) a timeline (I plan to post it once I finish it) and 2) a network graph that will be my “useful” visualization (more on this to come!)

Poster sessions are fairly new (to my knowledge) in the humanities.  I know many of my engineering friends frequent them at national and international conferences, and each time they talk about their posters, I still can’t get the glittered and construction papered images of my previous posters out of my head, despite the fact that their posters might be a bit more complex than those my 9 year-old self designed.  I see the introduction of poster sessions to many humanities conferences as a positive movement.   It creates an opportunity for more students to present and supports a more comfortable environment for communication and discourse.  It could be just my own work, but I feel there has been a shift towards a visual culture.  Because of this, the visualizations are not just ludic devices, but necessary for current study.


My poster is for the research slam (that Meaghan just posted about).  It is this Friday.  If you’re in the area, come see us!


(I make no promises about whether or not my poster will have glitter.  Some habits die hard.)


Comments on: "the poster post." (1)

  1. Gigi Burke said:

    Those of us who work in the perhaps more technical fields are seeking these kinds of visual representations in order to make our analysis more interesting and comprehensible to clinicians and other users. I look forward to learning from this project.

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