Podcast series

We talk to different people -in Spanish and/or English- that have particular expertise in the world of data

Episode 1: Open data for social innovation with David Selassie Opoku (English)

Join us in our podcast series with international experts in the field of open data and critical data literacy.

In this episode, I am joined by David Selassie Opoku, an inspiring human being who is an open data guru with a breadth of experience having worked in 30 countries across 5 continents. He has been part of the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Contracting Partnership, among many other jobs he has had in his professional life. David is a passioned farmer and community builder who is finding ways to combine the technology, the knowledge and experience of the farmer to create sustainable and high-quality farming. David is very keen to explore how to bridge the gap between the cutting edge technology and the so valuable lived experience of the farmer. He believes that farming is art and science, and I couldn’t agree more with him.

Join me to explore this so interesting world that David opens up for us, here at Understanding Data: Praxis and Politics.

I leave you here the links to some of the initiatives David is engaged at the moment.

  • He is currently a Practitioner Fellow, Digital Civil Society Lab, Stanford centre on philanthropy and civil society, where he is working on democratising knowledge and innovation in smallholder farming.
  • David on Twitter
  • The story of how and why David quit his full-time job and went back to Ghana to join his dad in the Growing Gold Farm

Episode 2: Open data for open governance with Luigi Reggi (English)

In this episode, I talked to Luigi Reggi an incredibly charismatic, joyful and generous human being, eager to share with our audience his knowledge and expertise in open data and open government. Luigi is a public policy analyst with more than 15 years of international experience as a practitioner and researcher in the fields of e-government and open government. His main interests are government transparency & accountability, open government data ecosystems, governance networks, and information management. Currently, Luigi works as an ICT policy analyst and open data specialist at the Italian Agency for Territorial Cohesion in Rome.

He has been a member of the technical-scientific committee of OpenCoesione since its creation, and he leads a wonderful project called Monithon a civil society initiative allowing anyone to verify how EU money is spent, democratising knowledge at its best.  We are also going to talk about the School of Opencoesione which is a fascinating project that integrates schools with open government initiatives. But I am not going to tell you more about the school for OpenCoesion.

For those who are curious and want to know more about the things Luigi does I share some links below:

Episode 3: Open data and power dynamics with Mor Rubinstein (English)

In this episode, I talk to Mor Rubinstein, a data activist who was born in Israel and studied computer science in high school. Her start in the world of Data began early in her life when she enlisted in the Israeli army in an intelligence unit, yes! There she worked with lots of data and she was exposed to the importance of being ethical with the data because the military, as we can imagine, holds immense power. In a later stage of her life, she lived in the UK and there she has participated in a variety of initiatives related to the world of open data and amplification, which we agreed is a better word than empowerment. Both see empowerment as having a patronising connotation, because, it seems that you give power to people. But we discussed that people have already the power, what needs to be in place are the right social conditions so that people’s agency can be amplified and enacted. So we are going to use the word amplified instead of empowered. She embodies activism from a feminist perspective and her overarching goal is to contribute to make the world a more just place.

There is much more to discover about her sharp and down to earth insights into the world of open data, civic technology and human amplification for a just society, so please join me in this episode and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Some interesting links if you are curious and want to know about Mor’s work:

  • Open Heroines:  It is a global group of over 90 women (Edit: in December 2019 we reached 600 members) who work in the fields of open government, open data and civic tech. The group is a safe virtual space where women can meet like-minded women, share their experiences, get advice and words of encouragement.
  • Data collective → The Data Collective exists to support people working in the social sector to make use of data to inform what they do, and where practical and impactful, to share data with others.
  • Data kind:  A UK based charity that uses data science in the service of humanity
  • 360giving supports individuals and organisation to open data about their grants
  • Brene Brown about vulnerability (TEDtalk)
  •  Are we losing the battle for data literacy? (Mor’s article)


Episode 4: Datos abiertos para un ecosistema de datos mas justo en inclusivo con Flor Serale (Español)

En este episodio nos acompaña Flor quien comparte su experiencia trabajando con datos abiertos (y cerrados) para el diseño de estrategias e infraestructura que contribuyan a un ecosistema de datos mas justo. Una conversación fascinante donde Flor nos explica los intersticios del mundo de los datos abiertos. Su trabajo lo ilumina una visión de una sociedad inclusiva donde se puedan pensar y diseñar soluciones que sean de utilidad para las mayorías sin distinción de clase, género, etnicidad y raza. Para ello Flor piensa que hay que invitar a la mesa de discusión a todos aquellos que serán impactados por el servicio a diseñar o el problema a solucionar. Es partidaria de establecer alianzas para lograr un producto que sea más inclusivo y habla de la importancia de ir al territorio para conocer la realidad social de aquellos para las cuales se diseña. Flor es de la idea que para ello es conveniente tener herramientas que ayuden a abrir el espacio de discusión sobre las dimensiones éticas del problema a resolver. En este momento ella esta inmersa en el diseño de esas herramientas.

Flor se unió al Open Data Institute como consultora en octubre 2020. Trabaja en iniciativas de acceso a los datos y apoya la investigación en estrategias de datos abiertos. Es también co-presidenta (co-chair) del grupo de trabajo de implementación del Open Data Charter.Flor ha trabajado en diferentes roles en el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo en proyectos relacionados con datos abiertos, transformación digital, desarrollo urbano e innovación en el sector público a lo largo y ancho de América Latina. También ha trabajado como consultora para el gobierno de Buenos Aires apoyando el diseño de la estrategia de datos abiertos.

Flor cree que apoyar a las comunidades en acceder y usar los datos es crucial para construir un ecosistema de los datos mas inclusivo y diverso.


Episode 5: Approaching data ethics with an activist soul and a feminist lens with Valentina Bazzarin

Valentina Bazzarin is a clinical psychologist from the university of bologna, she now works as a freelance analyst, strategist, consultant and external expert. She has a multidisciplinary background and a transdisciplinary approach to research and data management. This, she told me, is in part because she had the fortune to study communication in a programme established by Umberto Eco. Her research interests are on data feminism and data-driven public policies.
Recently she founded the Period Think Tank, the first feminist think tank in Italy promoting advocacy actions and represents women as a lobby. She also teaches public and data ethics at different levels. She is part of the group of founders of the community of Open Education Italy and she is a supporter and a testimonial of several Open Education and Open Science activities. If that is not enough, Valentina produces since 2018 a weekly radio program called EcoEtico.
Valentina has a truly multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary way of thinking, knowing and working. She does so many things and I am very curious to know more about how she approaches ethical issues in the world of data and data-driven systems, as a feminist and an activist.

This is the best advice Valentina says she has received and I couldn’t agree more with her, by the way!

 In order to exist, man (and woman, too) must rebel, but rebellion must respect the limits that it discovers in itself. Limits where minds meet, and in meeting, begin to exist”. Albert Camus


  • Valentina on Twitter
  • Period Think Tank  “We come from different backgrounds and different cities (Bologna / Rome) but we share the desire to bridge the gender gap of our country through the drafting of new policies and with an inclusive language: feminism has taught us to think, analyze and share knowledge for the emancipation of the whole society.”
  • Unboxing Carovana STEM, an online campus that promotes STEM subjects
  • Open data e risorse educative aperte (Open Data and Open Educational Resources)Experiences of Reuse Aimed to Achieve a Full Digital Citizenship Bazzarin & Martinelli https://doi.org/10.4399/97888255361645

External podcasts series: Becoming Data, from Data & Society

Becoming data, episode 1

Episode summary 
Artist Mimi Onuoha and data journalist Lam Thuy Vo discuss data collection practices and their consequences with host Natalie Kerby.

Episode notes
In the first episode of our new season, “Becoming Data,” artist Mimi Onuoha and data journalist Lam Thuy Vo join host, Natalie Kerby, to consider what is lost when human life becomes translated into data. How do people show up in data, and what are some of the inequalities that can result from data collection?

Mimi Onuoha (@thistimeitsmimi) is a media artist who makes work about what it means for the world to take the form of data.

Lam Thuy Vo (@lamthuyvo) is a reporter who digs into data to examine how systems and policies affect individuals. She is an incoming Data Journalist-in-Residence at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism.

“Becoming Data” is co-produced by Data & Society and Public Books.

Show contributors
Mimi Onuoha
Natalie Kerby
Lam Thuy Vo


Becoming data, episode 2

Episode summary

Shaka McGlotten and Chris Ramsaroop discuss the history of human labour being quantified as data.

Episode notes

Scholar Shaka McGlotten and activist Chris Ramsaroop join our host, Natalie Kerby, to discuss data in the context of labour. The episode addresses the historical ways that data has been used to organize labour, the labour of making ourselves visible to data-centric systems, and the different ways that people, and more specifically workers, are resisting datafication.

Shaka McGlotten (@shakaz23) is a professor of anthropology and media studies at Purchase College, SUNY and 2020-2021 Faculty Fellow at Data & Society.

Chris Ramsaroop (@j4mw) is an organizer with Justice for Migrant Workers and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto.

“Becoming Data” is co-produced by Data & Society and Public Books.

Show contributors

Natalie Kerby
Shaka McGlotten
Chris Ramsaroop



Other episodes can be found here


Do better research podcast, S3, E1: Data activism

Javiera Atenas, one of the co-researchers of the project, was invited by the team of ‘Do better research’, a learning focus podcast about research methods. Suzanne Aubrey is interested in exploring new research paradigms and new methods.  Javiera talks about open data and the importance of broadening our understanding of data ethics.

Shownotes will be added soon.