INDVIL is the acronym of a research project administered at the University of Agder and funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The project will explore data visualization as a semiotic, aesthetic and discursive resource in society.
Today we witness an increased use of data visualization in a variety of genres and areas of society. In journalism, education and public information as well as in workplaces and industry, various forms of graphs and charts are used to explain, convince and tell stories through the visual representation of statistics or other quantitative data. These kinds of representations can at best convey complex facts and patterns in a fast and effective way. At worst, they can appear both confusing and manipulative. In an era when data are becoming increasingly accessible through digital networks, and when digital tools make the visualization process increasingly easy, it is important to study the conditions under which these kinds of visual texts may benefit processes of learning, development and participation.
This multidisciplinary project examines the phenomenon of data visualization with a focus on learning, democracy and processes of digitization. Through both theoretical and empirical studies, the project will respond to questions related to how data visualizations can be described as a distinct text and media type, to their roles in the genres and social practices in which they are involved, and to their potentials concerning current challenges facing our society. Many of the studies are carried out in collaboration with international researchers and with relevant partners from Norwegian society, e.g. Statistics Norway (SSB), The National Broadcaster (NRK) and selected schools.
The INDVIL project started in September 2016 and is scheduled to last until December 2019. The project is supported by the Research Council of Norway under the SAMKUL programme (Cultural Conditions Underlying Social Change), as well as by The Norwegian Media Authority.