Investigating materiality for a renewed focus on data design practice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper attempts to question reductionist processes of data science that help sustain digital economies and proposes a new perspective for a data design practice. It follows recent discussions about the materiality of data in design and proposes a new notion of data materiality that unfolds its ethical and ecological aspects from a philosophical point of view. This is presented as an opportunity to envision how data can be enacted as data practice within a system. We provide an example that illustrates different kinds of data and data practices, and how ethical and ecological challenges can emerge in a system. We show how systemic challenges can be alleviated within this new notion of data, demonstrating why recovering data materiality is crucial for an ecological future. We finally argue that designers play a significant role in this context, producing practical examples that extend theoretical discussions on data materiality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDRS2022
Subtitle of host publicationBilbao
EditorsDan Lockton, Sara Lenzi, Paul Hekkert, Arlene Oak, Juan Sádaba, Peter Lloyd
PublisherDesign Research Society
ISBN (Print)9781912294572
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of DRS
ISSN (Print)2398-3132


  • materiality
  • becoming data
  • data design practice
  • systems thinking


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