Coming to terms with data visualization and digital humanities, Marian Dörk

Coming to terms with data visualization and digital humanities, Marian Dörk

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Join Professor Marian Dörk to explore the interface of data visualization with the arts and humanities

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Professor Marian Dörk, University of Applied Sciences Potsdam

How can visualization research and design be inspired by concepts from cultural studies, sociology, and critical theory? In contrast to the epistemological hegemony that engineering and science has held over data visualization, humanistic engagements with data and interfaces suggest different kinds of concerns and commitments for the study and design of data visualizations. From collaborative research in the arts and humanities arises a need to support critical and creative engagements with data and visualization.

Philosophical concepts such as the flâneur and the fold provide evocative thinking aids and conversation-starters that help overcome such long-standing dichotomies as the distinction between overview and detail, or the separation of interaction from visual encoding. Theoretical considerations are underpinned with practical reflections from recent research on visualizing cultural heritage data. This talk starts by questioning the holy trinity of "users-data-tasks" and ends with a plea for more visualization philosophies.


No preparation is required, but participants are encouraged to visit prototypes of some of the visualizations discussed beforehand. A list of papers is also provided for those who wish to prepare further.



Dörk, M., Carpendale, S., and Williamson, C. (2011). The information flaneur: A fresh look at information seeking. In CHI ’11: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pages 1215–1224. ACM.

Glinka, K., Pietsch, C., and Dörk, M. (2017). Past visions and reconciling views: Visualizing time, texture and themes in cultural collections. DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly, 11(2).

Gortana, F., von Tenspolde, F., Guhlmann, D., and Dörk, M. (2018). Off the grid: Visualizing a numismatic collection as dynamic piles and streams. Open Library of Humanities (Remaking Collections), 4(2).

Junginger, P., Ostendorf, D., Vissirini, B. A., Voloshina, A., Hausmann, T., Kreiseler, S., and Dörk, M. (2020). The close-up cloud: Visualizing details of image collections in dynamic overviews. International Journal for Digital Art History, (5):6–2.

Bludau, M.-J., Brüggemann, V., Busch, A., and Dörk, M. (2020). Reading Traces: Scalable Exploration in Elastic Visualizations of Cultural Heritage Data. Computer Graphics Forum (Proceedings of EuroVis 2020).

Brüggemann, V., Bludau, M.-J., and Dörk, M. (2020). The Fold: Rethinking interactivity in data visualization. DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly, 14(3).

Marian Dörk

Marian Dörk is a research professor for Information Visualization & Management at the Department of Design and Institute for Urban Futures of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Motivated by the design opportunities and research questions arising from growing information spaces, Marian is particularly interested in the potential of visual interfaces to support exploratory data practices. As a doctoral student at the University of Calgary (2008-2012) and a postdoc at Newcastle University (2012-2013) he designed and studied interactive visualizations to support exploratory forms of information seeking. Before doing his PhD, Marian studied Computational Visualistics at Universität Magdeburg (2003-2008). Marian's current research activities focus on information visualization with a particular sensitivity towards social, cultural and technological transformations. He co-directs the UCLAB, a transdisciplinary research space at the intersection between computing, design, and the humanities: