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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Power, Points, and Pixels: Black feminist approaches to mapping  Seminar

12:00 - 13:00
4 May 2023
B44 Rm 1087 & Teams

Event details

Geography & Environmental Science Seminar

Short overview of the seminar

Feminist interventions have instrumentally shaped critical perspectives in mapping and GIS. Yet, feminist mapping has often been erased or considered niche within both GIScience and critical GIS conversations. Drawing on recent work in data feminism, design justice, and feminist digital geographies (among other arenas), I engage with Black feminist thinkers to reveal and challenge systems of power within spatial data, map design, and mapping processes. In this talk, I will discuss “points” and “pixels” as two dimensions of spatial data and two sites for feminist intervention. First, map icons or “points” are tiny pixel-based symbols that locate people, places, and events saturating our digital lives. Despite their ubiquity, map icons often go unseen and unquestioned. Through a series of feminist icon design workshops, I asked mapmakers to incorporate feminist principles in their redesign of icons. Next, I turn to satellite data in news media and explore the use of “pixels” as a mode of digital storytelling from above. Through a series of interviews, I unravel the politics of commercial data production, the visuality and seduction of satellite data, and the broader processes of creating pixelated stories. In sum, I argue for Black feminist interventions in mapping and GIScience, more broadly.  

Speaker Information

Dr Meghan Kelly is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Durham.

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