Digital data is ‘the mess of human nature’ … ‘we might as well have fun with it’

Perhaps one of the most fruitful ways to think otherwise about data in school is to not take data too seriously. As Hito Steyerl (2019, p.20) puts it:

“One could first of all accept that what is portrayed as an external and threatening sea of data that needs to be sifted, filtered, cleansed, and purified is basically the mess of human nature. One might as well have fun with it”.

So, how can we be playful with data? How can we work with all the fragilities, absurdities and contradictions of the ways in which data is used in schools?

For instance, we have previously raised the creative potential for working to explore ways of increasing people’s awareness of school data through sonic representations or artistic provocations. We need to continue thinking along these lines. Some of the most insightful aspects of our research might well come from imbuing our workshops with a sense of fun and not taking data too seriously.


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