The speakers for Outlier 2021, the first conference of the Data Visualization Society, have just been announced and I'm really pleased to be among them!
Together with Miriam Quick, I'll be talking about Loud Numbers - the data sonification podcast that we've been working on for a year or so. Here's the talk description that we pitched :
People have been telling stories with music for millennia. Music can uplift us, console us, excite us, scare us, and energise us. It speaks to the heart as well as the head.
So why aren’t more people using it to tell data stories? Sonification – the practice of turning data into sound – has been around for more than a century, but it remains niche when compared to the explosive popularity of visualization.
In this talk, we’ll look at some of the reasons why this might be and share what we’ve learned about effective storytelling with music and data in the process of creating Loud Numbers – the world’s first data sonification podcast.
We’ll look at the landscape of sonification possibilities, from audification, through “earcons” and live data soundscapes, to complex parameter mapping.
We’ll share what we’ve learnt about the kinds of data and stories that are most suited to clear, compelling sonification, and how to avoid confusing listeners.
And we’ll go in-depth into one of the episodes from Loud Numbers Season 1 – explaining the story, the data, and how we encoded it into music. We’ll end with a world-exclusive preview of the final track from that episode.
People who watch the talk will learn how to create powerful, compelling data narratives with sound and music, and get an exclusive first look at one of the most exciting data projects of 2021.
Not totally sure how we're going to fit all that into our 20 minute timeslot, but we'll do our best! I'm most excited about doing a "live" (pre-recorded, but performed over video) version of one of the episodes of the podcast.
Those who've been paying attention will know that I'm also a member of the Data Visualization Society's events committee - which is organizing the conference. To keep things fair, I recused myself from any of the conversations around speaker selection.
What I am extremely proud of, though are the measures that we put in place to ensure diversity in speaker selection. You can read the full details here. I hope this approach can serve as an inspiration for other conferences that want to accomplish something similar.
Go get yourself a ticket right now for whatever price you feel is fair.
I can't wait to see you all at Outlier 2021!