Big Data Ethics project update

Our 2018 paper is now available open access via the Purdue e-pubs repository:

Whitman, M., Hsiang, C. Y., & Roark, K. (2018, August). Potential for participatory big data ethics and algorithm design: a scoping mapping review. In Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference: Short Papers, Situated Actions, Workshops and Tutorial-Volume 2 (pp. 1-6).

Queer Tech Futures Updates

Our scheduled Spring 2020 QTF Postcard/Policy design workshop was canceled due to COVID 19 related shutdown. We are working on a web-based version on our Queer Tech Futures Open Education Resource page.

On a related note, the SfAA Journal Practicing Anthropology has accepted co-authored collaborative essay that focuses on Queer Tech Futures and related collaborations. It looks like it will be posted in their upcoming Winter 2021 issue.

K. Roark, A. Sparrow, J. Mack, A. Romberg, K. Grantham-Crum, M. A. Arrambide, and S. McMullen. “Queer Tech Futures: STS and Community Technology Education”, in Practicing Anthropologist. (forthcoming) Winter 2021.

Critical Data Studies Modules

Over the last year I have worked with Madisson Whitman (2020 PhD, Purdue Anthropology) to complete a series of short videos and assignments for a course on Critical Data Studies which will eventually be hosted on the NSF Center for the Science of Information Learning Hub.

Video Module 1: An Introduction to Critical Data Studies is now available on Youtube. We are waiting for the full course module to become available on the CSoI Learning Hub.

Qualitative Data Curation

I am preparing for the third iteration of ILS 595 / ANTH 592 Data Management and Curation for Qualitative Research (and Digital Humanities) scheduled for Spring 2021. The course will be offered completely online for the first time. The Journal of eScience Librarianship has just published my “eScience in Action” article that describes the process of developing a qualitative data curation curriculum.

Roark K. Data Management and Curation for Qualitative Research: Collaborative Curriculum Development and Implementation. Journal of eScience Librarianship 2020;9(1): e1185. Retrieved from

Critical Data Viz Workshop

During the summer of 2019 I collaborated with Vetria Byrd (Purdue – PPI) and Brent Ladd (CSoI) on a week-long workshop sponsored by the NSF Center for the Science of Information:

Critical Data Viz Workshop: An introduction to the ethics and practice of data visualization,

Update: The following related publication is now available open access.

Byrd, V., & Roark, K., & Ladd, B. T. (2020, June), Usability of Data Visualization Activity Worksheets in the Context of a Critical Data Visualization Workshop: Findings from a Usability Survey Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2–35438

Queer Tech Futures Project

I have launched a new phase of research called the Queer Tech Future Project. This work is an outgrowth of the Big Data Ethics Project (see below) and encompasses ongoing collaborative and community-based work informed by speculative and participatory design.

During the first phase of Queer Tech Futures, I am collaborating with Shannon McMullen and OUR Library Scholar Daphne Fauber on an arts-based research project, series of policy-focused design workshops and a pop-up exhibit that explores the connections between participatory action research, public policy and interactive art.

We plan to launch our first tech policy-focused design workshop in March of 2020.

Updates on Participatory Big Data Ethics Project

During the summer of 2018 I co-authored a paper from this research with graduate research assistants Madisson Whitman and Chien-yi Hsiang, which was presented at the 2018 Participatory Design Conference.

Whitman, M., Hsiang, C. Y., & Roark, K. (2018, August). Potential for participatory big data ethics and algorithm design: a scoping mapping review. In Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference: Short Papers, Situated Actions, Workshops and Tutorial-Volume 2 (pp. 1-6).

Now available open access via Purdue e-pubs repository:

In the meantime, I am currently working toward sharing outputs from our 2018 collaboration with MAVEN Youth (LGBTQ TechCamp Algorithm Ethics Workshops and MAVEN-Purdue Hack4Queer Youth).  We should be launching  an open educational resource with materials from the collaboration and submitting a collaboratively authored paper to Engaging Science, Technology and Society before the end of Spring 2020 semester. My contribution to the paper “QueerTechFutures: STS and Community‐based Technology Education” was presented at the 2019 4S Conference in New Orleans as part of the excellent two-part panel Alternative Pedagogies at the Crux of Interdisciplinarity: Promises and Pitfalls of “Innovating”Education organized by Yana Boeva (NIT), Ellen Foster (Purdue) and James Malazita (RPI).

These efforts, along with a forthcoming policy brief and work included in the Queer Tech Futures pop-up exhibit will conclude my Big Data Ethics work funded by the Purdue Grand Challenges Mellon grant. Going forward similar work will fall under the Queer Tech Futures Project.

Critical Data Studies at Purdue

I have been busy helping to launch the Critical Data Studies Collective at Purdue over the last couple years. We have a new CDS website which highlights some of our ongoing initiatives including the CDS Lecture & Seminar Series and the CDS-Data Mine Learning Community.


2020    Ruha Benjamin, author of ‘Race After Technology,’ to give Spring 2020 Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture, Purdue Today, January 29, 2020. Available at:,-author-of-race-after-technology,-to-give-spring-2020-critical-data-studies-distinguished-lecture.html

2019    Humanities central in the development of critical data studies field, THiNK Magazine, Spring 2019 (by Mike Atwell, College of Liberal Arts). Available at:

2019        Critical Data Studies Collective at Purdue Addresses Ethical, Political Aspects of Big Data, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies News, February 15, 2019. Available at:

2018                  Do search engines provide equal playing field? Critically acclaimed author of ‘Algorithms of Oppression’ to speak on campus, Purdue News, September 6, 2018. Available at:

Participatory Big Data Ethics

Over the last year I have been working with Chris Clifton (Computer Science) and Dan Kelly (Philosophy) on our project Big Data Ethics: detecting bias in data collection, algorithmic discrimination and ‘informed refusal. a two-year project sponsored by the Breaking Through Grand Challenges grant (funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation).  My part of the project is to explore the possibility of a participatory approach to big data ethics. I will be sharing some preliminary results of this work at the 2018 Society for Applied Anthropology Meetings in Philadelphia, PA this Spring.

Questioning, Applying Ethics (F-130) FRIDAY 3:30-5:20  Regency C2
CHAIR: ROARK, Kendall (Purdue U)
PARISI, Emary and TOULSON, Ruth (MICA) From Plasma to Plastic: The Ethics of Paid Plasma Donation in Baltimore
THORPE, Marian (Rutgers U) Asserting the Right to Refuse: Indigenous Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in Western Panama
ROARK, Kendall (Purdue U) Participatory Big Data Ethics: Against AI Gaydar and Other Creepy Machines
AZADEGAN, Shadi (CO State U) and KONINGSTEIN, Manon (Sivin Communications) Participatory Video for Two-Way Communication in Research for Development
HA, JeongSoo (Independent) Visual Anthropology of Child Labor in Progressive Era New Jersey

Updates on Maternal Child Health Data Project

Our project Bridging the Research Data Divide (see Data Detectives post below) has come to an end and we have shared outputs and publications below.