Scotland Democracy, devolution and governance, Technology

Big data or Big Brother: data, democracy and active citizenship


This seminar offers a chance to critically discuss and debate the relationship between Big Data and active citizenship. In an age of austerity, data abundance suggests one approach to improving urban life and generating economic growth. However, active citizens need to think critically and creatively about what kinds of expertise are authorised by the data revolution: how can they ‘speak back’ to such expertise, and how can communities harness data for active citizenship?

Speaker: Morgan Currie Lecturer in Data & Society, University of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Active Citizenship Group – Background

Formed in 1999, the EACG is a partnership which includes City of Edinburgh Council Lifelong Learning and other staff, academics and voluntary sector staff. Our main activity is organising large scale, free, participatory public seminars on important topical issues to give participants an opportunity to discuss them with policy makers, academics, commentators, etc. The idea is to break down barriers between ‘experts’ and the wider community and to facilitate a democratic engagement between the two. Following input from speakers, participants take part in group discussion facilitated by EACG members. At least half of the seminar consists of group discussion and plenary – a space for participants to share their knowledge and opinions, to ask questions (of each other as well as of speakers) and to engage with the issues.