Workshop - Critical and Historical Perspectives on the Contemporary Field of Open Knowledge

Forskningsnoden "Kunskap Organisation och Makt"

Open knowledge, understood as open data, big data, open science, open access, and free- and open source software, is a growing field of interest within the discussions on E-government, innovation and societal information management. Actors as state agencies, private enterprises and social movements take different views and have different aims, and it is not the first time in history that information and its flows are expected to generate beneficial effects for society.

The research node KOM (Knowledge Organization and Power) at Uppsala University therefore organizes a work shop on open knowledge from critical and historical perspectives, with invited international speakers. The aim is to provide some context and orientation to the future work of the research node. Invited speakers are given 30 minutes to lecture on their chosen subject, and in total 30 minutes are allotted for questions after each session.


10.00-10.15. The research node’s scientific leader presents the KOM node and its aims.

10.15-10.30. Introduction to the workshop by Arwid Lund, researcher and lecturer in Information Studies.

10.30-12.00. Session one (two presentations): Tracey Laurialt, Jutta Haider & Sara Kjellberg.

12.00-13.30: Lunch.

13.30–15.00. Session two (two presentations): Stefania Milan and Eva Hemmungs Wirtén.

15.00-15.30: Coffee break.

15.30-16.15: Panel discussion on openness as a political project.

Presentation of speakers

Arwid Lund, researcher and lecturer in Information Studies at Uppsala University and Lund University, has a research interest in social movements’ advocacy of open knowledge and open data, for example the Open Knowledge Network, Open Data Institute, Free and Open Source Software projects, and Wikipedia, and how their advocacy relates to big data and commercial interests.

Tracey Lauriault, Assistant professor at the Carleton School of Journalism and Communication, presents her work on genealogies of open data. Her research focus is part of a new field entitled critical data studies and she is actively engaged in public policy research as it pertains to data with civil society and government. Her ongoing research with the Programmable City Project is in the area of Political Arithmetic,Territorial Geometry and Programmed Cities which entails three case studies connected to the question of how digital data materially and discursively are  supported and processed about cities and their citizens?

Jutta Haider, Assoc. professor in Information Studies & Sara Kjellberg, researcher in Information Studies, present their research on data management in new big science (ESS & MAX IV). They apply a temporal perspective on the construction of data as object and record by posing the central question: “When are data?”. They then connect the problematique to a discussion of the politics of openness and draw the line from open access as constructed within a discourse of closed science to notions of open data which highlight rather than resolve tensions between enclosing and liberating knowledge production.

Stefania Milan, Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam, founder of Data J Lab with a research interest in the politics of free and open source software, and currently research leader for a big data project. She gives a critical perspective on commercial big data and data mining of user generated data, and connects the critique to the demands for open data and free/open software.

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, Professor of Mediated Culture at Tema Q, Linköping University will focus on the complex role of patents as simultaneously “enclosed” and “open” information in past, present and future knowledge infrastructures.


Forskningsledare KOM

Mikael Byström, Historiska institutionen

Tomas Ekenberg, Filosofiska institutionen

Frans Lundgren, Institutionen för idé- och lärdomshistoria

Ulrika Kjellman, Institutionen för ABM