While you’re here… help us stay here.

As we confront the economic impacts of the pandemic, we need your support even more. So that we can continue to bring you the latest in policy and research, please donate to APO.

Carton of person with various data graphs

Social data in action: social data for public empowerment in the USA


The Social Data in Action Series is presented by the Social Innovation Research Institute at Swinburne and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision Making and Society. The series explores the interface between social science and data science, and connects researchers and industry professionals with leading global voices in the field.

In this third webinar, Sarah Williams from MIT will offer insights from her 2020 book Data Action: Using Data for Public Good. Big data can be used for good—such as tracking disease—and for bad—implementing surveillance and control. Williams will provide a guide for working with data in more ethical and responsible ways and will also outline a method that emphasises collaboration among data scientists, policy experts, data designers, and the public. 


Sarah Williams is an Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she is also Director of the Civic Data Design Lab and the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. Williams combines her training in computation and design to create communication strategies that expose urban policy issues to broad audiences and create civic change. She calls the process Data Action, which is also the name of her recent book published by MIT Press. Williams has won numerous awards including being named one of the top 25 technology planners and Game Changer by Metropolis Magazine.