Summer schools are the practical building blocks of the project
To ensure that this works, DaLiCo is designed to be as practical as possible. An important building block is the annual summer schools, which are intended to serve as a kind of practical and test environment for the concepts developed. The first summer school took place at the end of September 2020 – digitally because of corona – with doctoral, Master's and Bachelor's students from the partner countries. One of the topics that attracted particular interest was the data ethics aspect. 'This is a point that isn't very present in general but is actually an essential issue which we should have in mind from the very first step of accessing data,' emphasises Kristin Ameis.
The summer school participants tested the critical questioning of data using the 2020 World Happiness Report. The inital findings were as follows: The countries participating in the projects were all relatively happy according to the report. The Netherlands was in sixth place, followed by Germany in 17th place, Spain in 28th place and Hungary in 53rd place – out of a total of 153. But how is this ranking actually generated? The report is produced by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network and takes into account factors such as GDP, life expectancy, social programmes for the needy, trust in government and the economy, perceived freedom of choice and willingness to donate. The participants at the DaLiCo summer school developed their own 'data stories' and supplemented them with factors such as equality, criminality and unemployment, as well as geographical and national influences. Depending on the question, the international teams attempted to describe the difficult-to-capture term 'happiness' with objectively measurable data – in order to ultimately arrive at a fair assessment of the data. In any case, this experience stoked everyone's enthusiasm about the 2021 and 2022 summer schools – and about the topic of data literacy.
Text: Yvonne Scheller