Bio

Catherine and her Dad
Catherine loved 1980’s computers and robots because of her dad, Fred D’Ignazio.

Catherine D’Ignazio, a.k.a. kanarinka, is an Assistant Professor of Civic Media and Data Visualization Storytelling in the Journalism Department at Emerson College. She is a scholar, artist/designer and software developer who focuses on data literacy and visualization for civic engagement and community empowerment. Her research at the intersection of technology, design & the humanities has been published in the Journal of Peer Production, the Journal of Community Informatics, and the proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM SIGCHI).

D’Ignazio has developed custom software to geolocate news articles and designed an application, Terra Incognita, to promote global news discovery. With Rahul Bhargava, she co-developed a suite of tools for data literacy (DataBasic.io) and is working to scale data culture in newsrooms, libraries, municipal government and nonprofits. She is currently writing a book about feminist approaches to data with Lauren Klein, working with the Public Lab to explore the possibilities for journalistic storytelling with DIY environmental sensors and recovering from the SUPREMELY AWESOME UTOPIAN MOJO of the 2018 Make the Breastpump Not Suck Hackathon at the MIT Media Lab.

Catherine likes babies, too.
Catherine likes babies in space, too.

She has received research funding from the Knight Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the National Science Foundation. D’Ignazio and Klein are the recipients of a 2018 ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship for their work on the book Data Feminism. D’Ignazio’s art and design projects have won awards from the Tanne Foundation, Turbulence.org, the LEF Foundation, and Dream It, Code It, Win It. In 2009, she was a finalist for the Foster Prize at the ICA Boston. Her work has been exhibited at the Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology, Museo d’Antiochia of Medellin, and the Venice Biennial. 

Professor D’Ignazio is currently a Senior Fellow at the Emerson Engagement Lab, a Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Civic Media and the MIT Media Lab and an organizer with the Public Laboratory for Technology and Science. Prior to joining Emerson College, she was a Lecturer in the Digital Media Graduate Program at RISD for seven years. She is one of the many Directors of the Institute for Infinitely Small Things. She graduated Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Tufts University with a BA in International Relations and holds an MFA from the Maine College of Art and an MS from the MIT Media Lab.


Short Bio & Headshot

Photo by Diana Levine / dianalevine.com
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Catherine D’Ignazio is a scholar, artist/designer and software developer who focuses on data literacy, feminist technology and civic engagement. She has designed global news recommendation systems, run women’s health hackathons, created talking and tweeting water quality sculptures, and led walking data visualizations to envision the future of sea level rise. Her art and design projects have won awards from the Tanne Foundation, Turbulence.org and the Knight Foundation and exhibited at the Venice Biennial and the ICA Boston. Her research at the intersection of technology, design & the social change has been published in the Journal of Peer Production, the Journal of Community Informatics, and the proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM SIGCHI). D’Ignazio is an Assistant Professor of Civic Media and Data Visualization at Emerson College, a Senior Fellow at the Engagement Lab and a research affiliate at the MIT Center for Civic Media & MIT Media Lab.