UCL Research Domains


What Does Environmental Data Mean?

2022-23 Social Science Plus Pilot Project

Digital Anthropology + Environmental Modelling
What Does Environmental Data Mean? Collaboratively Developing Practices of Environmental Data Justice (£10K)
This project uncovers the social and political worlds of environmental data, to develop forms of collaborative environmental data justice. Global environmental data systems have come to figure as privileged means to tackle environmental crises. However, the question of what environmental data means, and for whom - in social and political terms - has been taken for granted within the international environmental scientific community.  
Environmental data is not just a “neutral objective resource” (Nost and Goldstein 2022), but rather has a ‘social life’ rich with different significations: enmeshed in historical and political contexts, shaped by ideological commitments, cultural specificities and geopolitical fractures.  This project brings together the expertise of environmental scientists and anthropologists in order to interrogate the current data-driven moment in the environmental sciences, to develop more equitable forms of data-driven environmental scientific engagement.

Social Science Principal Investigator
Dr. Tone Walford, Lecturer in Digital Anthropology, Anthropology, Social & Historical Sciences

Non-Social Science Co-Investigator
Professor Mathias Disney, Geography, Social & Historical Sciences

Early Career Researchers
Emilie Glazer, PhD student, Anthropology, Social and Historical Studies

Dr Cecilia Chavana-Bryant,
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Forest Biomass, Ecophysiology & Remote Sensing, Geography, Social and Historical Studies