The SMART Centre focuses on envisioning data and reasoning from evidence. In particular, we are creating displays to present data in ways that can be understood, and to stimulate debate about important issues, grounded on good evidence.
We believe that a vibrant democracy needs informed citizens. Important social issues such as poverty, health, crime, and education are influenced by multiple factors in complex ways, and citizens need reliable information and good reasoning skills to understand the world around them.
There are barriers to this sort of ‘literacy’: data to inform debate and action is hard to access; media accounts of evidence are often weak; and schools do not teach students to reason with realistic data.
Our development and research activities focus on creating interactive displays, studying user interactions, and researching user understandings.
Our communication activities focus on working with data providers on the presentation of evidence, supporting journalists with interpreting evidence by giving them powerful tools, raising literacy via Web 2.0, and creating a school curriculum that helps students to reason with evidence.
Our funding partners include Wellcome, BECTa, QCA, CCEA, The Bowland Trust, The Nuffield Foundation and ESRC and we work in partnership with organisations such as the Data Visualisation Centre at the Office for National Statistics.