School of Social and Political Science

Morgan Currie

Job Title

Lecturer in Data & Society

Background

My research and teaching interests focus on open and administrative data, automation in social services, activists' data practices, civil society and democracy, social justice and the city, cultural mapping, and libraries of things. I use methods of participant observation, interviews, GIS and participatory mapping, drawing from the fields of STS, media studies, information studies, critical data studies and critical cartography.

I earned a Ph.D. in Information Studies from University of California, Los Angeles, in 2017. I have a MLIS from the University of California, Los Angeles (2016) and a Masters in New Media from the University of Amsterdam (2010). Prior to my Lectureship I was was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University.

Teaching

Undergraduate

Spring

Data, Design & the City (not running in 2021/2022)

Postgraduate

Autumn

Technologies of Civic Participation 

Spring 

Internet, Society & Economy 

Publications

Books

Currie, M. & Miranda, M. (forthcoming 2021). The Culture & Communities Mapping Project. Palgrave.

Currie, M., J. Knox & C. McGregor (eds.). (forthcoming 2022). Data Justice & the Right to the City. University of Edinburgh Press.

Refereed Journal Articles

Crooks, R. & Currie, M. (2021). Numbers will not save us: Agonistic data practices. The Information Society. DOI: 10.1080/01972243.2021.1920081

Currie, M. & M. Correa (2021). Tangibles, intangibles and other tensions in the Culture & Communities Mapping Project. Cultural Trends10 May. DOI: 10.1080/09548963.2021.1910491

Currie, M. (2020). Data as performance - showcasing the city through open data mapsBig Data & Society. 7:1. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951720907953.

Currie, M. & U. W. F. Hsu (2019). Performative data: Cultures of Government Data Practice. Journal of Cultural Analytics. 13 August 2019. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/32utx.

Currie, M., B. Paris, & Donovan, J. (2019) "What difference do data make? Data management and social change", Online Information Review, https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-02-2018-0052

Currie, M., & B. Paris. (2018). Back-ups for the future. Archival practices for data activism. Archives & Manuscripts. June.

Currie, M., B. Paris, I. Pasquetto, and J. Pierre (2016). The conundrum of police officer-involved homicides: Counter-data in Los Angeles County. Big Data & Society. 3.2: 2053951716663566. bds.sagepub.com.

Fidler, B., & Currie, M. (2016). Infrastructure, Representation, and Historiography in BBN’s Arpanet Maps. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 38(3), 44–57. https://doi.org/10.1109/MAHC.2015.69.

Fidler, B. and M. Currie (2015). The Production and interpretation of ARPANET maps. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 37(1), 44-55, January-March, DOI: 10.1109/MAHC.2015.16.

Kelty, C., A. Panofsky, R. Crooks, M. Currie, S. Erickson, P. Garcia, S. Wood, and M. Wartenbe (2014). Seven dimensions of contemporary participation disentangled. Journal of the American Society for Information and Technology, 66(3), 474–488. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23202

Book Chapters

Paris, B., M. Currie, I. Pasquetto, and J. Pierre. (forthcoming 2022). Data Burdens: Epistemologies of Evidence in Police Reform and Abolition Movements. In Currie, M., J. Knox & C. McGregor (eds.). Data Justice & the Right to the City. University of Edinburgh Press.

Currie, M. (2018). Hacking administration: A report from Los Angeles. In Hunsinger J. and A. Schrock (eds.), Making Our World: The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context, New York: Peter Lang.

Currie, M. (2012). The feminist critique: Mapping controversy in Wikipedia. In Berry, D. M. (ed.), Understanding Digital Humanities, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 224-248.

Op-Eds, Proceedings, & Book Reviews

Pierre, J., R. Crooks, M. Currie, B. Paris, I. Pasquetto. (2021). Getting Ourselves Together: Epistemic Burden and Data-centered Participatory Design Research. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. May. Article No.: 406 Pages 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445103. (Best Paper Award)

Currie, M, & Catanzariti, B. (2020). Data Politics: Drag, Deepfakes and the Taming of Technology. The New Real Magazine. 14 October.

Currie, M (2020). Explainer: How DeepFakes Are Impacting Society. The New Real Magazine. 14 October.

Lyons, C & M. Currie (2019). Easy Sharing: A sharing-economy pilot service in areas of multiple deprivation in West Edinburgh. P. Travlou & L. Ciolfi (Eds.). Ethnographies of Collaborative Economies Conference Proceedings. University of Edinburgh, 25 October. ISBN 978-1-912669-11-0.

Niker, F, Himmelreich, J, Feldman, J, & Currie, M. (2019). Coding Caring Workshop Report. Focused study for the Stanford AI100 Report. Stanford University, 28-29 May.

Currie, M. (2018). A dual valuation of open governmentProceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. Delft, The Netherlands, 30 May – 1 June.

Paris , B. S., and Currie, M. (2018). Buried, altered, silenced: 4 ways government climate information has changed since Trump took office, The Conversation, 21 March. http://theconversation.com/buried-altered-silenced-4-ways-government-climate-information-has-changed-since-trump-took-office-92323

Currie, M. (2017). The datafication of transparency work: A report from Los Angeles. Proceedings for the Interactions Symposium on Big Data. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 13(2). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/73j1q5sp.

Paris, B. S., Currie, M., Donovan, J. (2017). Grand intentions, small interventions: Climate data rescue as counter-data action. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research. Estonia 18 - 21 October.

Paris, B. S., and Currie, M. (2017). How the “guerrilla archivists” saved history – and are doing it again under Trump. The Conversation, February 21. http://theconversation.com/how-the-guerrilla-archivists-saved-history-and-are-doing-it-again-under-trump-72346.

Currie, M., B. Paris, I. Pasquetto, J. Pierre, and A. Sands. (2015). The Police officer-involved homicide database project. Proceedings to the 2015 iConference, Newport, CA.

Fidler, B. and M. Currie (2015). Gateways: Historical underpinnings of a single Internet. Proceedings to the 2015 iConference, Newport Beach, CA.

Currie, M. (2015). Review: Open standards and the digital age: History, ideology, and networks by Andrew L. Russell. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 11(2), Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/19d2h79x.

Currie, M. (2013). Review: Paper machines: About cards & catalogs, 1548-1929 by Markus Krajewski. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 9(1), Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/07h1s2w7.

Research interests

Research interests

Automated social services, Administrative data, Open data, Data activism, Participation, Cities, Cultural mapping, Critical GIS

Projects

Automation of Universal Credit

An ESRC-funded project on the emergence of automated social services and their effects on claimants through a study of the UK's Universal Credit scheme. Through interviews and document analysis, the project illuminates Universal Credit's wider political context and maps the political values and policies that inform the system's technical dimensions. Using fieldwork, longitudinal diary studies and user testing workshops, we also investigate how claimants interact with automated components of Universal Credit and whether automation in social security harms certain populations. The user testing workshops will experiment with accountability processes that encourage claimants to offer feedback on the design of the system itself, providing templates for evidence-based consultations with users to shape algorithmic social services.

The Culture & Communities Mapping Project

The Culture & Communities Mapping Project researches Edinburgh’s cultural landscapes by asking questions about cultural equity, cultural identity, and the links between geography, sociodemographics, and culture. We use the methods of cultural mapping and GIS to reflect on the city’s cultural infrastructures and the spatial production of knowledge. Our outputs include print maps, web maps, reports, articles and datasets, co-created with a variety of Edinburgh-based stakeholders, including the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Festivals, and local cultural centres LeithLate, WHALE Arts, and North Edinburgh Arts, among others.

Project webpage here.

Datafication of Cities

This research draws on my dissertation to ask about the consequences of data-centric policies inside city governments on public outreach and democratic participation. While administrations have long collected statistics for the express purpose of creating quantitative accounts for administrative decision-making, the past decade has seen new types of administrative information rendered as data, and so subject to automation and machine-readable functions. City governments have embraced these tools to track performance, set goals, triage public services, and engage with the public. Datafication raises new questions about public accountability and democratic participation that demand exploring.

Data Activism and Data Justice

This ongoing research analyses case studies of data activism and data justice through critical and political theory to differentiate between activist goals and methods. I'm in particular influenced by theories of agonistic pluralism that argue that consensus politics mask how power is rooted in society. The concept of agonism is useful for moving beyond a representational view of data and towards understanding its affective and rhetorical dimensions. To this end, I've also been part of Edinburgh's Data Justice Week and past efforts to involve communities in interrogating data through collective analysis and GIS mapping.

PhD Topics

I am currently supervising students researching the automation and datafication of government administrations and affective facial recognition systems. I'm happy to take students interested broadly in the social and political dimensions of big data, government and urban data, data justice, data activism, and cultural mapping.

Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with (opening in new windows):

Current PhD Students

Alli Spring (Science, Technology & Innovation Studies)

Benedetta Catanzariti (Science, Technology & Innovation Studies)

James Besse (Science, Technology & Innovation Studies)

 

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Crooks R, Currie ME. Numbers will not save us: Agonistic data practices. Information Society. 2021 May 13. https://doi.org/10.1080/01972243.2021.1920081
Pierre J, Crooks R, Currie ME, Paris BS, Pasquetto IV. Getting ourselves together: Data-centered participatory design research & epistemic burden. In CHI'21: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York, NY: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). 2021. p. 1-11. 406 https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445103
Currie ME, Miranda Correa M. Tangibles, intangibles and other tensions in the Culture and Communities Mapping Project. Cultural Trends. 2021 May 10. https://doi.org/10.1080/09548963.2021.1910491
Currie M. Data as performance – Showcasing cities through open data maps. Big Data and Society. 2020 Mar 25;7(1):1-14. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951720907953
Currie ME, Paris BS, Donovan JM. What difference do data make? Data management and social change. Online Information Review. 2019 Oct 14;43(6):971-985. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-02-2018-0052
Currie M. Performative Data: Cultures of Government Data Practice. Journal of Cultural Analytics. 2019 Aug 13. https://doi.org/10.22148/16.045
Currie M. Hacking administration: A report from Los Angeles. In Hunsinger J, Shrock A, editors, Making Our World: The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context. New York: Peter Lang. 2018. p. 115-132. (Digital Formations). https://doi.org/10.3726/b14469
Currie M. A dual valuation of open government. In Zuiderwijk A, Hinnant CC, editors, The Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research: Governance in the Data Age. New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). 2018. p. 1-8. 75 https://doi.org/10.1145/3209281.3209386
Currie M, Donovan J, Paris B. Preserving for a More Just Future: Tactics of Activist Data Archiving. In Munshi UM, Verma N, editors, Data Science Landscape: Towards Research Standards and Protocols. 1 ed. Singapore: Springer Singapore. 2018. p. 67-78. (Studies in Big Data). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-7515-5_5
Currie ME, Paris BS. Back-ups for the future: Archival practices for data activism. Archives and Manuscripts. 2018;46(2):124-142. https://doi.org/10.1080/01576895.2018.1468273
Currie M. The datafication of transparency work: A report from Los Angeles. Proceedings for the Interactions Symposium on Big Data. InterActions:UCLA Journal of Education and information Studies. 2017 Jan 1;13(2):1-15.
Currie M, Paris BS, Pasquetto I, Pierre J. The conundrum of police officer-involved homicides: Counter-data in Los Angeles County. Big Data and Society. 2016 Dec 1;3(2):1-14. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951716663566
Currie M, Fidler B. Infrastructure, Representation, and Historiography in BBN's Arpanet Maps. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. 2015 Sep 23;38(3):44-57. https://doi.org/10.1109/MAHC.2015.69
Currie M, Fidler B. The Production and Interpretation of ARPANET Maps. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. 2015 Mar 10;37(1):44-55. https://doi.org/10.1109/MAHC.2015.16
Kelty C, Panofsky A, Currie M, Crooks R, Erickson S, Garcia P et al. Seven dimensions of contemporary participation disentangled. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 2015 Mar;66(3):474–488. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23202