Artefact 06

Data Steward Scarf, Handbook & Data Blocks

The proliferation of decentralised technologies in rural areas of Karnataka demands a new approach to managing data in ways that are sensitive to and respectful of the local tradition and culture.

Jayalakshmi is sitting on her bed and holding up her just- awarded Data Steward Scarf to her face. It feels so official and important and the fact that it was made locally (using the practices and crafts of her community) makes her doubly happy. Tomorrow she will wear this as she does her first data-walk around Durgadahalli. She is gripping her handbook tightly; its worn edges and scuffed front speak to the many hours she’s spent reading it. Of course she knows every word – she scored 100% in the test last week – but knowing something and understanding something are not the same. She knows everything in the book, but will she know how to explain to Gopi how he can ensure his bee-sound-capturing files are kept anonymous? Will he understand when she explains to him that shouting about how ‘Lakshmi’s honey is the best this side of the forest’ means the data is no longer anonymous? Maybe she can use the Data Blocks to discuss different approaches
to data collection and privacy; who knows, together they might come up with a better approach! She knows the kids at school will have everything right, but will they be able to rate the value of the butterfly counts they have been doing on their way to the school? Will they be able to score it as highly as they should? Will they know that the presence of a swarm of butterflies can, when fed into a You-Learn rain predictor, be used to predict the start of this year’s rainy season? Will they know how to normalise the data they’ve collected given the relatively large size of their school? So much to do in one day. Her first day as Durgadahalli’s Data Steward.

Data Steward Scarf, Handbook & Data Blocks. Data Steward Scarf. Khadi Cotton, block printed and hand embroidered. 2032. Data Steward Handbook. Softcover booklet. 2032. Three Data Steward Data Blocks. Screen printed, wooden blocks. 2032.