Brief abstracts of conference sessions will be listed here once the final program has been confirmed.

Title: Diversifying Data and Inspiring Code: Using Technology and Design Tools to Promote Social Justice

Lead Presenter: Starger, Colin


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Session Abstract: Not a week passes without another headline uncovering corporate abuse of big data in service of private greed or government abuse of technology in service of public surveillance. Does this mean data and technology are inherently tools of injustice? This session will critically address this timely question while reflecting upon the pedagogy and practice of the University of Baltimore’s new Legal Data and Design Clinic (LDDC). The mission of the LDDC is to train students in “digital advocacy”: applying technology and principles of data and design to understand and address legal problems. The LDDC domain context is Maryland’s criminal (in)justice system. This session will explore the reasons for, and challenges in, facilitating student learning in in the use of spreadsheets, pivot tables, SQL databases, visualizations, coding, APIs and more in order to design applications, create websites, and produce detailed and evidence-informed legal memoranda and briefs on behalf of organizational clients like the Office of the Public Defender. Diversifying justice education requires diversifying the tools used to combat injustice. At the same time, it also requires a critical perspective on how new technologies are used to replicate old patterns of structural injustice. This session will facilitate discussion on how to best “walk the line” through action and reflection in the clinical context.

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