Thursday, 2 October 2014

An Arts-Informed Study of Information Using the Draw-and-Write Technique

The Information School, in association with the Centre for Visual Studies
“An Arts-Informed Study of Information Using the Draw-and-Write Technique”
21st October, 13:00 PM, ICOSS conference centre
Associate Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto and
Visiting Scholar at the Information School, University of Sheffield

Dr. Hartel will present a lecture and case study of arts-informed, visual research into the concept of information. In this project, graduate students were asked “What is information?” and responded by drawing upon a 4" by 4" piece of paper, coined an "iSquare" (see a sample of iSquares, below). The presentation provides an overview of the study and will: Survey existing conceptions of information from within information science; review empirical precedents from across the social sciences that utilized similar data gathering techniques; and outline the arts-informed visual methodology and research design. The results include the identification of the most common visual motifs used to express information, as well as three themes pertaining to its social, technological, and "informational" dimensions. The session is dynamic and includes a demonstration of the data-gathering method and a status report on iSquare research soon to be underway at Sheffield and around the world.


A sample of “iSquare” drawings created by graduate students at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. To date, several hundred iSquares have been collected and can be seen at

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