Newhouse, iSchool partner to create data-driven art exhibit on democracy in the digital age

November 15, 2019

“Democracy in the Digital Age: Does It Exist?” is a data-driven, interactive art exhibit produced by students in the Newhouse School and the School of Information Studies (iSchool) that seeks to provide insight into university students’ consumption of news and social media habits, specifically analyzing how both of those elements intersect to construct a political identity. It is supported by a CUSE Grant.

Democracy in the Digital Age
Art by Aaron Kassman

The exhibit is a continuation of last year’s three-part “Social Media and Democracy” symposium series, spearheaded by Professors Regina Luttrell and Jon Glass of Newhouse and Professor Lu Xiao of the iSchool. This year, students in Luttrell’s Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution course surveyed more than 200 students across U.S. college campuses to understand what democracy means in a social media-driven society. Newhouse and iSchool students then visually interpreted the survey results in a variety of media to create the exhibit, which encourages students to have a conversation about the important issue surrounding the influence of digital media.

“This year, we want to do something different,” Glass says. “Instead of hosting panels about the issue, we asked students to discuss the role social media plays in democracy and politics in their own lives, allowing them to approach the subject in a fresh and personal way.”

The exhibit will also include a virtual reality experience allowing guests to see the survey data come to life, and a playlist that spans five decades of music reflecting the changes in American politics.

Students Sophie Estep, Holly Jones, Jessica Zuk, Daniela Curi and Lillee Bellia coordinated the project. Students Renée Deemer, Yiran Duan, Galen Hogan, Aaron Kassman and Isabel Munoz are the featured artists.

The exhibit will be available for viewing in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th Floor of Bird Library from Nov. 19 to Jan. 20.

For more information, contact Daniela Curi at 862-371-0512 or dacuri@syr.edu.