The 2022–2023 Spotlight Series: Human in the Data


The University of Minnesota Spotlight Series is a collaborative partnership between the Institute for Advanced Study, Northrop, and University Honors Program to present lectures, panel discussions, exhibits, and other events throughout the academic year around timely topics of interest. The six-part 2022-23 series will focus on how data—their collection, analysis, and the research questions that rely on them—connect to the deeply personal lived experiences of individual human beings and to the human condition at large.

Events are Thursdays 3:30–5:00 p.m. CT and may be attended in Northrop’s Best Buy Theater or online via Zoom. The series is FREE and open to the public (registration requested), and Q&A sessions are included in each event.


2022–2023 Series Events

Event Spotlight 22-09-22
Image Credit: Charles Deluvio, Unsplash

Global Food Security and How We Feed Each Other

Thursday, September 22, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Deepak Ray: Senior Research Scientist and Fellow, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota 
Valentine Cadieux: Professor of Environmental Studies and Anthropology and Director of the Center for Justice and Law, Hamline University

Despite the fact that we are harvesting more crop calories worldwide than ever before, projections say we are likely to fall short of the UN’s food security goals by 2030. Research scientist Deepak Ray and geographer Valentine Cadieux will unpack data around why this is, and how community-driven food security efforts and small urban farms might help solve the crisis.


Map detailing bdote at Minneapolis and St. Paul
Detail from Wąąkšik huunųp homąnįra wagųsiraregi higi hįnįhawi / We have been here since the beginning of time, by Josie Lee, Bill Quackenbush, and Margaret Pearce.

Keeping Accountability on the Table: Mapping Land-Grab and Next→

Thursday, October 20, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Margaret Pearce: Cartographer

The Land-Grab Universities project presents archival evidence and historical narrative through multiple points of entry. Cartographer Margaret Pearce will share how the maps and graphs are designed to amplify the project at multiple scales, consider other ways cartographic language collaborates for truth-telling, and imagine how cartography might contribute to what can come next.


Event Spotlight 22-11-10
Image Credit: The Battle is Joined (2017), Karyn Olivier, courtesy Monument Lab.

Public Monuments in the Human Landscape

Thursday, November 10, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Katrina Phillips: Associate Professor of History, Macalester College and Monument Lab Advisory Board
Jean M. O’Brien: Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Northrop Professor of History at the University of Minnesota
Robyne Robinson: journalist, advocate, and arts consultant

Public art and monuments are extremely visible components of our civic life, but do these symbols truly represent our history and values? This panel of scholars and public art practitioners will discuss Monument Lab’s National Monument Audit as well as regional perspectives on our substantial, but incomplete, collection of murals and monuments.


Two people gripping hands
Image Credit: Black Label Movement

Bodystorming: Scientific Modeling and Artmaking within Cancer Research

Thursday, February 16, 2023  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Carl Flink: Director of Dance & Nadine Jette Sween Professor of Dance, University of Minnesota & Artistic Director, Black Label Movement
David Odde: Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

In one of the most unexpected partnerships, Carl Flink of Black Label Movement and David Odde’s biomedical engineering lab created the technique of Bodystorming, which uses dance to bring patience, caregivers, clinicians, humanity, and deep collaboration into cancer research. Join for an opportunity to try Bodystorming for yourself, and learn about the decades-old collaboration.


Image of nurse with stethoscope and illustration of heart monitor and other data superimposed radiating from center
Image Credit: iStock

Visualizing the Human in the Data: Nursing Science from Cells to Systems

Thursday, March 2, 2023  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Lisiane Pruinelli, PhD, MS, RN, FAMIA: Associate Professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Mary O. Whipple, PhD, RN, PHN: Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing

Nursing often conjures up mental images of a caring relationship with a patient, but nursing practice is also grounded in enormous amounts of empirical evidence. In this discussion, University of Minnesota School of Nursing faculty will share how collecting patient data can help change the way we deliver health care.


Event Spotlight 22-04-06
Image Credit: Masonic Institute of the Developing Brain

Big Data and the Human Experience of the Developing Brain

Thursday, April 6, 2023  |  3:30 p.m. CT 

Saonli Basu: Professor, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Mark Fiecas: Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Researchers at the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, Professors Saonli Basu and Mark Fiecas, will speak in layman’s terms about the role of big data in brain research and how it informs our understanding of the human experience as we age from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.


Spotlight Logos 2022-23


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