Research Assistant in Visualizing Peace and Conflict.

The Edinburgh PeaceTech initiative (Christine Bell, Larissa Pschetz, Benjamin Bach, Mark Mueller) is looking for a research assistant  and visualization designer to work on a website and interactive data visualizations (e.g., https://pax-vis.github.io/pax/) in the context of active conflicts and peace processes (project name “Voices of Peace”). This interdisciplinary project is a collaboration supported by a consortium of organisations, including the University of Edinburgh (School of Law, School of Informatics, and School of Design) London School of Economics, and Beyond Borders (Scottish NGO).

Goal is to create a public and international web presence to raise awareness about the conflict and ongoing peace processes in a particular conflict, to support inclusive, open, and informed peace process and agreements. 

There is growing interest in monitoring and understanding conflict and peace processes worldwide, but in particular through governments, NGOs, universities as well as public media. Our research goal is to investigate this  potential, identify challenges and opportunities for data analytics, data visualization, distributed applications, and platforms for engagement and participation.  The specific goal of this research position is to help shaping a research agenda for how data analysis can support conflict interpretation and peace processes.

In the short term, the project will feature

  1. A timeline visualization showing relevant events related to the conflict and peace process.
  2. A map showing information on the conflict (e.g., source ACLED: https://www.acleddata.com)
  3. Visualization of summaries from social media and other messages.
  4. Own ideas and other ideas coming up in meetings.
  5. Supporting shape a research agenda on PeaceTech, the application of visualization to conflict data as well as challenges for data visualization in conflict.

The position requires strong web development and design skills on a range of platforms, including good experience in D3.js and ideally map visualization software (e.g,. MapBox). Some understanding of development and peacebuilding issues would be an advantage.  This project is meant to start as soon as possible, with #1 being the most urgent.

There is much space for visualizations and designs and ideas can be developed together in a team including Dr Larissa Pschetz and Dr Benjamin Bach

The position runs from now until end of July, with weekly meetings taking place. Availability for full-time employment for a longer period beyond July is welcomed and will include more research later on if funding is approved.

The project is part of a longer term PeaceTech research project on visualizing peace (agreements) and the public impact, engagement, and education with data visualizations. It is associated with the Political Settlements Research Program (www.politicalsettlements.org), its peace agreement database (www.peaceagreements.org), where more information about the wider peace and conflict work and data can be found.

The researcher should be based in Edinburgh or to be available for meetings there even on short notice, and will be based at the School of Law and Informatics.  

The application should contain

  • A CV,
  • list of publications (e.g., link to Google Scholar) as well as
  • A brief (~half page) application statement outlining interests and capacity for the job.

Please send everything to: bbach@inf.ed.ac.uk as soon as possible. Preference will be given to early applications.

Questions to bbach@inf.ed.ac.uk

 

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