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Seminar leaders: Claire Griffiths & Monika Kukolova

What role do data play in humanities research? Can numbers reflect social and cultural realities in a helpful way? This session explores how statistics can be used to provide insights into the cultural and social worlds of populations of the Global South.
In this seminar we are focusing on populations that for reasons usually of gender, class, place and race, are systematically excluded from the activities of the cultural elites. Having been largely denied the opportunities for education and autonomous knowledge acquisition enjoyed by elites, these populations are extensively denied access to the cultural products of the elites (novels, films, exhibitions, magazines, online cultural and educational events, etc.). We look at issues of representation of excluded groups in elite cultural production and consider the possibilities of misrepresentation. We discuss what representation can be found in data, and to what degree our statistical findings can address or even rectify cultural misrepresentations.
The population sample we use in the seminar to illustrate the power of data to speak with a ‘culturally’ are young women living in the most culturally exclusive areas of the French-speaking Global South.
We will provide access to a set of international and national datasets in the seminar. These data sets are often hard-to-find and harder to read. No familiarity with stats is required prior to the session. We use many visual tools including tailor-made infographics to illustrate how statistics translate into words and images. We will include hands-on exercises for those wishing to ‘have a go’ at data reading. By the end of the session you will be familiar with how the international community presents statistical information on specific populations and where to find data on any national or regional population,
Key documents for the session will available for participants at
This session might be of particular interest to those not able at present to access their research site.

This session has been organised by the Institute’s Fieldwork and Modern Languages working group, chaired by Claire Griffiths ( The sessions are free and open to researchers at all levels in the UK and beyond, but advance registration is essential. Please contact Naomi Wells ( for more general questions about the IMLR's research training programme.

All are welcome to attend this free event. You will need to register in advance to receive the online event joining link, using the Book Now button below.

Download guidance on how to participate in an online event (pdf)