Pop Up – Antonio Roberts

Pop Up – Antonio Roberts

The first creative commission from National Youth Trends data

Last year we found that 9 in 10 Gen Zs now see themselves as ‘creative people’. It marks a paradigm change in the arbitrary lines between ‘artwork’, ‘creativity’, ‘content’ and ‘culture’. Young people across the world are increasingly demanding that these fields, sectors and jobs, should be for everybody.

As a response, and to celebrate these broadening definitions, we’re over the moon to launch a new series of creative commissions inspired by these insights gathered from nearly 2,000 Gen Zs across the UK. These works showcase an innovative method of talking about research, data and insight. Here we use creativity and artistic practice as yet another tool for gleaning insights from research, and informing data driven decision making.

The first in this series of commissions is from digital artist Antonio Roberts. If you want to find out a little more about Antonio, then click here to catch up on when we sat down to chat about the work. You can also watch the launch event back – where we hosted panelists from Nesta and the Open Data Institute, as well as Antonio and Beatfreeks General Manager, Amerah Saleh.

Introducing ‘Pop Up’

The title is inspired in part by pop-up windows which interrupted internet browsing in the early days, and in part by the cookie notifications we now see everyday on websites. They remind us that various data points are being collected to build a profile on who we our and our habits.

The starting point for Pop Up was to consider how to represent both quantitative and qualitative data that deals with very abstract and broad themes. National Youth Trends contains in-depth insights into the trends of young people on subjects such as climate change, ethics, corporate responsibility, work, and the future. Representing this as charts, graphs and numbers alone ignores the very personal and nuanced stories contained within the project’s datasets.

Emoji have shown themselves to be a popular way that both young people and older generations use to express abstract thoughts when words and numbers alone cannot. These icons, currently totalling more than 3000, are used across language and geographical barriers – yet they share common meanings.

Though not a strict representation of the data, the placement of the emoji in terms of their relative height illustrates their importance and impact as shown in the data. As each emoji inflates it rises to show what matters most within the datasets.

Each of the four artworks is an attempt to collate broad themes that emerged throughout the data. The project saw me searching through the Creative Commons licensed “twemoji” Twitter emoji set for emoji that related to different sets of questions.

Antonio Roberts

If you’re on a mobile phone, and can’t see anything below, then head over this way.

Click here to watch the launch event with panel discussion from Antonio, Amerah Saleh GM of Beatfreeks, as well as panelists from Nesta and the Open Data Institute.

Download Report