VALA Events 2018: Is “Open” always “Equitable”?

VALA invites you to our October Guest Speaker event for 2018. This 1-hour event will be run as a Zoom Webinar.

Topic: Is “Open” always “Equitable”?

The theme for Open Access Week for 2018 is ‘Designing equitable foundations for open knowledge.’ But open systems aren’t always set to a default of ‘inclusive’, and there are important questions that need to be raised around prioritisation of voices, addressing perpetual conscious and unconscious bias, and who is excluded from discussions and decisions surrounding information and data access. There are also issues of the sometimes-competing pressures to move toward both increased openness and greater privacy.

Join special Guest Speakers Dr Fiona Tweedie, Data Policy and Strategy Advisor, Digital & Data and Dr Ruth DeSouza, Academic Convenor, Data, Systems and Society Research Network (DSSRN) and , who will answer the questions of:

  • If we default to inclusive, what does that look like?
  • How do we address conscious and unconscious bias?
  • How do we prioristise voices, identify who is included and/or excluded from discussions?
  • How do we address the pressure to move toward both increased openness and greater privacy, particularly in the area of health data?

Guest Speakers:

Dr Fiona Tweedie, Data Policy and Strategy Adviser, Digital & Data, University of Melbourne

Fiona Tweedie first became interested in open data while working at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on the Australian Government’s Principles on Open Public Sector Information. She subsequently organised the Melbourne node of GovHack, the world’s largest civic hackathon, in 2013 and 2014, and served on the board of Open Knowledge Australia from 2013 to 2016. Her current role at the University of Melbourne includes building ethical frameworks for data analysis that seek to centre vulnerable groups and people in project design. She is interested in digital humanities and supporting cross-disciplinary collaborations. She holds a PhD in Roman History.

Dr Ruth DeSouza, Academic Convenor, Data, Systems and Society Research Network (DSSRN), Honorary Research Fellow in Clinical Informatics and Population Health Informatics Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre, The University of Melbourne

Ruth ‘s interest in data-intensive transformations in health and wellness within the context of informationalization comes from her own research examining how being an active member of one’s ‘own health care team’ through the acquisition of knowledge and skills is a key feature of contemporary health care. Ruth is interested in the advent of the agentic consumer and how this subject position is intensified through digital health, and the health literacy demands of collecting and interpreting data often without the involvement of health professionals. In particular, how these consumer-oriented technologies designed to promote healthy living impact on marginalised communities and how structural inequalities in different contexts are inflected in and through technology use.


FREE to attend for all (registration will be confirmed via email).

RSVP: limited numbers, so please register only if you will attend. No “no shows” please!


Online webinar

This webinar is delivered on the Zoom platform. Your event confirmation email will include your instructions to connect to the Zoom platform.


Those seeking to cancel a registration are encouraged to contact the VALA Secretariat asap – registration numbers are limited for this event, and we appreciate prior advice if you are unable to attend. Please contact the VALA Secretariat (E: or Tel: 03 9844 2933).


Wednesday 24th October 2018 4.00-5.00pm AEDT