Following from our three collaboratories, which formed the initial part of our multi-method approach, we conducted two postgraduate workshops in June 2014: one at the ITU in Copenhagen and another at the Doctoral Training Centre at Goldsmiths, University of London.
These advanced interdisciplinary workshops involved ‘socialising’ Big Data in two ways. First, they comprised of training in the concept and conduct of collaboratories as a social science method of working with data practitioners not as informants or users but as co-producers of concepts and knowledge. This was achieved through illustrations and discussions of collaboratories that the project team had previously conducted with practitioners who work with Big Data in three different contexts: bioscience, national statistics and waste management. In addition to attending to how these collaboratories worked methodologically, the workshops explored their substantive discussions and findings concerning the range of meanings and the problems, risks and potentials of Big Data across the different practical settings: genomics, national statistics and waste management. In this way, the workshops involved both training in how to ask critical questions about Big Data that could be taken up in relation to other substantive and practical contexts as well as the collaboratory as a social science method.