Absence, Emptiness & Invisibility: The Design of Nothing

Thursday 20 June 2019

6.00pm - 9.00pm

BCS, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA



How can we visualise the complex and abstract ideas that emerge from our data-rich world? In this talk Andy Kirk will ask us to think about communicating ‘nothingness’, using this example to explore some of the key considerations data visualisers face. He will illustrate possible answers using some of the most enduring, classic and contemporary examples.

Andy will look at this fascinating topic from three perspectives relating to ‘nothingness’: absence, emptiness and invisibility. Firstly, he will look at the nuances of representing null and zero, comparing the challenges of visualising the absence of a data value with the presence of a zero data value. Secondly, he will explore the often-neglected power of emptiness in making a visible design choice seemingly invisible, showing that blank space is a vital design component, needing not just judgement but courage. Finally, he will tackle what we can learn from the ‘invisible’: What does it mean to not see things? What can we learn about what is not included? How does what is NOT included shape what IS?

Speaker: Andy Kirk, Author, Consultant and Lecturer

Andy Kirk is a data visualisation specialist, based in Leeds (UK). As freelance professional since 2011, he has experience across a number of distinct roles including design consultant, training provider, lecturer, author, speaker, researcher, and editor of an award-winning website, www.visualisingdata.com. He has delivered over 250 public and private training workshop events in 22 countries, serving clients such as Spotify, Telefónica, Google, NHS, EU Council, and CERN, and he provides data visualisation services to the Arsenal F.C. performance team.

Between 2015 and 2018 he was a visiting lecturer teaching data visualisation on a Masters programme at Imperial College (UK). He has published two books, with the most recent work published in 2016 by SAGE and titled ‘Visualising Data: A Handbook for Data Driven Design’. The second edition will be published in 2019.

Overview of Agenda:

  • 18:00 - Registration (Don't forget to sign in at the ground floor security desk when you arrive.)
  • 18:30 - The event starts
  • 21:00 - The event ends

Will catering be provided?


PDF Icon The Design of Nothing