Making Sense of Syria 2014


March 22, 2014
10:00am – 4:00pm


MFA Interaction Design
136 West 21 Street
Third Floor
New York, NY 10011

Making Sense of Syria is an interdisciplinary design workshop series focused on exploring new ways for making sense of complex data in the Syrian Conflict, and, by extension, modern conflicts in general.

We are committed to the idea that new kinds of collaboration are essential to make sense of data being generated from contemporary sources: social, collaborative mapping, satellite, video, sensing, et al.  We use the workshop to explore new, cross-disciplinary collaborations that focus on people in the loop—designers, conflict specialists, journalists, language experts, technologists, network analysts, developers, economists, data scientists, geographers, GIS specialists, forensic architects, data visualization experts, and more.

The workshop seeks to develop means for asking and exploring new, unanswered questions about conflict.  We will use our team-based approach to develop one or more well-formed speculative method, visualization, or platform design/application that would that advance our current ability to frame and answer questions. Directions pursued through the workshop will ideally form the basis for further work, funding, and development by participants for the conflict research community.

Making Sense of Syria is intended as an open, educational, and inquiry-based exploration through collaborative, human-centered analysis and visualization of complex information.  Sample data will be released to the workshop by the provider under an open-source license. Participants are free to use speculations from the workshop in anyway they see fit.


This two-weekend workshop will pursue the following data sets:

  • Social mapping data 
  • Social conflict video 
  • Satellite imagery 
  • Social network analysis data


  • Workshop 1: Framing Data for Conflict - March 22-23, 2014
  • Workshop 2: Data Design for Sensemaking - April 12 or 13, 2014 

This event is organized by Richard Tyson of Special Project Office in partnership with this department, Caerus Associates, and Syria Conflict Monitor

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