Lindsay Poirier is a cultural anthropologist of data cultures, expertise, and infrastructure. Her work is informed by prior work in the history of computing and of technology, critical data studies, the digital humanities, Science and Technology Studies, and the technical field of information technology and web science. Interlacing training in both ethnography and computer science, Poirier critically examines datasets and data infrastructures as ethnographic artifacts, while she also theorizes and implements critical data practices and alternative data models and platforms.
Poirier leads a weekly civic hack night with the UC Davis DataLab called Hack for California, and in this capacity has had an opportunity to work with students and collaborate with a number of academic and community partners on designing data tools and platforms that seek to examine issues around inequity across the state of California and the US. She has been involved in efforts to rethink critical data education for both university STEM and liberal arts students, and has designed a number of courses that creatively integrate data critique with data science skills training.
Poirier is the lead platform architect for the Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography (PECE) – an open source digital humanities platform, which supports several international research projects, including The Asthma Files, the Disaster STS Network, and STS Infrastructures. She has also represented the “empirical humanities” (including the qualitative social sciences) in international efforts to support research data sharing. Finally, Poirier has worked with the civic technology community in New York City to advocate for data publishing practices, curriculum, and legislation that promote civic engagement with the city’s open data program.