VizE Lab

Viz E Lab Ethnographic Data Visualization


For scholars who want to visualize complex ethnographic data
in ways that enhance intelligibility, insight and human understanding

 The VizE Lab for Ethnographic Data Visualization was launched in 2017 for scholars to explore new ways to collect and visualize diverse forms of ethnographic data. In particular, the Lab is devoted to bringing data visualization and documentary media together in ethnographies that combine data sets big and small with person-centered perspectives. The lab advises students and collaborates with faculty colleagues in their research and it offers a studio setting where scholars can create visual work using specialized software and collaborate on new projects using our visualization wall.  

NEWS: New Data Visualizations from Philadelphia Project On the Way

West Philadelphia structures and bodies



NEWS: Visualization Contest Winners Announced!

Can Visualizations Help Solve the Student Debt Crisis?

visualizing student debt contest

Visualizations can render complex data and experience meaningful. Furthermore, they are able to reveal what might be either changed or strengthened through policy and individual action. For instance, our "Problem of the Colored Lines" visualization gallery draws on the graphic style of W.E.B. to illuminate the variety of racial disparities in student loan burdens. 

To draw on the potential of visualization, the VizE Lab joined forces with the Dignity+Debt Network in hosting a contest for data visualizations, maps, or short documentary films and photography that portray student loan debt. Entries depict the complex structural conditions of student debt and the personal experiences of debtors and their families. 

See the Award Winning Entries


NEWS: "The Torture Letters" in Circulation

Traveling the film festival circuit, The Torture Letters picked up the "Best In Show" award at the Sparks Animated Film Festival. This award qualifies The Torture Letters to be submitted to the Academy Awards.



The Torture Letters debuted in the New York Times Op-Docs series and has also appeared at: 

  • American Film Institute FEST [Oct. 15–22]
  • St. Louis International Film Festival [Nov. 5–22]
  • Chicago International Children’s Film Festival [Nov. 13–22]
  • Africa Rising International Film Festival [Nov. 27–29]

Laurence Ralph produced and directed this 13 minute animated film based on his recent book The Torture Letters.
The film was edited in the VizE Lab by Jeffrey Himpele.



 Current + Recent Projects

du bois visualization toolkit

remote ethnography workshop

the torture letters

More Projects

project gallery



Social Life of Data Philadelphia

Student Debt Racial Disparities



nj families study

pandemic portal icon

black space

black space