In June 2022, preliminary results from that year’s Census were published by the Central Statistics Office. These results included extensive data on vacancy – a particularly hot topic, considering that on Census night, there were over 166,000 homes sitting dormant in Ireland (or more houses than in all of county Galway).

Rudi O’Reilly Meehan, a freelance data scientist and data visualisation expert, decided to dig deeper into the results, spending weeks manipulating, interrogating and wrangling the data. The result of those menacing-sounding data operations was Dormant, an interactive piece that brings the dense, static data to life for the public and formed part of the Housing Unlocked exhibition.

This talk follows Rudi’s creative process in building this piece, full of red herrings, head-scratching and eventual inspiration, answering questions like:

– What does “data cleaning” actually mean?
– How do we pick apart datasets to find interesting stories?
– Once we have these stories, how do we combine narrative and visuals to tell them effectively?
– What’s the easiest way for me to start creating visuals of my own?

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