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COVID-19 Testing on Twitter

Mission local, @MLNow, Twitter, May 22, 2020

Virtual workshop on COVID-19 Testing on Twitter:
Surfacing testing situations beyond the laboratory

Monday 22nd June & Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 1000-1600 BST

Co-organised by: the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (University of Warwick),
the Department of Digital Humanities (King’s College London), and the Public Data Lab.

“Test, test, test!” - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

Over the last months, testing – and not testing - for COVID-19 has emerged as a central concern as our societies grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. Much of the debate has focused on the merits of different types of tests and testing infrastructures (PCR; anti-body; symptom-based testing through apps). However, equally remarkable about COVID testing is the locations in which it takes place and is expected to place, in everyday places beyond the laboratory, like the home, and the parking lots of superstores.

Workshop format
In this two-day online workshop we will conduct a collaborative analysis of Twitter data relating to COVID-19 in order to facilitate a dialogue about the social life of testing, across expert – lay distinctions. The aim is to draw out from Twitter reporting on COVID-19 testing a social understanding of COVID-19 testing as everyday situation, and, potentially, as tests of society. We are also interested in developing and documenting approaches to curating and infrastructuring environments for collaborative interpretative data analysis, given the unusually large Twitter datasets that have been gathered across our institutions.

How to participate
We invite PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and interested researchers at Warwick, KCL and Public Data Lab affiliated centres (scroll down) to join us. If you are interested in participating, please email a brief introduction and expression of interest to before 12 June.

If you have expertise in areas which are relevant to the workshop (e.g. social media analysis, sociology of testing, visual methods,) please do mention them in your email.

As this is a research workshop that will involve working together in small groups, we expect to be able to accommodate around 20-25 people, but we hope to be flexible. If you know of others who might be interested, please email and we can get in touch.

For more recent work on the sociology of testing you can refer to this recent special issue on “Put to the Test ‐ The Sociology of Testing” in British Journal of Sociology:

This project is supported by the University of Warwick's Global Research Priority Innovative Manufacturing and the Future of Materials .

Image credit: "The new Tenderloin mobile site was supposed to make testing accessible and easy, but requiring a smartphone and Google account nixed that possibility” Mission local, @MLNow, Twitter, May 22, 2020