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Nicole Hengesbach (PhD Student)

Nicole Hengesbach

Supervisors: Dr Greg McInernyLink opens in a new window and Professor João Porto de AlbuquerqueLink opens in a new window.

Research Topic

My research engages with urban data through critical concepts and practices, with a focus on how urban data are represented through data visualisation. This is of special relevance in contexts at the intersection of civic culture and where data analysis and data visualisation increasingly inform decision-making, foster knowledge building, engagement, awareness, literacy and citizens’ agency. I am specifically interested in how qualitative data studies methods can accompany quantitative methods and how potential (local and/or social) limitations of data are communicated and represented.

While mainly lying at the intersection of data studies and data visualisation, my research draws from technical orientated disciplines in concert with concepts and approaches from design, geography and philosophy. This interdisciplinary approach promises to obtain new perspectives that open up conventional concepts and ideas, and address the contemporary challenges deriving from data practices.


Before beginning my PhD at the CDT Urban Science & Progess and CIM, I did a MA in Urban Futures from the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. During my studies there I put emphasis on engaging with urban data and data visualisation. As part of my Master's I spend some time as a visiting student at CIM where I was taking modules within the MSc Urban Analytics and Visualisation programme as well as working on a meta-analysis that investigates the potential of data visualisation in terms of public participation and engagement.

I did my undergraduate studies in Dutch-German Studies at the University of Münster. This included a year of studying at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where I studied social urban history as well as media and communication.


2019/2020 Sessional Tutor for IM921Link opens in a new window


Hengesbach, N., McInerny, G. J., Porto de Albuquerque, J. (2022). Seeing What Is Not Shown: Combining Visualization Critique and Design to Surface the Limitations in Data: Information Design Journal, 27 (1), 64-75.

Hengesbach, N. (2022). Undoing Seamlessness: Exploring Seams for Critical Visualization. CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts, 2022, New Orleans, LA, USA. Available here.

Hengesbach, N. (2019). Ways of Seeing Urban Data. Critical Visualization and the Limits of Air Quality Data. Workshop Paper at CityVis: 2nd Workshop on Urban Data Visualization. IEEE VIS Conference, Vancouver. Available here.


Towards the representation of limitations in/of data through seamful visualisation. Infrastructures of Publics Workshop, June 2022. Details hereLink opens in a new window.

Maps, trees and missingness: Representing data limitations in critical visualisation. WPCCS 2021 - 19th Warwick Postgraduate Colloquium in Computer Science, December 2021. Details hereLink opens in a new window.

What would a critical visualisation look like? Exploring pluralism to surface limitations in urban data. Information+ Conference 2021, September 2021. Pre-recorded presentation hereLink opens in a new window, slides available hereLink opens in a new window.

From Limitations to Qualities in Critical Urban Data Visualisation. WPCCS 2020 - 18th Warwick Postgraduate Colloquium in Computer Science, December 2020. Details hereLink opens in a new window.

Visualising the Limitations of Air Quality Sensor Data. WPCCS 2019 - 17th Warwick Postgraduate Colloquium in Computer Science, December 2019. Details hereLink opens in a new window.

Moving Beyond Data Assemblages to Understand Air Quality Sensor Data. Beyond Smart Cities Today, Rotterdam, September 2019. Details hereLink opens in a new window.



Room 4.21
Mathematical Sciences Building
University of Warwick