Spatial Practice as Evidence and Advocacy (SPEA):


Supports human rights casework using data analysis and interactive, spatial visualization


2016 - . As a researcher and developer at SITU Research, I conduct spatial analysis, design and generate visualizations, and develop SPEA web projects. SPEA is a research initiative that seeks to innovate a design toolkit for communities engaged in human rights work. Human rights practice is experiencing an influx of new technologies and information and SPEA works towards the synthesis of different sources like satellite imagery, citizen video, spatial models, and social media to amplify underrepresented voices in fact-finding and advocacy work.

I write proposals and reports for grants (including MacArthur, Oak and Open Society Foundations). I also document SITU’s research and spatial analysis methodologies and recently contributed to a forthcoming article in the Journal of Human Rights Practice titled, Reconstructing Human Rights Violations Using Large Eyewitness Video Collections: The Case of Euromaidan Protester Deaths. I co-presented SPEA projects as a finalist in the SXSW Eco Place by Design competition in 2016, receiving an honorable mention in the Equity + Inclusion category.

I have contributed to fact-finding, litigation, and advocacy projects on US Military misconduct in Afghanistan,  violence against civilians in Sudan, cultural heritage destruction in Mali, the right to clean water and information in Papua New Guinea, and police violence against protesters in Ukraine.

SPEA has been featured in Wired and was a finalist for Fast Company’s 2017 World Changing Ideas Awards.

Team: SITU Research - McKenna Cole, Akshay Mehra, Bradley Samuels (Project Director)

Collaborators: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Court, Columbia University Human Rights Law Clinic, Carnegie Mellon Center for Human Rights Science, The Nation Magazine

Tasks: Spatial research and analysis, dataset acquisition, processing + management, visualization, web design, web development (front and back end), visual media production, writing, project management

Tools + Technologies: GIS (ArcGIS, QGIS), Leaflet, MapBox, Adobe Suite, R, Microsoft Access, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, d3.js, Node, postgreSQL