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Building a Feminist Chatbot - Workshop and Collaboration

posted on 2022-12-15, 18:19 authored by Sharon WebbSharon Webb

In 2019-2020 the ESRC funded 'Reanimating data: experiments with people, places and archives'. Part of the project involved staging a series of reanimations using data from interviews with young women from Manchester, conducted thirty years previously as part of the Women, Risk and AIDS Project (WRAP 1988-1990). Each reanimation involved a collaboration between young women, educators and researchers and used creative methods to explore the WRAP data and bring it to life in new ways.  

In early 2020, Reanimating Data team members worked with the Feminist Approaches to Computational Technology Network (FACT//), founded by Sharon Webb and Cecile Chevalier. RAD teamed up with FACT on their CHASE funded training programme to see how we might create an alternative means into the WRAP dataset by creating a 'feminist chatbot'. 

The workshops were led by Suze Shardlow (Women Who Code London). The group not only learned basic programming skills but also reflected on what it might mean to share and interrogate these feminist interviews from the past. What kinds of questions are feasible and ethical? What might constitute an answer? The chat bot was introduced at the launching of the archive at an event at Manchester Central Reference Library in March 2020 where we also crowd-sourced potential questions that the chat bot could be programmed to answer.   

This item includes  (i) the questions generated at this event;  (ii) the code generated for the chat bot;  (iii) two blog posts reflecting on the development of a feminist chat bot: 'A feminist chat bot?' and 'Feminist chat bot 2: front /back, questions/ answers; now/then'.


Reanimating data: experiments with people, places and archives

Economic and Social Research Council

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Great Manchester, UK






The Reanimating Data Project (2018-20)


The Reanimating Data Project (2018-20)