Panel Event

17 September, 2021 10:30

A one-day event on the theme of personalisation, presenting research and artworks in health, data science and digital cultures.

You can read about the day on our blog, ‘These shoes that follow you round the internet’ and you can watch a video highlight of the day,


11.00 – 13:00    Portraits of ‘People Like You’: Conversations with artists in residence

Introduced by Sophie Day (People Like You).Felicity Allen, Stefanie Posavec and Di Sherlock present their art-work and discuss the themes of People Like You with Lucy Kimbell (University of the Arts London)


13:00 – 14:00    Lunch

14.00 – 15:30    What is personalisation?

Introduced by Celia Lury (People Like You)

What is personalisation, in practice? Sandeep Ahluwalia (Synthesia), Deborah Ashby (Imperial, immediate Past President of the Royal Statistical Society), Jon Ainger (Impower), followed by a roundtable.

15:30 – 16:00    Break

16:00 – 17:30    “Any Questions?”

Introduced by Helen Ward (People Like You)

Timandra Harkness addresses the future of personalisation, putting questions from the audience to a panel including Paul Mason (writer and journalist), Reema Patel (Ada Lovelace Institute), Natalie Banner (Wellcome Trust), and Rosa Curling (Foxglove).

Artists in residence

Di Sherlock’s poetry residence explored personalised cancer medicine and care. As she describes in her Introduction to Written Portraits, her practice involves three stages: conversation, writing and giving back a portrait to the ‘sitter’. She reflects on the categories that emerge through participating, categories with which you might or might not identify and in which you might or might not recognise yourself. Personalising practices fold responses into data and so categories of ‘people like you’ change constantly. She concludes, “I offer the portraits in gratitude and the belief that honouring ourselves and our unique stories is vital to our well-being. The stories here tell of supreme kindness, courage, insight, honesty, laughter, and pain. Everyday and jaw-dropping. There is no such thing as an ordinary life.”

Felicity Allen developed a new series in her Dialogic Portraits work, to consider with her sitters questions of traditional representation (such as portraiture) and ideas of the self that are associated with digital culture. She produced a series of portraits, and made audio recordings with the sitters, both of which form the basis for her 12-minute film, Figure to Ground – a site losing its system. When thinking about how sitters might relate to each other in this Dialogic Portraits series, Flick concludes “I pictured a game of dominoes; tops and tails following an assortment of different possible connections and lines of thought.”

Stefanie Posavec is the artist-in-residence exploring data science and personalisation. Through her data-driven art practice she investigated how stakeholders within Imperial College’s Airwave Health Monitoring Study perceive the ‘people behind the numbers’ who consent to their biological samples and data being used and stored for research. After interviewing Airwave’s staff and participants, she created Data Murmurations: Points in flight a detailed drawn map of the journey a participant’s biosamples and data take through the study, from their initial acquisition in a study clinic to analysis by researchers. Alongside this map Stefanie created a series of drawings that present the various perspectives of study stakeholders from their ‘positions’ within the Airwaves system, showing how their ability to ‘see’ the individual participant within the aggregated data changes depending on one’s system ‘position’.