Catherine D'Ignazio



B.A. Tufts University
M.F.A. Maine College of Art
M.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Contact Information

Office: Walker 611
Phone: 617-824-3886
catherine_dignazio [at] (E-Mail »)

Catherine D'Ignazio is a researcher, artist and software developer who investigates how data visualization, technology and new forms of storytelling can be used for civic engagement.

Professor D'Ignazio has conducted research on geographic bias in the news media, developed custom software to geolocate news articles and designed an application, "Terra Incognita", to promote global news discovery. She is currently working with the Public Laboratory for Technology and Science to explore the possibilities for journalistic storytelling with DIY environmental sensors.

Her art and design projects have won awards from the Tanne Foundation,, the LEF Foundation, and Dream It, Code It, Win It. In 2009, she was a finalist for the Foster Prize at the ICA Boston. Her work has been exhibited at the Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology, Museo d'Antiochia of Medellin, and the Venice Biennial.

Professor D'Ignazio is currently a fellow at the Emerson Engagement Lab and a research affiliate at the MIT Center for Civic Media.


  • 2016
  • D’Ignazio, C. & Klein, L. Feminist Data Visualization. Presented at and published in the workshop proceedings from the Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities at IEEE VIS Conference 2016.

    D’Ignazio, C. Questions on Design, Social Justice and Breast Pumps. Presented at and published in the workshop proceedings from the Exploring Social Justice, Design & HCI Workshop at ACM SIGCHI Conference 2016.

    D’Ignazio, C., Bhargava, R. Approaches to Building Big Data Literacy. Presented at and published in the workshop proceedings of the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange 2015.

    D’Ignazio, C. “Terra Incognita: Serendipity and Discovery in the Age of Personalization”. Case study for the Civic Media Reader. Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis, Editors. MIT Press. 2015.


  • 2016
  • Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant ($5K, Data Literacy Research) 2016

    Knight Foundation Prototype Grant ($35K, Platform Development) 2015

    Emerson College Faculty Advancement Fund Award ($8K, Research) 2015

    Emerson College Presidential Fund for Curricular Innovation ($1.2K, Hyperlocal-International Research) 2015

    Emerson College Faculty Advancement Fund Award ($5K, Sensor Journalism Research) 2014

    DeFlorez Fund for Humor at MIT ($4K, Engaging the Public with Sensor Data Research) 2014

    MIT Media Lab Director’s Fund ($12K, Maternal Health & Innovation Research) 2013

    RISD Faculty Professional Development Grant ($5K, Research on Fear & Public Space) 2010

    RISD Faculty Professional Development Grant ($5K, Research on Fear & Public Space) 2009

    RISD Faculty Professional Development Grant ($5K, Research on Fear & Public Space) 2008

Global & Civic Engagement

  • 2016
  • Program Committee Member for Visualizing Cities for Habitat III, UN Conference. 2016

    New England Foundation for the Arts. Jury member. Creative Cities Initiative. 2015

    Generation Citizen: Youth Civics Day Judge. 2015

    MassArt Student Exhibition Jury Member. 2015

    MIT Climate CoLab Jury Member. 2015

    MIT Media Lab Diversity Committee. 2012 - 2014

    Cambridge Arts Council. Jury Member. Kendall Street Update project. 2010

    Cartographica: Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization, Editorial Board. 2007 - 2010

    College Art Association Public Art Forum. Advisory Board. 2007 - 2008

    Art Interactive. Curatorial Committee. 2004 - 2007

    Real Art Ways Emerging Artists Program. Jury member. Hartford, CT. 2006

    LEF Foundation Contemporary Work. Selection Committee. 2005 - 2006

    Cambridge Arts Council. Grant Program Selection Committee. 2005 - 2006

Awards & Honors

  • 2006
  • Pitch Accelerator Award for NewsPix, Newspaper Association of America. 2015

    Dream It. Code It. Win It. Prize for Women in Technology. 2014

    Turbulence Networked Art Commission. 2012

    Prospectus for the Nation, selected artist, Artists in Context. 2012

    Tanne Foundation Artist Award. 2010

    Cambridge Arts Council, Finalist for the $50K Cambridge St Commission. 2010

    Extending Creativity in Digital Media NEA Residency, Anderson Ranch. 2008

    ICA Boston, James & Audrey Foster Prize, Finalist. 2008

    AICA New England, Second Prize for Best Work in a Public Place. 2008

    Artist to Watch, 2006 Year in Review, Big, Red & Shiny magazine. 2006

    Individual Artist Award (The Institute for Infinitely Small Things), Cambridge Arts Council. 2006

    57 Things to Do For Free in Harvard Square. Video project commissioned by lumeneclipse. 2006


Civic Media
Comedy, Humor, Laughter
Digital Media
Environmental Studies
Gender Studies
Interactive Media
New Media
Social Media
Web Design