Storytelling is the most powerful way
to put ideas into the world today.

St. Augustine, Florida

March 1, 2017

Tapestry is an event designed to advance interactive online data storytelling. Tapestry brings different viewpoints together with the goal of generating a rich conversation about data storytelling.

This one-day, invitation-only conference includes keynotes, short stories, discussion, and a demo theater designed to provoke ideas and discussion across disciplines.


The fifth Tapestry event will be held at Casa Monica in St. Augustine, Florida. Erected in 1888, this majestic Moroccan-themed hotel is a short walk from Old City, St. Augustine’s historic district, near the Cathedral Basilica and a short ride from the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
St. Augustine is less than an hour’s drive from the Jacksonville International Airport and only 30 minutes from downtown Jacksonville, where NICAR 2017 will take place. Each attendee will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine however there will be transportation provided on the evening of Wednesday, March 1st from St. Augustine to downtown Jacksonville for guests attending NICAR.
There are a few companies that provide shuttles from the Jacksonville airport to St. Augustine, such as SuperShuttle and Airport Shuttle of St. Augustine. If you're looking to share a ride with another Tapestry attendee, use this Google sheet to coordinate.

Casa Monica

95 Cordova Street
St. Augustine, FL

Keynote Speakers

At this event we will have three keynote speakers, one from each discipline that is advancing the thinking around data storytelling- design, academia, journalism.

Lena Groeger

Lena Groeger is a journalist/developer/designer at ProPublica, where she makes interactive graphics and other data-driven projects. She also teaches design and data visualization at The New School and CUNY. Before joining ProPublica in 2011, Groeger covered health and science at Scientific American and Wired magazine. She is particularly excited about the intersection of cognitive science and design, as well as creating graphics and news apps in the public interest.

Michelle Borkin

Dr. Michelle Borkin works on the development of novel visualization techniques and tools to enable new insights and discoveries in data. She works across disciplines to bring together computer scientists, doctors, and astronomers to collaborate on new analysis and visualization techniques, and cross-fertilize techniques across disciplines. Her research has resulted in the development of novel computer assisted diagnostics in cardiology, scalable visualization solutions for large network data sets, and novel astrophysical visualization tools and discoveries. Her main research interests include information and scientific visualization, hierarchical and multidimensional data representations, network visualization, visualization cognition, user interface design, human computer interaction (HCI), and evaluation methodologies.

Neil Halloran

Neil Halloran is a data visualization artist, computer programmer, and documentary filmmaker who uses cinematic storytelling to raise public understanding of socially important issues. In addition to his client work, his award-winning independent projects include The Fallen of World War II,, and the upcoming web series The Shadow Peace.

Present with Us

There are options for attendees to present at Tapestry. The first option is to present a 10-15 minute short story regarding any aspect of data storytelling. The second option is to present a demo of your viz during the demo showcase portion of the event, and the third option is to display a poster, also during the demo showcase.

Abstracts due Selections by
Short stories Closed Complete
Posters 1/31/17 Complete
Demos Closed Complete

I want to present!


Tapestry is a day-long program with a mix of presentations, discussions, and a science-fair style demo showcase. Meals are included. There is also a Welcome Reception the night before to kick-off Tapestry in-style at 5:00 PM.

Wednesday, March 1






Opening Keynote

Lena Groeger

News Apps Developer, ProPublica

Enough About Storytelling, Let’s Talk about the Storyteller

Storytelling – whether it’s done with data, words, or some other thing – is not done in the abstract. It’s done by people. People with assumptions, biases and intuitions about what’s normal or neutral, what counts as a problem or solution, what context should be brought in or left out. How does this influence the way we tell stories or even what stories get told in the first place? In this talk we’ll explore the many ways the storyteller (intentionally or not) shows up in the story.

Morning Break


Short Story 1

Catherine D'Ignazio

Assistant Prof of Data Visualization & Civic Media, Emerson College

Creative Data Literacy with Animated GIFs and Public Art

This is a short story about introducing arts and communications students to the power of data storytelling through the creation of a data-driven public art project. We partnered with the City of Boston's GoBoston2030 initiative to analyze more than 6000 citizen-submitted ideas for the future of Boston transportation. Students prioritized citizens' ideas based on neighborhood transportation needs and then created animated GIFs to illustrate those ideas. We displayed their GIFs as a large looping projection in a public space on Emerson's campus. I will describe the project, show 20 or so of the 100 animated GIFs they made, and also reflect on creative ways to introduce data analysis and storytelling to non-technical learners.

Short Story 2

Nathaniel Lash

Data reporter, Tampa Bay Times

Making a point

We’re all here to tell stories. But telling stories can be hard if we deviate from the point of our stories and reporting — much less the point of embarking on our work in the first place. This “short story” will be about linear visual storytelling techniques and how to use them to guide a reader toward a single salient point. We’ll talk about what does and doesn’t work well with holding a reader’s hand through a data visualization, and other lessons that our team at the Tampa Bay Times has learned over the past couple of years, particularly on the Pulitzer Prize-winning series “Failure Factories.”

Short Story 3

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Author & Speaker, storytelling with data

Where's Larry? bringing data to life through story

A good story captivates an audience. It is memorable. It can be retold. But rarely is the construct of story used in the business world when communicating with data. I aim to change that. In this short session, we'll explore how the structure of story can be used to capture and maintain an audience's attention, help a data-driven message be heard and motivate an audience to act.

Short Story 4

Matthew Daniels

Editor, Polygraph

How to gather and visualize dialogue from 2,000 screenplays, by gender and age.

In this talk, Matt will, step-by-step, discuss the data scraping and cleaning process for computing dialogue by gender for 2,000 screenplays. He'll review the Python scripts and databases used to house nearly 4 million lines of dialogue, how he mapped the data to IMDB, and also his approach to visualizing the data in D3. The focus for this talk is practical: pro-tips and best practices for how he managed his most messy, complex project to date.



Short Story 5

Chris Mast

Executive Director, Merck

Geospatial and Temporal Visualization of a New Vaccine Introduction

I am an executive director of epidemiology at Merck Research Laboratories in the Center for Observational and Real-world Evidence. We use “real-world” data to provide the best available information on the value of our medicines that we bring to the market.
Rotavirus vaccines were introduced for pediatric use in the US in 2006. Studies have shown the vaccines are highly effective at reducing hospitalizations and emergency department visits due to severe rotavirus disease, but uptake still lags in some areas in the US and other regions globally. This differential uptake has been attributed to low awareness of disease burden, vaccine effectiveness and perceived value of rotavirus vaccination program. We aim to use new ways of data communication to educate, reframe, and elicit positive change about the impact that vaccination can have on the prevention of disease. In this talk, I will show phase 1 results from our data visualization project, which includes a geospatial and temporal animation of US insurance claims data to describe vaccine uptake and geographic penetration over time.

Short Story 6

Jewel Loree

Product Manager, Storytelling, Tableau Software
For the past 3 years, I’ve done an annual analysis of the playlist of my favorite radio station. Every year the data for the most part looks the same but the way I approach the data, the story I tell, and the methods I use change. As my storytelling techniques have gotten more sophisticated, my data visualizations have gotten simpler. Yet these simpler visuals somehow tell a more complex story. In this talk I explore the relationship between the storytelling tools I use and how they affect the way I approach my data.

Afternoon Break


Afternoon Keynote

Michelle Borkin

Assistant Professor, Northeastern University

Visualization Recognition and Recall: Techniques for Visually Communicating Your Message

A key part of the visualization design process, especially for story telling, is to determine the key messages or conclusions of the data that the author wants to visually convey to the viewer. In this talk I will discuss my recent and on-going work with colleagues spanning disciplines in computer science and cognitive science to gain a deeper insight and understanding into how humans perceive, remember, and recall visual and textual features of data visualizations. These features, such as a visual annotation on a plot or a well written title, can be composed to grab a viewer’s attention, help a viewer learn or remember, and enforce and communicate the key message or story to a viewer. The results of this experimental work have confirmed and explained holistic visualization design conventions as well as opened up new dialogue within the community. These results have implications for general visualization design strategies but specifically, within a storytelling context, how to communicate messages and direct your audience’s attention.

Demo Showcase & Posters


Closing Keynote

Neil Halloran

Filmmaker, Higher Media
There are practical advantages to expressing statistical information with emotion. Psychologists have shown, for example, that emotional stories are more memorable and lurid than less expressive counterparts. More importantly, emotional depictions of numbers can play an important role in society as we struggle to bridge the gap between expert and public opinion. While data visualization artists acknowledge that emotion affects how their audiences interpret statistics, they (for good reason) may feel uncomfortable injecting emotion into fact-based presentations. In this talk, I will encourage data-storytellers to embrace their own emotional connection to the information they present, and will offer some opinionated suggestions on how to actively use emotion - as apposed to passively react to it. I will also argue that interactivity often serves to sever the undervalued connection between artist and audience.

Closing Reception


Bus Departs for NICAR


Sam Leon

Senior Data Advisor
Global Witness

Van Truong

University of Florida

Roberto Stelling


Erin Simpler Kellett

Business Intelligence Analyst
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Zan Armstrong

freelance data visualization & data analysis

Eugene Woo


Joanna Schade

Data Business Analyst
Mutual Materials Company

Blake Esselstyn


Paul Lazarus

User Experience Designer

Diana Yoo

Art Director
Pew Research Center

Wilfredo Salinas

Sr. Process Improvement Engineer
Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Perry Chang

Research Asosciate
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

pinar dag

academician, data journalist
Kadir Has University, Dag Media

Duncan Clark

Kiln / Flourish

Ingrid Orvedal

Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
The QED Group, LLC

Rajeeb Das

Senior Program Evaluator and Assessment Specialist
University of Florida

Chrys Wu

Developer Advocate
The New York Times

Stacie Hidek

Digital editor
StarNews Media

Tim Young

Assistant Director for Data Management and Analysis
University of Florida

Lorina Navarro

Graduate Student in HCI
Georgia Institute of Technology

Natasha Khan

Interactives and Design Editor

Cynthia Andrews

Data Artist

Anatoly Bondarenko

editor, data journalism

Elizabeth Thompson

Senior Reporter
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Trudy Abadie-Mendia

Professor of Graphic Design, Graduate Coordinator GRDS/GDVX eLearning
SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

Steve Patrick

Digital managing editor

Gina Bremer

Business Intelligence Analyst
PayScale, Inc

Hesham Hassan

Postdoctoral research associate
Institue for Transportation

Mike Crow

Chief Data Illuminator
Crow Insight

Ibrahim Alamu

The Nation Newspaper

Reade Levinson

Thomson Reuters

Hamdan Azhar


Francis Gagnon

Information Designer
Voilà Information Design

Pedro Cruz

Assistant Professor
Information Visualization @ Northeastern University

Wendy Scheuring

Investigative Ghostwriter and Editor
Wendy Scheuring Freelance

Matthew Brehmer

Postdoctoral Researcher
Microsoft Research

Caitlin Havlak

Director, digital and data journalism
Discourse Media

Juan Francisco Saldarriaga

Research Scholar
Columbia University

Chris Mast

Executive Director

Jock Mackinlay

VP, Research & Design
Tableau Software

Kate Rabinowitz


Andy Cotgreave

Technical Evangelist

Daniel Doherty

Senior Producer
Freelance / AKQA

Heather Krause

Data Scientist

Moiz Syed

Data journalist & designer
The Intercept

Lindy Ryan

Montclair State University

Russell Spangler

Business Intelligence Manager, Global Environmental, Health, and Safety

Terri Peters

Contributing Editor

Christian McDonald

Data editor
Austin American-Statesman

Jacob Olsufka

Data Visualization and Analytics Consultant
Decisive Data

Naomi Robbins


Mike Cisneros

Data Visualizations
Evince Analytics

Domonique Meeks

Ambassador Stories

Hunter Barrett

Data Artist
Decisive Data

Robyn Goodman

Associate Professor
University of Florida

Amy Jo Coffey

Director, Audience Analytics master's degree program
University of Florida

Kelly Fowler

Data Scientist - Visualization & Data Stories
Federal Government

Cesar Picco

BI Analyst

Irene Ros

Director of Data Visualization

Chad Skelton

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Jay Lewis

Digital Insights & Analytics Mgr
EverBank Financial Corporation

Carin Fishel

Senior UX Designer

Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum

Public Opinion and Media Analyst
ReThink Media

Laura Young

Program Associate, Office of Evaluation
MacArthur Foundation

Jeffrey Shaffer

Adjunct Professor
University of Cincinnati

Brittany Fong

Senior Developer, Data Visualization
E.W. Scripps

RJ Andrews

Data Storyteller
Info We Trust

Chloe Tseng

Sr. Data Analyst

Brit Cava

Data Visualization Consultant

Jon Schwabish

Senior Research Associate
Urban Institute

Alexandria Duke

Director of BI & Analytics
Road ID

Catherine Madden

Catherine Madden Visual

Jeffrey Osborn

Creative Director

Nathaniel Lash

Data reporter
Tampa Bay Times

Neil Halloran

Higher Media

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Author & Speaker
storytelling with data

Nelson Davis

Solution Principal

Tara Richerson

Supervisor for Data and Assessment
Tumwater School District

Amy Cesal

Technology and Innovation Fellow (design)
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Judd Bradbury

Assistant Clinical Professor
University of Texas at Dallas

Benjamin Watson

Associate Professor
North Carolina State University

Eric Duell

Vice President, Analytics and Intelligence
The E.W. Scripps Company

Carlos Virgen

Digital news director
THe Day

Ryan Sleeper

Director, Data Visualization & Analysis

Steven Wexler

Data Revelations

Randy Krum

President & Chief Designer

Robert Kosara

Senior Research Scientist
Tableau Software

Kristin Henry

Data Visualization Consultant
Slalom SF

Rody Zakovich

Senior Data Analyst
Tresta Inc

Matthew Daniels


Michelle Borkin

Assistant Professor
Northeastern University

Jenny Richards

Data Artist

Alice Feng

Data analyst
The Walt Disney Company

Mona Ghasemi

Artist / Sr. account exec

Suchismita Naik

National Institute of Design, Bangalore

Lena Groeger

News Apps Developer

Jewel Loree

Product Manager, Storytelling
Tableau Software

Ben Jones

Director of Outreach Programs
Tableau Software

Sandeep Bedadala

Graduate Research Student
University of Florida

Trina Arnett


Catherine D'Ignazio

Assistant Prof of Data Visualization & Civic Media
Emerson College

Glenn Henshaw

Assistant Professor Of Mathematics
LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Matt Chambers

Data Visualization Architect
Clemson University

Adam Crahen

Senior Systems Accountant
U.S. Department of Interior

Chris Delcher

Assistant Professor
University of Florida

Alberto Cairo

Knight Chair in Visual Journalism
University of Miami

Robert Rouse

Analytics Consultant

Darla Cameron

Graphics Editor
The Washington Post

Andy Kirk

Managing Director
Visualising Data Ltd

Tiff Fehr

Assistant Editor, Interactive News
The New York Times