2016 saw us back for a second Beirut edition of DATA4CHAN.GE in the amazing creative space that is Ashkal Alwan. Our team processed 142 applications, making some incredibly hard decisions before confirming our final line-up. This session we were joined by:

12 human rights activists from six organisations representing issues as diverse as sexual harassment in Egypt (HarassMap), social protests (ECESR), drone strikes in Yemen (Support Yemen), attitudes towards refugees (Amnesty International), misinformation in Sudan (KACE), and peoples under threat (Minority Rights Group). 

32 designers, developers, data analysts and storytellers who, along with their HRO representatives, flew in from 14 different countries: Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, Jordan, USA, UK, France, Norway, Yemen, Sudan, and Malaysia. 

7 trainers and facilitators including Michael Brenner and Ella Hollowood from Beyond Words Studio in London, and Maryam Alkhawaja and Sarah Aoun from Rights Forward. The other three were our regulars Bronwen, Richard, and Stina from London-based Small Media



We were again astounded by the innovation and creativity expressed in such a short space of time. This year our teams produced a range of projects, and there were some ambitious explorations. Many of the teams focused on creating concepts with full documentation that their HRO representatives could return home with to implement with their own staff, rather than the lesser developer interactive prototypes we've seen in past years.

Every project has a strong story to tell, and while they are all unique, we see some common threads. Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops if you're inspired to try your hand at becoming one of our alumni. Click on the screens to explore the six projects below and get a taster for what we do at a DATA4CHAN.GE workshop.





The human rights organisations are the heart and soul of DATA4CHAN.GE. They are on the frontline of human rights defending and the data and information they collect can be harrowing, emotional and often complicated to visualise. For many of them just collecting the data and information in the first place is an act of bravery. Each organisation is represented by up to two individuals who work on data and information gathering as well as advocacy strategy. 


"DATA4CHAN.GE encourages you to engage with supporting NGOs and understanding how they actually work, helping you to learn from the experiences of others and giving you the opportunity for experimentation and most importantly expanding your network across multiple cultures.

Alaa Zghoul, Researcher






Mentors are a key part of all DATA4CHAN.GE workshops, they come from both the private and non-commercial sector and are all experts in their field. In 2016 we had a dedicated track for our HROs, which was led by Rights Forward, and Beyond Words Studio donated their time to facilitate the 5-day workshop. 

Beyond Words sits at the intersection of journalism, data visualization and cutting-edge design. Their multidisciplinary team is united by a single goal – to combine data and design to create compelling, human-centred narratives. Their approach is a blend of science and storytelling that appeals to the heart as well as the head. Our lead trainers for Beirut 2016 were Michael Brenner and Ella Hollowood. 

Rights Forward is a consultancy with a focus on human rights, tech, and data. They bring together professional trainers with regional expertise to train and help non-profit organizations, companies, and individuals on topics ranging from digital security, physical security, data visualization, advocacy, campaigning, and more. Sarah Aoun and Maryam Alkhawaja from Rights Forward led the training for our human rights organisation representatives. 


Michael Brenner (right) is the design director at Beyond Words Studio. He has worked for design studios in New York and ran his own studio in the Netherlands before joining Beyond Words Studio. His previous clients have included the Smithsonian, the Poetry Foundation and the New York Times.

Ella Hollowood researches data, sketches ideas and fine-tunes copy for information graphics as part of the editorial team at Beyond Words. Her first love is research: she has a research masters in History and spent a year working for David McCandless on the infographic megatome, Knowledge is Beautiful.


Sarah Aoun (left) is a digital strategist with a focus on data visualization and human rights. She works at the intersection of code, data, gender, identity, and advocacy. She is a lead trainer on data-driven storytelling, and a programmer. You can find her somewhere between Brooklyn and Beirut.

Maryam Alkhawaja is the co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), and is a leading voice for human rights and political reform in Bahrain and the Gulf region. She’s received numerous awards for her human rights work, and is a trainer on digital security and advocacy.