Breakout Sessions

27 June 2023, 14:00–15:30

Exploring the Ontology Explorer

(choreography by Wouter Van Rossem)

How can we comprehend the presumptions made about immigrants in population management systems, including which possibilities are outright disregarded? The Ontology Explorer is a method and software tool created by Wouter Van Rossem and Annalisa Pelizza to compare data models gathered in various formats and used by various systems. Using the OE, we can get a glimpse into the imagined populations of authorities and their 'scripts' for portraying real people. During this session, you will be introduced to the methodology and given an opportunity to experiment with the tool in order to learn how to identify the assumptions in data models.

You can use the tool via the Processing Citizenship website:

Alternatively, the open source code of the ontology explorer software is available on Github: and is archived on Zenodo:

The method and its use are further explained in the following articles:

  • Van Rossem, W., & Pelizza, A. (2022). The ontology explorer: A method to make visible data infrastructures for population management. Big Data & Society, 9(1).
  • Pelizza, Annalisa, and Wouter Van Rossem. under review. ‘“Scripts of Alterity”:Mapping Assumptions and Limitations of the Border Security Apparatus by Means of Classification Schemas’.


My documents, check them out

(choreography by Lorenzo Olivieri)

My documents, check them out is a role-playing game inspired by the principles of design justice and STS Making and Doing. The game was designed in order to include, in a collaborative and playful modality, border-crossers as well as other social actors (activists, lawyers, scholars, students) in the re-design process of the categories and data models deployed in migration management. At the beginning of the game, players are told that, in order to “legally” remain in Italy, they need to obtain a document by submitting an application form containing information about themselves and their stories. As a role-playing game, each player impersonates a different character with a different life trajectory. Throughout the game, players must hence design, from scratch, their applications forms, by asking advice and collaborating with the other players.