Lyn Bartram

Professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology

Director, Vancouver Institute of Visual Analytics (VIVA)


Simon Fraser University Surrey
250 -13450 102 Avenue
Surrey, BC V3T 0A3 CANADA
lyn (at) sfu (dot) ca
+1 778 782 7439




Visualization and visual analytics are becoming critical new media, and we need to explore the myriad issues in how we increase both data literacy in, expressivity of, and access to these new visual languages for data-enabled thinking.

My research focuses on how humans use complex information systems, particularly better support data-enabled thinking beyond the traditional applications of expert analytics; I engage in both basic and applied research. On the theoretical foundations aspect, I and my students study how we can leverage the capabilities of human perception, cognition, affect and behaviour to reduce the overhead of using information systems. This underpins applied work into the democratization of data visualization, and how interactive visual analytics can more effectively enhance and extend peoples' data practices. I am especially interested in personal visual analytics. I work in both standard and practice-based research methods in applications related to data visualization, personal visual analytics, computational sustainability, and computational aesthetics.

Note: I am actively recruiting graduate students!

Practice and Projects

A lot of my work involves research-in-practice that by definition goes beyond the lab into more unconstrained contexts of use. I and my students engage with a wide diversity of people, professions and disciplines to explore these issues of data and techologies in daily life, notably through projects related toinformation interfaces and environments for encouraging residential energy and water conservation. We spent several years building the SFU Aware Living Interface System and the two houses in which we have deployed it, both of which were high profile installations and showcases and have been seen together by more than 130,000 visitors. (North House was entered into the USA Department of Energy 2009 Solar Decathlon. West House was showcased at the Vancouver Host City Pavilion during the 2010 Olympics and remains a tenanted living lab). We have also built games for education in simulating residential use: these are in active use in science outreach acitivities by teachers and science educators. Check our lab pages.

As Director of VIVA, I also design and deliver training and consulting in visual analytics to people at widely varying levels of data and analytics competence and needs. Working with these emerging demands of data use continues to inform our understanding of how the field of analytics is shifting and expanding,  VIVA is an interdisciplinary university institute with the mandate to educate, foster research collaboration and enhance literacy around data-driven thinking, visual analytics and exploratory data analysis. Our audiences and collaborators are both internal to the university and the external community, spanning a wide scope of disciplines, domains (e.g. health, finance, governance, research, scientists and entrepreneurs) and levels of expertise. As Director I am directly involved in: participant and graduate student training; outreach to community groups, content development of courses and project proposals; advising to other agencies and departments in the university around integration of new data methods; data analysis; and production of outreach strategies and materials for internal and external audiences.

More detail and a list of related publications and projects can be found on my Research page, along with my full CV.





Selected recent  papers/activities

  • A. Sakiraya, M. Correll, L. Bartram, M. Tory and D. Fisher. What do we talk about when we talk about dashboards? IEEE InfoVis/ Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Jan 2019
  • F. Samsel, L. Bartram and A. Bares.  Art, Affect and Color: Creating Expressive Scientific Visualization (full paper). IEEE 2018 Visualization Art Program
  • Nowak, S., Bartram, L. and Schiphorst, T. A Micro-Phenomenological Lens for Evaluating Narrative Visualization. IEEE BELIV 2018
  • Bartram, L., Patra, A., & Stone, M. Affective Color in Visualization. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1364-1374). ACM.
  • Panel: Perspectives in Color Research for Scientific Visualization - Understanding the Lenses and Languages. IEEE Visualisation 2018
  • Workshop: From Big to Small - What is Community Data? SFU City Program and VIVA workshop on urban informatics, civic engagements and visual analytics, November 2018