New Data Visualisations to Reveal the Latest Controversies About the State of Higher Education in the UK

Monday, June 13, 2011

LONDON, June 14, 2011 -

href=""> launch a competition with David
, data-journalist and information designer, to create new
and compelling visual insights into the state of universities in
the UK.

Following recent revelations on the limited diversity of many UK
higher education student bodies, href=""> is launching a href="">
competition with href="">
data visualisation expert David McCandless on 19th May to
design compelling visualisations of the newly available data on
this controversial topic.
Entrants will be using a variety of href="">
data collected by David, UCAS and other publically available
sources, to uncover new findings. Analysing and visualising topics
such as ethnic minority representation and success rates to the
typical financial background of university students in the UK.

More and more insights are being revealed on the state of higher
education following the requests made under the Freedom of
Information Act by Labour MP David Lammy. That request revealed
Oxford’s social profile is 89% upper and middle class, while the
Cambridge student body is 87.6% drawn from the top three
socio-economic groups. The average for universities in Britain is

Data visualisation is increasingly used to build solid
fact-based arguments through simplified visual forms of
communication.  Now that datasets are more prevalent than
ever, it offers new and compelling ways to analyse and interpret
the newly available data sets as well as relating this information
digestible manner to the average person.
The competition came about when David McCandless tweeted that he
had collated some data around higher education in UK, but not had
time to visualise it.   href=""> responded, offering to create a competition to
challenge designers to visualise the data.  The competition
launched on 19th May, closes on 20th June, and the results will be
revealed on 4th July.  The prizes on offer include an iPad 2
to the winner, and signed copies of “Information is Beautiful” by
David McCandless will be awarded to the top three entries.

The shortlist of entries will be judged on design, effective
visualisation, and storytelling by industry experts. The panel
includes BBC’s Russell Smith, Rob Bowen (Art Director at .net
Magazine), David McCandless, Andy Kirk of,
Chris Bennett of 97th Floor and Elissa Fink from Tableau.

Andy Kirk, founder and creative lead for Visualising Data Ltd ,
further explained that, “Data visualisations importance as a
subject stems from the significant challenges we face in the modern
day, attempting to handle, make sense of and communicate insights
from the vast quantities of data we create and consume. It is a
science focused on understanding and exploiting the way our eyes
and brains process information most efficiently”

Elissa Fink, of Tableau Software, explained that, “Data
visualisation lets people see and understand massive volumes of
data at one time and that it allows for someone to rapidly ask and
answer their own questions one right after another keeping up with
the speed of thought.”

Chris Bennett, Owner, 97th Floor, commented, “Data
visualisation is building solid arguments through means
of simplifying the message, taking indigestible
information and making it digestible.”

Notes to editors:

Competition details:

  • Launched 19th May2011
  • The competition closes at 11pm GMT on Monday 20th June
  • Results announced on 4th July 2011
  • The piece will be judged on design, effective visualisation,
    and storytelling.  
  • Image entries can be static, interactive or video, and entrants
    can combine Oxford data with other data they choose, provided the
    sources are reliable and cited.
  • Visualisations can include text and should be presented in the
    way in which they would choose to deliver the content to an
  • The competition will be hosted on the site, but
    entrants can also post their entries on their own site and submit a
    link or attach a jpeg to an email.  

Competition Rules: href="">

Further details about the competition and Judges
: href="">

For more information about David McCandless visit: href="">

About was
launched in 1995 in response to demands from UK institutions and
global students. Their focus is to provide a single portal for
students looking for information on postgraduate-related courses in
the UK. The comprehensive database allows students to search for
their ideal course and the up-to-date editorial offers bespoke
advice on all aspects of a student’s decision making.

For more info visit: href="">

For more information please

Lexi Mills
PR Consultant, Distilled Ltd.
Tel: +44(0)20-7183-0767
Mob: +44(0)79-2102-0345


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