Tara Zepel is a visualization researcher at the intersection of media studies, digital humanities, and HCI. Her current work focuses on how visualizations are situated within their larger social and cultural contexts. No visualization exists in a vacuum, and this holds large implications for how a visualization is conceptualized, designed and received. Combining her background in visual design and the digital humanities, she has written extensively about visualization as it pertains to emotion, politics, social engagement, and the entire design process.
Tara is also interested in visualization as a research method and helped to develop the field of cultural analytics during her time as a researcher at the Software Studies Initiative. Her work with the initiative has given her broad interdisciplinary insight into the study of cultural data for exploratory and directive purposes.
She is currently teaching at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and finishing her PhD at the University of California, San Diego.