Data Visualisation and Florence Nightingale with RJ Andrews
We talk about Florence Nightingale's intriguing story, and how she used data visualisation in her campaign for sanitary reform.
RJ Andrews is author and founder of Info We Trust. He is also the editor of the Information Graphic Visionaries book series. RJ’s talent is helping organisations solve information problems. His passion is studying the history of information graphics to discover design insights.
In our conversation, we talk about Florence Nightingale’s intriguing story, and how she used data visualisation in her campaign for sanitary reform.
Watch on YouTube
Listen to the Podcast
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Castbox, Deezer, Goodpods, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, TuneIn, Blubrry, Digital Podcast, Gaana, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, Podhero, PlayerFM, JioSaavn, RSS, and other podcast platforms.
RJ Andrews’s Books
Emma Willard, Maps of History by RJ Andrews website
Florence Nightingale, Mortality and Health Diagrams by RJ Andrews website
Étienne-Jules Marey, The Graphic Method by RJ Andrews website
[00:01:15] RJ’s journey from mechanical engineering to data visualisation.
[00:02:52] Cultivating the craft of communicating through data visualisation.
[00:03:13] Embodied cognition.
[00:06:44] Motivations for creating the Information Graphic Visionaries series.
[00:06:49] Lessons from writing his first book ‘Info We Trust’.
[00:07:09] Maturity in the area of publications in this field.
[00:07:45] Elevating and giving recognition to icons in the field.
[00:08:45] Creating beautiful artefacts.
[00:09:26] Data visualisation and Florence Nightingale’s work.
[00:10:15] Sharing knowledge and statistics with William Farr.
[00:11:35] Data visualisation for communication vs statistics.
[00:12:42] The state of statistics in the period.
[00:14:29] Social reform and a burst of collection of data in Great Britain.
[00:15:15] Data and statistical standardisation had not yet reached the military.
[00:16:54] The challenges Nightingale faced with the military.
[00:17:18] Supply chain.
[00:17:39] Sanitary reform.
[00:18:05] The concept of health being associate with cleanliness.
[00:18:34] Nightingale narrowing her focus to sanitary reform and hygiene in the built environment.
[00:20:04] Evolutions and refinement of visualisations.
[00:20:27] A scathing narrative of the problem and solution.
[00:21:59] Propaganda and what it takes to achieve reform.
[00:23:06] Nightingale’s relationship with celebrity and its practicality.
[00:23:48] The perceptions of Nightingale and her work behind the scenes.
[00:27:43] The soft power of celebrity.
[00:29:49] The power of access.
[00:30:25] The novelty of Nightingale’s visualisations.
[00:31:05] What made Nightingale’s diagrams successful.
[00:31:16] The diagrams do not stand alone.
[00:31:35] Publicity and distribution.
[00:32:22] High production value.
[00:33:27] The evolution of her work.
[00:35:01] Novelty vs utility in data visualisation.
[00:36:27] Long-form content and attention spans.
[00:37:06] Information design norms.
[00:38:09] The impact of Florence Nightingale’s work in data visualisation.
[00:40:04] The most interesting parts of the process of creating the book.
[00:43:37] The interconnectedness of the period.
[00:44:12] John Snow and the Broad Street Pump.
[00:47:58] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[00:49:22] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[00:52:28] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
- RJ Andrews website BookDepository GoodReads
- Info We Trust: How to Inspire the World with Data by RJ Andrews website BookDepository GoodReads
- Emma Willard, Maps of History by RJ Andrews website
- Florence Nightingale, Mortality and Health Diagrams by RJ Andrews website
- Étienne-Jules Marey, The Graphic Method by RJ Andrews website
Florence Nightingale’s Mortality and Health Diagrams.
Find out more about RJ Andrews and their work
- Twitter: @infowetrust
- Data Stories: https://infowetrust.com/
- Visionary Press: https://visionarypress.com/
- Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/visionary-press/visionaries/
Connect with Us
Support STEAM Powered
Please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, GoodPods, Podchaser, or your preferred podcatcher.
Become a Patron
Buy your books from BookDepository. There are over 20 million titles and you get free delivery worldwide to over 150 countries on every order. Want some ideas? Check out the list of every book mentioned in our conversations, or authored by our guests.
Start your own podcast or YouTube channel, or run panels and seminars with Riverside.fm. Record up to 8 people in a session with up to 1000 audience members. You can record in advance as I do, or you can livestream with the option to send it straight to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, or Twitch. There's even a green-room for guests and live call in for audience members. Afterwards, get separate video (up to 4K) and audio (up to 48kHz) tracks per recorded participant for editing, none of that “active speaker only” limitation. You know you're in good hands with a service whose client-base includes some heavy-hitters. Check out Riverside.fm to see who else is on board. Use promo code
STEAM25 to get 25% off the first three months of your subscription.