April Barrett is a researcher and strategist recently awarded the Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarship by the Edinburgh College of Art
April comes from a video game industry background in Canada. She has a BA in Anthropology from McGill University and is a recent graduate of the Design for Change MA program at the University of Edinburgh, where she was awarded the Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarship by the Edinburgh College of Art. During her MA, she focused on data centres: facilities that house the computing infrastructure organisations need to store and process data. In particular, she looked at the colonial nature of data centre expansion in Scotland and the tensions that arise when communities have their own visions for land use. April is passionate about applied ethnography methods, digital culture and Big Tech resistance.
During her residency at the Design Museum, April will focus on the potentially damaging impact of data centres on the energy supplies available to local communities. Such centres often compete with neighbouring towns for the vast amount of resources they require to function. Her research will explore the potential for waste heat generated by data centres to be harnessed and redistributed, through an ethnographic study comparing various case studies. She will also question the validity of Big Tech’s increasing entanglement with renewable energy futures.