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The Financial Lobbying Network
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7/2015

The Financial Lobbying Network

Learning about the scale and strategies of financial lobbying within the European Union through an interactive installation

The financial lobby is one of the most influential lobbies within the European Union; their significant influence on the development of legislation processes and the dependence of governments on financial institutions became particularly apparent during the financial crisis in 2008.

 

This project aims at communicating the magnitude and strategies of financial lobbying within the European Union. A concept for an interactive installation and data visualisation has been created in order to convey complex information in an engaging way, allowing users to explore the topic while provoking discussions about the power of financial institutions in contemporary politics.

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Visualising the strategies of financial lobbying

Two important factors are involved in effective financial lobbying: the amount of monetary investment into lobbying activities and the memberships of financial institutions within financial associations. By creating a network between financial institutions, financial associations and consultancy agencies serving those institutions, one voice is being multiplied – an echo effect is being achieved which has significant influence on legislation processes within the European Union. 

In order to visualise quantitive (monetary investment) and qualitative (network) data, an inverted sunburst diagram is merged with a node-link layout. Characteristics of financial institutions is exhibited using colour coding. With the financial entities surrounding the European Union in the middle, a sense of power asymmetry is being conveyed.

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The outer ring assembly represents the financial institutions, the second ring displays financial associations (European and international), the third ring relates to consultancy agencies while the inner circle represents the European Union.

Navigating through the visualisation

With the visualisation being projected onto a glass plate (diameter: 1m), users can select an institution and display its network by using a tablet application. Moreover, users can see a profile of the institution, explore lobbying strategies and remind themselves of the encoding system.

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Thinking beyond

During the time of project development, Augmented Reality and the Microsoft HoloLens inspired design to contemplate about interfaces levitating in mid-air, allowing new forms of human computer interaction to emerge. This concept plays with the idea of levitating labels and user interfaces, replacing the tablet with a human environment interface.

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Data Sources

Thanks to:

Acknowledgements:

Corporate Europe Observatory

Transparency Register of the European Union

Prof Eva Vitting (supervisor)

Martin Wicke (technical support)

Dennis Pütz (documentation support)

Publication in PAGE Magazine, Issue February 2016, 'Student Projects'

IIIDaward 2017, Bronze, Category 'Student Work'