Each year there is a pan-european song contest called Eurovision. Started in 1956 as an attempt to foster peace and culture in post-war Europe it has grown very popular.

One thing that always plagues the Eurovision is the accusation of biased voting. Multiple countries make and receive votes from each other and there’s often clusters of voting between geographically and culturally linked countries. I wanted to take the voting data set and explore it in a visual way to see what I could find out.

Design Process
The Eurovision’s current structure of semi-finals and finals and voting structure has resulted in quite a complex data set. The first task was learning how to parse that in an effective way. Our tutor, Shawn Allen, was excellent at helping me do this.

Once I had the data in I set about creating connections between the countries. This taught me a little, but I wanted to view the data in a geographical layout to see those relationships. This revealed some obvious patterns, so I then created an layout ordered by results. This allowed me to see some anomalies in the voting, for example if a country gave 12 points to the country that was last.

What did you learn by seeing the data in a visual way?
I noticed some patterns very quickly. There is obvious ‘block voting’ in the Nordic countries and in countries made up of former Yugoslavia. Also, in general there is a pattern of Eastern European countries voting more in that region that Western European countries. One very specific example you can see is from Poland, which received votes from only 2 countries, Ireland and the UK, both which have high Polish populations.