Credits: Federica Fragapane, Alex Piacentini, Marta Foresti/ODI

Key Workers. Migrants’ contribution to the COVID-19 response

Federica Fragapane, Alex Piacentini, Marta Foresti


Key workers is a data visualization project designed with ODI. It aims to create a visual narrative of migrant workers’ contributions to the COVID-19 response, showing examples of reforms, new initiatives and campaigns on their contributions in healthcare and beyond.

The project’s core element is represented by trees as a visual metaphor for growing awareness of the essential contributions of migrants to the COVID-19 crisis. Each tree represents a geographic region and divides into three main branches for each level of the story. These further divide into branches according to the sectors of the stories—for example, healthcare, food, and agriculture. Each dot represents a reform, new initiative, or campaign. Interacting with the piece allows to read and explore the stories.
Giving a shape to these data sets helps show hidden stories: they’re already being told, but they’re often undervalued or taken for granted. Visualizing them helps to acknowledge them, hopefully making them more visible, using data visualization as a tool to bring the hidden to light.

The website is regularly updated: the trees are growing, and users can periodically see new branches and new dots appearing.


Project co-designed by Federica Fragapane and Alex Piacentini
Concept and research: Marta Foresti of ODI ( and ODI’s team


Federica Fragapane (IT) is an information designer. She designed data for Google, UN, BBC, Scientific American. Many of her projects have an experimental approach.

Alex Piacentini (IT) is a visual designer, creative coder, and digital artist based in Milan. In his work he mixes graphic design, data visualization and interfaces, but also light, sound, visuals, and algorithms.

Marta Foresti (IT/UK) is Executive Director of ODI Europe (, working on migration and innovation, advising on international and local policy making, and delivery with a focus on sustainability and development.