Julian Tait, the chief executive of the Open Data Manchester CIC, opened this discussion by saying that “a lot of data comes from a very top-down, managerial perspective.” It “tries to put people in boxes” that “don’t fit their lived experience” and that leads to “poor decision making.”
So, he asked, “how can we as data practitioners make sure data better represents the people we want to serve” and “we don’t get so much sh*t policy.”
Specifically, he said, his organisation is working on a project to tackle violence against women and girls. Often, initiatives in the space focus on better lighting, or more police, when the feedback is this doesn’t work – and those affected might have completely different ideas.
Open Data Camp is an unconference, so it’s whatever we make it, together.
What the heck is an unconference?
An unconference is an event where those who attend decide together on the day, what the topics will be. No speakers, no pressure, no experts. It’s free, informal and invigorating to pitch a session (or have someone pitch on your behalf!), attend sessions you want to and vote with your feet – if the session isn’t working for you, find another, chill out in our quiet spaces or meet someone new.
On a weekend?! What will I do with the kids?
Weekends are tough! We want this event to be welcoming to families, so child care is something we’re working on. We’re investigating options and we’re keen to hear from people who have suggestions. Get in touch by email ODCampuk@gmail.com or on twitter Open Data Camp.
Being the only person of colour in the room can be jarring – I know – that’s why I volunteered for Open Data Camp 7. Thanks to the success of events like Afrotech Fest, a tech festival by and for Black people of African and Caribbean heritage, we know events are not serving our ethnic groups as well as they could. We also know we need to work on the ethnic diversity of our campmakers.
We want to change and we know it will take more work than writing a blog. Our starting point is setting aside tickets specifically for underrepresented groups. You can book a ticket for Open Data Camp 7: London using the code ODCamp7EDIticket. On both days of the unconference we will have at least one session for people from underrepresented groups to get together, discuss the topics that matter, and help each other.
And if I’m LGBT+?
You’re very welcome at Open Data Camp! We’re working on ways we can make this and future events as welcoming as possible. We’re trying to do better please let us know what we can do. Get in touch by email ODCampuk@gmail.com or on twitter Open Data Camp.
What if I need a space to pray or meditate?
We’re providing a quiet space, the Marie Tharp retreat room, where you can pray or meditate during the camp. It’s private and available for anyone to use during the Open Data Camp weekend.
What else are you doing to make the camp welcoming?
We’ve developed our code of conduct and our campmakers are on hand if you have concerns.