Tag Archives: inclusivity

Three black women in tech sitting together with laptops

You are welcome here

We are committing to a diverse, inclusive Open Data Camp 7

Name: Open Data Camp

What’s that? It’s a free event about open data

OK, that sounds technical….

We promise it isn’t just for people who love data! Open Data Camp is also for people who are new to this data thing like this person who wanted to craft the perfect foi request, people who work in museums, GPs, teachers, people tackling loneliness, parents, librarians, people who work in retail and everyone else.

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.

Is this going to be mainly men?

At Open Data Camp 4: bigger, better, wetter, we noticed our organising team was pretty good on gender diversity but that wasn’t reflected in the makeup of the camp. That’s why we’re working on ways we can make Open Data Camp 7 as welcoming as possible. Here’s what campmaker Sian Thomas says about Inclusivity and feeling able to make your best contribution.

Campmakers at Open Data Camp 5

Will there be folks who look like me?

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.

Marie Tharp Retreat Room
Marie Tharp Retreat Room

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.

So how do I get tickets?

Our next ticket launch will be announced on twitter Open Data Camp.

Open Data Camp – Inclusivity and feeling able to make your best contribution

One of my most surreal experiences was meeting the Open Data Camp co-organisers in a Winchester pub before the very first Open Data Camp. Initially Sasha, Mark and James, eventually Lucy and Jamie and others. These are people that I engaged with in a digital world, had never met, but had organised an unconference with. At the weekend is the first Open Data Camp I will miss. I am sad not to be going to Aberdeen, but in order to still be part of it, this week I engaged with Pauline, Elspeth and Edafe to try and ensure that the event at the weekend and future Open Data Camps are inclusive and welcoming for all.

All of the organisers (and the attendees) are amazing people. But for me, it took a fair bit of courage to engage that first time. And as an inclusive community we want to do what we can to smooth the process and enable participants to attend, contribute to and enjoy the event. Over the years we have made good progress on gender diversity (certainly in the organising team). In Belfast, ladies (that fab bunch I am honoured to call friends as well as co-organisers and fellow gin fans) outnumbered the men – there are not many data events where that happens in my experience. There was quite a good gender balance of attendees too, although other aspects of diversity still need more work. I know that it is too late now to do much about encouraging new attendees in Aberdeen, we did put our heads together in relation to concrete actions to make it as inclusive as possible. This is supported by and aligned with other work in the space – including the work of Open Heroines.

Group of Campmakers at Open Data Camp 5. Links to the image in Giuseppe Sollazzo's album on Flickr
Campmakers at Open Data Camp 5

So, we will be looking at attendance over the two days. A whole range of facets to look at gaps – those that are obvious but also those less so. Previously we have arranged so that booking for day one is separate for day two. We will look for evidence around whether this has an impact. We also have a Code of Conduct – if at any time you feel uncomfortable please look for an organiser or volunteer (easily identified by lovely new hi viz!) and they will help. There will be at least one in every session.

In Aberdeen we will be doing further monitoring – looking for patterns to help us identify whether there is anything further we can do to support people to get the most from the event. As part of the weekend we do feedback at the end of the day. From an inclusion perspective this is not always the best. So we plan to have a parking lot for post-its with feedback on diversity and inclusion for organisers throughout the event. If you have any ideas, something worked or something didn’t please tell us when it occurs to you – it is not necessary to wait for the formal feedback session. If you don’t want to add your name, that is fine too.

And finally, if you would like to help us with the diversity and inclusion aspects of future events do get in touch. We want to learn from your experiences – at open data camp and other events. The Open Data community is one of the most welcoming I have encountered. If there is more we can do to improve diversity and inclusion in the community it is well worth the effort. And if you are in Aberdeen at the weekend – have a ball – I will be watching from twitter @drsiant!

Photo credit

Campmakers at Open Data Camp 5, thanks to Giuseppe Sollazzo