Network of Practice for Building Data Culture

What Happened in 2019

At the beginning of this year, a conversation began between staff at the Centre for Humanitarian Data, FabRiders and IFRC on how we might tap into the ever-growing and evolving expertise of Data Literacy Practitioners. As a result, the Data Literacy Consortium was born. 

So what have we done and learned? 

On February 27th, we held the first online meeting, and we learned that there was a hunger for space where people working on data literacy could compare notes. Participants in that first meeting were eager to share, ask questions and hear from others. We realised that we might be onto something.

On March 27th, we held an online discussion about building a data culture. Jesus Melendez Vicente and Sona Moldovon talked about their data literacy initiatives at Mercy Corp, and Catherine D’Ignazio took us on a deep dive on the Data Culture Project. We learned about how ‘data culture’ is a robust frame for engaging organisations in becoming more data-driven.

On May 21st, Delphine Renie and Brian Perai discussed their strategies for scaling data culture at Global Affairs Canada. They shared their methodology for adapting their outreach and capacity-building efforts to meet the needs of their stakeholders.

On May 29th, we facilitated a day-long Unconference, ‘Making Data Work for Open Government’ a pre-event for the OGP Summit in Ottawa. We were amazed by the passion and openness of the participants to share and learn their data literacy skills and realised how space for peers to compare notes is needed.

On June 25th, we held our fourth Online Discussion, and we took what we learned from past discussions. Instead of people presenting, we broke into small groups to talk about data for leadership – and then had a large group discussion to capture the outputs of the group. We found the hour together much more productive.

At this point, we realised the small group breakouts were of incredible value. So we came up with a new format, where we all could check-in on our challenges and priorities, and then do some knowledge exchange around topics surfaced from the roll-call.

On September 24th, we held a check-in, and shared knowledge and resources on engaging youth in data literacy, post-workshop activities and strategy/long-term goals During the October 23rd Check-in, we talked about strategy and working in marginalised communities.

We also launched the Data Literacy Consortium Website and the mailing list: share (at) The mailing list has close to 200 subscribers.

It’s worth noting that this is not a funded project. Heather, Katelyn, Lisa and Dirk are contributing effort because they see value in this space existing. The only resource used is people’s time, including yours. And we are grateful for it.

What’s next?

We are committed to guiding the Consortium for another year, with at least four online discussions to happen in 2020. We are also firmly committed to making this beneficial to everyone.  

So here’s our ask of you for 2020. Please tell us what topics you would like to see discussed in the next year so we can start organising online discussions. Also, would you like to articulate your learning about building data literacy and data culture and post it in the Data Literacy Consortium Blog? Would you like to get more deeply involved with helping to plan and implement consortium activities? What specifically? Are there things you can share on the mailing list.

We are so looking forward to 2020!

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