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Data Toolkit

Supporting arts organisations to venture into new and perhaps unfamiliar territories: working with data and young people.

In 2014 we produced the Data Toolkit – a step-by-step guide to gathering and visualising information – or ‘data’ – in creative ways, and involving interns and trainees in the process.

What is the Toolkit?

The website www.datatoolkit.org.uk includes templates, case studies, ethics guidance, technical assistance, and animations based on the experiences of seven interns, who worked on data projects at KWMC over six months in 2013-2014.  Organisations are encouraged to use and adapt the Toolkit to suit their aims, budget and context. For example:

  • gathering statistics about how often local facilities are used and help residents start a campaign to improve them
  • collecting environmental data and incorporating this into an exhibition about changes to the landscape
  • creating a fun and unusual method of gathering audience feedback

No previous experience of working with data or young people is required and you can collect data about almost anything – from weather patterns and crime statistics to people’s perceptions of their local area.

Why is it relevant to arts organisations?

Arts organisations already have to deal with data on a regular basis – whether they’re non-profits having to report to external funders, or creative businesses tracking customer behaviours. We think data has the potential to be used for much more interesting things than back-office administrative tasks, and we believe forward-thinking artistic professionals will be able to discover these uses. The Toolkit allows them to get started with data projects quickly, so they can spend less time learning and more time creating.

Data isn’t just relevant to arts organisations though; since the start of the 21st Century the idea of ‘Big Data’ has gathered momentum, the ways that data can be used (and misused) have made global headlines, and some of the world’s biggest companies have built their business models around data collection. Alongside showing artists useful ways to work with data, the Data Toolkit can equip them to tackle issues of ethics in their work.

Involving young people in the arts is a central focus for Arts Council England. Arts organisations can help young people to voice, engage and change issues that affect them.

We hope that other organisations will use these free resources to develop their own artistic practice and assist young people with their career development: finding new ways of working that are creative, resource-efficient, and empowering to the communities they work with.

A full report is available here.

Data Patchwork

Strengthening the fabric of our community by bringing information to life.

From 2013-2014, KWMC Junior Digital Producers embarked on a project to make data more accessible. They set out to create a single place where people could access information about Knowle West, creating interactive games to collect information and use art to explore the findings.

Survey

The Data Patchwork project had three stages. The first stage was to code an online survey – with a twist. The group felt that traditional surveys could be boring and time consuming, so they decided to incorporate illustrations and games.  You can see it below and at www.datapatchwork.co.uk

Living Living Room

The group were conscious that not everyone would be able to access the online survey, so the second stage was to create an interactive way for people to answer the questions. In March 2014 they brought the survey to life in The Living Living Room – a 3D gaming room where residents could answer the questions by interacting with eight full-size pieces of cardboard furniture including a bookcase, TV set and grandfather clock. The objects were connected to sensors and laptop computers: when people moved and played with them, their answers to the survey questions were recorded.

 

Curating Activism

Exploring how data and technology can be used within the arts to enable young people to create a positive impact in their community.

KWMC developed Curating Activism on the basis of learning from previous projects such as Media Hothouse, Truth About Youth and ELEBCIS. A range of workshops, projects and programmes took place under the Curating Activism banner, examples of which are listed below:

Quality of Life Project (May – July 2013)

Nine trainees recruited from three catchment areas around Bristol developed skills in film making, web design, live event management and producing a live radio program. They chose to focus their project around “Quality of Life” and held an event at Trinity Centre to share their findings and inspiration.

They chose to focus “Quality of Life” in order to: “inform people about what ‘Quality of Life’ is and demonstrate how a good one is widely achievable, in fun and interesting ways. We want to improve the understanding of what a good ‘quality of life’ is by sharing knowledge on food, creativity, spirituality, health and exercise. We want to make a change in our community and the world, and inspire you to do the same.”

Camp Kinnect (August 2013)

A week of free workshops for 16-25 year olds, designed to teach innovative technology and its relevance to arts, and data projects.

The Junior Digital Producers (2013, 2014, 2015)

We recruited three cohorts of Junior Digital Producers (JDPs) to work on a variety of KWMC projects that aimed to make technology and data more engaging, accessible and understandable to the community.

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
Bristol
BS4 1NL
+44 (0) 117 903 0444
enquiries@kwmc.org.uk

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