On Wednesday the 12th of July, Professor Rob Kitchin (PI) and Dr. Samuel Mutter (Postdoctoral Researcher) from the Data Stories team attended the half-day ‘Data Journeys’ workshop at Dublin City Council’s Wood Quay Venue. The event, hosted by Angela McCourt of DCC’s Data & Analytics Unit, convened a broad range of public sector bodies from across Ireland to share experiences and knowledge garnered from attempts to improve or enhance data infrastructures and practices within their organisations.
The event featured a series of talks from representatives of bodies including several government departments and local authorities, as well as the Dublin Fire Brigade and the Gardai. The presentations made clear both that different organisations were at different stages of their data journey, and that this journey could not be reduced to a pre-determined, one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on their broader strategic aims, each organisation necessarily plotted their own route, making decisions on what kinds of data were important to them.
Prof. Kitchin presented a set of initial findings from the Data Stories project. His presentation drew on cases beyond Ireland to demonstrate how data maturity frameworks could be helpful in conceiving of data work strategically, using agreed-upon criteria for data quality whilst also allowing for bespoke journeys which enfold organisational histories, cultures, and operational priorities. In outlining the work of the project to this point, his talk also emphasised the scale of housing, planning and property data alone, within as well as beyond the State.
The Data Stories project generated significant interest among the attendees, with several expressing their desire to discuss collaboration in future work. More broadly, the appetite and enthusiasm for a permanent network to facilitate regular exchange of expertise and provide ongoing support on data-related matters across the Irish public sector was deeply evident as the day drew to a close.
We would like to thank Angela McCourt and their team at DCC for organising the event and inviting us to participate, as well as supplying the photographs for this post.