So you think you know your country – who owns the land?

Tuesday 27th March 18.30 – 20.30
Federation Street, Manchester M4 4BF

Register on Meetup here

In the second event of our “So you think you know your country” series we look at land and property ownership, public space and rights of way with Guy Shrubsole and Morag Rose.

Our towns and cities often have a complex patchwork of rights and ownership associated with them. Rights of way are often undefined, public space is contested and ownership of land hidden behind secretive shell companies and investment vehicles. The release of data from the Land Registry last year cast light on patterns of ownership across England. This data has been mapped and explored by Anna Powell-Smith and Guy Shrubsole – Who owns England?

Within this complex interplay of rights, ownership and access exists the experience of the city — for the people are the city¹ — and it is through the human stories and experience that the city comes to life. The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) is a Manchester based collective of artists, activists and urban wanderers interested in psychogeography, public space and the hidden stories of the city. LRM founder Morag Rose recently completed her thesis on women’s experiences of walking in Manchester.

¹ Coriolanus Act III Scene I – William Shakespeare

So you think you know your country? Data, democracy and demographics

Tuesday 30th January
18.30 – 20.30
Federation Street
M4 4BF

Sign up here
So you think you know your country? is a series of events challenging some of the assumptions that we hold about the UK, the communities in which we live and how data can help create better awareness, understanding and change.

The first event – Data, democracy and demographics – takes a look at emerging trends and patterns within the UK from metropolitan centres to towns and rural communities, how people perceive economic differences and how these shifts are affecting the political landscape of our country.

To help explore this changing landscape we’ll be joined by Jane Green – Professor of Political Science at Manchester University and Ian Warren founder of Election Data and the Centre for Towns.

There will be presentations followed by an opportunity for lots of discussion.

Following events in the series will be – Who owns the land? and A question of money. Join our mailing list at to get advance notification of these and other events and training we’ll be running in the new year.

Open Data Manchester launch


The Open Data Manchester story began a new chapter on Thursday 28th November with our launch at our new home of Federation in Manchester. It has been our mantra over the last eight years that we are guided by and seek to represent the interests of the data community in Greater Manchester, and the community is wide and diverse from people who use data in their day to day to data activists who seek information to further a cause. From public to private sector, from Diggle to Orrell and anywhere in between.

This new chapter starts with us being a Community Interest Company with a mission “To promote a fairer and more equitable society through the development of responsible and intelligent data practice”. Being a company will allow us to develop a more sustainable programme and be ambitious in what we do. We have a board of directors, Michelle Brook, Linda Humphries, Julian Tait, Farida Vis and Jamie Whyte with Julian also being the CEO.

After the introductions and talks from Linda, Julian and Jamie the attendees were invited to help guide what Open Data Manchester does by writing down suggestions as to what they wanted to do and what they wanted to see.

These suggestions have been broken down into three categories – activities, data and projects. These are listed at the end of this post. Over the coming months we shall endeavour to answer some of these requests and if you are interested in helping with them, let us know.

To get the ball rolling Open Data Manchester is using a Medium channel which we invite submissions. Subjects can be broad, but need to be relevant to our community of practice. They can be critical but not defamatory. If you need any help let us know and we will usually sub-edit before posting anyway.


Improve very local, community level data access
Understanding pregnancy and birth rates across the region
A ‘civic data authority’ not-for-profit partnership for Manchester
Understand how many children with learning difficulties are in the school system without support

Pothole data for Manchester
Underused spaces in buildings that could be used by the community
Local government data: performance, spending, democracy
Budgets for mental health and wellbeing in schools
Ambulance times to destination across the region

An open ODM blog that all can submit posts too – Done
Expand the potential labour market and jobs available in GM
Helping with data literacy
Help with accountability for devolved power in GM
Work professionally and voluntarily with ODM Manchester
Make it easier to access tools, data and platforms for non-specialists
Open Data Hackathon (Defined objectives could be a ++)
Support and Open Data Manchester Data Dive

Open Data Manchester Launch – 28th November 2017

As of the beginning of November, Open Data Manchester is a Community Interest Company (CIC). This means that our mission to promote a fairer and more equitable society through the development of intelligent and responsible data practice is now baked in to our constitution. Being a CIC allows us to develop and promote our community-focussed programme whilst also allowing us to work commercially to help support its delivery.

The board of directors are Michelle Brook, Linda Humphries, Julian Tait, Farida Vis and Jamie Whyte. Who will all be at Federation for the launch of Open Data Manchester on the 28th November so please do come and talk to us.

Register on Meetup here, it would be great to see you

Open Data Manchester – Next Steps

Thursday 21st September 18.30-20.30
1st Floor
Federation House
Federation Street
M4 2AH

Register here

After seven years Open Data Manchester has become a registered company and soon it will become a CIC. This will allow us to deliver better programmes and also work with others more effectively.

If you would like to hear more and suggest ideas for future activity. Join us

Data visualisation – getting to grips with data

Tuesday 28th March, 18.30 – 21.00
Federation Street
M4 2AH

Tickets here

This is a rerun of Open Data Manchester’s popular data visualisation training.
This will be a hands-on event looking at visualisation and data cleaning tools such as Google Refine and Fusion Tables, R and leaflet.js. If you have experience of other platforms feel free to rock up and share with others.
The emphasis will be on working in small groups and sharing practice.
So if you have data that you are interested in visualising, a visualisation that you want to explore or are just want to get an idea of available tools – bring your laptop
If you are a data newbie or Processing pro – join us.

Many thanks to Federation for hosting this months event.

Echo Chambers and ‘Post-fact’ Politics – developing ideas

Half day workshop to build tools for a ‘post-fact’ world

Apparently we’ve ‘had enough of experts’. Increasingly online platforms quietly tailor what we encounter to fit our existing views- creating echo chambers out of our prejudices. We are worried that the role of evidence in politics is slipping- and we want to do something about it.

A preliminary workshop was held in November attracting a broad range of people from far and wide. Together a list of initiatives was created responding to these challenges. Click this link to read the list of initiatives and add your own thoughts.

Now we are running a follow-on event to allow people to develop these ideas. If you’re an activist, policy wonk, artist, or simply someone interested in this topic we’d love for you to join us. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t make the first event as we will get you up to speed with a chance to add new ideas on the day.

For more information regarding the Echo Chambers and ‘Post-fact’ Politics workshops go to

Provisional programme for 2017

IMG_0066From last night’s planning meeting we now have a provisional programme for 2017 and it is quite an ambitious one. What is great from our perspective is that there is a continuation of a number of themes that we have been looking at over the last year and a resurfacing of perennial ones. Highlights include the ‘making and doing’ workshops that have been developed as part of the Echo Chambers and ‘Post-Fact’ Politics programme and the Visualising Data workshops. There are a number of sector and technically specific events but one to watch out for is alternative ways of looking at the world which will be a day of walks, talks and explorations. As always there is a large dose of how data and technology impact on society and much more.

This is a provisional programme and we are looking for as much input as possible (Dates and sessions are subject to change). Please click on the Google Doc and add comments. We are looking for people who can contribute, sponsors, venues and partners.

Link to Google Doc

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A one-day workshop to develop new ways of tackling a ‘post-fact’ world

12th November 2016, 10.00 – 16.00. The Shed, Chester Street, Manchester
The event is free, register here

We live in interesting times. Trust in, and respect for experts seems to be declining-  Michael Gove recently said that we’ve ‘had enough of experts’. Increasingly online platforms quietly tailor what we encounter to fit our existing views- creating echo chambers out of our prejudices. At the same time political issues are becoming more and more complex as science and technology advances and society becomes more complicated.

These and other changes seem like a perfect storm for breeding a dystopian world in which the importance of evidence slowly slips out of view. But at the same time technology also offers hope for more enlightened debate- with the internet creating many new opportunities to engage, learn, and create. So we want to do something about these issues.

We want to draw together people with a wide range of experience and interest to try and unpick these issues and think what we can start developing ways of tackling these. Whether you’re an artist, an activist, a policy wonk, or simply someone interested in this area we want to hear your ideas.

We will be using an ‘unconference’ style, which means that people who come to the event will shape what we talk about. The aim will be to identify where the challenges lie and think of potential solutions, leading to a future event where we will develop these ideas further and- hopefully- start to get them built.

To start the discussion we will be creating a website and encourage people to submit short blogs related to the theme.

Register here

This event is organised by Open Data Manchester and The Democratic Society with the kind support of Manchester Metropolitan University and Digital Innovation at MMU


Slides and audio from What happened? The data behind the referendum

July’s event looking at how data was used before, during and after the referendum provoked plenty of thought provoking discussion. The two presentations from Celia Russell and Julian Tait have now been uploaded on to SlideShare and the audio posted on Soundcloud. Unfortunately due to a noisy video projector the audio isn’t the best but the presentations and discussions from Michelle Brook, Bob Barr, Celia Russell and Julian Tait are audible and have been edited down as separate files.

Celia Russell – Making sense of Brexit?

Julian Tait – Some graphs and data around the referendum

The audio can be found here

We are putting together a follow up event looking at belief, evidence and politics that will take place in November.