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


Open Smart Cities

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 10.44.29

As part of Wuthering Bytes  a one day event looking at how to apply technology, data science and innovation to the places we live.

We have partnered with: ODI Leeds & sponsorsLeeds Data ThingThings Network (Leeds and Manchester)OpenData ManchesterCalderdale DataWorksMySocietyThe ODI, and more to be confirmed.

A full day of exploration, show & tell, and collaborative work – where we try and answer the questions:

Cities are about people arent they? And not everyone lives in a city.


What does that mean for your Smart City or Place , Internet of Things, [Insert New Thing] Technology, when it meets people?

By the end of the day we’ll all know more, have made new friends & maybe started to build new stuff (products, services, capability & capacity) which will lead to some answers to the question ‘But cities & places are about people aren’t they?’

More details and tickets here

Open Data: Where is the Community?

February ODM event: Tuesday 24th Thursday 26th February, 6-8pm at The Shed, MMU (please note date change – now 26th Feb)

Eventbrite - Open Data: Where is the Community?

Lots of open data is focussed on place.  Whether it’s wards, local authorities or super output areas, open data lends itself to the ability to aggregate data on areas – and then compare and contrast.

But what is missing?  Who’s voice is not represented?

As datasets become more important and influential, what happens when community knowledge is not included in data that shapes policy and perspectives?

What metrics or data points really help describe if somewhere is a desirable place to live?

How can we include the different elements that are important to people and places in data, and how can communities shape this?

Join us for an Open Data Manchester special, focussed on “community” engagement.  Together with the Social Action & Research Foundation (SARF) and Voluntary Sector North West (VSNW), we plan to discuss, share and plan.

Provisional agenda:

·         Dan Silver (SARF):  Talk on data without the community

·         Discussion – what sort of data would be useful to measure?

·         Warren Escadale (VSNW): Talk on Thriving Places project, identifying important community assets

·         Discussion – how to co-produce important indicators to be able to report on data



Finding The Shed


The Shed, Cambridge Street, M1 5GD

Note: The postcode doesnt quite match the building.  To help you find it – try this Google Map – just add your start point.

We also took some photos:

If approaching from Cambridge Street, then you’ll see both the car park and the distinctive roofing.

The Cambridge Street side of The Shed
The Cambridge Street side of The Shed

If approaching from Oxford Road:

The Oxford Road approach to The Shed
The Oxford Road approach to The Shed

The entrance is on the Oxford Road side of the building – look out for the ODM signs:

The entrance is on the Oxford Road side
The entrance is on the Oxford Road side

Car Parking
Free car parking is available on site, after 5pm. At the intercom, please let security know you are here for the event at The Shed.

Walking Directions

If you’re arriving by train at Oxford Road Station, then try these walking directions


There are bike stands opposite the entrance doors.

Upcoming events from the Manchester Open Rights Group (ORG)

The Manchester branch of the Open Rights group has three upcoming events of interest, culminating in a joint event with Open Data Manchester.

The Open Rights Group wants a world where we each control the data our digital lives create, deciding who can use it and how. We want the public to fully understand their digital rights, and be equipped to be creative and free individuals with that data.
We believe people have the right to control their technology, and oppose the use of technology to control people.

September 21, 2014
The Don’t Spy On Us campaign is coming to the Labour party conference in Manchester and asking the question “Surveillance, where do you draw the line?”

October 7, 2014
As part of the Manchester Literature Festival, award-winning author, activist, and journalist Cory Doctorow takes you through three simple rules for evaluating digital business models for creative people, and explains how the choices you make about your digital creativity resonate through the whole web of the 21 century’s electronic nervous system.

November 6, 2014
The Internet began as a way of sharing information – keeping the Internet free and open will require technology, law, and policy, working together. Can it be done? Join ORG Manchester and Open Data Manchester for a talk on the evolution of the internet from Wendy M. Grossman – an award-winning journalist who for more than 20 years has covered the border wars between cyberspace and real life.

Manchester – a Data Journalism hub?

ODM blog image
Photo by Yan Arief Purwanto on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Journalists don’t do maths.

It’s a sad cliche but there’s a lot of truth in it. Journalism is traditionally considered a “humanities subject.” In fact, I’m convinced a lot of people go into journalism precisely because they think it means never having to do maths ever again.

But increasingly journalism is becoming a numbers game. It’s no longer just about searching for scarce information; journalists need the skills to filter and analyse the over-abundance of data that’s out there. Other industries are already using Big Data and journalism can’t afford to miss out on this vast source of stories and hard evidence.

We’re very lucky here in Manchester. We already have journalists doing great things with data which we’ll hear more about at ODM’s next event on 23rd September. Some of you may have met Data Journalists and wondered how they got to be that way. I’m guessing most of them didn’t learn how to do it at journalism school. They’re probably self-taught enthusiasts who saw the way newsrooms needed to move and made sure they acquired the necessary skills.

So that’s why I approached ODM to see if they could help bring together the worlds of data and journalism here in Manchester. I believe our city has the potential to become an important hub for developing the next generation of journalists who will be numerate and digitally literate as well as having all the core journalism skills we still need. We already have the building blocks – ODM itself, a sizable tech industry, no shortage of journalists and hundreds of journalism students who want to acquire skills that will make them employable after they leave university. The challenge is to get these elements working together, learn from the experts already working in our midst and make sure that filters through to the classrooms where journalists learn their skills.

It may also mean encouraging people who really like numbers to consider a career in journalism.

So with all this in mind, we’re launching a Manchester chapter of the global movement, HacksHackers which is all about creating networks of journalists (the hacks) and technologists (the hackers) who together can “rethink the future of news and information.” Manchester seems the perfect city to do this! We’ll be organising informal events ( including hack days) that bring together our city’s journalists, developers and designers. We’ll be announcing details of our first meet-up very soon so look out for #HHMcr and if you’d like to keep in the loop, do leave a message in the comments here.

Join the ODM community for an open data journalism special on 23rd September.

Liz Hannaford is a journalist with over 15 years experience at BBC World Service. She now teaches Multimedia Journalism at Manchester Metropolitan University. She contributed a chapter to Data Journalism: Mapping the Future (2014, eds Mair, J. & Keeble, R.L.). She blogs at and tweets at @LizHannaford.

Open Data Manchester – September: Data Journalism

Tuesday Sept 23rd 6.30 – 8.30pm
The Shed, MMU John Dalton West, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD

Map here

Open Data is seen as a tremendous resource for the uncovering of stories that were once hard to detect. This month’s Open Data Manchester is a chance to explore the emerging field of data journalism.

Previously inaccessible datasets are now able to be scrutinised using off the shelf tools such as Open Refine and ScraperWiki. Some of this data is available as open data and some accessed using Freedom of Information requests and scraping.

From Open Data Journalism to data visualisations, the event will look at data journalism in a local, national and international context, the ways that it is used and the tools that can enable a journalist to uncover new insight from data.

Speakers include:

David Ottewell (Head of data journalism, Trinity Mirror)

Paul Gallagher (Digital Innovations Editor, Manchester Evening News)

– Francois Pierre Nel (University of Central Lancashire, School of Journalism and Media)

As always, there will be opportunity to discuss and share ideas, and hear about the latest opportunities in open data.

Read Liz Hannaford’s guest blog here

This month’s event is kindly hosted at The Shed for this event – the new digital space of the MMU.

Sign up on Eventbrite

Open Data Manchester – October Edition

Hackers, activists, artists, journalists and public sector employees unite once again for Manchester’s regular open data meetup.

We’ll be down at Madlab on the last Tuesday of the month (29/10/13) for another delicious dose of open data goodness.

You can find calendar links and a map etc on the Eventbrite listing.

As ever, we will be delighted to hear about any projects you’d like to share or to discuss any questions you’d like to pose.

The Economics of Open Data

Data doesn’t make for a very good tradable commodity. It’s benefits spread well beyond the people who trade in it, it’s almost impossible to stop people from copying and sharing it, and it can be enjoyed by multiple people at the same time.

In a post written for Open Data Manchester on The Economics of Open Data, regular member Robin Gower, explains how these characteristics mean that data will have a much greater economic and social impact if it is made available as open data. He also discusses the implications for established “closed-data” business models and for the government.

October 2012 Meetup: Data Strategy Special

Event details: Tuesday 30th Oct at 6:30 at MadLab.

This month we’ll be hearing from Bill Roberts.

Bill (from local company, Swirrl) is a member of two recently set up government groups related to open data: the Data Strategy Board and the UK Government Linked Data Working Group. He will explain what these organisations are meant to do and how they hope to improve the UK open data landscape – and how OpenDataManchester members and others can make their opinions and requests heard.

There will also be an announcement about the MCC Hackathon, and there will be the usual opportunity for general news and discussion, and the chance for people to show off what they’re working on.

We’ll start at 6:30 in MadLab, then we’ll probably head to Common-Bar across the street afterwards for a drink.

More details and sign-up …or just turn up! 🙂