Growing Data Governance Communities

Facilitating collaboration between thinkers and practitioners

Many different groups around the world are coming to realise the value of collective and participatory data governance. There are strong academic research groups, for example those based at Tilburg University, University of Vienna, and the University of Sheffield. There are excellent think tanks, including the Aapti Institute, Open Data Institute, Ada Lovelace Institute and Research ICT Africa. And there are practitioners embedded within data holders (such as the UK’s National Health Service), working with communities (such as around Open Environmental Data) and operating as consultants (such as Involve or IpsosUK).

There is a huge opportunity for these groups to learn from each other, and to together develop shared resources that are useful for everyone. Our goal with this project is to help that happen. We want to:

  • make connections between different stakeholders that lead to successful collaborations and partnerships
  • co-develop common language, policies and toolkits that are adopted by those who are advocating for, designing and implementing collective and participatory data governance laws and practices
  • facilitate sharing and learning across stakeholder types that increases the quality and novelty of their work

The Omidyar Network is supporting two strands of activity towards this community-building and community-shaping, over 18 months between May 2023 and October 2024:

  • Networking: ongoing activities focused on developing connections between different actors working in the space. These include shared online spaces; newsletters and mailing lists; and monthly informal curated events focused on information sharing and discussion.
  • Design Labs: intensive, in-person, output-oriented workshops, bringing together experts to explore specific challenges around our three strands of activity – on narrative, practice, and policy – followed by collaborative work to refine and polish that output into a useful common resource.

On Thursday 25th May 2023, CONNECTED BY DATA and Future Narratives Lab held a narrative design lab workshop, bringing together invited experts to start the co-creation of a strategy for shifting the inaccurate, damaging way data is currently framed & understood in media, policy and industry narratives.

The session followed a process of identifying problems, exploring promising solutions, and identifying opportunities for action. Discussions took place through three distinct tracks focussing on policy and politics, media, and industry.

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