Weeknotes

Jeni Tennison

Jeni Tennison

Jeni Tennison

I have to admit this week has been somewhat disrupted due to the arrival of a lovely but very active puppy (an 11 week old Gordon Setter) in our lives! I am having to relearn the lessons of early parenthood, both about managing on diminished sleep and fitting work around naptimes.

Three things from this week…

Funding successes

After my moan a couple of weeks ago, I’m glad to say that the bureaucratic wheels have turned and we can now reveal two new sources of funding!

  • We’re really happy to have received a £100k unrestricted grant (over one year) from the Mohn Westlake Foundation to support our work.
  • We’re delighted to have been successful in getting a joint £45.5k grant (over one year), along with Gavin Freeguard, from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, to supplement our activities around the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill and influencing party manifestos.

We had some other happy funding news this week but will be waiting for the contracts to be signed before we talk about it.

Fellows and associates

We’ve been working through how to think about our team onion. How we interact with our network needs to not only help us deliver the work that we get contracts or grants to deliver, but also achieve our wider goals to grow the field, which includes:

  • encouraging more work around collective data governance, particularly to:
    • develop compelling stories and narratives
    • work with communities to get their voices heard
    • work with organisations to bring in community voices
    • develop policy and regulatory recommendations
  • creating a peer network of community of practice that provides mutual support

There are some people who we need to contract to deliver work that we have won – these we term associates. The challenge with associates is lack of diversity. By their nature, associate relationships tend to work best if you know and trust the associate. You may need to bring on board an associate with particular skills rapidly, which limits the ability for open calls and means it’s easier to engage with people you already know. You might even put in joint bids with associates. But these natural drivers tend to create a bubble of associates that it’s hard for others to break into.

We want to also have fellows – people who are doing interesting work but that we’re not currently working with projects on. We think this is worthwhile to do anyway, but our hope is also that this looser relationship will provide a kind of on-ramp for future associates, enabling us to get to know and trust new people. And we hope that both associates and fellows will grow their skills and connections with each other through our support.

We already have a couple of associates – Gavin and Libby – who have been working with us on projects, and someone else who will be joining as a fellow soon. One of my main tasks this week will be to put together a call for a couple of other fellows to join this group.

Other things to look at

Read Tim’s weeknotes about some of the common threads in conversations we’ve been having this week.

Watch the video of me and Martin Tisné in conversation at MyData Online 2022.