On Wed 24th January, Perception sponsored a Data + Women Tableau User Group in Tableau’s offices on Shelbourne Road. Many thanks to Tableau in Dublin for providing the venue and looking after all our needs, and to Perception for ensuring that there was a plentiful supply of pizza. It was an intimate gathering of 17 people, which suited the venue well.
I kicked off the evening by talking about my love of Tableau (of course) and the motivation behind organising the event. I’ve grown aware of the Data + Women Community over the last year. The event is a popular fixture at the annual Tableau Conference and the panel discussion at TC 17 in Vegas was streamed live. The idea behind the community, summed up nicely in Jordan Scott‘s blog, is to “share stories, make connections, and recognise the amazing women, and the men who elevate them, in the data community”. Over the course of 2017 I tuned in to two Data + Women Virtual Tableau User Groups and found it hugely inspiring to hear from other women in the Tableau Community, learn about their career paths and gather advice. I had also previously noticed an event where the Data+Women community in London organised a hackathon in collaboration with Viz for Social Good and I toyed with the idea of organising one in Dublin. I exchanged a few emails with Viz for Social Good founder and Tableau Ambassador Chloe Tseng to look at potential dates. When it transpired that Chloe would actually be in Dublin early 2018, we locked in a date. A big shout out to Emily Chen and Sophie Sparkes for their advice in the lead up to the event.
Rebecca Roland delivered the first lightning talk about her Tableau journey and passion for using the tool and how she applies it within her role as Informatics Consultant with Cloudstream Partners. Her presentation was prepared using the ‘Story’ feature in Tableau. She told us about her interests, brought us through her career to date and spoke about her involvement in the Tableau Community which she regularly engages with on Twitter. She is a leader of the Tableau User Group in Birmingham, which has an event coming up in February. Rebecca has a vibrant profile on Tableau Public with more than forty visualisations published. She has a blog where she writes about data visualisation and has curated useful resources for the community. In this blog article she lists several useful website links and resources, which is very useful in the context of creating engaging visualisations.
We then heard from Chloe Tseng who works as a Senior Data Analyst for Twitter. Chloe spoke about her passion for encouraging girls and women to get into STEM fields, despite pressures which sometimes exist to move towards professions traditionally thought of as more suited to women. She told us how her interest in asking questions of data started at a young age and how she now brings this passion to Viz for Social Good. She founded this initiative to partner with non-profit organisations and has brought together a community of volunteers who are passionate about communicating through data visualisation. Chloe presented a number of impacful visualisations which have been selected by organsiations such as Unicef to raise awareness and promote causes across their various channels. Viz for Social Good was recently among the 2017 Winners at the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2017 and she picked up a Silver in the Community Prize category at the awards ceremony.
For the final part of the evening, we moved onto a hands-on session where we explored the data relating to the current project, Tomorrow Today, featured on the Viz for Social Good website. This is a project led by Papa Baiden and is targeting the homelessness crisis in the UK. The idea of the session was to analyse the data in Tableau and collaborate with others in the room. It was a limited time frame, so the expectation was that people could continue and read the supplementary information provided after the event. For anyone interested in participating, note the deadline for this project is 15th February 2018. Search the hashtag #vizforsocialgood to track the submissions on Twitter!
There is a vibrant community of data and tech enthusiasts in Dublin with an array of Meetups happening from week to week. Some of these focus on supporting women, with groups like Her+Data and R Ladies. It’s fantastic to see technology bringing people together to form meaningful connections and help each other progress in fields that they’re are passionate about.
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