You might remember People Who Share from Benita Makofska’s talk at CityCamp 1 in 2011. They’re just about to launch their new website on National Sharing Day, 20 June, and you can find out more about the events they have planned in their latest newsletter.
We had our third thursday CityCamp Brighton meeting up this week and apart from updates from projects (including the brilliant GigBuddies) we spent most of the discussing the implications of the impending benefit system changes and the impacts we expect to have them to have in the City. One of the strengths of CityCamp is the fact that it brings together the people who are trying to address issues like this different sectors and also people who are going to feel the impact – this makes for an informed, impassioned and at the end of it practical debate. Many thanks to Paul Brewer for organising some speakers and for Val Pearce for giving us the facts in an accessible and open way. Also huge appreciation to Nathan from Fairshare who was inspirational about how practical approaches can solve problems.
This is a huge topic and I hope someone else will summarise the debate but suffice to say we expect there to be more people in poverty in the City as a result of these changes and these financially excluded people are also currently digitally excluded. This is not a unique problem – the question is whether we can come up with a Brighton and Hove solution.
We tried to focus on what kind of help the CityCamp network could bring to this problem and this is where Nick Hibberd had a very focused suggestion. He pointed out the lack of links between the kind of formal support that he and his team can offer and the informal and practical help which organisations like Fairshare can offer. We talked about the need to network these informal and formal networks together and also talked about the need to raise the level of information sharing about these issues.
One of the projects which won funding at CityCamp Brighton was the brilliant House of Games proposal from Richard Vahrman which you can read about here (note this is not the finished article). Richard sat down with Carl Haggerty a few weeks ago to see if we could see a way of piloting this idea in one of the We Live Here projects – Carl’s thoughts on this are here. Gamification is something which is a big buzz in tech circles at the moment (really balanced Pew Report on it here) but the basic thrust is the idea that we bring competitive and playful experiences into serious tasks.
The combination of these two conversations is the idea of a knowledge badge, a peer rewarded and public accolade which signals that you are a valuable part of this informal/formal knowledge network and that you are available to answer questions and help.
We now need to speak to Richard (which is partly the point of this post – hello Richard!) and see what he thinks about this idea and then we need to sit a few people down (Richard, Me, Carl, Nick, Paul and anyone else who is interested) and see where we can take this. Will be nagging people to this end.
The other major issue that we think CityCamp Brighton can help address on this topic is digital exclusion which was one of the other projects that got funded this year. We have a meeting about this next week and I will blog an update then.
Any comments / corrections then please shout!
The next Third Thursday is 21st June and we will be focusing on digital exclusion – put it in your diary!
If you are a late booker you might not have received this email (we’ve also slightly changed the travel information – thanks Val Cane for the tip-off):
We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to CityCamp Brighton 2 at the weekend. Here are some things you need to know in advance. If you’ve got any questions we haven’t covered here, email the team at email@example.com
1. Make sure you have the right ticket!
If you want to come to the whole event you need two separate tickets: one for the Friday, one for the Saturday and Sunday. If you’ve forgotten one, there’s still time to sort it out by going to http://ccbtn.eventbrite.com and booking the missing ticket.
2. Where it is
The Friday session starts at 2 (doors 1.30) at the Sallis Benney Theatre on Grand Parade in Brighton – the University of Brighton building. We’ll be done by 5.30. The agenda and speakers for Friday will be on the website tomorrow (Wednesday) – including Will McInnes, John Barradell, and last year’s winning team MyUrbanAngel.
The Saturday and Sunday sessions start at 10 (doors 9.30) at the Amex Community Stadium at Falmer. We’ll finish the days by 5.30 but the bar at the stadium will be open for us until later. Like last year, you don’t have to be there for both days, or for whole days if you can’t make it.
3. How you get to the Amex
You can park for free at the Amex, and disabled parking is available very close to the entrance (which is East Stand Reception).
4. Share your ideas in advance
Like last year, you can share your ideas in advance and vote on other people’s. Use the orange “Ideas” tab onhttp://citycampbtn.org, or go direct to the ideas page at: http://ccbtn.uservoice.com/forums/150412-citycamp-ideas
5. What to expect
Come ready with thoughts and ideas for projects and discussions on the Saturday and Sunday. If you want to read the full prize fund rules, they’re here: http://dmsc.me/wbGDtG
The very brief summary of how it works is that you can propose discussions on the Saturday on any topic you like, and on the Sunday propose solutions you want to design (either technology or new ways of working). At 4 p.m. on Sunday everything stops for a pitching session, where each project pitches for 5 minutes (3 minutes if there are lots of them), and then the judging panel makes the decision on the weekend winner and any other prizes they will be giving out.
6. How to take part online
Both venues have good wifi connections for your use and we’ll be reporting the event online throughout. Our social media hashtag is #ccbtn and our Twitter account @CityCampBTN. We also have a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/citycampbtn and the blog at http://citycampbtn.org
The Friday session will be webcast live thanks to our production team colleagues at Public-i.
7. Food and drink
We’d love to be able to provide food and drink for free, but unfortunately the trade-off for the fantastic venue is that unlike last year, we won’t be able to provide free food and drink.
However, the excellent catering at the Amex stadium will be available to us, with a cafe in the event area serving coffee, tea and lunch open throughout, and magically turning into a bar when the sessions end. We’ve checked with the venue and there will be provision for a wide range of dietary needs – if you have something specific you’d like to check please email firstname.lastname@example.org who’s our contact point. You’re also more than welcome to bring your own refreshments.
8. Staying over?
If you’re coming from out of town and want to socialise with brilliant Brightonians (and hip Hoveites), we’ll be organising a restaurant for dinner on the Saturday night. Let us know if you want in on that, or if you want to make your own arrangements.
9. Any other questions?
Ask away, on the day or by email in advance (email@example.com).
Sue George reports on the progress made with MyUrbanAngel since CityCamp last year. First in a series of posts on projects from last year’s camp and where they’ve got to.
So, finally, finally, after what has been months but seemed like years, the MUA team have found a developer to work with us to develop a prototype for our app. Following CityCamp last March, we narrowed down who we are targeting the app at, learnt a lot more about what features they would like and how they would use it, and adapted our ideas as a result. We’ve also been working on our visual identity, got the barebones of a business plan in place and, most importantly, found out all the flaws in our initial idea.
We got to a stage where we were ready to start developing in the Summer but had very little interest in any of the adverts we put out. Maybe it was the timing, maybe we failed to tap into the right networks, maybe people are trying to tell us something. But could we find someone willing and able to do this work? We could not. So, without the technical skills to do this ourselves, we were, effectively, stuffed (technical term) and the project pretty much stalled.
Development of a prototype is now underway, however, and we’re all excited about having a chance to talk about it with all the clever, practical and experienced people at CityCamp in March. Hopefully you’ll be able to give us some feedback and help us overcome some of the technical and other challenges we have encountered so we can move the project onto its next stage.
It’s time to get hold of your tickets for CityCamp. More than thirty (of the 200 available) are already gone, so don’t delay. We’re going to be at the Sallis Benney Theatre on Grand Parade on the Friday, and are hoping to be at the Amex Stadium conference rooms on Saturday and Sunday – we’re waiting on final confirmation.
A few things to know before you put your order in:
- There are separate tickets for Friday and the weekend, like last year – if you want to come to the whole event you need two tickets
- Weekend tickets are divided by sector so we can see what sort of balance we have on the day. If you aren’t sure which sector you belong to, or if you belong to more than one, just choose the closest fit.
- There is an option to give a small (or large) donation to our running costs – anything you can spare would be gratefully received but it’s definitely not compulsory.
- If the ticket type you want is sold out, you can add yourself to the wait list, and any tickets that come up will be released to you (in the order than you joined the wait list)
Now, go get ‘em!
Thanks to everyone who came to our CityCamp Induction event last night, we had a great turnout, and more than thirty CityCamp tickets are already booked, which is fantastic. If you didn’t come, you can get your chance to book from 9 o’clock this morning.
We also announced some details of how you can find funding for your idea from the CityCamp prize fund – even if you aren’t able to be there on the day. Here are the details (via Scribd):
It’s time for CityCamp Brighton 2. Following on from the success of last year’s event, which saw almost 200 people come together for a weekend of learning, discussing, imagining and building, we’re doing it all over again – but even better.
CityCamp Brighton is about thinking differently about the way our city works and about using the web, technology and participation to change the future of our city. You can come for the whole event, or for part of it – and you should, because.
- You can have great ideas
- You can meet the council and public service staff who can help turn your idea into reality
- You can win money to make things happen
- It’s free
- It’s fun and inspiring
- It is full of interesting people who all share a passion for Brighton & Hove
It doesn’t matter whether you’re someone with an idea or a problem to solve, or if you have skills you can bring. CityCamp is for people who are passionate about our city and want to find new ways of doing things.
This year we are making things even better than in 2011:
- We have a bigger prize fund – over £20,000 compared to last year’s £10,000
- We are going to give out a range of smaller grants alongside a big prize on the day, so there’s a better chance of getting some funding for your great idea
- We are holding a free evening “CityCamp induction” for community groups and others who want to take part, but don’t know what to expect.
So join us! City Camp Brighton 2.0 will be from 2-4th March 2012, and our special induction evening on 9 February. Tickets for the main event will be released on 10 February – those at the induction evening will get the chance to book on the spot.
Just a quick note to those who didn’t see it on the mailing list – the RSA and CityCamp Brighton are partnering for a quick evening of social innovation, with prizes, at the Skiff tomorrow (Wednesday) from 7. Some tickets still left – book yours here.
(This post originally appeared at http://www.ocsi.co.uk/news/2011/09/01/three-picks-from-the-open-data-sweet-shop-%E2%80%93-part-1/).
The Head of IT at Brighton & Hove Council, Paul Colbran, recently weighed-in with a big offer to the Open Data Brighton & Hove group – “tell us what data you need, and we’ll open it up”. Having worked with government data one way or another for about 20 years, that sounds like opening up the sweet shop and inviting us to help ourselves. In other words, count me in.
I’ve tried hard and managed to restrict myself to only 3 picks from the sweet counter. I’ve also avoided the easy answer “open up everything and let us decide”, and gone for things that (I hope) are reasonably plausible. And finally, I’ve gone for things that I think will make a difference. Data that we can use across the city to change things, not just sit in a data store gathering digital dust.
In this first of a 2-part blog, I’m looking at data for school admissions to help parents make choices. A follow-up part will look at information on value-for-money, and understanding detailed patterns of deprivation across the city. I hope that some of these could be useful starters-for-10 for the October CityForum meeting in Brighton.
Open Data Pick 1. School choices – helping parents
It’s exam results season again, with the usual excitement and scramble for university places. As a parent of a 3 year-old, that all seems a long way off. By contrast, the application for school places is frighteningly real. From today (1st September) onwards, the parents of 6,000 children across the city will be wading through documents galore as they try to work out what schools they have any chance of getting into, and how those schools compare on Ofsted inspections and exam results.
So why do I think open data could help? Because currently the system is a maze. Without going into the gory details, getting hold of the available information involves phone-calls with the (very helpful) council school admissions team, reading many PDF documents, copying and pasting between Excel spreadsheets, following-up on rumours from friends that “such-and-such information” might be available, estimating probabilities over time, and numerous Google searches.
For a researcher this is bread & butter stuff (although I still have an uneasy feeling I’ve missed something critical) but not all parents will be so used to working with spreadsheets. As one possible future scenario is that open data could actually increase exclusion for those groups with less time or knowhow to find out what they need (Michael Gurstein has a couple of good posts on the ‘data divide’ here and here), it’s important we make sure that published data can easily be digested by all groups.
The information needed by parents includes the following list, which is all currently available to parents but from multiple sources.
- Home-school distance for all schools: For admission to primary schools, the walking distance (not straightline distance) from your home to each school is the critical piece of data in Brighton & Hove. Currently you either ring up the Council school admissions, or fill in this web-form. As the admissions team presumably has a bit of GIS kit that gives them the answers (rather than working it all out from maps and bits of string), this would need to be opened up via some kind of API, or perhaps pre-calculated for all postcodes and schools in Brighton. [Note, the School Map website has location of all schools across England, with estimated straight-line distance from your postcode - but Brighton uses walking distance not straight-line.]
- School application information, including location, application forms, open day dates (or visitor details) etc. This is currently held on school websites and PDF documents.
- Previous year applications and acceptances data, including number of places; number of applications (and whether the school was 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice); number of places granted; number of applications by status (basically whether they got a place through having brother/ sister at the school, religious status in case of the religious schools, being close to the school, or other reason). Currently this is spread across PDF documents, with data for religious schools confusingly in a different location.
- Home-school distance for previous successful applicants: This is the key bit that tells you whether your child would likely get in to a particular school (assuming they don’t have siblings at the school or other special status). Having this data available by year would allow the website to identify whether an application from your address would have likely got in on each of the previous years.
- School exam results over time: Including any value-added (progress) scores, and breakdowns by free-school meals or other standard indicators. (currently available on the Department for Education website as a postcode-based search).
- Ofsted school inspections reports: Currently available on the Ofsted website from a postcode-based search for Ofsted reports – http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report.
So what could make this information easier to navigate? Basically I want a single place to go to get all this information, where the information is well explained and easy-to-use. And critically I want to be able to input my address (or postcode) and have the website show me the appropriate schools – and whether or not I would have been successful in previous years.
If each of these datasets were published and referenced by school code, they could be linked-up relatively straightforwardly, put on a nice interactive map front-end, and updated annually from easily published info.
There are commercial organisations out there that aim to do this sort of thing for local authorities, but they’re fairly expensive and have fairly low take-up (I’ve only come across a handful of LAs using these). There are also some free services to parents such as the Hertfordshire School Guru. I’d take a punt that something similar in Brighton could work very well.
A group of enthusiastic CityCampers and a few new faces met last night to catch up on the CityCamp projects, new ideas, and what’s coming up in the autumn.
We started rotating the ‘chair’ of the session so it can always be ‘by the group, for the group’, many thanks to Rob Shepherd for taking the reigns and encouraging a great, wide-ranging discussion. Read on for a quick summary of all the amazing links and ideas and energy that exploded in the room! Or you can catch up on the tweets from the night.
Jo Ivens gave the latest from Demsoc Brighton on the exciting events coming up in autumn:
CityForum (also known as CityCamp 1.5) is an event Demsoc Brighton is running in conjunction with Brighton University where a diverse range of people will come together to discuss issue facing our City, and come up with practical solutions together. It will take place over the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 5 October and culminate in a pitching session where groups will present their ideas and solutions to a panel of local leaders, people who are in a position to commit to taking the best ideas forward. Already confirmed are Council boss John Barradell and Community & Voluntary Sector Forum Director, Gordon McCullough and we hope to also have Colin Monk, of Brighton University. Any other suggestions? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
The event itself will take place on at the Sallis Benney Theatre at Brighton University on Grand Parade, and there will be a month long online discussion as part of the Brighton Digital Festival . Everyone is invited to be involved with the event and with the online discussions – and this is being launched on 6 September at The Hampton pub in Hove.
As usual with the meet up advice and links were suggested: Brightone – the digital volunteering group might help with developing the platform for online discussions, and all CityCampers were asked to contribute, retweet, use their networks to link and engage people, any volunteers for moderating or encouraging debate are very welcome (thank you Benita Matofska for being the first volunteer!)
Demsoc are partnering with the RSA South East network of social innovators to put on another event during the Digital Festival – a Social Innovation Ideas Evening - a kind of dragons den for social good. This will be at The Skiff on 21 September in the evening and will also have an online component in advance. So people with killer ideas who want to pitch to the RSA Dragons for support and possible finance can build momentum and steal a march on the competition by workshopping their ideas on line!
Updated from CityCamp projects
iNoticeboard – Cat Fletcher described her recent experience of trying to get hold of data on bus stops in Brighton & Hove, including finally going through the Freedom Of Information route to find out number, location and ownership of bus stops…hard work indeed. Resources and advice suggested by the group were to talk to fellow CityCampers OCSI and Tobias Quinn, Emer Coleman at London Data Store, Andy Stanford Clarke, IBM’s Master Inventor (surely a contender for Best Job Title in the World) and looking at what data the Department for Transport have released on this.
It brought up a useful point – once you have all this data…how do you use, interpret, understand it? For the non-statistician, it’s a very daunting task.
Tom Smith talked about the DataBridge project – which is working with six VCS organisations to look at how they use their own data, existing public data and identifying open data to be released. OCSI are working with data from groups to look at service provision mapping, identification of gaps and visualising this. Jo Ivens is writing a report of the findings including recommendations for the voluntary sector and for the partnership. There was lots of discussion about how the City uses data from non-public service providers, how this could be improved and links suggested to It’s Time To Neighbourhood Plan powered by Nexters and Patchwork, an app being developed by FutureGov in Litchfield focusing on safeguarding vulnerable children.
Sue Korman sent a update – Learn Local First is now connected to Digital Education Brighton and will showcase curriculum links for creative technology in the classroom as well as factual local content. The website is underdevelopment at SCIP, thanks to Mark, Sue will Tweet when we launch. Thanks to City Camp, Laura & Andrew at Public-i for continued support. Please follow on Twitter at @learnlocalfirst
The winners of the £10,000 prize at CityCamp, My Urban Angel also sent an update. They’re setting up as a social enterprise, running focus groups, thinking about what they need from the design of the app and hope to have something to show at CityForum in October. Follow @myurbanangel and congrats from all the CityCamp folks to Pete who’s getting married this weekend!
Finally, Tom from OCSI presented their great new app, Numberhood for iPhone or iPad. Local statistics in your pocket! The app gives you instant access to data for the important local issues in your area, visualises and describes more than 80 indicators across 10 themes, and compares trends and current position against regional and national data.
Brains a-fizzing and connections forming all over the place – thanks for a great session and to newbies Benita Matofska from People Who Share, James Togut from Sunshine Bank and Martin Digon who came along for the first time, you were very welcome!