School of Data is here to contribute with all the work that is being carried out around the world to empower citizens and journalists on how to use data effectively in their work. Though working with data can be considered very niched, in our own environment it can be quite broad. Having thematic focuses during our Fellowship will help fellows, partner organisations and School of Data members to look at specific data literacy challenges from a more practical point of view that will allow us to have better measurements of success.
The 2016 School of Data Fellowship will prioritise the selection of fellows with specific thematic focuses in mind. What does it really mean? It basically means two things: first, because we will be looking at specific areas, we can tap into our network of partner organisations that have similar thematic focuses and collaborate on activities that will have an impact on a bigger audience, across different programmes and different countries. This sort of knowledge-cross-pollination is at the core of what School of Data does at its best, reaching out to actors and communities at the global and local level.
Second, having a thematic-oriented fellowship sends a message to candidates that we’re looking for individuals who have an area of expertise/interest and who are already reflecting about the challenges and how to overcome them in their own fields of domain. As much as we will support fellows shaping their fellowship experiences and projects, we’re also interested in learning from them what their ideas are to improve data literacy in their own regions across a multitude of thematic areas.
Some of our most successful initiatives in the School of Data Network emerged from situations where we had a specific thematic focus in mind. We’re formalising this mindset in our 2016 School of Data Fellowship. We hope this approach will bring more innovation and relevance to organisations and individuals working with data literacy around the world. Let’s see how each category looks like.
Choose your own thematic focus
- Partner organisation: Fellows & School of Data work together
- Positions: 4
Fellows can choose their own thematic focus during the application process. We are looking for individuals with strong experience or knowledge working with data in any number of sectors and who have identified data literacy obstacles within the field that they are are passionate about working with us to try to overcome them.
If you have expertise in anything from Election Monitoring to Disaster Risk Reduction to Fiscal Transparency or Health Service Provision, we invite you to share your experience working in the field, describe the data literacy challenges that you have identified and explain your vision for improving data literacy within the proposed thematic area.
Be creative and daring but we also encourage you to think local, we are looking for individuals who want to have a long term impact in their regions and communities.
Now, before you apply for a thematic focus of your own, take a look at the categories below. If you have experience working with one of those areas, we encourage you to apply for one of them. The advantage is that we already contacted partner organisations that are ready to support your fellowship experience, providing you with guidance, mentorship and expertise in their own domains.
Data Journalism Fellow
There are three positions in this track. Two of them will be held by Central American candidates in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras. School of Data and Internews are seeking for fellows to support the launch of a regional data journalism initiative. The fellows will be contributing to three major activities: the development of a data journalism curriculum to be delivered to journalists from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras; working on projects with one of three digital investigative journalism outlets (El Faro in El Salvador, Plaza Publica in Guatemala and Revistazo in Honduras) and helping teams with the data component of selected cross-border reporting projects funded by Internews.
The fellows will be integral to the successful launch of this regional data journalism program and will produce much of the content that will be utilized throughout the period.
We have one more position for the Data Journalism thematic focus that is not necessarily associated with the other two. We encourage candidates from any country to suggest their own data journalism approaches to the fellowship.
Responsible Data, Privacy & Data Ethics Fellow
The thematic fellowship on Responsible Data can be focused on any number of issues related to responsible data. ‘Responsible data’ refers to something broader than digital or information security — it is about thinking through the duty to ensure people’s rights to consent, privacy, security and ownership of their personal information throughout all of the stages of the data life cycle.
Studying, exploring and responding to these issues is essential because the use of technology & data is increasingly prominent in contemporary social change strategies, and because the speed at which technology & data evolves means the dangers they pose are growing in unexpected and alarming ways. Because the challenges civil society faces in carrying out work are amorphous and complex, it can be next to impossible for an organization to determine how best to use data responsibly without specialist guidance.
We hope that this fellowship will provide an opportunity for a deep-dive into a specific responsible data issue (through a project lens, for example on the use of satellite footage, opened data sets, data sharing practices, data visualization, etc) in order to contribute to this developing specialised guidance.
Extractives Data Fellow
An ideal extractives data fellow would already have at least a basic understanding of the extractives sector or at least a strong desire to learn. Some familiarity with extractive contract terms and payment structures would be very useful, as well as knowledge on how to find and utilize extractives data that already exists (Open Oil Database, EITI reports, etc). A candidate with a strong desire to harness the information already available and use it to push for greater transparency and accountability, as well as knowledge sharing, would fit well with this fellowship position.