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Designing a zine about environmental data in Mexico: Open Data Day 2020 report

- May 15, 2020 in mexico, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogpost is a report by Sofia Shapiro from Técnicas Rudas in Mexico who received funding from Resource Watch to collectively explore Mexico’s mandated public data on construction projects and their environmental impacts. To contextualise the state of environmental open data in Mexico, we can look at the case of the exploding mining industry. In 2011, the Wixárica people started a battle against the Canadian mining company First Majestic Silver Corp which decided to do an open-pit mining project in Cerro del Quemado, a sacred place for the Wixáricas. One of the big questions that existed at that time was where the exact location of the mining operation would be – information that by law should be public, but that the Ministry of Economy kept secret. Public requests to the National Institute of Access to Information (INAI, formerly IFAI) to see the number of mining operation applications and their geographical locations, were for many years “kidnapped” in the hands of the government, companies and some individuals. It took until 2014 for the Ministry of Economy to deliver the file with the geographical coordinates of the mining operations in an information request to INAI, making it available as “open data” (Sánchez, 2014). However, to this day there are still many communities that are unaware that their land has already been granted to a company for ecologically devastating mining practices. Part of the reason for this is that even though now the Ministry of Economy supposedly makes information on mining concessions available via their online portal – CartoMinMex (the website currently seems to be down) – the most complete and recent information about mining is not available as open data. It is only possible to view it but not to download it. The second part is that the cost of developing the portal was $855,639.20 in contracts to ArcGIS and $3,045,817.80 in update, maintenance, and support subscriptions for the ArcGIS tools, favouring a large sum to proprietary tools over free and open source tools. This example is illustrative of the general state practice around environmental open data, including other types of projects from pipelines to water sanitation facilities.  In light of the deep lack of accessibility and reliability of this data, as well as the importance of this information to the health of our land, water, and bodies, we invited members of the community to come together to discuss Mexico’s environmental open data resources and what we are lacking.  Our March 7th 2020 event was held at El Foro Cultural Karuzo and was hosted by Técnicas Rudas, an organisation dedicated to the intersection of technology, feminism, and human rights, and publicised by Lado B, an independent journalism organisation. More than a presentation, the event was a collaborative space to explore the data, ask questions and amplify the accessibility of these open data resources in our community. We considered what makes data about construction projects good or trustworthy, why we need it and what is lacking in the data provided by the government. And ultimately we asked how to make this kind of data truly accessible. As an exercise in community knowledge and collaborative creation, we made a (rough first draft) zine about open data – specifically data related to the environment and resource extraction in Mexico. It has information on what materials companies are legally required to submit in order to get a pipeline or another ecologically sensitive project approved by the state, and where to find this information. It also has a bibliography of other independent tools for exploring this data, such as, a tool made by Técnicas Rudas to host several open data projects. Amongst these is one project that specifically generates visualisations of preventive reports (ingresos preventivos) during the period of Felipe Calderón’s and Enrique Peña’s presidencies, using sources like the Ecological Gazette, the Environmental Impact portal of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as some official information for access requests. This zine was a starting point of how to think about bringing this process of data collection, analysis and questioning outside of Open Data Day and into a long-term community practice of proactive involvement and protection of our resources. Together we saw the need for independent projects – both for accountability and publicity – in order to translate this open data into an actionable resource for protecting our environment. Without a vigilant public demanding that this data be open and reliable, the state has shown it simply will avoid the task. And without the perspective of the community the databases will simply not contain important data points we need to inform ourselves properly.  To summarise, some of the open databases and tools we shared with each other were the following: Government databases – General entry point for government open data on any topic Current site for all infrastructure/construction applications being processed by the The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) – Ecological Gazette: list of all projects submitted and approved to the Ministry of the Environment – Digital library of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Biblioteca digital de la SEMARNAT) Other tools – Preventative impact reports submitted during the Calderón-Peña period and visualisation of mining concessions in Mexico (current plots of land, pending applications for future mining projects, and mining reserve areas – amongst other data points) – A tool designed to detect connections between companies in Latin America, used often to detect irregularities and potential sites of corruption between various corporate and state actors.

Celebrating community data projects in Mexico: Open Data Day 2020 report

- April 23, 2020 in mexico, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogpost is a report by [NAME OF AUTHOR] from Ligalab in Mexico who received funding from ILDA to open a space for local speakers to present their open data projects and for the community to gather and engage with local issues towards equal development. Ligalab celebrates Open Data Day 2020 in Mexico with a Datos & Pox event We had a great time during our last Datos & Pox celebrating Open Data Day. Around 50 attendees joined us on March 7th 2020 in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico. Among the attendees, we had students, local NGOs, and families, everyone sharing interest in local projects towards sustainable development. As people started to arrive, they got involved in some low-tech data visualisations that were placed in the entrance of the hall. Three paper canvas asked them to share their insights on local issues, personal and organisational work resources, and their progress towards Sustainable Development Goals.  We started the evening with an icebreaker bingo about local and personal topics, giving the chance for the community to interact and know each other. Then the data talks started with each speaker given seven minutes to present their work and a chance to answer two questions each. 
  • Araceli Lopez, cofounder of the NGO Jovenarte shared with us their projects towards sustainable livelihoods, food security and agriculture in tzotzil and tzeltal indigenous rural households in Chiapas. Follow Jovenarte’s projects at
  • Graciela Osorno, teacher in the community school ‘Comunidad de Aprendizaje para la Sustentabilidad Moxviquil’ talked about their research “Weaving new strategies focused on: Migration-Education-Development, in the Mexico-Guatemala cross-border context”. Follow Moxviquil’s projects at
  • Bruno Hernández spoke about the financial gap to sustain ecological conservation projects supported by the NGO ‘Fondo de Conservación El Triunfo’. Follow FONCET’s projects at
  • Selene Lopez, from the feminist collective ‘Laboratorio Femme’ and Lumex, described the concept of cyclic architecture, featuring the technology and innovations used in adobe structures for households. Follow Lumex’s projects at and Laboratorio Femme’s projects at
  • Gabriella Rosato from the NGO “Banco de Alimentos de Tuxtla Gutiérrez”, talked about their mission to provide food security to people around the city area and show us the panorama of local food distribution. Follow Banco de Alimentos Tuxtla at
  • Alma Narvaez, a training coordinator in the Mexico’s Chapter of the Global Youth Network for Biodiversity, spoke about their platform to engage youth participation in the decision-making process in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Follow GYBN México’s projects at
  • And last but not least, Gina Vega presented her new project “Ámate” a textile-fashion initiative developed while in prison, with the mission to empower and provide financial security to women in prison, and to promote and enforce non-discriminatory working rights. Follow Ámate at
The evening finished with an online live quiz with questions about the data presented by the speakers. The winner, and all the speakers, went home with a terracotta piece made by the hands of our local favourite artisan Carito Moroqui.  We started these gatherings a year ago and now we have grown into a network of local people working around open data for development. As an NGO, our mission in Ligalab is to build a stronger citizenship who participates and influences government actions. Come check us out at We are deeply grateful to Open Knowledge Foundation to support this project. The goal of Datos & Pox is to make local data open and reachable for the community, in order for civil society to know more about local issues, for NGOs to create open data-driven projects, and for government to base on open data to develop their public policies and gain trust in local investigations.

Sustainable development, climate change and podcasting in Mexico: Open Data Day 2020 report

- April 5, 2020 in mexico, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogspot is a report by Claudia Mariana Loeza Rentería from Sustenta in Mexico who received funding from Resource Watch to share knowledge about sustainable development, climate change and sustainability. In Mexico, open data is of paramount importance for the transparency of information and education of all Mexicans. According to Kantar World Panel’s latest report, 78% of Mexicans have little or no interest in caring for the environment and do not take action to help improve the global picture. The reason? A huge lack of knowledge and, even though there is access to information, there are other priorities in people’s lives. This shows an enormous difficulty in leading Mexico towards sustainable development. One of the main reasons why this happens is that there is no understanding of the information available. Scientific development and social understanding of it have not gone hand in hand in our country, so SUSTENTA decided to contribute to science reaching the common population through Open Data Day, sending information regarding sustainable development, as well as resolve questions practically and efficiently. We made a live broadcast of our Podcast Café con Sustenta. In this special edition of almost 1 hour 17 minutes we talk about 5 specific topics:
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable development
  • Circular economy
  • Climate change
  • Energy efficiency
From our team, Mayra, Mariana and Linda were in charge of moderating this transmission, and Felix was in charge of image and sound. Mayra de la Rosa and Rafael Narcio joined us, they are part of Pisteando con Ciencia, a collective dedicated to the dissemination of science in bars all around Mazatlán. Through a phone call, Ana Sotomayor, a private consultant on issues related with energy efficiency and sustainable development, also joined us. And we had international participation in charge of PhD Cecilia Soldatini, an Italian teacher and researcher who shared with us the perspective she had and has about our country in relation to climate change and the topics that she researches. The logistics of this event occurred 15 days in advance, making an open call to receive all questions, doubts or curiosities that anyone may have in relation to the topics previously described. We received a total of 35 questions, of which we selected 21, as some were repeated. The origin of the questions was not only national but also international, having questions from Guayaquil and Nebraska. Thus, we explained the basis of sustainable development and how to apply it in activities such as agriculture. It was also explained how to integrate it into academic training in sciences such as geotechnics. Energy efficiency was considered, emphasising that a total change in technology is not necessary to be carried out, but with what is available, significant energy savings can be achieved in any home. Vegetation presence for temperature control in buildings was also considered setting examples of Mexican cities that suffer from high temperatures such as Hermosillo Sonora or Mazatlan itself. Water efficiency was also an issue to be discussed, explaining the operation of dry toilets and establishing scenarios on what consequences would have if this type of eco-technology were applied on a large scale. Check out our experience! Our results have been shared in an episode recorded for our YouTube channel, find us as SUSTENTAMX ( and on Spotify looking for us as Café con SUSTENTA (

ODD19 Mexico City: communities sharing DataLove & Data to fight violence against women

- April 9, 2019 in mexico, Open Data Day, open data day 2019, Open Mapping

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. This is a joint report produced by Técnicas Rudas and SocialTIC from Mexico, who received funding through the mini-grant scheme by the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA) to organise events under the Open Mapping and Tracking Public Money themes.

Open Data Day is the annual festival where communities and people interested in the use of data come together to share “data love”, learn, release data, share projects, and create solutions through open data. In Mexico City, this 2019 is the sixth consecutive year that we celebrate the ODD19. This time we had a whole data festival with activities to choose from: workshops, data expeditions, projects, public buildings rally, data city challenges. Close to 120 people from civil society,  local government and  communities interested in open data participated.

How did we celebrate the data party?

The workshops of this edition covered intro and advanced levels on the use and handling of data. The topics were: data analysis with Kibana, data extraction of FOIA requests, analogous visualization of data on public building, fundamentals of dataviz, the use of data for geolocation, public policy and essential statistics. We also had a discussion on the dark gaps of artificial intelligence.
You can find the content of some workshops here: Data expeditions
With objectives ranging from exploring data on mobility, security, budget, town planning and gender, to public contracts; the data expeditions are designed for diverse groups to share skills, hypotheses and conclusions based on data. Federal Public Building Rally
This is the fourth consecutive year in which Transparencia Presupuestaria organizes the rally to verify how the goverment spent the money on public infrastructure. With participants from 30 states, Estado de México, Puebla and Oaxaca were the states with the largest number of participants. Public Building Rally in Mexico City
This year the public building rally was also done at city level. An exercise to know and verify the use of the city budget (drainage, public lighting, soccer fields). In this edition, almost 600 million Mexican pesos involved in public building were verified. Projects
In the space to learn about projects, we got acquainted with initiatives related to transparency, accountability, public contracts, data about violence against women, and justice.
Some of the projects based on data:
  1. A walkability audit with a feminist perspective to evaluate and propose improvements in infrastructure and urban design of the city (@Futura_org)
  2. Justicia Transparente, an audit exercise that analyzes data on insecurity and distrust in the authorities linked to criminal procedure (@IMCO)
A summary, some pics and tweets, and related projects are available here: (Spanish)

Data against violence

by Técnicas Rudas and GeoChicas
In Mexico, one can’t help but to be inspired by the powerful women’s movement there is here. However, violence against women is still rampant in our society. While there is a general perception that violence is greater, there is also a widespread concern among feminist activists that as with many human rights issues in Mexico, available data is insufficient to reflect the true scale and characteristics of violence against women. This is certainly the case with feminicide. Mexico is one of a handful of countries in Latin American that have incorporated Feminicide into their legislation as a hate crime, first in local legislation in 1993, and later (until 2007) into federal law. In Mexico the government has opened data about feminicide at the municipal level from 2015 to the present, and the data is updated every two months. Nevertheless, the information is used only by data specialists.In order to help society to take advantage of the government’s database on feminicide, Técnicas Rudas and Geochicas organized a workshop during Open Data Day, in which independent feminists and collectives came together to take a critical look at existing data visualization initiatives on feminicide – both from government and civil society -with a focus on cartography. We made a script using R to read the feminicide data from official crime statistics, generate a database of feminicide in csv format, and produce a geographical file saved as geojson. Workshop participants included independent activists and academics, and members of  five different collectives, as well as  one international
organization. The results of the workshop can be viewed at, the script is available in and a graphic view at

Open Data Day: From entrepreneurship to open science

- April 26, 2018 in mexico, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, open research data, Open Science, spain

Authors: Virginia De Pablo (ODI Madrid) and Karla Ramos (Epicentro Inefable A.C.) This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Research Data theme. For the last edition of Open Data Day, two very different cities Madrid (Spain) and Puebla (México) have joined efforts to demonstrate that open data is an essential tool for social development. We could see this in the sessions that took place that day, where students, journalists, political scientists, technologists and public servants gathered to prove that open data is useful to center the future of research and science, as well as building bridges between citizens and decision makers.


During Open Data Day in Puebla, Epicentro Inefable AC and the State Coordinator for Transparency and Open Government (CETGA for its Spanish initials), along with the Engineering faculty of the  Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla organized the Open Data Day Puebla Bootcamp, with the goal of disseminating the benefits of data in open formats. During the welcome, we called teachers, students and people in general, to use the data that the government of Puebla publishes openly. We also mentioned that open data can be a bridge between government and people, and it works to generate better public policies and strengthen civic participation for decision making for social good. We had presentations for students of different public universities in Puebla by Karla Ramos, the director of Epicentro Inefable A.C.; Boris Cuapio and Hugo Osorio, founders and partners of Gobierno Fácil; Tony Rojas, director of Open Government of the CETGA; Juan Carlos Espinosa, youth ambassador of My World Mexico, and Luis Oidor, chief of the Open Government department in the CETGA.   In the panel “Morning Data, what is open data and what do they work for?”, the presenters highlighted the qualities that open data should have, like being free and of easy access. They also emphasized their usefulness as a digital tool that every person can use as a source of information, to improve the quality of life in their community. During his participation, Hugo Osorio highlighted that open data can be used as a tool for entrepreneurship. For example, he mentioned that apps like Waze and Uber use open data y for 2013 the generated more than 920 million USD in the US. To close the session, Luis oidor presented the actions that the government of Puebla is implementing to train, train public officers for publication of new data sets. He mentioned that up to now, 91% of the agencies and 81% of the municipalities have received training in this subject. As a result, they have published 416 data sets in topics like health, education, transportation, finance, employment, business, security and service delivery, which can be accessed through As a final activity, we navigated through the datasets available in the government portal, where 100 students and teachers participated in 20 different teams. Hugo, Boris and Karla were in charge of grading the results of the 12 questions we asked during the event and named the winners. The BootCamp took place in the University’s auditorium, we gathered 271 students and teachers from the BUAP, the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de San Martín, el Instituto de Estudios Superiores A.C., el Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Atlixco, el Instituto de Capacitación para el Trabajo del Estado de Puebla y el Colegio de Estudios Científicos y Tecnológicos del Estado de Puebla, as well as participants from civil society organizations.


Open Data Day in Madrid was focused on Open Science. For two days -March 2 and 3- we gathered a distinguished group of professionals and students of many disciplines in Medialab Prado. The participants participated in the sessions organized by the Ontology Engineering Group (OEG), ODI Madrid and Datalab. Among the speakers we had David Abián, from Wikimedia Spain, María Poveda, from the Ontology Engineering Group (OEG) and ODI Madrid; Mariano Rico, a member of the OEG, responsible of explaining the use and utility of the DBPedia; Olga Giraldo, who presente “SMART protocols for Open Science”, and Fernando Blat, from Populate. Bastien Guerry, from the Office of the Prime Minister of France, in charge of maintaining the org-mode software org-mode closed the day. During the morning, David Abián taught us how to extract data from Wikimedia in order to do any research that might interest us. He explained the formats in which we can obtain and generate information in this wiki and taught us through a simple practical exercise: extract data about a specific topic: nuclear plants. As we went through, he explained what this information could be useful for. He made clear how open data can be used from scientific research, open science to writing journalistic papers or information for policy decisions. Maria Poveda explained what ontologies are for. She did this through a light chat that allowed us to understand how to develop them and how we can use them in the open data context. After the lunch break, Olga Giraldo presented the keynote, a chat about open science entitled “SMART protocols for Open Science”. She allowed us to know how, since when and why we gather and publish scientific data. “Data by itself doesn’t explain its use” Giraldo said. The researcher insisted that data should go “along with a document -lab protocol- where we can explain how we get to the data and how we can use them”. The importance of protocols and their content lies in its design and accessibility, two keys to find scientific data and the information you might need. Her work on the SMART protocols platform, where researchers can publish their protocols, besides gathering other information is a sample of this. Afterwards, Mariano Rico told us about the DBpedia del español: how they got their data, how it’s edited, how they’re downloaded, how many datasets it has, when it started to function, etc. DBpedia contains an immense information repository, a full set of structured data that makes it the center of a world of data that has been edited with controlled vocabularies. This is, without question, a link between many vocabularies and a useful tool for all kinds of solutions, from visualizations to apps, whether for scientific ends, industrial ends or any type of business. Finally, Bastien Guerry outlined the work he does leading org-mode and his work as editor and responsible person of it working for the French government.        

Celebrating Open Data Day with communities from Mexico to Guatemala

- April 3, 2018 in Guatemala, mexico, Open Data Day, open data day 2018

This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Follow the Money theme.  SocialTIC organized Open Data Day (ODD) events in two neighbouring countries: Mexico and Guatemala. Even though they are next to each other, the development of their communities and data practices vary in scale, approaches and challenges. Both countries had a wide mix of community: from civic hackers, to designers, journalists, social scientists and developers they all shared their interest for data as a public good. In Mexico, the event was dedicated to different activities: from a FollowTheMoney Rally to Anticorruption data expeditions. The workshops focused on learning about the Open Contracting Standard, how to deal with API’s from different civic projects, some cool Data meets Art space and a lighting talks about new projects. In Guatemala, the community gathered in a three track event. The first was a data expedition wrangled in databases in a wide range of topics: community violence, homicides in the whole country, the historic list of people elected and contracts from Odebrecht corruption scandal. The second was an experimental visualization track that went to the streets to create interactive visualizations with the people that walked by the area. The third Tips & Tricks track was filled with people eager to work on solving problems that you deal with when you are in charge of opening up public interest data.

Local communities

In these two events we got to know the people behind really cool projects and see how our local communities have changed. In Mexico we became aware that the strong environment that works in these topics is really diverse. The challenges in these setting involve working as a articulated movement in the middle of really specialized data practices and specific communities in dialogue.   In Guatemala the event was bigger than previous years and the crowd was more diverse in approaches and backgrounds. Some of the community leaders that began working in these topics noted that now the conversation about data use for public good has advanced a lot and that the effects on public and private sectors are evident. Still, their community (and country) is a lot smaller that Mexico’s, so that makes for a really close relationship between the participants.

Data meetups

Both events had a similar data meetup background that keeps the community alive and the conversation about new projects and challenges ongoing. In Mexico, events like SocialTIC’s #DatosYMezcales is a monthly event that gathers a lot of people interested in seeing the work from others.  In Guatemala, the spin-off is called #DatosYTragos. It started two years ago in the same way that a lot of countries have joined to the meetup trend: sharing drinks and hanging in a cool venue to talk about how people are solving social problems using data.

Lessons learned

One of the main lesson learned in Mexico was the importance of articulating all the work that is being done for specific causes. In September, Mexico suffered an earthquake and a lot of the civic tech community helped using technology to locate missing individuals, coordinate support and delivery of tools, food and volunteers to damaged areas, fact-checking rumors and missing information about the event and coordinating a team of engineers to evaluate the damages in houses and buildings.  It is in these moments of crisis in which the work that the data community has done gets a time to give back to the society and join efforts with authorities and neighbors. For the Guatemalan team this year was also a success because of the rise of data projects that are more sustainable and that engage more broadly in time and in reach. Instead of just publishing, the rise of follow-up projects has led to a more extense impact and a constant use of data. Both countries have had to learn to co-create and join forces with the authorities in charge of leading the Country’s supply of information. In Mexico, the ODD had a Data Expedition organized along the Government agency of Budget Transparency in which teams used the Open Contracting platform from the government and some data form their anticorruption guides to create charts, analysis and other products. In Guatemala the agency in charge of creating the Open Data Portal presented the prototype of these tool and made a call for the participants to give feedback and reuse the data that they’re going to open in the upcoming months. The work done by SocialTIC in Mexico as well as supporting a lot of local communities around Latin America like Guatemala, has proven to be a key factor in the coordinated efforts for these regions to be capable of opening up data and to have a community of civic organizations and individuals that reuse and create along these projects. The continuation of key elements like the School Of Data program, the Data and drinks branch of meetups and the workshops and coaching opportunities are a key part of sustaining this momentum.

Open Data Day 2018 in Mexico

Brief Encounters with Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck

- November 22, 2017 in archaeology, Art & Illustrations, Culture & History, Jean-Frédéric de Waldeck, Mayan history, Mayanism, mayans, mexico, Neoclassicism, Palenque

Not a lot concerning the artist, erotic publisher, explorer, and general enigma Count de Waldeck can be taken at face value, and this certainly includes his fanciful representations of ancient Mesoamerican culture which — despite the exquisite brilliance of their execution — run wild with anatopistic lions, elephants, and suspicious architecture. Rhys Griffiths looks at the life and work of one of the 19th century's most mysterious and eccentric figures.

Brief Encounters with Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck

- November 22, 2017 in archaeology, Art & Illustrations, Culture & History, Jean-Frédéric de Waldeck, Mayan history, Mayanism, mayans, mexico, Neoclassicism, Palenque

Not a lot concerning the artist, erotic publisher, explorer, and general enigma Count de Waldeck can be taken at face value, and this certainly includes his fanciful representations of ancient Mesoamerican culture which — despite the exquisite brilliance of their execution — run wild with anatopistic lions, elephants, and suspicious architecture. Rhys Griffiths looks at the life and work of one of the 19th century's most mysterious and eccentric figures.

When Chocolate was Medicine: Colmenero, Wadsworth and Dufour

- January 28, 2015 in cacao, chocolate, cocoa, colmenero, colonialism, Culture & History, dufour, history of chocolate, mesoamerica, mexico, Science & Medicine, wadsworth

Chocolate has not always been the common confectionary we experience today. When it arrived from the Americas into Europe in the 17th century it was a rare and mysterious substance, thought more of as a drug than as a food. Christine Jones traces the history and literature of its reception.

Join our first Regional Community Mentoring and Skill-share Gathering

- September 23, 2014 in community, Featured, learning, Meetups, mentoring, mexico, Mexico City, Partnership for Open Data, POD, skillsharing, SocialTIC

Open Knowledge community gathering We are glad to announce our first official Community Mentoring and Skillshare Gathering to be held in Mexico City on October 3, 2014 in connection with the ConDatos and AbraLatam conferences. The event will kick off a series of similar regional events on other continents later this year and into next and will serve to enhance our virtual skill sharing and mentoring activities. The Community Mentoring and Skillshare Gathering is a 1-day event scheduled to take place right after the ConDatos and AbreLatam conferences in Mexico next week. Open Knowledge community members from Latin America will join other grassroots open activists from across the region to build relationships, share skills, and find mentors. The event is a pilot that will explore new ways of supporting the global (and often virtual) open knowledge community by organising face-to-face skill sharing and mentoring activities around relevant regional open events. The intention is to use these gatherings to jumpstart a community lead mentorship programme, an idea that we have been discussing with community members for a few months (see here for more details). The mentorship programme is intended to be largely self-sustainable, community/peer-to-peer driven and of benefit to both newcomers and more experienced community members. The program should run on volunteer basis, to ensure broad commitment and inclusivity. We are honoured to be able to experiment with this idea in collaboration with our community in and around Latin America following AbreLatam/ConDatos this month in Mexico, and hope to learn a lot about the needs and desires of community members seeking mentorship – as well as how we can make the most of in person gatherings to strengthen both our skills and community.

Powered by the Partnership for Open Data

The series of events are organized in close collaboration with the Partnership for Open Data and in partnership with SocialTIC. One goal of the Partnership for Open Data is to support the development of strong open knowledge communities around the world, and the aim of the community summit will be to run a number of peer to peer skillshares designed to strengthen the open community’s ability to continue to grow and diversify.

A day full of activities

Activities at the event will include a mentoring brainstorming session, where we will discuss how and why mentoring is needed in the network, actual skill sharing sessions as well as some time dedicated to discussing how we continue to support and teach each other online after we return to our respective cities and countries. In this same spirit of peer-to-peer support, the Partnership for Open Data and Open Knowledge will host a skillshare corner at the ConDatos. One of the activities that we will be running is a Open Data Census community sprint in which we will try to expand the community of contributors to the open data census.

Community building of the programme and upcoming community calls

In order to ensure that we make the most of the time we have all together and put together a programme that suits the needs of the Latin American open community, we would like to invite you to participate in one of the following community calls to discuss the ideas mentioned above:
  • Tuesday, 23th of September, 6 pm CET/12 pm EDT (HANGOUT LINK)
  • Thursday, 25th of September, 9 pm CET/3 pm EDT (HANGOUT LINK)
If you are unable to attend one of the above calls but would like to suggest ideas, we would love to hear from you via this idea submission form or on email local (at) okfn (dot) org.

How to join

If you are in Mexico next week and would like to participate, please drop us a line at local [at] okfn [dot] org. Lastly, we would like to extend a warm thank you to our friends at SocialTIC for helping to make this happen! We are looking forward to seeing you all next week in Mexico!