Data can change lives! Huge amounts of data are made freely available by government and other organisations across Scotland, including NRS. Lots of people use this data in all sorts of ways, but there are plenty of people who don’t, just because they don’t know what is available. To try to help people get started, we ran a free event as part of the recent Data Festival, called ‘Changing lives with data’.

Datafest - Amy Wilson speaking
Our Head of Statistics Amy Wilson speaking at Datafest. Thanks to Dave Fitch (@dere_street) for the picture.

The event aimed to help people find out what is available, how it is used, and how to use it to provide insights which could change lives. We had a series of talks from experts which included:

  • Overview of the kinds of data that government makes freely available
  • Demonstrations of different ways in which people have used/visualised government data
  • Introductions to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and statistics.gov.scot, the new website providing access to Scotland’s official statistics
  • Advice on different ways of visualising data yourself, including ways of producing infographics and interactive data visualisations.

We also held an interactive session, where people could talk to experts from a range of organisations to find out more about what they do, and discuss ideas. The event was a real success! Around 50 people took part, from a wide range of backgrounds. The vast majority of people said they were very likely to use the information they had learned, in the future, and to discuss it with others. If you want to know more, you can see the slides from all the presentations on our website. Or, as ever, just get in touch with us directly!

If you are interested in this subject, you might like to know that the Scottish Government and NRS are recruiting statistical staff at the moment. They are great jobs, where you get the opportunity to use data and analysis to change people’s lives. If you are interested, or you know anyone who might be, you can find out more at work-for-scotland.org. The closing date is 9th May 2017.

Esther Roughsedge, Statistician

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