London Data Week is back in 2024!

London Data Week (LDW) is back for 2024. LDW is all about improving collaboration and participation in data innovation in our great city, and we’re delighted to announce that organisations can now apply to be involved for 2024. This year, LDW will be running from the 1st-7th July. 

This is the second year of LDW, and we’re building on the great work of 2023. Last year, we had 18 events, all led by different organisations, from local government to industry to academia to civic tech groups, convening over 1100 people in venues across the city, and reaching over 200,000 people digitally. It showed off the best of data innovation in London – inclusive, collaborative, open, and ambitious about improving Londoners’ lives. 

A digital screen with text talking about Data in the high street, viewed through a store-front window.

London Data Week 2023 sought to bring in the public into conversations about data.

You can read all about LDW 2023 in our Report. Some of the highlights that showed how we were doing collaboration and participation better, include:

  • New cross-sector partnerships, for example UCL placing students with councils that they connected with during an event, or a foreign Ambassador taking dignitaries to a LDW event and connecting with the organisers. 
  • New types of events, like a data escape room for school children, a pop-up about data in the highstreet, a comedy night about AI, and a workshop about creating better images of AI. Feedback on events from participants was over 4.5/5 on average.
  • Propagating new types of work, in line with the values expressed during LDW. For example, one council is developing an equalities framework based on a blog published in LOTI’s LDW DataThinks blog series.
A picture of Jennifer Ding and Sam Nutt standing in front of the room, from the London Data Week 23 Report.

The London Data Week 2023 Report contains information on all events from last year.

Why London Data Week?

There are increasing opportunities to deliver positive impact for Londoners by collecting, sharing and analysing data (for example, with AI), but these activities must be trustworthy and aligned to public values and expectations. Research shows that the most common news stories that the public recall about data and AI are data breaches (36%) and the misuse of data (10%), and trust is generally low outside of the NHS and medical researchers, so we need to do better at doing more trustworthy innovation, and how we engage with the public about it.

We also need more diverse communities involved in the innovation itself. We’re not great at this in the UK –  for example, men outnumber women 4:1 in data analyst and scientist jobs. However, there is no lack of research showing that teams with workers who think differently and have different lived experiences (especially when it comes to different end users of products or services) perform better (for example here or here). As organisers of LDW, we’d suggest that this doesn’t just apply to teams or organisations, but cities as a whole. We want LDW to be a place that deliberately engages with new and different communities.

A key part of this will also be improving data literacy and education. We’re seeing projects like Newham Sparks emerge that highlight the transformative economic and social potential of education in data. We need this education to be broad, and reach the communities that we often fail to reach. Yes we want more people who can be AI engineers, but we also need foundational digital skills for older people, or coding basics for young people, or the relevant professional data skills to help long-term unemployed people back into good jobs. 

Four pictures showing children using computers as part of Newham Council's data escape rooms for London Data WEek 2023.

Newham Council ran Data Escape Rooms for local schoolchildren as part of London Data Week 2023.

Lastly, as more of our data is collected and used in more complex ways, we want to ensure we are doing this in line with public values. This isn’t just wishy-washy participation to look good – even private AI labs like OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT, are interested in methods to better align their AI models with the right public values. This sort of process is exactly what we want organisations in London to be good at by default when innovating. Whilst there are initial good practices to build upon – like Camden Council’s citizen-created Data Charter – we need to develop a common culture of doing engagement and participation and spaces and methods for doing it well, and LDW can help with this.

Get Involved in London Data Week 2024

If these missions speak to you or your organisation, then we warmly invite you to get involved in LDW. Supported by LOTI, The Alan Turing Institute, and The Mayor of London, LDW is the best possible week to do public facing activities about data and AI, to share your own work with Londoners, or collaborate with organisations from other sectors.

LDW is a distributed format, taking place in different venues across London, with different organisations running their own events in their own formats, all with different audiences. If you are part of LDW your event will be featured on our website and be cross-promoted with audiences from other participating organisations. You’ll also get support from central organisers with comms packs and designs to ensure your event is part of the branded week.

We encourage any organisation with similar values, from any sector, who want to engage with new or different audiences about data or AI to do that engagement as part of LDW, where they can be part of the bigger, city-wide story about using data responsibly and for public good.

To apply to run an event in London Data Week, you can complete our application form. If you have any questions, we have an FAQ and detailed guidance for organisations interested in running events.

If you have any other questions then you are welcome to get in touch with  the organisers. Also, stay up to date with the latest LDW 2024 updates by following LOTI, The Alan Turing Institute and the Data for London.

London Data Week

Sam Nutt

Jennifer Ding
20 February 2024 ·
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