Written by Bella and Mick
Outlier was a much-celebrated online conference by the Data Visualization Society (DVS) that took place from 4–8 February 2021 (taking into account the timezone differences). Naturally, we were excited to be involved, but as first-time speakers, Mick and I had cold feet.
Luckily for us, Outlier was truly an outlier in how explicitly dedicated it was to inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility. Cross-checking with the speaker rider, created by The Pudding and Open News, gives them a score of 10/10.
Still, it was nerve-wracking to come out with something that we felt would add to the data vis community. Overall, it took us slightly more than a month to plan, script, edit, and film a 20-minute talk, even with help from other team members. We’re recapping this journey in case it’s useful for you, but it’s also a memory reel for us to look back and be proud of this achievement!☺️
Conceptualising our talk topic
Landing on the perfect topic for a talk was tough. We considered offering a tool-focused talk, sharing about navigating a lack of open or structured data, or discussing how we use data storytelling for social impact. We thought these topics would offer the most value for existing data vis experts, and, as newcomers, we were wary of wasting people’s time.
But we took a step back and thought about what we felt passionate about — and why we even do what we do. Making this choice from a position of love rather than fear felt right, and in the end, we spoke about how to translate cultural phenomena into data stories.
Kontinentalist’s very raison d’être is the recognition that good stories need contextual knowledge and sensitivity, and that lived experience and love for community aren’t easily substituted for. We bring these values and attitude to data storytelling, and we wanted to encourage others to believe in their own ability to do so too!