With our final day upon us, and no tuition sessions to start the day, Friday began with an even greater urgency than previous days.
The format was to be straightforward: a sprint of activity to lunchtime, setting up our allocated areas of the room to show off projects, then a quick lunch. After that an invited panel of industry representatives would hear our one minute pitches, then we’d stand by our displays and answer questions.
The first session
The morning passed in a flash – nervous energy and enthusiasm for our topics driving the teams to produce displays of creativity and artfulness. We constructed table top dioramas, plastered the walls with mock-ups, posters, user personas, screen designs, and we hung a satellite from the high ceiling (people looking away as I wobbled atop an unsteady step ladder) using fishing line to suspend our model which span above our landscape,
Others slipped away to write, rehearse and time their pitches. Students were seen muttering quietly outside in the warmth, as they revised their talk. After four drafts I timed our one at 59.06 secs. Cool!
We fuelled up one last time with lunch by the canal-side, savouring the gently-warming sun, less fierce than we had enjoyed all week.
Keira, who had MC’ed the event for the full week, was still a bundle of energy and positivity as she shepherded everyone around the room, stopping at Challenge areas and allowing each of the teams of 5 or 6 (and even one lone wolf) to sell their ideas to the attentive audience.
Everyone put such energy and commitment into showing off their project. My own favourite (and of many others) was the fully acted-out Call Centre sketch, where flaming torches of data were gathered, melded together and transformed by some shamanistic ritual into a burning pillar of insight!
Speaking to Others
For the next hour or so we stood by our stalls and explained our project to anyone who passed by – what was the inspiration; how we’d concocted our users personas; the pictorial representation of what perfect might look like; the joy of playing with 219 million rows of NBN data; and the despair of finding not a single council offering their planning applications as open data. We painted a picture of what could have been, the art of the possible, how it could have made a real difference to our user groups given the data.
Then it was all over. We took our displays apart, recycled, or binned props and room was returned to the concrete shell of day one.
The panel gave feedback – highlighting the strengths of most (or more likely all) of the teams approaches, and were warm in their praise. We all basked in the warm fuzzy feeling it gave us. All that remained were the speeches and flowers.
We were encouraged to reflect individually on what we had learned and what we would do differently when we scattered to the four winds. We also fed back as a team on how the week had gone. Our only negative was the Wednesday evening burgers! Amazing for a whole week of activity!
On behalf of our team – and the wider student body – I would like to thank everyone at Data Lab and Snook for the amazing week which they provided for us. I know that if I start listing names I will miss someone out, so I will not. Simply, thanks to everyone! The event, and you, were awesome!