West Side Digital Storytelling, Visualization & Design Message Board › Our Kickoff Event: An "Un-Kickoff"

Our Kickoff Event: An "Un-Kickoff"

Jay T.
datashogun
Group Organizer
Santa Monica, CA
Post #: 1
Greetings, Storytellers!

Thanks again for joining West LA Digital Storytelling. I'm so excited to finally have a group addressing these issues! I'd like to solicit some input about our first event.

I'm thinking of doing something like an "un-conference". That is, I'd schedule a happy hour (or 3) where I'll bring easels and post-its, and then ask each of you to describe (a) some of the challenges you're currently wrestling with, and (b) some of the key topics you'd like the group to address. During the discussion each of us can post notes about what the others are saying. When we're finished we should know each other better, have identified and refined major areas of focus, and had some decent food and drink.

Please share your thoughts on this idea, and share any other recommendations you might have for our first session. I'd like to put it on the calendar by next Friday if possible.

Thanks so much for your support of the group - let's visualize!

Warm regards,

Jay
Marino M.
user 22856551
Irvine, CA
Post #: 1
Thank you for the organization, Jay! What is the overall objective? To collaborate and build possible solutions? Or simply to share issues, thoughts, advice, tools, etc. in more of a "book of the month club" type setting and purpose?

Best,
Marino
Jay T.
datashogun
Group Organizer
Santa Monica, CA
Post #: 2
Thank you for the organization, Jay! What is the overall objective? To collaborate and build possible solutions? Or simply to share issues, thoughts, advice, tools, etc. in more of a "book of the month club" type setting and purpose?

Best,
Marino

Hi Marino!

The way I see it, there are a few major topics to address. They include:
*the actual mechanics of data visualization - i.e. using specific tools to turn data into images that are intuitively understandable
*presentation strategy - storytelling itself, and how to use presentations to persuade, sell ideas, build consensus, and affect change
*graphic design in the digital space - including web, custom presentations, etc.
*others!

My belief is that the landscape for data visualization is changing so rapidly that we need a group to properly gather and disseminate useful knowledge. I'd like to do monthly meetups to anchor the group where we address at least one major topic. Of interest to the group and supplement that with online discussions and other interactions that allow members to share best practices identify areas for further exploration, etc. I'm open to bringing in outside experts, academics, and vendors who provide visualization tools and platforms and I'm hoping to have folks from within the group present in our meetups as well.

The key is to make the most of the times when we meet in person. As a first step, I'm trying to get a better sense of what each of you is working on and how group activities can help. I notice a number of people in research (including a PhD candidate) and there are a few people who have graphic design and art backgrounds. However, I haven't seen too many people yet who are interested in the management challenge (i.e. integrating graphics into a presentation and selling ideas to senior management, partners, and customers). I'm hoping we'll eventually curate a nice balance of topics and speakers. For now, please let me know your thoughts!

Warm regards,

Jay
Karishma G.
user 12076460
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 1
Hi Jay! I'm looking forward to meeting you in person and to the first meetup.

I think the first session would be a good place to figure out what the group's interests are as a whole, and I like that you're planning to bring in easels and post-its so that we can explain our needs and interests to shape future meetings.

Just a thought: It is possible that some of us may be experts in certain aspects digital storytelling and visualization, and maybe we could use each meet up for each member to discuss their work and maybe even problem solve an issue that the member is currently facing or faced in the past.

Thanks!

Karishma
Jay T.
datashogun
Group Organizer
Santa Monica, CA
Post #: 3
Hi Brian!

No you haven't missed the kickoff. In fact, I'll be setting a date for that kickoff later this week. Most likely for late May. You should definitely get that announcement once it's posted.

thanks,
Jay
A former member
Post #: 1
Greetings, Jay!

I'm glad you spelled out in more detail the possible goals of this group. I wasn't too clear just what "digital
storytelling" encompassed and was going to quiz you on that.
Having been an educator and having done advertising design, including creating logos, I've always been
intrigued by visual presentation of data and ideas.
I'm also now interested in more literary storytelling content and hope the group will be including consideration
of that information deliverance in the get togethers.
As for the location, I believe there's a Toastmasters group meets in Dolores Restaurant on Santa Monica
Boulevard. Would that space be a possibility?

All best,
Allan

Amelia M.
AmeliaMN
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 1
Sounds like a fun kickoff! I don't think I have any specific issues I'm wrestling with, but it's always nice to interact with people and hear some new perspectives.

My visualization work takes place primarily in R (with brief forays into Illustrator), aspiring to the graphics level of Amanda Cox at the NYT, or Nathan Yau's work, as in http://book.flowingda...­ (I've got a long way to go!). Maybe we could eventually have mini-lectures where people would share their practice? I would love to expand my toolbox, and I would be especially interested in Processing tutorials.

I love that you've named this group "Digital Storytelling," because it really is about the story, not about the tool you use to produce it.
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