Annual Report

We invite journalists and civil
society organisations
to join us on a
data literacy journey...

...that will allow communities
to use data to improve their
understanding about what's
really important to them.

We believe in learning by doing,
and we are creating communities
of data storytellers
all around the world.

In 2015, School of Data
has moved into a more
network-oriented programme, and
we want to share with you our
greatest moments.

Our challenge is quite simple: what if journalists and civil society organisations understood how to use data effectively in what they do? Would we see journalists in a better positon to hold their governments accountable? Would we see civil society organisations empowered to measure and understand better their activities and the way their work affect the lives of many?

Over the past three years, School of Data has evolved from an idea to a flourishing network of individuals and organisations. Together, we have produced dozens of lessons and hands-on tutorials on how to work with data benefitting thousands of people around the world. We have trained over 5,500 people through our tailored training events and mentored dozens of organisations to become tech savvy and data driven.

In 2015, members of the network stepped up to form a Steering Committee and develop a network-oriented governance that will allow the programme to remain relevant wherever it is, keeping its innovative edge regardless of geographical barriers. We also hosted our second Fellowship class, with seven fellows from all over the world. They were welcomed at our second Summer Camp, in Ottawa, which brought together our partners and members.

2015 was also the year that suddenly took our data diva away from us, and we mean to keep making him proud. There would be no School of Data without the passion of our community and the dedication of the amazing team who brought the programme to where it is. We just can't thank you enough for your support!

Your School of Data team


Some of our best moments

The New
School of Data

The Steering Committee meets for the second time in person, in Santiago, Chile, during the ConDatos/AbreLatam Conference back in September

After nearly 3 years of growth and shared successes, the time has come to formally recognise the growing array of School of Data partners and stakeholders and share ownership and decision making of School of Data with them.

In 2015 we have successfully started the journey towards transitioning the ownership of the School of Data by establishing a governance structure. After intensive meetings, debates and voting during our last Summer Camp in Ottawa, the School of Data members elected a Steering Group and empowered them to represent the entire network, manage shared assets like the School of Data brand and fundraise for the network going forward. Our newly elected Steering Committee members are (left to right in the picture):

  • Natalia Mazotte, Programme Manager of School of Data Brazil
  • Bardhyl Jashari, Director of Metamorphosis, Macedonia
  • Sander van der Waal, Projects Director at Open Knowledge
  • Antonio Cucho Gamboa, Senior School of Data fellow (Peru)
  • Juan Manuel Casanueva, Director of Social TIC

What School of Data does is core to Open Knowledge International and we fully support the distributed model going forward.
Pavel Ricther,
CEO, Open Knowledge

The second edition of our annual Summer Camp not only kickstarted our Global Fellowship Programme, with seven fellows from all around the world, but also brought together our community to discuss the future of School of Data. Between 24th-26th June, in Ottawa, Canada, we discussed our governance, planned our year together and helped fellows designing their workplans to take the most out of their fellowship experience.

10 months later, I am convinced that choice I made when I sent the application form was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my professional career. I was able to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone and explore new ways to work with data, learn about it and teach others ways to use it to improve their work.
Camila Salazar,
Senior Fellow from Costa Rica, Class of 2015

There were always the potential for School of Data to reach out to communities through open and massive online courses. This past year proved that we can make a difference when we partner up with organisations such as Small Media and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

With Small Media, School of Data produced two introductory courses, one about Data Gathering and the other about Data Analysis & Cleaning. Quickly our two courses, available in English, Farsi and Arabic, were amongst the most watched at Advocacy Assembly, the open e-learning platform managed by Small Media.

Two School of Data Brazil instructors organised and produced the first massive and open Data Journalism course 100% in Portuguese, for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, using School of Data's Data Pipeline methodology. The course was sponsored by the Brazilian Association of Newspapers with support from Google. The experience was a staggering success: 5000 participants and a plethora of data driven stories published using the techniques learned during the course.

School of Data is working with both Small Media and the Knight Center to produce more courses in 2016.

"This type of professional development had never before reached all corners of Brazil at the same time. We are happy to see that this is now possible.”
Rosental Calmon Alves,
founder and director of the Knight Center at the University of Texas at Austin

School of Data Journalism, Perugia

School of Data Journalism 2015
School of Data Journalism 2015

Together with the European Center for Journalism, School of Data organised for the 4th year the biggest European Data Journalism event: the School of Data Journalism. The 2015 edition took place in Perugia, Italy between 15 – 19 of April as part of the International Journalism Festival. Senior fellows Rita Zagoni and Codrina Ilie were there running sessions and expeditions.

The School was invitation for beginners and experienced journalists to tell stories through data – a field of work growing and gaining in importance. A team of about 15 expert panelists and instructors from New York Times, Guardian, Twitter, Journalism++, Knight-Mozilla, School of Data and others lead participants in a mix of discussions and hands-on sessions aimed to empower participants with the skills they need to produce high quality data stories. The topics ranged from revenue models for data driven newsrooms to sensor data, web scraping and social media data, basic design and visualisation tips and mapping techniques for journalism.

In 2016, School of Data will come back to the International Journalism Festival to deliver two hands on sessions and one panel about free data journalism tools

Research: Understanding
Data Literacy

In 2015 School of Data started its first research project to understand data literacy efforts around the world

How can we understand better data literacy? How are others developing similar activities around the world and how can we collaborate to achieve our goals? This past year we set out to invetigate the data literacy landscape looking both insite and outside of our networks.

The goal of this research was to empower the School of Data network with strategic information to push the programmer forward, but also to share with our peers our findinds. Our research will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and you can also read more about it in our blog.

“Data literacy trainers frequently mentioned the importance of measuring outcomes by trying to get a feel for the reactions of people in their workshops”
Data Literacy Research
Dirk Slater & Mariel Garcia,
Principal Investigators

School of Data

A group of journalists in Tunis, after attending a workshop organised by NRGI and School of Data

This past year School of Data & the Natural Resources Governance Institute ran a series of training events in Africa, including Tunisia and Ghana, in order to bring data literacy to journalists and users in the extractives industries. Senior fellows Sam Leon, Ali Rebale and David Opoku joined as trainers in a series of workshops.

Data Journalism
PH 2015

Journalists from 12 media organisations in the Philippines participated in the programme organised by School of Data and the Philippine Investigative Journalism Centre, with the support from the World Bank

School of Data received the support of the World Bank and the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism to run a 6-month data-journalism training program with journalists from 12 media organisations in the Philippines. The activites were lead by Senior Fellow Sam Leon, who organised a 2-day in person workshop in July and a series of remote sessions after that to support teams on their data investigations. The programme was wrapped up late November, with more than 100 people attending the ending event.

“Data Journalism PH 2015 is a workshop every serious journalist should take. More than teaching me practical skills - how to create maps, infographics, and spreadsheets - it made me realize how important it is to use hard facts, as opposed to merely relying on statements, to create a public that is more informed and more critical”
Patricia Aquino,


"In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." ― Alex Haley



The great team at Code for South Africa coordinated the activities of three open data fellows and are organising the first physical Data Journalism School of the continent! For the first time in Africa, there will be a dedicated space for people to work together with on-site support on data journalism skills. But they didn’t stop it there. They also participated in the Africa Open Data Conference, coordinated trainings and skillshares with NU & BlackSash and ran two three-day Bootcamps (Cape Town and Johannesburg).

Adi Eyal, from Code for South Africa, presents some advanced data acquisition methods and tools during the Africa Open Data Conference, in October 2015

Participants learned data journalism skills in the 2-day workshop held in Skopje, in October 2015


Школа за податоци

In 2015, our friends at Metamorphosis Foundation launched their School of Data website, 100% in Macedonian, with the support of their second School of Data Fellow, Goran Rizaov. Together with Dona Djambaska, senior fellow (class of 2014), they organised four open data meetups, and two 2-day open data trainings, including a data journalism workshop with local journalists in Skopje. They also launched a call for applications that resulted in Goran supporting three local NGOs in open data projects. The Institute for Rural Communities and the PIU Institute also received support from the with data clinics. And if that was not enough, Dona and Goran were special guests speakers at the TEDxBASSalon.



Open Knowledge Spain and Open Knowledge Greece also were busy coordinating School of Data in their respective countries. In Spain, Escuela de Datos participated in a data journalism conference leading workshops for three days and a hackathon. They also ran monthly meeting with people interested in exploring data; they call it “open data maker nights” and also our own data expeditions. Greece organised an open science training event and also servers as the itersection between open data and linked data, coming from people working at the University of Greece.

Escuela de Datos also organised the III Data Journalism Journey, in Barcelona, in June 2015

Cédric Lombion, Community Manager and also part of Ecole des Donnés shows participants how to clean dirty datasets in a workshop held in France



In France, Ecole des Données has organised three activities in Paris: a local urban data laboratory, a School of Data training and the Budget Democracy Laboratory, both for the city hall. They also developed a DatavizCard Game and coordinate a working group around data visualisation. Our French friends also took part in a series of events, such as workshops, conferences, debates and MeetUps. In 2016 they want to do more collaboration with other countries and will participate in the SuperDemain (digital culture for children and families) and Futur en Seien 2016 events



Latin American Escuela de Datos, coordinated by SocialTIC, in Mexico had two fellows Camila Salazar (Costa Rica) and Julio Lopez (Ecuador), who both did amazing things in the region, such as organasing 23 training events in four different countries (Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile and Mexico), reaching out to more than 400 people. Julio is working with the Natural Resource Governance Institute on a major project about extractives data and Camila was hired by Costa Rica’s biggest data journalism team at La Nación, on top of developing a project about migrant data in the country. They’re on fire!

School of Data fellows in Latin America organise multiple workshops across the region

In Brazil, Escola de Dados held a training course for journalists on how to understand government budget data



Down to South America we see that brasileiros at Escola de Dados, in Brazil, organised 22 workshops, trainings and talks/events reaching out to over 760 people in universities, companies and even government agencies. Two of their intructors were invited by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to organise and run the first 100% in Portuguese MOOC about Data Journalism, with the support from the National Newspaper Association and Google. In total, a staggering 5000 people enrolled for the course, a massive success. They also organised a data analysis course for Folha de S.Paulo, biggest broadsheet newspaper in the country. Next year is looking even better, according to Natália Mazotte, Escola de Dado’s coordinator. “We will be offering more courses with the Knight Center, will create data labs inside Rio de Janeiro favelas and will run our own fellowship program”. Outstanding!



We started the Fellowship programme in a pilot in 2013, as a response to this question: how to ensure sustainable, long term impact if School of Data trainers are only present on the ground for short periods of time? Answer: Long term engagement, from people who are already in those communities.

Building on top of the spectacular experience we had last year, with wonderful results, the 2015 School of Data Fellowship was also a staggering success.

More than 1000 people trained over 40 training events in 8 countries. Beyond the hands-on training event in various countries, they produced a great amount of free CC-BY content freely available to anyone in the world: 26 blog posts, 8 skillshares, 6 learning modules.

We're very proud of our 2015 class and we can't wait to have them mingle with our upcoming 2016 class!



Camila trained more than 400 people during the course of her fellowship. As part of the 19million project in Rome, she created prototypes of projects related to the European refugee crisis and develope a project about immigration data in Costa Rica. She was also hired by La Nación, Costa Rica's biggest newspaper to join their data-journalism team!

Camila Salazar

2015 Fellow, based in Costa Rica

David produced a skillshare about using R in datajournalism and led several training during the Africa Open Data Conference. He is now joining Open Knowledge International to be the lead in a series of data-literacy in the continent.

David Selassie Opoku

2015 Fellow, based in Ghana

Goran helped our friends at Metamorphosis put together the School of Data website 100% in Macedonian, as well as assisting Civil Society Organisations in the country to run data-driven projects. He produced a skillshare about using the TimeMapper tool and lead the workshop that may very well be the beginning of the first data journalism agency in Macedonia!

Goran Rizaov

2015 Fellow, Macedonia
Julio Lopez

Julio trained over 250 people during the course of his fellowship, participating in 11 events, and helped our friends at the National Resources Governance Institute gather data in Latin America. He produced a skillshare about understanding extractives data and joined the Latin America Energy Organisation as Energy Specialist.

Julio Lopez

2015 Fellow, based in Ecuador

Ninrab's fellowship was highlighted by the tragic earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015. He trained hundreds of people on how to do mobile data collection and that resulted in an open guide that will be shared with the community.

Nirab Pudasaini

2015 Fellow, based in Nepal

Nkechi organised the Open Data Party, the biggest open data event in Nigeria as part of her fellowship. She tells everything about it in our blog. She also ran a skillshare about community building.

Nkechi Okwuone

2015 Fellow, based in Nigeria

Sheena produced a full course about how to collect data using smartphones & the Open Data Kit. She also coordinated the adaptation of Open Knowledge's Open Data Index to show data in the Philippines about natural disasters. The idea is to increase data-driven decision taking amongst local government offices in the country.

Sheena Carmel Opulencia-Calub

2015 Fellow, based in the Philippines



by Lucy Chambers and School of Data friends

It was with great sadness that we learned in September that we had lost one of our greats. Michael Bauer passed away suddenly on 13th September 2015 while running the Wachau half marathon.

Michael joined School of Data as one of the first team members in 2012 and worked on the project up until October 2014. In this time, he trained and helped hundreds of activists from across the world and built an amazing community of likeminded people – a community which is now thriving, in large part due to the contributions and skills that Michael gave.

His extraordinary intelligence and skills gave School of Data an “edge”; for him, anything done on the project had to be both educational and fun, else there was no point in doing it. He taught all of us personally a huge amount about what it means to be a ‘data trainer’. He was a great colleague, and an even better friend.

The School of Data team is largely remote – we work from wherever we like and connect with each other online. This means we don’t see each other so often and most of our contact is done via emails, online meetings or, as usually was the case with Michael, Skype chats from airport lounges…

Playing 'Where is Michael' was always a fun game

It also means that when we do meet in person, the time is precious. We travelled together across the world – and wow, did Michael travel. He was always up for spontaneous trips (sometimes with as little as twelve hours notice before intercontinental travel), for throwing himself into getting to know new communities, to spend nights dancing even with early starts due the next day. Colourful both in personality and turnout, we will always remember Michael in his shiny cape at Mozfest when we ran our first ever data expedition – our Data Diva.

People genuinely never forgot Michael – he was charismatic and commanded people’s attention. He managed to understand data and people, and he could inspire every single person he met, no matter how many were in the workshop. He was a true polymath, too – he went from medical doctor, to academic, to data trainer/coder, to a journalist – and all before the age of 35.

To us, Michael was intelligent, always ready to help people, honest (sometimes painfully), funny and, as all the best people are, wonderfully awkward. Most of all, he was generous with his time, humble, and thoughtful. He managed to foster an environment where anyone could ask him a question, or for help on building something – and he would answer without any fuss, and with contagious enthusiasm.

As a key architect of many of School of Data’s workshop styles, particularly Data Clinics and Data Expeditions, his legacy lives on through the character sheets he made just 10 minutes before the first expedition started, and in many of the materials the community use today.

When he moved on to derStandard.at, we were torn between happiness for him – that he was starting a new stage in his life – and sadness, that he was leaving our team. He was so excited about it though: finally, he would “stop talking about data journalism and start doing it.” As a leaving gift, we made him this video to show him how much we appreciated him.

His response was: “Nearly cried <3 you all!”

If you knew Michael, and have any stories to share about him, please go to mihi.lo-res.org/

It goes without saying that you will be missed beyond words, Michael. We will do our best to make you proud and continue the great work that you started.


“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

School of Data 2015 in a timeline

Behind the Scenes...

The School of Data Network is supported by a Coordination team formed by members of the community and a multitude of advisors, and passionate and dedicated people around the world. We tried to name as many of you as possible, but undoubtedly we might have forgotten some; please submit a pull request and add yourself, if you’ve been involved in School of Data this year!

Current Staff


Marco is based in São Paulo and joined School of Data as Brazil's Escola de Dados coordinator in 2013. He joined the coordination team of the network in May 2015 to work supporting local partners, building the School of Data network around the world and building programmes like our Fellowship, Member Support and Training Dispatch.

Marco Túlio Pires

School of Data Programme Manager

Cédric is based in Bordeaux, France, and joined Open Knowledge as a Community manager for School of Data. He will be supporting the School of Data community along with managing the communication of the project. Before joining the team Cédric has been working as a project and community coordinator for Open Knowledge France for one year.

Cédric Lombion

Community & Communication Manager

Meg joined Open Knowledge in 2012, where she initially worked in HR. Since then, she has worked as project coordinator for OpenSpending. She joins the School of Data team as project and event coordinator, making sure that everything runs smoothly and that our events are well planned.

Meg Foulkes

Admin & Project Coordinator

Katelyn Rogers is a Project Manager at Open Knowledge where she manages numerous open data related programmes including Open Data for Development. In partnership with Code for Africa, she piloted a fellowship programme for open government innovators in Africa. She has helped to run numerous workshops and training events as well as curate the programme for large open knowledge events such as Open Knowledge Festival.

Katelyn Rogers

Project Manager at Open Knowledge International

Past staff (from 2015)

Lucy Chambers

Lucy lead the Knowledge Unit, which focused on supporting data users (particularly journalists and NGOS) by organising training via School of Data and building software tools to fix data problems.

Lucy Chambers

Knowledge Unit Director

Milena is based in London and joined Open Knowledge as Programme Manager for School of Data in August 2013. Among others, she worked with and supported local partners, building the School of Data network around the world and building programmes like the Fellowship 2014 scheme.

Milena Marin

School of Data Programme Manager
Sam Leon

Sam was the School of Data Fellow embedded in Global Witness. He lives in London and has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in the History of Ideas. He is interested in debates around open culture and the emerging discipline of the Digital Humanities.

Sam Leon

Data Wrangler extraordinaire

Zara is based in Berlin, and joined the Knowledge Unit to be focused on the use of data around international development, through which she has built up the Open Development Toolkit, written online training modules for School of Data and carried out trainings with civil society groups.

Zara Rahman

Open Development Toolkit lead


  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson
  • Mathilda Hus
  • Daniela Mattern
  • Mr and Mrs Mattern
  • Katelyn Rogers
  • Rufus Pollock
  • Rahul Ghosh
  • Beatrice Martini
  • Sam Muirhead
  • Ali Rebaie
  • Ketty Adoch
  • Tarek Amr
  • Cristian Consonni
  • Francesca De Chiara
  • Marco Menchinella
  • Eva Constantaras
  • Stefan Wehrmeyer
  • Friedrich Lindenberg
  • Allen Gunn
  • Annie Game
  • Dirk Slater
  • Sam Smith
  • Danja Vasiliev
  • Annabel Church
  • Alex Woodham
  • Tin Geber, Alix Dunn, Christopher Wilson + the engine room
  • Lisa Gutermuth and Tactical Technology Collective
  • Michelle Kovacevic


Open Knowledge logo


Hewlett Foundation Open Data for Development Open Society Fundations


Hivos Open Data for Development
Indigo FCO


SocialTIC Metamorphosis Connected Development [CODE]


Start an online School of Data course
Get in touch: email info@schoolofdata.org


Thank you!

Original design by: Angel Kittyachavalit, Mick Thompson for Code for America | Site design inspired by Zara Rahman | 2015 version customised and implemented by Marco Túlio Pires for School of Data