People at Camp - Max Richman

Max RichmanWe asked a few of the track and lab facilitators, and a few of the Camp participants, some questions about themselves, their work, what they did at camp and what they came away with at the end of the week.

Max Richman came to Camp as a volunteer representative of DataKind -- an organisation that brings together leading data scientists with high impact social organizations. During the week, he also ably facilitated the afternoon Data Ninjas lab.

 Max is a freelance researcher who has worked with non profit organisations, government and foundations. "I'm kind of a misfit with a background in cartography and GIS, with an interest in data, design and tech," he says by way of self-description. He also has an MA in research methodology, statistics and mapping, and works as a data scientist at tech company Mobile Accord, in Washington DC.

 So what was Data Ninjas all about? "The main idea was to get hands-on, and deal with sticky, painful data issues that people at camp were experiencing." Some session topics included "How to clean data", as well as "How to lie with data" -- how to look closely at a dataset and see how it can be used to construct many different stories.

 "However, we quickly realised people had such varied needs and abilities that it was better for it to be participant driven, so we shifted to adapt the sessions. The lab became more about matchmaking to find certain skills for people, and encouraging collaboration between participants."

 As his camp highlight, Max pulls out day four of the Data Ninjas lab, where some participants of the lab were recruited to facilitate. "We were able to work one-on-one.... to dig deeper on individual issues." "Overall," he adds, "it was great to get people thinking conceptually about the whole process of working with data."

 And his general impression? "The setting and surroundings were beautiful. I was flabbergasted by the caliber and qualities of the people. It was all so fun... especially sailing around the idyllic lake Orta."

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