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Inverness event Chris Neumann and Steve Blythe sitting

The DataFest20 week in Inverness

Blog by Karen O’Hanlon, our Business Development Executive, Inverness Hub

This time last year as I was in the audience for the Executive Launch of DataFest19 in Inverness and hearing about the TDL’s 4th and newest Hub in Inverness.

Twelve months later and I’m back! But this time, I’ve joined Kate Forbes MSP, Gillian Docherty and David Oxley at the lectern talking about TDL in the Highlands & Islands, and I’m part of TDL’s delivery team.

Fortunately, I’ve support from a great team at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and use of a fantastic meeting space in An Lochran. I’ve also spent the last 10 months building up an audience through the creation of a new Highlands Data Meet-Up community, and the promotion of TDL products and services through various events and one to one meetings.

On the launch day, I was looking forward to nine events in Inverness and was fortunately able to deliver and support six of these including the Executive Launch; DataFest Solving Complex Issues, A Scottish Government event; What Silicon Valley is Really Like: Truths & Myths with Chris Neumann; DataPath and HIE: Finding Your Business Treasure Map; Remote and Rural Applications for AI and Data Science in the Public Sector with NHS Highland; and Introduction to Interactive Data Visualisation in R at Inverness College.

Great start to the week with a large attendance

At the start of the week we had some of largest attendances we’ve seen in the Highlands for DataFest, with over 30 people in Inverness for the launch and many of them staying on for the afternoon event with the Scottish Government.

Unfortunately, our planned events for later in the week (the Highlands Data Meet-Up, and events with Effini and Girl Geek Scotland) were postponed.

My highlights of the week are many, despite our run being cut short

It was great to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to An Lochran and hear her announce that TDL will be funding three places on the University of the Highlands and Islands’ new Applied Data Science MSc, which will be enrolling its first students this autumn.

The Scottish Government presented some truly shocking data showing that in utter defiance of historical trends, life expectancy for Scots overall has dropped. This reverses a long-time trend of rising life expectancy. But what’s especially troubling is how these people are dying.

It was a privilege to welcome Chris Neumann to the Highlands. Chris talks brilliantly about how to narrow the expertise gap between Silicon Valley and rest of the world. His 90 minute session was highly engaging and stimulated lots of questions from the audience. It even provide me with the opportunity to tweet a picture of a unicorn!

DataFringe20 events in Inverness were my first hands on experience of DataFest as part of the TDL Team, it wasn’t a typical experience but we had a good week in Inverness despite its curtailment, and I for one am looking forward to a great DataFest21!

Watch the Data Fest Highlands and Islands Fringe Executive Launch Highlights


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