At the end of March I will be taking voluntary redundancy from Birmingham City Council – and Digital Birmingham – and moving on to work for myself. Well, for as long as I can stand the boss I will, anyway.
I joined Digital Birmingham a little under four years ago from Aston Pride. There I’d been community wireless network manager in charge of technical delivery for the Computers in the Home project.
I’ve really enjoyed my job over the past few years. It’s been a busy time. For a small team we try and cover a lot of work and I wish my soon-to-be-erstwhile colleagues all the best for the future.
In the past few years I’ve spent a fair bit of time working in and around social media. In particular, I’ve had a great time helping to establish and run HyperWM, the unconference for local government in the West Midlands and Brewcamp, it’s smaller, more regular equivalent. I’m definitely going to continue working on these two events.
On the open data side Digital Birmingham ran hack events through Dave Harte‘s Birmingham Open City project and then some with ScraperWiki and Random Hacks of Kindness. This lead to me successfully bidding for funding for Nesta money under their Make It Local programme.
This was a joint application between Digital Birmingham and Mudlark and it lead to the development of the Birmingham Civic Dashboard. The Civic Dashboard receives a report of requests that come in from members of the public for services from Birmingham City Council each day. It then produces a number of visualisations of that data, such as showing them on a map.
It’s also the first open data web application to visualise local authority data in this way. We’re really proud of the results of the work we have done. It’s also a service that I imagine we will come to expect that local authorities provide to the public in the future.
Last year I put together Kindle Camp with Simon Gray and Kate Cooper. It was a day long workshop that took people through the process of publishing to the Kindle and included other e-publishing standards. I also attended the WAGHack that Linda Ellis put on over at The Public.
Those events, plus things such as sitting on the ICT Steering group at the new Library of Birmingham and speaking at the recent Hello Culture conference have sparked my interest in getting involved in creative digital projects in the future.
So, I’ll be looking for projects, big and small, that include social web technologies, open data and digitally creative work. I’ll be blogging about such topics on this site over the next few months to give a flavour of what I hope to be doing.