Calgary Arts Development and Data for Good Calgary are hosting a Datathon, November 23 to 25, 2018.

What is a Datathon?

A Datathon is an event where volunteers come together for one weekend and use their analytical skills to tackle a given problem.

Data for Good Calgary hosts an annual Datathon for data scientists and community volunteers to explore a single issue. The event is focused on developing a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the arts community through data exploration and you are invited to take part.

Join volunteers from Data for Good with technical expertise and an interest in data analytics, along with volunteers from the arts community, to examine data sets from the arts community as well as public data sets to explore big questions around the arts and community.

Data For Good is a collective of volunteer do-gooders, who want to use their powers for good to help make our communities better through data. They help nonprofit and social organizations harness the power of their data through analytics and visualizations in order to leverage their impact in the community.

How to Sign Up

Participation in the Datathon is free. To participate, register at

You do not have to stay for the entire weekend to participate in the event. You are welcome to come and go.

If you have data sets you would like to contribute in advance, please email Gregory Burbidge, Research & Policy Specialist, at

All three days of the Datathon take place in the Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Digital Library, University of Calgary (410 University Ct. NW). *Please note the change of location*

Free meals are provided each day.

Each participant should bring their own laptop and software for data analytics/visualization if possible. Many free tools will be used over the weekend. If you’re interested in learning more about some of these tools this is a great chance to ask a lot of questions and see data analytics tools used in practice.

Software expertise it not a needed requirement for participation. Lived experience and knowledge of the arts sector are critical in helping Data for Good think through how data sets can be understood and used.

What Happens at a Datathon?

On Friday night big themes of exploration will be introduced and participants will have the chance to break into groups to start discussing projects. Saturday starts with a review of the objectives (and breakfast), self-selected breakouts into six teams to tackle questions, and a full day of data diving. Sunday morning the event wraps up with presentations from each team.

Over the course of the weekend, six teams of data scientists and community volunteers will attempt to use available data sets to answer questions around public funding and the impact of the arts on community. We do not assign you to a team. We want you to work with the data and objectives that you feel most passionate about, so come Friday with an open mind and be ready to learn.

The six teams will focus on:

  • Alberta-Level Grant Data Analysis
  • City/Alberta Level Community Benefit
  • City Level Arts Sector Workforce
  • City Level Arts non-Profit Organizations
  • Geo Spacial Mapping
  • City-Level Text Analysis

Questions these teams will attempt to answer include:

  • Are there factors that predict likelihood of funding or success of a grant application? Are there key features or attributes that successful grant recipients share?
  • Is there any relationship between arts programming (e.g. location of activity, amount of activity, etc.) and other community indicators (e.g. community crime, home prices, voting trends, etc.)?
  • Who participates in the arts in Alberta? What is the nature of their participation?
  • How does the arts workforce compare to the broad workforce in the city (e.g. differences in how their work is structured, income, relationships between location of household and income level, etc.)?
  • What can we glean from visualizing the relationship between artist, arts professional, arts spaces and arts organization addresses to city demographics, transit, etc.
  • Is it possible to visualize the changes in arts activities distributed throughout Calgary year over year?
  • How do arts organizations describe their artistic and public impact? Are there specific kinds of language or themes that are used in describing this impact?

Partner organizations will provide datasets from across the arts sector in Calgary, Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada, including granting data from municipal, provincial, and federal funders and other existing research that will help inform the answers to these questions.

Participants will use geo-spacial analysis, data visualization software, text analytics, database software, and more.

Datathon Schedule

Friday, November 23, 2018
Opening Mixer

The evening will start with a presentation from Calgary Arts Development. This will be followed immediately by social time to give all of the participants a chance to meet each other and begin discussing projects.

7:00pm: Doors open
7:30pm: Presentation from Calgary Arts Development
8:30pm: Networking social, snacks and drinks

Saturday, November 24, 2018
The Datathon

Saturday we’ll get to the data! Detailed information will be provided on the data available and the objectives of the Datathon. Participants will form teams and get started on analyzing the data. We’ll have meals and keep the space open until 11:00pm for any late-night data divers.

9:00am: Doors open, sign-in, and breakfast
9:30am:Review of data and objectives, begin data diving
12:00pm: Lunch
6:00pm: Dinner
11:00pm: Everyone goes home for the night

Sunday, November 25, 2018
Final Presentations

This is your chance to show what you have done with the data! Each team will present the analytics and visualizations prepared during the Datathon.

9:00am: Doors open, breakfast
10:30am: Presentation from teams
1:00pm: It’s a wrap; a successful Datathon on the books

Other Items of Note for the Weekend

Meals are provided free of charge each day.

You do not have to work with the same team for the whole weekend.

You do not have to stay for the entire weekend to participate in the event. You are welcome to come and go.

This event is a joint Datathon, held in conjunction with Data for Good Calgary and Calgary Arts Development alongside the Edmonton Arts Datathon, hosted by Data For Good Edmonton, Edmonton Community Foundation, Edmonton Arts Council, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Share this page