We slowly faced the fact over the late spring: We could not responsibly plan a Dataharvest conference in November in Mechelen, not knowing if a second wave of the virus was underway, not knowing if international travel was possible. We, like so many others, had to plan an online conference. So we set sails for unknown waters.

Dataharvest Digital is a first for us, and things may change as we get wiser. We have set-up a direct line for any good ideas for change or improvement: feedback@dataharvest.eu.

Networking at the 2019 Dataharvest – can we re-create the good networking online? (Drawing by Pieter Fannes)

Here is what we have planned:

Tracks have turned into thematic weeks: At the Dataharvest conferences, we usually have many tracks – investigative method, digital security, FOI etcetera. We have turned the tracks into theme weeks, of course with several weeks on the areas that we care most intensely about: Crossborder collaboration and investigative method and the topic of the year: Climate & Energy, we also dubbed it “Follow the pipeline”.

Traditional formats turned digital: Dataharvest would usually have a variety of formats: presentations, panel debates, networking roundtables and hands-on sessions. We have attempted to transform them all to the online format, so you during a morning can for example listen to an inspirational presentation, then participate in a hands-on session to learn the tools used and finally have a networking session with colleagues over a digital lunch to discuss further actions.

Strong speakers and panelists: Fortunately, almost all speakers we have asked to join the online conference have accepted! You will meet investigative journalists, research experts and colleagues with long experience in collaborations, and there will be plenty of time for discussions and Q&A.

Professional atmosphere: Dataharvest is a working conference, where investigations are planned, and investigative teams meet. We hope that this can be taken online as well, so participants leave Dataharvest with new ideas and connections for the next investigation. In all sessions, participants will have to register, so we know who is invited to the room and who isn’t. Some of our presentations will be recorded and made available for a day or two, but our discussions and chats will not be recorded. Our considerations on technical security? – we will devote an entire post to that shortly.

Networking sessions: Do you want to get started on a crossborder investigation? We have planned some sessions to kickstart potential crossborder networks on different topics. If you have ideas, don’t hesitate to contact us! Networks can start at Dataharvest Digital and continue their work on our collaboration platform, based on Discourse.

A learning experience: Dataharvest is the place to learn data skills on all levels. The devoted data trainers have put their heads together and come up with a plan for data learning in the afternoon during several weeks – find your headset and get ready to learn!

The Belgian beer after hours – well, that is the most difficult thing to take online. But we will meet for some more relaxed sessions to discuss and share experience, and you are encouraged to bring a drink (coffee is also okay 😊) – more on that to come!

Stay tuned – we are working frantically to finish the program and will publish the first version on Monday August 10!

See you online for Dataharvest Digital! Register here!

Best regards,
The Dataharvest team