This document was drafted before the global pandemic of 2020! Not only does it describe an early, and somewhat incomplete, draft of “The Plan”, it takes no account of the wide-ranging changes to what’s possible under pandemic conditions, particularly restrictions on travel and face-to-face meetings. I’m publishing it for reasons of openness, to show how planning has progressed.


This document is intended to provide a 2-page summary of the project to give someone a quick overview.

Motivation: why are we doing this?

Cultural heritage work, like all knowledge work, is increasingly data-based, or at least gives opportunities to make use of data day-to-day. The proper skills to use this data enable more effective working. Knowledge and experience thus gained improves understanding of and empathy with users also using such skills.


This project is intended to change the working practices of people in Cultural Heritage (CH) organisations in two ways:

  1. Make more and better use of data in their own operational work
  2. Have a better understanding of the ways our users make use of CH data, to better plan and deliver services


We assume that:

  • Data skills are accessible to all given time and the right support
  • Time, motivation and confidence are the key barriers to adoption
  • Peer support is more sustainable for intermediate learners than central training (which is still ideal for novices)

Success/impact measures

  • Survey participants on measures of both goals at start and end of project
  • Conduct pulse surveys throughout to check for needed course corrections
  • Collect 3-4 case studies of specific impacts


Risk Result Impact Likelihood Severity Mitigation
Fellow leaves current job Current project plan becomes unfeasible Medium Low Low Accept risk
Other job demands limit capacity to make progress on fellowship Project fails to deliver on goals Medium Medium Medium Agile planning approach to ensure some progress possible


Up to £3,000 is available to support this work through the SSI Fellowship. As well as funding development opportunities for the Fellow, it is anticipated that this will cover:

  • Costs of fellowship-related inter-site travel for the Fellow and other members of the network
  • Catering and venue hire for network events
  • Travel costs for external speakers
  • (Possibly) CPD costs for network members


  • British Library staff as potential network members
  • External speakers


We will work towards the two goals stated above by:

  • Show (don’t tell!) people what is possible and relevant to their work
  • Develop transferrable skills of question-asking and computational problem-solving
  • Situate those skills in context(s) relevant to the learner
  • Break down language barriers between data scientists and others
  • Create online and offline safe spaces to admit knowledge gaps, ask questions and learn from peers