September 30, 2021

CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021 - a global event

CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021 - a global event

In this post by Angelique Trusler, the Regional Consultant for Southern Africa of The Carpentries, she describes their recently concluded CarpentryConnect event. As she explains, this was the first time the event took place virtually. Support from the Event Fund (made possible by grant number GBMF8449 from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation) allowed for, among other things,  300 GBs of mobile data bundles to be provided to enable participation of over 70 participants who would have otherwise not been able to attend such a virtual and mobile data intensive event. Here, data refers to Internet access. Often, even "free" events" cannot be attended due to the high costs of streaming video of such an event. This is particularly noticeable in contexts where Internet is pre-paid (credit is purchased in advance of service use). Such careful consideration of the costs of attendance that go beyond the price of a ticket is a great example of how expansive considerations of access (beyond a free ticket) need to be part of consideration and planning for more inclusive Open Science events.

This article, reposted below, was first published on September 30, 2021 on The Carpentries.

The first virtual CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021 took place from 6 to 17 September. The event included 2 Carpentries workshops, 1 Carpentries instructor training event, 2 networking events, 1 learning session and 1 opening address. The main goal of CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021 was to build capacity for workshops through instructor training and bring together newer and more experienced community members to share knowledge, network, develop new skills, and develop strategies for building strong local communities around digital and computational literacy in Africa. The virtual event was attended by more than 120 attendees and volunteers (i.e. trainers, instructors and helpers) from 28 countries worldwide, including 16 countries in Africa. An estimated 300GB of mobile data was provided to 71 attendees over 19 African network providers.

Map of attendees

The Opening address was delivered by our Executive Director, Dr Kari, L. Jordan. The message echoed The Carpentries ongoing commitment to capacitating scholars in foundational data sciences skills and programming in Africa. During this session, community members shared the challenges and opportunities faced being Carpentries community members.

The session to me was very eye opening. In the short time I attended…., I learnt a lot. I still anticipate to learn more with The Carpentries.”

The event concluded with a panel of Carpentries instructors and trainers from the Global South, sharing experiences of their involvement and how the Carpentries community has influenced their lives. The discussion concluded with the panel sharing resources that can be used in the future and reflections on how they transitioned into online teaching during the pandemic, emphasising the unique challenges in the Global South. Recordings of the Keynote and Closing events will be uploaded to YouTube with subtitles available in isiZulu, isiXhosa, Setswana and Kiswahili.

Was good to too see everybody again :-).”

Thank you

This event would not have been possible without the funding received from Code for Science and Society Event Fund made possible by grant number GBMF8449 from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. We would further like to thank the North-West University, the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources as well as the University of the Western Cape for their support during this event.

Future events

We encourage attendees and interested members to continue to be part of this growing community by attending our Carpentries in Africa monthly meet-up event every 4th Thursday. Join our mailing list to stay informed of events within The Carpentries in Africa community. Stay tuned for a forthcoming post that shares insights on the behind-the-scenes work that went into organising the event.