Civic Data Talks

How do we really do data stewardship?  A 6-part seminar series on the practicalities and possibilities of civic data innovation and stewardship ran from May to November 2023.

A group of young people sitting and talking together
A group of young people sitting and talking together

About the seminars

Both data itself and the technologies built on it’s back are promised to massively shape the way our lives and communities work.

The call for better data, better tech, and better governance are shadowed by the dominant model of commercial data extraction and use.

This extractive model is at odds with the promise for data tech that can benefit people and communities.

So, how do we do things differently?

At the Civic Data Cooperative we want data about our region to benefit and be led by the people who live here. To do that we want to explore and share what works in data stewardship and innovation.

This six-part seminar series shared practical examples of people and organisations working at the cutting edge of innovation and stewardship across the UK.

Each seminar helps build a deeper understanding of the possibilities and practicalities in this space.

What we mean by…

At the Civic Data Cooperative we believe data stewardship should help ensure data is managed in a trustworthy, safe and accessible environment.

The Ada Lovelace Institute defines data stewardsip as:

‘The responsible use, collection and management of data in a participatory and rights-preserving way.’

We think effective data stewardship looks like:

  • Developing a better understanding of data use
  • Positioning communities and publics as decision-makers
  • Having a better flow of higher quality data
  • Making better, informed decisions with data
  • Creating value for individuals, their communities and wider society

We define civic data as data about and for a place and community. Civic data is everything from health records to water surveillance to social media posts.

We believe civic data should connect civic organisations, industry experts, and the community to mobilise data across a region to improve the lives of residents.

Public engagement is at the core of our work at the Civic Data Cooperative (CDC). We define public engagement as activities that prioritise and promote participatory involvement in imagining, using, and applying data.

Learn more about our public engagement strategy in a report by Involve.

Public Data for Public Good

Read supporting materials for the report at the following links:

Public Data for Public Good Appendix

Participatory Data Stewardship by Reema Patel

We define data innovations broadly as technologies that use and are built from data. We believe data stewardship should address both the management of data itself and the things that use data. That means a range of digital tech like AI and digital twins.



Seminar Topics

June 15th: Developing Data Cooperatives


Gary Leeming, Civic Data Cooperative Director

Developing new models for civic data stewardship for the Liverpool City Region 

Julian Tait, Co-founder and CEO of Open Data Manchester CIC

Designing the data cooperative

Data cooperatives as a structure for stewarding data have been with us for a number of years, yet few of them exist. This talk looks at the process of data cooperative formation drawing on the experience of Open Data Manchester’s work designing a data cooperative model for small energy cooperatives and the development of the Data Cooperative Handbook.

Watch the full seminar on Youtube!


July 20th: Crowd-sourcing better health and care through our data and digital selves


Professor Iain Buchan, Professor in Public Health and Clinical Informatics, and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation

Some of the biggest challenges to human health have some of the poorest solutions because they lack the big picture data needed to discover new interventions or get current ones to the right person at the right time in the right way. Professor Buchan will explore how citizens can mobilise their data to radically improve the way science, industry and healthcare tackle big challenges such as antimicrobial resistance, pandemics, NHS winter pressures and the global mental health crisis. He will also discuss how AIs that are changing our interactions with healthcare can be made more useful and trustworthy through civic cooperatives of citizens shaping what we want and need from future AIs.

Watch the full seminar on Youtube!

September 13th: Data and digital literacy and inclusion


Professor Simeon Yates,  Professor of Digital Culture and Joint Director of the Digital Media and Society Research Institute

Dr Gianfranco Polizzi, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Communication and Media

Watch the full seminar on Youtube!

Read more about Professor Yates and Dr Polizzi’s work:

Me and My Big Data

Developing a Minimum Digital Living Standard

Futureproof: A comprehensive framework for teaching digital citizenship in schools


October 26th: Participatory Data Stewardship Community of Practice Launch

Launching a new programme of work led by Reema Patel on participatory data stewardship. The ESRC Digital Good Network, Civic Data Cooperative, and the Ada Lovelace Institute discussed past and future work on participatory and inclusive data stewardship.


Octavia Reeve, Associate Director, Ada Lovelace Institute

Reema Patel, Head of Deliberative Engagement at Ipsos

Emily Rempel, Public Participation Manager, Liverpool Civic Data Cooperative

Watch the full seminar on Youtube!




October 18th: Algorithmic Impact Assessments


Lara Groves, Researcher in AI and Public Participation at the Ada Lovelace Institute

Watch the full seminar on Youtube!

Read more about Lara’s work:

Algorithmic impact assessment: user guide

Algorithmic impact assessment: a case study in healthcare

November 22nd: Developing a social license for Children’s Rights in artificial intelligence


Dr Mhairi Aitken, Ethics Fellow in Public Policy, Alan Turing Institute

Watch the full seminar on Youtube!



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