Mala Bruja Alleycat

For this blog post, we are heading to the U.S. -not for Halloween, but the night before – Witch’s Eve! I’ve been keeping my eyes open for one event in particular. I’ve been waiting in earnest to see what happened this year for Mala Bruja NYC Alleycat Race. This is an all-female charity Alleycat Bike Race.  But alas, it seems like it didn’t go ahead this year.  I’m still posting about this awesome race as I think it is important more people recognise, appreciate and celebrate the wonderful diversity of urban riding culture – and nothing does that more than Alleycats. I’m sad it didn’t go ahead this year, but these events can be challenging to organise, so maybe next year. Either way, kudos to those who did make an effort to make it happen for the last couple of years. We salute you! We definitely need more events like this one- and most critically in Aust!! Enjoy! NG.


This weekend most Americans are celebrating Holloween.

The night before Halloween is Witch’s Eve.

For the last two years, an ultra-cool crew headed up by Caro and Kenya have put on an all-female charity Alleycat bike race in NYC on Witch’s Eve.

I have been following this event. I think it is a great initiative and I wish there were more like it! Reminds me of the good olde days when I helped out at Melbourne Alleycat races – what a blast!

Earlier this year, BCC reported on the Melburn Roobaix, which is  an annual urban bike race through Melbourne’s cobbled laneways.  Melbourne Roobaix is always a smash hit with local riders – and they had an impressively high number of female riders this year.

So , I got super excited for this year’s ride after seeing KymNonStop’s video of the NYC ride from last year (see below).

KymNonStop also has a solid Mala Bruja Alleycat Recap blog post that is worth the look to see what happens at such events.

What is an Alleycat bike race?

Alleycat bike races are something to behold. They are informal race bike held in cities where riders need to navigate local streets and traffic to make check points and get back the fastest. It is also a massive social get together, have some fun and ride bikes with your mates.

Alleycats are well known for having a strong participation and fun focus. Some ride to compete, others just to be part of the fun.

Race formats for Alleycats can vary – but usually, there is not official race course that riders must take, but there are check points that need to be met. Riders get a map of the check points just before heading off and are free to make their own way there and back.

The fastest rider to meet all check points and get over the finish line is the winner.

Mala Bruja Alleycat- Bicycles Create ChangeImage: KymNonStop

Alleycats races are unsanctioned and can be run during the day or night. Riders race through city streets and have to navigate normal traffic and vehicles while the race is going on. This is why Alleycat races are often perceived by many to be quite dangerous.

Meeting check points must be authenticated in some way. This varies depending on the race, but is often something like a stamp, badge, signature, or some other object that must be gathered at each check point as evidence.

Mala Bruja Alleycat- Bicycles Create Change
Source: Bike your City

Often there are activities and/or obstacles at each checkpoint. These can fun, entertaining, challenging and range from easy to hard. Activities could be beer-drinking, eating dry Weed-Bix, doing exercise (like 20 star jumps) or some bike skill –  like track stands, monos or jumps. They are designed to add a little more variety and fun to the race – as you can see in Dave Gustafa’s video below, which was posted on the Alleycat Facebook page.

The map of race checkpoints is usually provided right before the race starts, so riders who know the city well have a hometown advantage – hence the attraction for bike couriers. Participants can pretty much ride anywhere they need to to make the checkpoints – on or off-road, through buildings,  parks, uni campuses, between houses – where ever and however is needed.

Alleycat races can be ‘sticky’ (official vs. unregulated), dangerous and controversial. They are not for everyone, and it can be hard getting one organised.

Mala Bruja Alleycat- Bicycles Create Change
Source: Meg Watcher

What is the Mala Bruja Alleycat Bike Race?

It is an all-female dress-up charity bike race around New York City. The event has been running the last two years and has had a great turn out. It is well supported by entrants as well as spectators and support crews and family, friends and fans.

It costs $10 to enter the race, with the money going to charity.

All bikes are accepted (not just fixes) and costumes are highly encouraged.

Two years ago was the inaugural Mala Bruja ‘Hellcat’ race. With short notice and planning, the event still managed to pull over 70 female riders on the night. If you want to find out more details of this event, of which there were over 70+ women- lots of ace photos too!

See more pics from the 2015 Male Bruja Alleycat thanks to Bike Your City Photo Essay of the event.

Last year the event was held again and was also a spectacular success. It was called the Mala Bruja Alleycat Revenge.

Australia does not have a massive bike courier culture like NYC or San Franciso. However we do have a dedicated and cool crew in all major capital cities.  Personally, I’d love to see some more events like this happening in Australia.

Mala Bruja Alleycat- Bicycles Create Change
Source: Bike your City

Races like this show the awesome diversity and variety in bikes, riders and lifestyles – and is a great way to bring people together.

Even if you are not up for riding in an Alleycat, helping out at one of the races (or checkpoints), or going to spectate is a brilliant way to support the event.

As the world heads more for mainstream and conservative conformity – events like the Mala Bruja Alleycat are so important.

Although these events are often secretive when unregulated (so you need to know the organisers, riders or bike messages who are part of it to know of the race) yet they still contribute much mystique, diversity and spice to our current urban cycling milieu.

Love them or hate them, Alleycat events like the Mala Bruja ticks many boxes: they are social, healthy, recognise bike skills , promote inclusion, have strong participation females urban rides, raise money for charity, bring community together and nurture our valuable, unique and much-needed sub-cultures.

 

General Public – Think outside the bike!!

Personally, I think there is incredible value in recognising and celebrating the uniqueness and variety in the biking community. It disturbs me that the vast majority of the general public view ‘cycling’ as being the lycra-clad road riders and that essentially this is the pervasive stereotype of what a rider or cyclist is.

Such views negate the massive diversity in styles and types of riding – both urban and track like: MTB, fixi, singlespeed, trials, Enduro, fat bikes, Tall bikes, Unicycles, tricycles, e-bikes, Cyclocross, Crits, bike packing, BMX, DH, Cruisers, Communters, cargos….and the list goes on and on. Each of these styles has their own rich and vibrant communities.

I think all these bike ‘sub-cultures’ need to be valued and recognised as being part of the awesome variety and character that form our current biking community.  I can only hope people look beyond the the lycra to see how amazing, distinctive and fertile our biking and cycling communities are. Viva la Alleycats!

Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress

This time last week, the Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress (APCC) was being held in Christchurch, NZ from Tuesday 17th Oct – Friday 20th Oct.

I wasn’t able to go as I had my PhD Confirmation paper and seminar due smack in the middle – doh! Otherwise, I would have been there for sure and I had a session to present. It will just have to wait until next year!

What was on at the Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress?

The program for this year looked jammed packed full of interesting sessions. Check out the program link below and see what session takes your fancy.

Get the APCC Program and daily schedule here.Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

The link above also gives the daily schedule and a number of the speakers provided their presentations for public distribution.

All sessions were divided into these key themes:

Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

I like that there was also a bit of personality coming through – as evidence,  I was delighted to see Jo Clendon’s poster abstract had a footnote for the term ‘bike user’ as being:

Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

The APCC event is a great forum to share ideas and get inspired. I would have like to have seen more Asia-Pacific-ness in the mix (very Oceania focused). As far as I could see there were no sessions from East Asia, South Asia or Southeast Asia – and there are some amazing projects going on there!

I hope to see more recognition for countries that are not usually considered to be ‘cycling’ countries to be better represented, included and instrumental in biking discourse and practice. I’d like to see more initiatives from India, Indonesia, Philippines, Timor, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the like. I know it is far to travel to NZ from these countries, but I’d really dig seeing some more diversity and range of contexts and ‘life world’ experiences in this conference’s program (in fact in all ALL conference programs!).

Who was presenting?

As you would expect, there were HEAPS of NZ presenters covering a massive array of planning, economic, behavioural, community, research and other projects – impressive!

As I have said before, NZ is by far whooping AUS arse on so many fronts (least of all NBN, Politics, Supporting Outdoor Industries to name a few). However, NZ’s progressive, strategic and forward-thinking development and integration of cycling an biking nationwide are envious. I go to Rotorua every year to ride and have posted before on a number of fun and admirable aspects of how riding and bike feature prominently in NZ.

I’ve also said before how easy, convent, and enjoyable it is being a cycling tourist in NZ. I’ve posted on how easy it is to get around in Rotorua, and some of their great community projects like the Dad’s n Lads bike events, as well as the formidable urban strategic plans within the major cities ( like Rotorua) that make biking a normalised way of getting around town – as well as being part of the larger picture to connect the whole country from top to bottom by bike paths – awesome! So NZ is by far a cycling leader on many fronts – and AUS would do well to learn from their NZ counterparts.

 

Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

I was happy to see Brisbane represented:

  • Mark Pattemore’s (Brisbane City Council) Better bikeways for Brisbane.
  • Sarah Wilkinson (QLD Government) Cost-Benefit analysis of recent major cycling investments across QLD.
  • Narelle Haworth (QLD), Kristin Heesch (QLD) & Ashim Kumar Debath (VIC) Individual & Environmental Correlates of motorists passing distance of bicycle riders

As well as other Aussie presenters:

  • Cameron Munro (CDM Research, Melb) Designing for Bike Riders on local road roundabouts
  • Peter Metcalf (Wagners, Aust) Cycling the Hawkes Bay NZ region in safety with the aid of a clip on cycleway

And some OS delegates:

  • Tom Ransom (Isle of Wight, UK) School travel behaviour change
  • Thomas Stokell (USA) Bike Data Analysis – a comparison between 21,000 NZ riders and 180,000 riders from around the world
  • Jurgen Gerlach (Germany) with Axel Wilke (NZ) & Alistair Woodward (NZ) Safe…. but only if it’s efficient
  • Tyler Golly  (Canada) & Ryan Martinson (Canada) How to achieve rapid change for cycling outcomes

There were so many great NZ sessions that it would be too much to include here – suffice to say, it is well worth checking out the program link above in bold to see which session is most interesting for you.

October is the month for it!

The APCC is run in conjunction with Biketober, Christchurch’s month long celebration of all things bikes. Seems like October is the month for such events if Bike Palooza (Bendigo, VIC) and Biketober (Christchurch, NZ) is anything to go by!

Here is some of what is on for Christchurch’s Biketober.

Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress - Bicycles Create Change.com

Recommended for PhD Confirmation

PhD Confirmation happens about 1.5 years into your research. It is a major milestone to check you are on track before you go out for data collection. Essentially, it is a pass or fail milestone – but they don’t actually say it like that, they call it ‘recommend to continue’ (pass) or ‘recommend to revise’ (fail).

After the candidate gives their 30-mins presentation, there is an open Q & A. Then everyone (including the candidate) is asked to leave and the panel (your supervisors, the HDR Convenor and your independent assessor) discuss the work in private. Then only the candidate is invited back in. Then, in private the panel give immediate feedback on the study and the presentation and let the candidate know if they are recommending for continuation or not.

On Friday I had my PhD Confirmation Seminar

PhD Confirmation is a big deal as it is the first time you show your research to anyone outside of your supervisory team. It is where you have to submit you first 4 dissertation chapters (Intro, Lit Review Theoretical Perspectives and Methodology). My first 4 chapters comes to 191 pages and 50,718 words. Two weeks after you submit your Confirmation paper, you present your work.

So on Friday, I  presented my PhD Confirmation seminar to explain, justify and defend my bicycle NGO research study.

Here’s my PhD Confirmation flyer.

Bike PhD Confirmation- Bicycles Create ChangeA Successful Seminar! Recommended for PhD Confirmation!

I’ve been recommended to proceed with my study!

It was a very stressful and interesting process putting the seminar together. Big decisions  had to be made about what to leave in and what to leave out.

My study is pretty complex, but I managed to get it all organised on the day.

The seminar itself went well. There was a great turn out and it had the largest attendance to date! While waiting for the seminar to start, the audience started singing The Pushbike Song, which boosted the energy in the room instead of being so formal and academic (which it was) and made me feel very supported. There were some good questions at the end from the audience at the end, which I was able to answer and had slides prepared for (phew!) to the point where the questions almost looked like a plant (they weren’t!).

I got called back in and was asked the difficult questions in private. No surprises in the immediate feedback I received. The study will need more shaping and ‘massaging’ and I already have a few other ideas I’d like to change and discuss with my supervisors.

I get the Confirmation reports from my panel back in 1-2 weeks.

I’m very interested to hear the feedback!

The panel has recommended me for PhD Confirmation! Yahoo!

This recommendation goes to the Dean of School of Education & Professional Studies to be approved. It is rare that a panel’s recommendation is overturned, but I still have to wait for the official approval from the Dean.

Bike PhD Confirmation- Bicycles Create Change

I was completely wiped out at the end of the seminar.

For the last 4 weeks, it has been a massive big push to get my Confirmation paper prepared and then to arrange  the seminar.

My brain is officially mush.

I am happy with the result, but too tired to celebrate just yet.

My main task over the weekend is to have a glass of red wine while reading a good book in the bath – and recharge!

Bike Palooza

If I didn’t have to heave my head in the books for my PhD Confirmation paper – I’d be in Bendigo, VIC celebrating Bike Palooza Bendigo! You lucky buggers! NG.


Bike Palooza Bendigo - Bicycles Create Change

In July earlier this year, I met Jac from Bike Bendigo at the National Cycling and Walking Conference (Adelaide).

On meeting, we immediately hit it off.  We had a shared passion for promoting more bikes in our communities. We were both keen to attend each others’ sessions, but we had to present at the same time! Eck!

We swapped contacts and have stayed in touch since. I was delighted to see that Jac, Bike Bendigo, their local partners and what looks like their whole community  – have been super busy because  October is Bike Bendigo’s Bike Palozza month-long festival!

Bike Palooza Bendigo - Bicycles Create ChangeWhat is Bike Palooza Bendigo?

Essentially, Bike Palooza Bendigo is a month long bike festival hosted by Bike Bendigo to celebrate and promote biking, cycling and riding in and around the community of Bendigo, VIC.

Bike Bendigo is a community based organisation committed to getting more people on bikes in Bendigo. They partner with local council to promote the local area as a principal bicycle destination for all types of riders – and they are doing a damn fine job of it too!

They are very activate on social media and have some great little videos uploaded onto Facebook.

Bike Palooza Bendigo has been in the media and it is great to see local businesses getting behind Bike Bendigo and the event and supporting it.

A well thought out event.

Kudos to the organisers as the event has been extremely well thought out, in relation to timing, types of events and locations.

Also, the consistency and originality of the event marketing theme (website, colours, animations etc) is original and distinctive – and there is a limited line of event pennants and T-shirsts and badges available.

This is a wonderful month-long event with over 120+ events to check out- it is very family friendly and definitely something for everyone!

There is the Ride2Work day, the inaugural Bendigo Cycle Classic, the Filmed by Bike International Bike Film Festival, Free Wheeling Fun open shed, Open Streets and heaps of community rides to name a few.

Bike Palooza Bendigo - Bicycles Create Change

Filmed by Bike– Friday 20th Oct @ Bike Palooza 2017

My hot tip event not to be missed is the Filmed by Bike screening.

This free event will be a screening of two of shows from the world renowned international bike film festival from Portland, Oregon: Bike Love and Adventure Shorts. To see these films – head down to: Hargreaves Mall this Friday (20th Oct). 6.30pm for 7pm start of films. Click here for more details. There will be a pop-up bar, plenty of comfy seating provided on the night, so BYO picnic, dinner and ride on it to see the screening.

Mind you – I’m keen to go on any of the community rides as well!!

Bike Palooza Bendigo - Bicycles Create Change

I have been immensely impressed with the amount of work that Jac and the Bike Bendigo crew have put into the Bike Palozoo extravaganza. Amazing!

Congrats on such a brilliant showcase of your region, your town and for creating such a positive dialogue about, and promotion for, bike-friendly communities…and for extending the invitation for more cyclists to come a enjoy your very welcoming and bike-friendly town!

I can’t wait to head down and come for a ride!

Have fun to all those heading to Bendigo to support this awesome event, I hope you have a bikey-blast!

For those who have not yet gone – get on ya bike and get down there!

All images: Bike Palooza Bendigo.

PhD Confirmation Paper

Hooray!

Finally!

I’ve handed in my PhD Confirmation Paper!

Looking forward to hearing what the independent assessor says about my 4 Chapters….Intro, Lit Review, Theoretical Perspectives & Methodology.

It was a missive big push to have it all done….I keep reminding my supervisors that I am Part-Time researcher. Also, that I only want to do one PhD at a time (…bad joke – but true!!)

Thanks to Deniese, Annalise, TK and all the others who helped during this time – I will not forget you!

Woohooow!

Bicycles Create Change.com

Now time to start on my 30-mins Confirmation Seminar for next Friday!

My eyes are sore, my brain is mush and I am (almost) to knackered to celebrate!

It does feel quite surreal to see it all not the one document  -with all the fancy referencing, formatting, images and sections.

Why do the PhD  Confirmation procedure?

At my uni – this is why you need to do a PhD Confirmation. It allows:

  • provide peer feedback to the candidate on the work completed to date through open discussion of the candidate’s research proposal
  • provide confirmation that the project is appropriate to the degree for which the candidate is enrolled
  • determine whether a candidate has made suitable progress during the initial stage of the candidature
  • ensure that adequate resources and facilities are available
  • confirm that satisfactory supervision arrangements are in place
  • identify any specific problems or issues (for example, ethics or intellectual property) needing to be addressed; and
  • determine whether the candidature should continue.

What does a PhD Confirmation paper include?

Here what my Uni requires for Confirmation papers:

  • the research question
  • where the question came from in the context of relevant literature
  • why the research question is important
  • how the research question is addressed including details of methodology
  • a bibliography of relevant literature
  • progress made to date; and
  • a timetable for completing the research
  • needs to be a summary 40 pages – or as instructed by your supervisor.

My supervisor said, don’t waste time condensing and editing a separate document, hand in the whole  first four chapters! So I did!

Why do my PhD in Africa? Give us a little taster!

I still get people asking me why my research on girls’ education is in Africa.

It’s  because that is were some of the most disadvantaged girls are.

The red areas on the map below show the most disadvantaged areas for girls education.

Bicycles Create Change.com

My PhD is at the intersection of education, poverty, culture, gender and location.

Bicycles Create Change.com

Aspects of gendered daily school travel, transport and mobility are key themes in my research.

Bicycles Create Change.comSource; Bryceson, Bradbury & Bradbury (2003).

I’ll be able to outline more once my Confirmation Seminar flyer comes out.

For now, I  very pleased to have handed in – but am also very tired,

Fingers crossed for me, and the Independent Assessor!!

Bike Picnic – Casino Plaza Protest

I’ve been working on my PhD Confirmation submission, officially due yesterday.  A PhD is self-directed research, so I self-directed and gave myself permission to hand in on Monday. It is so close. Rushing it will not cut it – and not handing it now will be subpar. It needs to be done right, but I won’t compromise my work, health, sleep or sanity to meet an arbitrary date. It is really shaping up and will be ready to go in no time! Hang in there!

For the last big editing push, I went to the Queensland State Library to work on my manuscript. I decided to take a break for lunch and pop across the river to see what bikey events were going on. What do you know – a bike picnic protest was underway! The perfect brain break! NG.


Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

Bike Picnic – Casino Plaza Protest

Space For Cycling (Brisbane) was holding a picnic on the site of the future public plaza and events space at the bottom of Queens Wharf Road in protest of the new Casino development.

It is right in the middle of the concrete jungle, between the North Quay Ferry terminal and Queens Wharf Road.

Part of  the protest was, that unlike the final plaza, they weren’t blocking the Bicentennial Bikeway, so riders and people still had a clear thoroughfare. Their event was to the side of the bikeway and utilising the paved areas for family and bike event such as speed out ballets, playing games and

It was all very civilised!!

A quick raw edit 

I threw together a quick hack raw edit (1’30”) while I was there (see below). My brain is struggling with all the fresh air and sunshine after working so much – but it is good to capture a little of the event.

 

Bicycles Create Change: Brisbane Bike Picnic Protest of Queens Wharf Road Casino Plaza Redevelopment from Bicycles Create Change on Vimeo.

So how was the event?

There was music going and it was nice to see people milling about and socialising. Some cyclists stopped to chat, while others passed through.  A few kids and families hung out and drew in chalk on the road, music was playing the BBQ keep everyone happy.

It was a good place for a protest picnic because it was underneath the Riverside Expressway, so the ‘ambiance’ was not your usual outdoor, park-style picnic feel, more the ‘urban, motorway, fumes and congestion’ kind of picnic feel  – which was also kind of the point as the new development it a touting the new soon-to-be plaza as being a social space for people to mingle and hang out….right under the noisy, busy motorway – hilarious!

Click here to get more info about the redevelopment or want to lodge an objection.

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

 

As the Space for Cycling BNE Facebook  page detailed: The Queens Wharf Casino and Resort Development will put a plaza and events space in the middle of the Bicentennial Bikeway. It’s a recipe for conflict and confusion. It’s simply poor planning! We held a picnic on the plaza to protest.

Old fashioned picnic games

As part of the fun, there were some old-fashioned party games on offer. Aside from being fun, the games were suggestive of the difficulties riders will be contenting with after the development is finished….like:
* Turtle races where the slowest rider won – to indicate how cumbersome the future trip along this stretch will be for riders trying to navigate the sea of pedestrians
* Obstacle courses – simulating having to make your way between stationary and moving obstacles without hitting anything or upsetting anyone
* Bicycle bell ringing championships – very much needed for safety (I was sorry I didn’t get to see this one! its one of my fav bike events!)

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

Reasoning for the protest

The Spaces for Cycling (BNE) website explains that: According to the group’s spokesperson, Belinda Ward, “The Bicentennial Bikeway is a very busy route for bicycle riders, and this decision will put all of those people on bicycles in a shared zone with pedestrians.”

“We are concerned that this will cause conflict between people who are moving through the area on bikes, and tourists and visitors attending events in the plaza”, she said. “Currently, the Bicentennial Bikeway is a way for people commuting by bicycle to avoid the congested promenade at South Bank, but it could soon end up even more crowded.”

“We decided to highlight the issue by occupying the space to have a picnic with some old-fashioned games for entertainment. But unlike the future casino development which will monopolise this public space, we’ll be ensuring the route is left open for people to travel through.”

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

 

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create
Bike Picnic – Casino Plaza Protest. Source: Space for Cycling (BNE)

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

Top List of Infosharing Software

The last post detailed the Advancing SQLR session I attended. At the end, I suggested a couple of design  programs fellow PhDers might look at using to present their data. I got quite a few emails and requests for a full list – so here it is!  If I am missing your favourite program  or you have another suggestion, let me know in the comments below! Happy Designing! NG.


Pedalhistory.com-Bicycles.create.change.com
Source: Pedalhistory.com

As a bike researcher, one issue I wrestle is adequately communicating the dynamicism, embodied and affective nature of people cycling through place, time  and space.

For me, 80,000 typed words, Excel tables and ‘theoretical anchors’ do not quite capture the thrill and rawness of riding a bike …(boring!!!).

I want my dissertation to bring my research to life – the bikes, the environment, the people, their stories and the African locations where my research is based. I want to capture it in all its glory…the sights, smells, topography, climate, risk, colour, activity…the lot.

So, I’m supplementing the written component of my PhD with a healthy dose of images, infographics and diagrams.

Producing these images has meant learning a few creative software packages. This has been challenging, but very rewarding. The design skills I’ve learnt are transferable for many purposes, like this blog!

History of cycling - Bicycles Create Change.com
Source: Infrographiclist.wordpress.com

My top list of Infosharing software programs.

Software Programs that are quick and easy for non-specialist users.
Additional functions (free trial period/ full pay access)

A few scientist mates have shown me simulation and real-time graphics programs they use for presentations. But these are a whole different ball game…I’ll look at them later, maybe for presentations – not so much for dissertations! (Stay focused! Another post!!).

Using the list above can produce more engaging data like:

Sydney bike commuters by gender - Bicycles Create Change.com
Source: City of Sydney Council (n.d.)

Other ideas from Research into Action. Focused purely on communicating complex data, this site provides some innovative ideas to get inspired….their suggestions on this topic are:

  • StatPlanet: this browser-based interactive data visualization and mapping application allows you to create a wide range of visualizations, from simple Flash maps to more advanced infogrpahics.
  • Xtimeline: allows you to create your own timelines of data.
  • Gap Minderthis site created by Hans Rosling allows you to upload data and create an interactive motion charts and graphs.
  • Creately: this is easy to use Online Diagramming software – purpose built for team collaboration.
  • Hohli: this online chart maker is simple to use and allows you to create a range of colourful pie, line, scatter, radar and bar charts.
  • Tagcrowdallows you to upload texts and highlight the most common concepts. The clouds can be exported as images and inserted in a website or power point presentation.
  • Wordle: similar to tagcloud, this application lets you create images out of key phrases and words relevant to your research, great for using in PowerPoint presentations.
  • Tableau: a free Windows-only software for creating colourful data visualisations.

Some examples of researchers presenting work in new innovative and visual ways:

  • Information is Beautiful: David McCandless, an ‘independent data journalist and information designer interested in how designed information can help us understand the world.”
  • Flowing Data: This blog explores how “designers, statisticians and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better.”
  • Afrographique: Ivan Colic’s “small contribution to assist the changing perception of Africa and it’s people…This blog aims to collect as much data as possible with the aim of presenting the information in an exciting and digestible format to all.
  • For inspiration and not so much for academic purposes, but shows how info can be presented in a very digestible way for the wider public – see Farming First. They have series of infographics on agriculture and the green economy in the context of international development which are simple and clear.

Next steps

No more boring text-heavy Excel data tables!

Creative visual data is more interesting to create and  far more engaging to read.

Get inspired with David McCandless’s video below and get experimenting to share more bike information!!

Good luck!