Last year we worked on a Making Future Work commission from Broadway Nottingham and Arts Council England.

We looked into Open Public Data in the East Midlands. We talked to data owners and compiled research (which we’re still compiling) with a view to making something with the data. We also wanted to help data owners see the value in opening their databases as well as artists, designers and developers see the potential for making new works and services out of them.

One dataset that we were successful in partially unlocking was the Arts Derbyshire membership database. This is a spreadsheet of artists, their practice and their location within the county. We were allowed to use the arts practice and location but not the name of the artist or organisation.

So, we made This Is Arts Derbyshire – a mapped visualisation of artists in the creative county.

Picture of the This is Arts Derbyshire website.

It shows clusters of artists in a location. The more you zoom in, the more granular it becomes. You can browse by ‘Artist’ or ‘Organisation’ as well as by all the different practices that are registered.

There are a few interesting uses for this kind of thing that we can see already…

For one, it shows how creative the county is. In our experience working with people like the Creative Industries Network in Derby, the creative output of an area is intrinsic to its value – both in the appeal for people thinking about moving there and for the fiscal benefits of small businesses.

It can help people thinking about doing business there. The map can show a strong network or the lack of a service, depending on the business needs.

It can help local businesses find other businesses to work with nearby.

We’re interested to hear about other uses you can think of. Leave us a comment is you can think of anything.

We’re also interested in hearing from any other holders of data who would like to explore ways in which they can present their data like This Is Arts Derbyshire or our work on the Birmingham Civic Dashboard.