Data Literacy for Data Stewards Registration is Open

by Bob Gradeck

March 10, 2023

The session is full. If you want to participate, please email us at and we’ll let you know if a space becomes available.

What is data literacy and why does it matter? 

We will be holding our second round of Data Literacy for Data Stewards training workshops this spring. This series emphasizes the importance of thinking critically about creating, applying, and managing data and technology.  

In these workshops, participants will learn to ask questions about data and technology, reflect on how their actions and decisions impact people and communities, and identify how data and technology are used to reinforce systems of oppression. They’ll also develop strategies to institutionalize the values of equity, fairness, and justice into the data and technology practices and infrastructures of their organizations.  

Our twin pandemics of COVID and structural racism have highlighted the need for data practitioners to expose and dismantle technologies and practices that reinforce and amplify powerlessness, discrimination, and injustice. Increasing data literacy is just one of the ways to protect members of our community. Here are just a few examples of harms caused by data and technology in recent years:  

Who are we looking for? 

This series is designed to bring together people whose lives and communities are impacted by data, along with everyone that has a role in the data life cycle. People involved in the data life cycle include those that invest in, design, and manage data systems, data producers, data stewards, and people that use data to make decisions that impact communities. We’re seeking participants from community and nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, offices of elected officials, colleges and universities, local foundations, and civic institutions.  

Thanks to support from a local foundation, there is no cost to participate. 

What will we cover? 

We believe that “learning by doing” is a great way to build skills and confidence in data literacy and explore issues of power and privilege in data. Workshops will be structured around a series of interactive, participatory activities where attendees will work together in both small and large groups. 

Topics covered in this series of peer-learning activities will cover: 

  • Missing data 
  • Classification 
  • Stigmatizing communities  
  • Data context  
  • Data visualization 
  • Dashboard design
  • Data privacy
  • Algorithms and surveillance technology
  • Data management 
  • Purchasing data and technology
  • Data governance 

We will not provide training in how to use software in this workshop series. All workshops will be delivered in English. 

What does it mean to participate? 

In our spring 2023 cohort, we’re looking for up to 40 people to participate in weekly 90-minute virtual workshops as part of our initial 12 workshop series, and may offer an additional in-person or virtual workshop to explore additional topics. While most of the work will take place in the workshop session, there may be one or two optional assignments or self-directed activities included in the series. 

We plan to start the series the morning of Friday, March 31 with an in-person celebration where participants from the first (fall 2022) and second cohorts will get to know one another. The workshops will then move online starting on Friday, April 14 at 11 am. We will hold sessions nearly every week at that time into July. We’ll send calendar invitations to all participants several weeks before the start of the series. 

Benefits of participating 

As a result of participating in this series, you’ll  

  • Build confidence accessing, using and sharing data  
  • Make your personal and organizational data practices more inclusive and just. 
  • Engage in a fun and collaborative learning experience 
  • Build relationships and connections with others in Pittsburgh 
  • Share your expertise and experience with peers 
  • Get help from others with your data challenges 
  • Receive a certificate that may be suitable for framing. 

Who is organizing the training series? 

The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center is organizing this training series. The Regional Data Center is a civic data partnership between the University of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and the City of Pittsburgh that works to make information available and accessible and works with partners to apply data for community impact. Through this series, we hope that participants will strengthen their practices, become more-responsible and more-confident stewards of data, and work to dismantle or avoid building oppressive systems. 

How do I register? 

Fill out our form or contact the team at the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center via email if you’re interested in participating You can also use the email for questions.

What people are saying 

Participants in our first cohort offered testimonials about their experience. These are legit actual quotes people offered at the end of the first cohort, and not stuff we made up to try and get you to spend time with us.  

  • “The Data Literacy for Data Stewards workshop series highlighted the need for an equity focus around data practices. Discussing this important topic with colleagues in a highly interactive, activity-based workshop series allowed me to grow, ask questions, and learn from others in the field and apply what I learned to my future work.”  
  • “This was an amazing course on data literacy and I feel like I learned a lot but truly appreciated the participatory interaction and process.” 
  • “I would encourage anyone who even tangentially deals with data in their day-to-day work to take the Data Literacy for Data Stewards training. It provides you with useful insights that change the way you relate to data in a welcoming, participatory environment.” 
  • “The Data Literacy for Data Stewards series was an engaging and eye-opening experience.  I know that I will bring the insights that I gained to my work going forward.”