The Dear Data project started as collaboration between Georgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec. Both Lupi and Posavec have connections to data visualization through information and graphic design and they decided to embark on a project that brought them together as friends: collect data on an aspect of their lives every week and make a hand drawn visualization. Then, send the visualization by snail mail to their friend.

It was an exercise in observation and creativity and it spurned a gorgeous collection of art that they published in a book in 2016. Others in the data space have adopted the idea and used it in teaching statistics and data analytics. Basically, it pushes people to think past the bar chart and find new and engaging ways to see data and tell a story using data.

At the Connecticut Data Collaborative, we love a good data visualization. And in leading data literacy workshops across the state, we’re always trying to help our users find their inner data person.

So, in 2018, we’d like to challenge ourselves and our users to join us in a Dear Data project. We’ll be proposing a topic for your data collection on the first of each month. During that month, we’re asking you to pick a week and find the data in your everyday life. Collect data for one week in whatever format works for you and after one week, take some time to think about your data, what it tells you. Then, by the 25th of each month, show us your data visualization! You can choose your medium: hand drawn (and scan or send to us), drawn with an ipad or other drawing app, create a viz using an app--get really creative. Then, send your viz to: Before the end of the month, we’ll pick our favorites and share them via social media.

In January we’re proposing you track your progress on a New Year’s resolution. Maybe you want to exercise more, eat better, get more sleep, meditate, or read more. Whatever your resolution, pick one week and pay attention. Collect data to track your progress and at the end of the week, think about the ways you’d like to tell your data story.

We’ll be doing the same thing. And we will post a sample data story using sample data we’ve collected next week to provide some inspiration!

Happy collecting!