Mariam Gamkharashvili ‘08
Project title: Coloring Communication with Data
Project Location: Tbilisi, Georgia
$1300 in 2015 FLEX Alumni Grant Program Funding
To introduce young professionals from regional areas of Georgia to new data analysis, illustration, and storytelling techniques Mariam Gamkharashvili ’08 conducted one-day data visualization training in cooperation with a local NGO JumpStart. The event took place in Tbilisi and attracted a large applicant pool. The event resulted in training 42 participants from eight regions of Georgia on emerging trends in the field of data visualization.
The training started with two introductory presentations, in which experts from the partner organization Jump Start talked about emerging trends in the field of data visualization based on the examples from media and news coverage from the South Caucasus region. Trainers posed the questions, “Why is it important to use visualization tools; what impact do these tools have on a story, and; how to preparing a multi-media story?”
Participants, consisting of journalists, statisticians, and web/graphic designers worked together in learning how to use new tools for mixed-media storytelling and effective design and illustration techniques. “Making complex stories and data accessible to large audiences is the key to successful communication,” Miriam noted. “By sharing knowledge about data visualization, I wanted to make the participants from regional cities more competitive in their fields and inspire them to explore the subject further.”
The project turned out to be a great success. Participants stayed after the training to ask questions and learn about other opportunities. Following the project result evaluations, Mariam learned the vast majority of the project participants were eager to learn more about multimedia storytelling using new and innovative designs and tools such as Jump Start’s tool Storybuilder, which is an online, free storytelling tool that helps researchers and journalists to tell their in a more effective and attractive way. With the positive feedback and motivation to share more with those who attended the training Mariam plans on holding a follow-up group session during which the participants will have a chance to use their new skills and also learn about other storytelling options available.