Belinda Weaver was recently hired by the Carpentries as their new Community Development Lead. We are delighted to welcome her to the NumFOCUS family! Here, Belinda introduces herself to the community and invites your participation and feedback on her work.
I am very pleased to take up the role of Community Development Lead for Software and Data Carpentry. Building communities, helping people connect, fostering skills and learning, brokering solutions — these are the things that drive me. I also love teaching, whether it be Software Carpentry workshops, Library Carpentry courses, or training new instructors.
Past jobs I have had include librarian, repository manager, newspaper columnist, Internet trainer and IT project manager. In my last job, I worked for a non-profit organisation making eResearch infrastructure available to Australian university researchers. It really showed me how urgent the need for researcher training is.
I have been a fan of Software Carpentry since first hearing about it in 2014, when I organised the first ever Software Carpentry bootcamp in Brisbane that year.
I certified as a Software Carpentry instructor in 2015 (and as a Data Carpentry instructor the same year), then certified as a Carpentry instructor trainer in late 2016. I have since helped train three cohorts of instructors. I currently serve as the Software Carpentry administrator for half of Australia. This means helping people in other Australian states and territories organise workshops. I also served on the Software Carpentry Steering Committee for eighteen months, but stepped down when I took this job.
I was one of the organisers of the very successful 2016 and 2017 Brisbane Research Bazaar festivals — three-day research events to skill up graduate students and early career researchers and help them find their ‘tribe’, whether that be in a discipline such as ecoscience or around tools such as R or Python.
In June 2016, I organised a sprint to update and extend the Library Carpentry material created by Dr. James Baker and others in the UK. More than 20 people in six countries worked on updating the material. Interest burgeoned. Library Carpentry won the British Library Labs award in November 2016, and there have been 30 workshops held worldwide since the 2016 sprint. The recently concluded 2017 sprint attracted 107 people at 13 sites worldwide.
Software Carpentry has really taken off in the southern hemisphere, with strong communities developing in New Zealand and South Africa as well as Australia. In this role, I plan to continue that work, train more instructors, get more partnerships across the line, if possible, and make sure we extend Software and Data Carpentry workshops into new, under-represented countries and communities. I also hope to improve communications and to create opportunities for all our instructors and supporters to become more involved and to feel more valued.
I don’t intend to be just a southern hemisphere community builder — I want to help build Software and Data Carpentry communities worldwide. And I am keen to hear your thoughts; please post your ideas here. Feel free to contact me any time at bweaver AT carpentries.org too or ping me on Twitter.