Develop your creative practice, business, or cultural organisation by harnessing the power of your data to develop insights and inform decisions, and maximise your creative service, product, or experiences for audiences.

Wednesday 19 May–Wednesday 23 June 2021
Caroline Parkinson, Sector Engagement Manager, Creative Industries, Edinburgh Futures Institute
Prof Chris Speed, Chair, Design Informatics, Bayes Centre/ECA
Shannon Vallor, Chair, Data Ethics, Edinburgh Futures Institute
Adam Carter, Programme Manager, Edinburgh Parallel Computer Centre
Ewelina Lacka, Lecturer in Digital Marketing and Analytics, University of Edinburgh Business School
Ian Gordon, Director of Impact Enhancement/Dissertation Advisor, University of Edinburgh Business School


This 6-week programme will provide 1.5 hours of weekly subject input from data experts, supported by online resources and case studies from creative companies. Each week a correlated question will be posed for you to explore in your own organisation.

This course is designed to:

  • Build your data knowledge
  • Develop confidence in handling your own data
  • Create a self-directed action plan supported through the course

You can test your thoughts and emerging plans through engagement with your peer group and live Q&A with tutors, as well as learning from creative industry case studies. This is a guided process to allow you to confidently explore alone or with your teams the observations you have made, and move towards an agreed action plan you can implement at a specific time to suit your creative organisation.

Is This Course For You?

This is a non-credit-bearing course for those at an early stage of working with data and designed for creative and cultural companies from sole traders and start-ups, to relevant department officers within cultural or creative organisations (such as marketing, audience development, ticketing), as well as creative sector trade bodies and commercial companies who may find it useful for upskilling those with new data related job responsibilities or new recruits, and for those who may wish to have a fresh look at how they are handling their data this course may help highlight areas to consider and support the development of a revised plan.

What You'll Learn

  • How to recognise the different types of data in a creative business and the range of creative technology that uses or generates data.
  • How design methodology can help identify the touch points in the data journey, data collection and user experience.
  • How the data you collect can best align to your business objectives and support their achievement.
  • How to identify and address any data strategy gaps, and the skills and/or design development that may be required.
  • How to manage data, processes and protocols, design interactions with other data sets, and data protection, ethics and governance.
  • How to understand who's who in data; exploring the various roles, demystifying functions, responsibilities, titles, skill sets.
  • How to move from spreadsheets to dashboards and use data visualisations as a tool for decision making, and how to layer other data sources for greater insights.
  • How to find out what else lies ahead in data driven innovation.
  • How to use other resources, support, learning and research/innovation collaboration.

About the Course


6 weeks with post-course follow-up

Wednesdays: Week 1 and 6 15.30–17.00 and Weeks 2-5 14:00–15:30 (online delivery – video tutorials with live Q&A)


  • 1.5 hours input per week
  • Exploring data questions in your workplace, approximately 1 to 2 hours per week
  • Homework 2 x 1 hour (pre-session videos in week 3 optional and week 4 recommended)


The course will take place online. It will be delivered through live sessions and some self-directed learning.


Week Date Description
Pre-course questionnaire
Week 1 Wednesday 19 May
  • Data in the creative industries
  • Design and data
  • What is the potential of data?
  • Case study
  • Self-directed learning question
Week 2 Wednesday 26 May
  • Examining business objectives and collected data are in alignment
  • Gap analysis
  • External sources of data
  • Case study
  • Self-directed learning question
Week 3 Wednesday 2 June
  • Making good data visualisations
  • Data metrics and visualisations as decision-making tools
  • From spreadsheets to dashboards
  • Case study
  • Self-directed learning task
Week 4 Wednesday 9 June
  • Managing data: processes, protocols, security, storage, data flow and system design
  • Who’s who in data
  • Data ethics
  • Self-directed learning task
Week 5 Wednesday 16 June
  • Leading digital/data transformation
  • Planning for change
  • Case study
  • Self-directed learning task
Week 6 Wednesday 23 June
  • What's next in data-driven innovation for creative innovation?
  • Interactive exercise
  • Signposting to further support
  • Action plan development and sharing (optional, voluntary)
Week 10 post-course follow-up with Facilitator, Caroline Parkinson, to support any queries, concerns, signposting to further learning, or research innovation funding

Case study interviews by Jessica Armstrong:

  • Brendan Miles, The List Magazine
  • Michelle Waddell and Rob Innes, Wyoming Interactive
  • Angus MacFadyen and Will Cavendish, Pufferfish
  • Varun Nair, Two Big Ears


Participant Price
Sole Traders/Freelancers* £150
Companies with 2–50 individuals* £250
Companies with over 50 individuals £500

*Scottish Funding Council Workforce Development Funding Support — 45 funded places have been awarded to support those adversely affected in the Creative Industries by the impact of Covid-19 to enable upskilling through this course. This support will be available to those in * categories who meet the eligibility criteria on a first come first served basis.

This course is run by the Edinburgh Futures Institute in association with the University of Edinburgh Business School and Design Informatics, with industry contributions.


Please make sure to register before Monday 17 May at 16:00 to ensure that you will be able to join the course.