Research Bazaar: less like a conference, more like a festival

March 16 / 178

The Research Bazaar Conference (ResBaz) was held over three days at the University of Melbourne’s South Lawn earlier this year, with the aim of increasing literacy in digital research tools and skills. 

The conference drew more than 250 attendees from all over Victoria who spent three rigorous days learning one of eight tool streams: Python, R, Matlab, NLTK, Data Acquisition & Cleaning, CAD Autodesk Inventor, 3D Slicer & D3 Data Visualisations.

Spearheaded by the Research Platforms team at the University of Melbourne in 2015, ResBaz has since expanded to multiple sites across the globe, with parallel ResBaz conferences run in Auckland, Perth, Dunedin, Brisbane, Sydney, Guayaquil, Vancouver, Oklahoma and Wellington. The international community was connected through the #ResBaz Twitter hashtag, which trended both Australia and Melbourne-wide throughout the conference.

A main focus of ResBaz 2016 was diversity - with the central recruitment strategy focusing on selecting attendees from various career stages, institutions, ethnicities, gender identities, and digital skillsets. 

ResBaz fast became a diverse community of support where attendees were united under a common goal: to do research better, faster, and smarter. Such rich diversity allowed attendees to learn from one another, develop potential collaborations, stimulate a sense of mentorship and challenge one another.

ResBaz was not purely an academic conference. Attendees were invited to camp on South Lawn next to a large red Bedouin tent, practice yoga throughout the afternoons, do data arts and crafts at a dedicated MakerSpace, hear inspiring research talks at NerdNite, and talk to community leaders who work with researchers in spaces of support - within the academy and beyond! 

ResBaz therefore felt more like a festival than a conference, a place where researchers came to learn new skills and left as a new member of the ResBaz community.

Finally, ResBaz was the official kickstarter to the services offered by Research Platforms (ResPlat) year round. ResPlat helps researchers with research-specific IT - offering data storage and management, cloud and high performance computing services and running training workshops for a variety of research skills and tools. You can read more about ResPlat here.

Read more about ResBaz 2016 here or learn more about the ResBaz community here.

Story by Dejan Jotanovic

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