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Tapestry, The Conference About Storytelling With Data

Tapestry is a new conference on storytelling with data. While it focuses on visual ways of telling stories in journalism, there will be a broad range of topics, and a line-up of amazing speakers.


The highlight of the conference will be the three keynotes.

  • Jonathan Corum is Science Graphics Editor at The New York Times, and also runs his own design studio. His work combines data with a strong sense of story, and has been a great resource for my research. He also won Best of Show for his amazing Guantánamo Detainees graphic at Malofiej earlier this year.
  • Scott McCloud is the author of Understanding Comics, a visual storyteller (he created the fantastic comic to explain Google Chrome when it came out), and communicator. His methodical approach to understanding how comics work is inspiring and very directly applicable to visualization.
  • Robert Kosara is Visual Analytics Researcher at Tableau Software and … the proprietor of this little website. My research at Tableau is on how to communicate data and make it part of a story. I will talk about what I have found, and where I think we are going.

Short Stories

One session will consist of short stories about data, data storytelling approaches, etc. These will be short and meant to stir discussion.

While the list of short stories is not yet complete, it already contains some amazing people: Nigel Holmes, Pat Hanrahan, and Cheryl Philips (The Seattle Times).

The Venue

Let’s face it: most conference hotels are boring, interchangeable, faceless chain hotels. One badly lit, bland ballroom with terrible acoustics looks like the next one. Which is why I’m particularly excited about the venue for Tapestry. The Union Station Hotel in Nashville, TN, is a former train station. Yes, it belongs to a faceless-hotel chain, but it is a real beauty with a lot of history and character.


Tapestry will take place on February 27, 2013. That is the day before the NICAR Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference, a date we chose deliberately to make it easy to combine travel for NICAR attendees. Nashville is close to Louisville, KY, where NICAR is held. We will organize transportation for Tapestry attendees who are also going to NICAR to make this easy and so people won’t have to leave early to catch planes.

Want To Attend?

The conference is limited to 100 participants, and invite-only. We have already filled a good number of seats, but we are looking for more people who are interested in storytelling with data. In particular, if you are a journalist, work for a non-profit or government agency that wants to (or already does) communicate with data, or are an academic interested in this topic, click the request invite link on the Tapestry website. Tell us a bit about why you are interested in attending.

A limited number of travel sponsorships are available for journalists, administered through IRE. If you are interested in one, please include that in your invite request.

Posted by Robert Kosara on December 17, 2012. Filed under conference.