Data for policy in the Welsh language


It started with a camp

Open Data Camp was held in Cardiff a couple of weeks ago. It is a free gathering of people from across the UK and further afield who are interested in publishing or making use of data. Especially open data.

Ben from the ODI-Cardiff core team pitched a session on the target the Welsh government has set to increase the number of Welsh speakers to 1M by 2050 (roughly a doubling compared to today). The discussion focused on what forms of data and what models are available or could be developed that would help inform and guide policy at a national or local level to meet this target.

A live blog of the session and collaborative notes are available (in English only) so we won’t repeat what was covered here.

We have a project

We will be doing some work on this within the ODI-Cardiff community over the next few weeks.

What we definitely plan to work on includes:

  • Taking the population growth modelling for Wales as a whole and for local authorities (from StatsWales) to look at what seems likely to happen to the language with no further interventions
  • Looking at the population growth models in more detail to see what sort of interventions in schools would be necessary to get close to meeting the targets
  • Looking at the local authority data to make estimates of what each local authority might reasonably need to achieve in terms of Welsh speakers to contribute to the 1M target over all

We would like to work on things like:

  • More sophisticated modelling based on an understanding of how levels of speaking other minority languages have changed in other contexts
  • Building a model of Wales and language use so that the likely impact of policy interventions can be predicted and policy can be improved up front

Staff from the National Assembly took part in the session and are keen to see what the community can do with the data that is currently out there.

We’d really like your help.

We especially need people with modelling skills (in any field not necessarily Welsh language models) and people who know about language use and change.

That said, enthusiasm is the key skill. If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch now.

(We don’t have any funding for this, this is strictly a volunteer and community project).

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