Outlier, the Data Visualization Society’s annual conference, is about to kick off its third year! And, for the first time, it will be a hybrid event: online and in Porto, Portugal, from May 3rd to May 5th, 2023.
The Data Visualization Society (DVS) has put a lot of effort to bring together all corners of the data visualization community—from artists, to developers, to journalists, and scientists—helping us stretch our vision of what we can do with data.
The conference is designed to be inclusive, diverse, and creative, with plenty of opportunities to find inspiration, network with the community, and learn.
Why Outlier is different from other conferences
- We run a public call for speakers, which attracts not only well known thought leaders, but also rising stars who are shaping the field.
- We have lightning talks, five-minute pre-recorded presentations on a dataviz topic, to showcase even more talented individuals in data visualization.
- We allow all ticket holders to host an unconference, a one-hour long session that can be hosted by anyone in attendance. Previous unconferences included talks, panels, discussions, Q&A / AMA (Ask Me Anything), hands-on learning session (e.g., workshop, hackathon, sketching contest), and fun activities (e.g., show your pets, Asian snacks, games, and music.).
- We offer multiple pricing options because we don’t want the price of a ticket to be a barrier for anyone who wants to attend. We also offer discounts to all the dues-paying DVS members.
- The conference runs during several time zones to cater to our global community.
What we’re most excited about
Because of the pandemic, 2023 will mark the first year that Outlier will take place virtually and in person. We are so excited to welcome the dataviz community in the vibrant city of Porto, Portugal—the country’s first ever conference for the industry.
We are expecting around 250 participants in Porto, as well as keynote speakers and panelists. The conference sessions will cover a breadth of topics, including data art, dashboards, public health, and journalism, among many others. Outlier speakers include:
- Nadieh Bremer, data visualization artist
- Johnson Anyona, supply chain advisor at inSupply Health
- John Burn-Murdoch, columnist and the chief data reporter for the Financial Times
- Shirley Wu, award-winning creative focused on data-driven art and visualizations
- And more! (Check out our draft agenda for updates.)
If you’re joining us in Porto for Outlier 2023, we’re excited to share that Nadieh Bremer and Shirley Wu will host their first signing for their award-winning book, Data Sketches! Bring your copy or get one up there.
Outlier will also host a live recording of the Explore Explain podcast by data visualization expert Andy Kirk, who will interview the Nightingale team. (If you ever wonder how we make our magazine, don’t miss it!) Andy is currently asking for reader’s feedback, so there’s a chance you might also be featured.
We are hosting the event in Porto’s Super Bock Arena auditorium, a reimagined building from the historic Pavilhão Rosa Mota. It has a superb view of the city, an adjacent park, and a nearby library—the perfect place to unwind and for all the introverts who need a break after too many social interactions.
The sessions will be thematically grouped into five categories: Infographics and data storytelling, business intelligence and analytics, data art and innovation, inclusivity and accessibility, and data literacy, culture, and teams.
A robust experience for virtual participants
The best part of this year’s Outlier is that we are still offering a virtual option for those who won’t be joining us in Porto. We are expecting around 300 people to attend online, but the virtual platform will gather all participants (in-person and online).
Virtual participants can watch all the livestreams from Porto, the recordings, and the virtual talks, as well as submit unconferences, and participate in networking activities.
Whether you are in Australia, Africa, or the Americas, you will probably be able to watch parts of the conference live.
Tips to get the most out of Outlier
Do your homework!
As with most industry conferences, it is always better to have a clear idea about the talks you plan to listen to, the speakers and attendees you want to engage with, and the most relevant side events you want to attend. Even if you are a speaker, it is good to know what will be happening outside of your presentation to get the most out of the event.
Networking is not easy, especially if you don’t have a mutual contact to introduce you, but people tend to be open to dialogue at conferences, so take advantage. Gather more business cards than you give out. Practice your elevator pitch. Try to find connections and possible partnerships. Take notes. Ask questions. Learn.
Set specific objectives, rather than trying to be everywhere at once
Big international conferences are daunting (even for social butterflies). There is often too much information to process in such a short time. So set some goals, such as connecting with dataviz people, finding partnerships, or learning about a new topic. But above all, just try to accomplish a few objectives while enjoying the event and having fun.
For Outlier, specifically, the conference will run almost non-stop for three days (here is the draft agenda). You will miss talks, people, and sleep. Prioritise what is most important to you, even if it’s a quick nap. All talks will be available later on our YouTube channel. The activities and unconferences will not.
In an era of information overload, let’s embrace the fact that we can’t do it all, and that is fine. Take time to enjoy the cocktail, connect with your peers, and listen to that talk just because.
Two or three days are sufficient to establish long-lasting connections as long as you follow-up. Engage with people you have met—not just to ask something, but to thank them for their time or to send information that they might consider interesting.
Consider sending a note to a speaker you enjoyed listening to (they will appreciate it!). Write your thoughts about your experience for yourself or for publication in Nightingale. Take the time to let all the information from the conference sink in and then figure out the best way to apply it.
If you haven’t already, you can still buy your tickets here. DVS dues-paying members get 50 USD off standard virtual or in-person tickets! You will be attending one of the biggest dataviz conferences, while also supporting DVS in its mission to support the dataviz community.
Marília is an international relations analyst and communication specialist.
She is the founder of Global Diplomacy, a platform for researching, discussing, and exploring ideas about international relations.
Marília is also the Events Director and a Board Member of the Data Visualization Society.