Tapestry had another successful year in 2014. This time around the event was held in the Historic Inns of Annapolis, MD. In its two year life the conference has adopted a signature feel I haven't found anywhere else: single day, single track, a small crowd of around 100, and, of course, a great mix of speakers broken up by plenty of socialization time. Together these elements make the annual conference feel more like a retreat than anything else.
The biggest thing that I took away from tapestry conference this year was the healthy atmosphere of criticism we have managed to foster as a community.
Presenters were up on stage criticizing or defending the work of visualizers present in the room. This generated plenty of follow-up discussion during breaks. And the best part about it was that people want more of it.
What I love about the data visualisation community is that there are many different opinions but no rifts, only debate #tapestryconf— Andy Cotgreave (@acotgreave) February 26, 2014
DataViz conf idea: series of innovative & classic graphics. Convo on stage btwn viz creator & a detractor. Much 2 be learned from both sides— Jen Christiansen (@ChristiansenJen) February 26, 2014
The fact that this idea popped up several places suggests there's something to it. I try to achieve a facsimile of this with some of the articles on The Why Axis but I love the idea of live critique with the opportunity for rebuttals. I also can imagine a format where the participants get together in a room and record / live-stream their conversation to a much larger audience on the web.
If you want to team up and make this idea real then don't hesitate to get in touch. I think it could help provide the next layer of social glue to solidify the data visualization community as one at home with constructive criticism.