THIS WEEKEND: Hack Migration at Datafest Ottawa (April 12-13)

Datafest Ottawa logo
How do you foster and inform conversations about migration and immigration?
Why, you hold a hackfest!

Wait. What?

This weekend is Datafest Ottawa, billed as "a two-day creative, collaborative blitz." (Love that) Here's a bit more:
We’re bringing diverse expertise together to brainstorm ways for technology to shed light on challenges in migration, whether through practical tools for newcomers, innovative visualizations or crunching data to tell essential stories.
I don't think I would have ever put immigration and hacking together, but that is why I love all things hacking, freedom of information and open data: by bringing together people from multiple disciplines, you can look at an issue from so many different perspectives and generate solutions that you might not have otherwise. In this case, the organizer, Louisa Taylor, is coming at the problem with a journalist's perspective. She is working with Open Data Ottawa to put together an event that will come up with solutions to help tell compelling stories and enable the better use of technology to address immigration and migration issues:
I’m not tech savvy at all, but I know a bit about what data can do for journalists, and what it can do for non-profits and researchers. I also know that while the field of immigrant settlement and research in Canada is huge, the sector is way behind when it comes to embracing digital design, social media and all the amazing new tools technology is creating every day... 
I saw the hackathon as a way to start conversations and connecting at the grassroots, and to bring together people who don’t normally sit down and talk about their work and passions.... what has been most exciting, seeing the positive energy build as the switches flip and people start to see what open data, tech and migration might be able to do together.
Datafest is running over Saturday and Sunday this weekend, and will consist of the usual hackfest format: pitches, forming of groups around ideas, working on ideas, developing pitches and presenting to a panel of judges. And there are prizes (including my new fave toy, Wipebook :)

If you don't get a chance to head to the event, follow along on Twitter via #datafestott.