RSE Midlands Launch Event
Gavin Yearwood, on behalf of the RSE Midlands Organising Committee
On June 7th, 2022, the inaugural RSE Midlands event was held at the Edgbaston Park Hotel. This event had many hurdles to overcome with the first planned date being cancelled due to the 2021 winter lockdown. We also wanted it to be a fully in-person event for attendees and wanted to accommodate everyone and make them feel both safe and welcome. We did have a plan, and a dedicated committee with goals to make the event a success.
We designed a website (https://rse-midlands.github.io/) that would advertise the event as well as keep everyone updated on its progress. We created a Twitter account (@RSE_Midlands) to keep the event trending and be in contact with RSEs. To get a great location, with food as well as give out a lot of free merchandise (polo shirts, lanyards, stress balls and notebooks) we would need funding. With a website and Twitter account we also needed something to advertise we had to create an agenda and recruit speakers.
As a committee we worked extremely hard to succeed, we thankfully got funding from: The RSE Society, Lenovo, Nvidia and the OCF. The agenda was split into halves. The first talks were by Claire Wyatt on Regional RSE Societies and by Rachael Ainsworth about The Software Sustainability Institute Community and Events, with interactive workshops placed throughout. The first half had the purpose of defining what an RSE is and what an RSE does. These talking points brought together shared experiences and enabled the transfer of lots of people’s knowledge. The second half of the event had talks from Nvidia (Paul Graham), Intel (Andy Mallinson) and Lenovo (Jim Roche) and it covered many tools available that a RSE could use. The day turned into the founding of a new regional community that will continue to reach out to help and share information with Research Software Engineers throughout the Midlands.