Grandmothers and Godmothers in analysis and analytics

The other day, I noticed this enigmatic tweet from Namita Nandakumar (link):

I was delighted to see this announcement and the queries it brought about. Namita’s news seemed a long way from the slow writing process discussed by Anastasia Miari’s Grand Dishes project. “Grand Dishes is a cookbook that preserves; an interaction between generations, a sharing of stories most powerfully told through the recipes that have seasoned these grandmothers’ lives” (link).

The juxtaposition of Namita and Anastasia was brought into focus by Anastasia’s post on Medium (link). In it, Anastasia describes the way conversations about cooking have led to other thoughts about life experiences. She observed the Grand Dishes project began as a personal project “to finally gather all of my Greek grandmother’s recipes interspersed with her insights on life (sometimes philosophical, other times blunt and cutting). After discussing the idea with my best friend Iska Lupton, whose German granny is equally gifted in the kitchen, we set about cooking with as many grandmothers as we could find” (link).

The tweet and the post set me off thinking about how what we do in analytics now might help us celebrate the achievements of the grandmothers and godmothers who established practices that have become part of who we are and will be. I have tried to write about some of these early figures in our history but I am mindful of how little we know about them and the gender equity issues they faced as they sought to analyse performance (link). Anastasia’s post indicated the kind of conversations we might have had with those pioneers in the 1930s as they sought to research a gender charged debate about whom may play what game and in what format.

We have more and more women in senior roles in analytics. Anastasia’s cookbook exploration provides a fascinating example of how we might celebrate the lives of those women who are transforming our practice (link). Namita’s tweet reminds us that there are other ways to share changes, how we might aggregate these and have a record of our provenance.

Photo Credits

Grandma (Anastasia Miari, Medium)

Western College on College Day 1912 (Miami University Libraries, no known copyright restrictions)


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