SSI Fellows Newsletter: August 2022

Posted by j.laird on 2 August 2022 - 2:00pm
Stay connected written on a computer
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona 

Welcome to this month's SSI Fellows Newsletter which shares activities and opportunities taking place within the SSI Fellows' community. Read on for:

  • Fellows' Spotlight: Diego Alonso Álvarez and Anna-Maria Sichani
  • July 2022 Community Call recap
  • Fellows' and related activities
  • Upcoming events and calls

Fellows’ Spotlight

Diego Alonso Álvarez, RSE Team Lead at Imperial College London

  • Call update: Graphical user interfaces are a basic feature of any, everyday software tool we use, whether they are web, mobile or desktop applications. For research software, GUIs are not that common practice, which is what I tried to solve with my Fellowship. Since April 2021, I have delivered 3 workshops on GUIs for research software, providing practical guidance and advice on how to tackle the challenge. The workshops were well attended and all the materials were made publicly available. Originally planned as in-person events, they were finally delivered online, which ended up being an advantage as it enabled participants from all over the world to join. Setting up a community of practice around GUIs was not that successful but the experience gained was very valuable in deciding what we can train researchers to do and what knowledge is too specialised, better-suited for RSEs.
  • Non-work highlight/achievement: Actual holidays. Spending time with my partner and daughter just travelling together across Spain, with no connection whatsoever with work. Now the little one is old enough to enjoy the trip and participate in what to do and see, as well as to stay with her grandparents leaving time for me and my partner to travel alone. Both options open a world of exciting opportunities - literally!
  • Recommendation: Tv series "Ms Marvel"

Anna-Maria Sichani, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Digital Humanities at the University of London. UKRI Policy and Engagement Fellow in Digital Research and Innovation Infrastructure.

The Congruence Engine: Digital Tools for New Collections-Based Industrial Histories (TaNC-AHRC).

  • Call update: 

    As part of my SSI Fellowship I am focusing on how to better support the integration of best research software practices in (Digital) Humanities workflows and structures, by raising awareness within the community through various pedagogy and engagement initiatives as well as by contributing to policy making. First, I ‘invested’ in my own (training) skills in terms of software and project management: I got my Carpentries Instructor Training, an Agile PM Foundation & Practitioners certification. In order to explore the (re)use practices of software in Digital Humanities, I co-organised a mini-workshop/roundtable with Emily Bell as part of the Collaborations Workshop 2021 entitled (Do not) make it new: On Reusing Research Software and Tools in Digital Humanities Scholarship. In early 2022 I got an AHRC - UKRI Policy and Engagement Fellowship in Digital Research and Innovation Infrastructure, aiming to support the design and roadmap exercises of an AHRC-led Digital Infrastructure for Arts and Humanities. Through this Fellowship I co-organised a iDAH Research Software Engineering (RSE) Steering Group to leverage RSE provision within AH infrastructure planning and I am collaborating with Shoaib Sufi and Emily Bell on a report on the AHRC Digital/Software Requirements Survey 2021, which will be out in autumn 2022.

  • Non-work highlight/achievement: I made my own granola ! As a breakfast-type person, I was struggling to find the perfect granola (not-too-sweet, not-too-crunchy, spiced-enough). This is why I embarked on a culinary journey trying to create my own granola. A couple of weeks later and a couple of burned oats after, I can say that I have *the perfect granola* for my breakfast yogurt (you can also eat it as a snack).
  • Recommendation: The Lost Daughter, a film by Maggie Gyllenhaal, based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante, with Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson. Also ‘Your reality’ by Sylvan Esso (music).

Community Call Recap

During the July SSI Fellows Community Call, we heard Fellows’ updates from Diego Alonso Álvarez (2020) and Anna-Maria Sichani (2020) - you can watch the recordings here and here, respectively. In breakout rooms, we discussed mental health, effective workload management, software documentation for research and RSEs, a flexible curriculum for skills that RSEs need, and had a digital humanities/cultural heritage catch-up.

Fellows’ and related activities

  • Seeking Coding Confessions panellists at RSECon22 - Colin Sauze is hosting a panel at RSECon22 (on Thursday, 8 September at 11:00 BST) on Coding Confessions which started as a Collaborations Workshop 2021 Hackday idea. He is looking for people who develop/have developed software to talk for 5 minutes about a coding mistake they've made, what impact it had and how others can prevent themselves from making the same mistake. Please contact Colin on or message via Slack if you're interested.

Upcoming events and calls

  • CarpentryCon 2022: Expanding Data Frontiers - CarpentryCon is an exciting - and free! - way to connect with The Carpentries community and “level up” data science skills.The event, taking place over two weeks in August, features sessions that will draw participation from across the globe. The programme will include: lesson development sprints; professional and community skill building; technical skill-ups, including tool tips for GitHub, Zoom, R, and Snakemake; regional subcommunity updates; updates on new curriculum development; and more.
  • RSECon22 - The sixth annual conference for Research Software Engineering. 
  • Write the Docs 2022 - Write the Docs brings everyone who writes the docs together in the same room: Programmers, Tech Writers, Support, Designers, Developer Advocates, and more. We all have things to learn from each other, and there’s no better way than sitting together and talking. We invite you to join 300 other folks in our event to explore the art and science of documentation.
  • Do you have an idea for a guide you’d like to see but can’t find on our website (or beyond)? Get in touch with Communications Officer Jacalyn Laird and we’ll look into developing these.

The monthly SSI Fellows Newsletter aims to share activities and opportunities taking place within the SSI Fellows' community. The newsletter will share a summary of the latest community call, as well as contributions and calls for collaboration from the SSI Fellows. We are looking for newsletter items related to events, webinars, workshops, resources, job and funding opportunities that SSI Fellows are involved in or looking for support with (submit via this Google Form). If you have any questions, please contact Community Manager Rachael Ainsworth at

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