Our partnership with the Carpentries

We share The Carpentries vision of teaching researchers to develop software and data skills that contribute to correct, reproducible and reusable research, as well as best practices in openness, sharing, crediting and collaboratively developing research software. 


Our history with The Carpentries

The Institute became involved with what was then Software Carpentry (now a lesson programme within The Carpentries) in 2011 by developing online lectures in advanced shell tricks and systems programming in Python. In April 2012, we participated in the first UK Carpentry workshop, led by the Software Carpentry's creator, Greg Wilson, at the University College London. A fortnight later, in conjunction with the Digital Institute at Newcastle University and SoundSoftware, we delivered the first workshop run entirely by UK instructors, independent of Greg Wilson's team. 

We have since been involved in a large number of workshops run in the UK and helped to deliver workshops worldwide. In February 2013, we volunteered to coordinate Software Carpentry activities in the UK. In early 2015, soon after the set up of the Organisational Membership scheme, we became a Software Carpentry Foundation Partner, a partnership which has now moved to The Carpentries. We inspired and helped many UK organisations and groups to start delivering Carpentry workshops and explore their individual partnerships with The Carpentries. 

The Institute organised the UK’s first Data Carpentry workshop in November 2014 at the University of Manchester. In 2015, we started helping Greg Wilson run Instructor Training to train new cohorts of Carpentry instructors and increase the size of community. Since then, we have taught at 25 Instructor Training events and helped train over 500 instructors in the UK and worldwide.  More recently, in 2022, together we The Carpentries we developed and piloted a new Collaborative Lesson Development Training curriculum, teaching good practices in lesson design and development and open source collaboration skills, using The Carpentries Workbench lesson template. In 2023, with The Carpentries we co-developed Lesson Developer Trainer Training - a curriculum for training Carpentries Lesson Developer Trainers, preparing them to teach Collaborative Lesson Development Training

"We are pleased to have the Software Sustainability Institute take over coordination of UK workshops. The Institute shares many goals and values with Software Carpentry, and we believe this partnership will benefit both organisations."

Greg Wilson

The Carpentries

Founder of Software Carpentry

The Carpentries Project

The Carpentries, as it's nowadays known, was formed in January 2018 when Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry foundations formally merged. Later that year, they were joined by Library Carpentry, a similar initiative for teaching people working in library and information-related roles. Software, Data and Library Carpentry are now the official Lesson Programmes within The Carpentries umbrella.

Other Carpentries are emerging and joining the global Carpentry community. For example, Data Carpentry now has many new branches under its programme - for social sciences, digital humanities, astronomy, ecology (the original curriculum), genomics, geospatial, image processing, economics. HPC Carpentry, even though not an official Carpentry Lesson Programme, follows the same pedagogical approach to lesson development and teaching and is designed to help new users take advantage of high-performance computing systems.

Software Carpentry was the first to be established, in 1998, and teaches researchers to create purpose-built tools, whether a Unix shell script to automate repetitive tasks or software code in programming languages such as Python, R, or MATLAB. This lets them build programs that can be read, re-used and validated, helping them to share and reproduce their research. Software Carpentry was rebooted in its current form in 2010, and the Institute played a significant role in spreading the programme in the UK and Europe.

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Since 2014, Data Carpentry teaches particular and recommended open source tools to do reproducible and scalable data management and analysis, and how to work with data more effectively (using R or Python). Data Carpentry lessons are domain-specific, with coverage in life sciences, astronomy, geography, digital humanities, social sciences, and many other upcoming domains.

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Library Carpentry was initiated by James Baker, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow 2015. James used his Fellowship funds to launch the initial Library Carpentry workshops, which in the first year attracted 59 participants from 14 institutions in London and reached 200-250 librarians. Since then, a number of workshops have run in various countries across four continents and Library Carpentry became an official Carpentries Lesson Programme.

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HPC Carpentry, while not and official Carpentry Lesson Programme, is a related initiative that started around 2016/2017 (initially in the UK and Canada) and shares The Carpentries core values and Code of Conduct. It is aimed at providing researchers with skills needed to effectively use HPC (High-Performance Computing) resources for research. The primary audience of this teaching are researchers (with no prior computational experience) in different domains (but typically not computer science) and the aim is to provide them with training to take advantage of HPC systems. 

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From foundational skills to instructor training and lesson development, we run and facilitate a range of workshops in the UK.
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