The Bank of England has announced details of its first data visualisation competition, in conjunction with the One Bank Research Agenda conference and the release of new publicly available Bank data sets. The winning entry will receive £5000.

We want to see what others can do with these data sets, to show something novel or insightful. The visualisation could for example be a static description of an interesting pattern or relationship in the data or the creation of an interactive app. You are free to focus on whatever you would like, as long as some of the newly available data is used!

Contest details

More details about the contest can be found here, but here's a summary of the salient points:

  • The closing date for entries is Friday 1 May 2015
  • There will be a finalist day on Thursday 4 June 2015 at the Bank of England (in London), where shortlisted entrants will present their visualisation to an expert panel.
  • Shortlisted entrants will receive a tour of the Bank of England and its archives
  • The entry can be created using whatever software you would like and can be static or interactive.
  • The final visual output should be hosted on the web (as a link), or submitted in an image format such as Jpeg, bitmap or a movie format such as MP4.


Three criteria will be used to judge the entries:

  • Does the visualisation show something novel or insightful that is relevant to the Bank?
  • Is the visualisation clear and easy to understand?
  • Is the visualisation aesthetically pleasing and original?


There are several new datasets that you have the opportunity to work with. You must use data from at least one of these sources but are free to combine with any other publicly available data also:

What topics and angles to explore?

The contest has an entirely open brief so you must take the responsibility to determine what you think is an interesting subject, angle or dataset to explore. The Bank has suggested you might find some inspiration on the topics that the Bank is interested on their Research page, which gives information on a wide range of themes.

Why should you enter?

There are some cynical views out there about the nature of visualisation (and any creative) contests. Some see it as a blatant attempt to get visualisation solutions created for a fraction of the fee you would normally charge. I have seen plenty of examples where this would be a fair accusation.

However, I take a different view with opportunities like this. If you have the time and interest then it is a wonderful way to practice your art, with good data to hand, a high-profile organiser, a generous timeframe and a pretty decent prize incentive! I always encourage students or training delegates to use these opportunities to get their hands on data and work with it, especially if it is about a subject about which they might not have great domain knowledgable - helps push you out of your comfort zone.