The Python Study Group at RUSTlab is an open space for everyone who is interested in collectively developing a better understanding of computers, code and programming practices as well as exploring the sociotechnical depth of code and coding with a specific focus on the programming language Python.
Start from scratch or meet other people to dive deeper with. Whether you want to focus on data analysis and visualisation, contribute to an open source project for qualitative data analysis or retrace the history and practices contained in a specific function or library, let’s come together, get the basics (working through “Learn Python 3 the Hard Way”) and find shared interests and projects.
In the previous semester (Summer 2020), we collaborated closely with the Python Study Group at ETHOS Lab of ITU Copenhagen by gathering online on their Discord server. Due to the ongoing pandemic, and a full schedule, we skip our Winter study group. We will be back though!
As computation becomes ever more present in our lives, so do the calls for „digital literacy“ – even in cultural studies and the social sciences. But in drawing an analogy between more or less basic knowledge and skills regarding the functioning, use and programming of computers with the ability to read and write in one’s own native language as the foundation of cultural participation, calls for digital literacy tend to inherit an implicit but highly problematic, homogenising and hegemonic concept of culture.
Therefore, the Python Study Group at RUSTlab is not joining in with the noise and buzz around digital literacy or STEM education in order to develop a set of skills deemed to be canonical. Instead, we think it is important to highlight the complex and heterogeneous configurations and entanglements that constitute code/culture. But we don’t want to just think about it in a detached and abstract sense but actually engage with code and coding, by reading, writing and running it.
And what better way to do that than playful tinkering and collaborative familiarisation with one of the most popular programming languages of our times: Python? Even though the Python Study Group is not a digital literacy training, we will develop new skills and knowledge. But even more important, we cultivate our sensitivities for the wealth of stories to be found and told in, about and with code.
Such a mind bending group activity is way too important to be taken too seriously, though. It should first and foremost be a lot of fun. That is why we emphasise the collective character of the Python Study Group. Let’s come together, code, fail and laugh together. But we do need a resource to get a basic understanding of Python. There is a great book called “Learn Python 3 the Hard Way” by Zed Shaw (LPTHW). Sounds fun? It really is.We will use this book and the many well explained exercises to become familiar with Python as we code along and eventually work on our own projects and topics of interest. But that is not to say that we can only use LPtHW. there is a wealth of great resources available that we can also share and use.
Acknowledgements: The Python Study Group at RUSTlab is inspired by an initiative of our friends at ETHOS LAB (IT University of Copenhagen): https://ethos.itu.dk/python-study-group/ Special thanks to Veronika Skotting for sharing her experiences coordinating the Python Study Group at ETHOS LAB.