Back in November last year, I went on a photo walk through Digbeth, Birmingham led by photographer Pete Ashton and sound artist Sam Underwood. By using my ears, a stethoscope, various recorders, and contact, hydrophonic and omnidirectional microphones, Sam encouraged me to slow down and listen to the hidden sounds of the city. When you think of the constant sounds of a metropolis, you might think of road traffic, trains, police sirens or the murky hubbub of conversation.

Opening public data has gained a real head of steam in the last year. The idea is to make publicly-held and non-personal data freely available for reuse by public bodies, individuals and businesses. Practically, it’s about making data easy to find, easy to license and easy for others to re-use. Public bodies create, collect or use all kinds of information every day. From building applications to job centre vacancies, welfare benefits to MPs’ expenses.