Save the date: OKFestival Community Session

This is a cross-post from the Open Knowledge blog, by Katelyn Rogers, Working Groups Community Manager at Open Knowledge.

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Save the Date: We are thrilled to announce that the Open Knowledge community is organising a community session on Tuesday July 15th, 2014 from 1pm – 4pm, before the festival officially starts. This will be taking place at the OKFestival Venue, situated in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin.

We are delighted that so many community members will be in Berlin this summer and are pleased to have the opportunity to bring everyone together to reflect on the opportunities and challenges we face as the Open Knowledge community. Christian (International Community Manager at Open Knowledge) and myself will be helping by taking care of the logistics but the session and its agenda is completely community driven! Rayna Stamboliyska, co-founder of Open Knowledge France and the main initiative-taker behind this session, already volunteered to help lead this but she would love to get help from 2-3 community members (write to local @ okfn . org and we’ll connect you).

Outreach will be made to all of you over the coming days for ideas for the session. Already, people have suggested topics such as:

  • Mechanisms for providing better support and follow up to local groups and ambassadors.
  • Developing mentorship opportunities and peer-to-peer support within the community.
  • Discussing the different challenges, depending on local contexts and more globally how do we root more of some shape of organized effort in the Global South.

We are thus expecting a great deal of ideas, proposals and topics to discuss. We have decided to let the discussion of topics happen over the next week or 10 days in order for everyone to chime in. We’ll then organise the input and set up a community call to finalise and strategise the program of the session.

In summary: Help brainstorm more issues to discuss and put together the agenda and other details. As the Open Knowledge community grows and diversifies, it is important that we get together and address opportunities and challenges but also take advantage of these rare moments to enjoy each others company!

Photo CC-BY by Volker Atüeras Gäng

Global Open Knowledge Festival Meetups – a warm-up in 3 steps

It was just last week that we invited the open communities to start collaborating and warming up for the upcoming Open Knowledge Festival. Today we can already share with you the learnings and outcomes of the first OKFestival Meetup (in Berlin) – as we would love to imagine it, this was just the first in a long, diverse and busy series (no pressure, it’s all up to you!).

Folks from the Open Knowledge Foundation, Code for All, Free Software Foundation Europe, Open Bank Project, AfricaHackTrip, Hacks/Hackers, and Open Product Data facilitated a great evening of skill-sharing, peer-to-peer learning and exciting findings from each other’s projects. We spread the word about open (what is open? What does open knowledge mean? How many things around us can be open?), dug into a multitude of open projects and started discussing and writing down first ideas to be proposed for the festival (we’ll call for the community’s proposals to shape the agenda very soon – sign up for the festival’s newsletter to be the first to know when).

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But which are exactly the ingredients that made the evening special?
We listed them and thought about sharing with you all – and you’re welcome to have a go too.

* Diversity – the speakers came from different open communities (and countries, and languages) and we also invited people who wanted to discover more about open to join. Both newcomers and experienced folks in the open fields found a lot to learn from each other. The open ecosystem spreads itself in all directions, from open source, to open culture, government, science, education, environment and even to products we buy at the supermarket. There is so much to learn, talk about and share – and our peers can be the best source of new exciting discoveries. This doesn’t mean that multiple topics are always recommended, but inviting people with different backgrounds can often be a plus.

* Online meets offline and viceversa – some of our attendees and speakers lived in the city we organised the event in, but that would be just half of the fun. Everybody was invited to join the conversation from anywhere in the world: on Twitter (ping the OKFestival crowd anytime including #OKFestival in your tweets), the events’ etherpad (prominently and publicly displayed during the event) and we also had a speaker from another country! Our guest this time was Katelyn Rogers talking about Open Product Data from the UK (see her projected on the wall in our pics). We missed to have Brazilian friends joining due to the overlapping Encontro Nacional de Dados Abertos on the same date – but next time we’ll be together. Hint: find time zones reasonably suitable with yours and ping people passionately working in the open space to invite them to your OKFestival Meetups! (The Open Knowledge Foundation Network could be a good place to start with)

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* Participatory format – we all love listening to a thrilling lecture, but sometimes attending a talk with just a short Q&A at the end just doesn’t satisfy our curiosity to know more about new topics and people. So we experimented and organized the Berlin evening as a speed geeking session. What is it? Each project (and project’s presenter) has a table with chairs around. Participants are divided into groups, and each group starts sitting at one table, and talks with the presenter for 5 minutes. After that, at the sound of a gong (a kitchen pan, in our case) it’s time for each group to move to the next table and project. And if 5 minutes were not enough, there’s time (and rehydrating drinks) immediately after. It was a lot of fun – we’ll add the format to the Events Handbook soon.

So, what are you waiting for? Wherever you are, whatever is the field of open you’re passionate about, however you want to meet (be it in an embassy, in your kitchen, or in a bar!) – run your OKFestival Meetup! And don’t forget to share all about it on the dedicated etherpad; we can’t wait to hear what open means to you, feature your greatest meetups, and make OKFestival happen with you!

Open Knowledge Festival Meetups all around the world – now!

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We’re getting closer to the Open Knowledge Festival (Berlin, 15-18 July 2014 – save the date!) and it’s time to roll up our sleeves!

OKFestival (as friends call it) will gather people from all the open movements, communities and projects of the world. Planning and making stuff together will be awesome. So why should we wait until July?

We invite people from the global open space to start meeting up, in person and online to:

* spread the word about open and the festival with anyone who’s not (yet) familiar with them – be the spokeperson of open!
* share details about each other’s projects, learning more about other crowds’ actions and discovering synergies
* think about what amazing projects and ideas you would like to participate in, and what contributions you can make
* if the sparks sets off – team up with diverse groups and start planning to do something together at the festival (individual proposals are great, but sometimes the bigger the team, the bigger the fun – just a suggestion)
* (materially) support OKFestival itself. We’re working on offering a very affordable event, from tickets prices to financial aid opportunities. If you have leads to organisations who might sponsor the event or give a grant, please get in touch with
info@okfestival.org
– thanks!

The Open Knowledge Festival aims to give all its participants the opportunity to show/ share/ discuss/ make: that’s why it’s time to get ready to impress!
We’ll:

* publish a Call for Proposals soon, inviting the open communities to come up with the most groundbreaking, participatory and interactive submissions ever
* offer open space and time for spontaneous sessions at the festival, which will be a very important element of the festival’s programme

And more than this: how to share ideas across pre-OKFestival Meetups?

* With this etherpad. Here we invite people organizing a pre-festival event to document projects and ideas emerged during the meeting and anyone to chip in and get in touch / propose connections
* Mixing up online and offline. If you have an offline meetup (from 5 to 500 people!), invite folks to join online from other countries (a Berlin meetup will experiment with this this week). If you have an online event, if the connection permits say hi face to face via hangout or exchange dates of the upcoming conferences you’ll attend and get the chance to meet some of your online peers.

Questions, hints? Feel always more than welcome to drop us a line at
info@okfestival.org
.

Get meeting, sharing and making!