[Open-education] Fwd: [okfn-discuss] Open Knowledge Festival update

Marieke Guy marieke.guy at okfn.org
Wed Feb 4 13:49:29 UTC 2015

FYI - for those of you wondering about this year's OKFestival

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[okfn-discuss] Open Knowledge Festival update
Date: 	Wed, 4 Feb 2015 13:06:41 +0000
From: 	Naomi Lillie <naomi.lillie at okfn.org>
Reply-To: 	Open Knowledge Foundation discussion list 
<okfn-discuss at lists.okfn.org>
To: 	Open Knowledge Foundation discussion list 
<okfn-discuss at lists.okfn.org>, Open Knowledge Foundation Local 
Coordinators Mailing List <okfn-local-coord at lists.okfn.org>, 
"wg-coord at lists.okfn.org" <wg-coord at lists.okfn.org>

Hello all,

I have bad news and good news to share:

The bad news:

Open Knowledge will not run a large international event in 2015 
(OKFestival or OKConference) - boo! :-(

The good news:

Open Knowledge will be supporting our Local Groups in running events 
around the world in 2015 and looking to hold future large international 
events outside of Europe - yay! :-)

Why isnt Open Knowledge running an OKFestival in 2015?

I'm very sorry for the disappointment I know this will cause - along 
with many of you, OKFest 2012 / OKCon 2013 / OKFestival 2014 were the 
highlights of my years since joining this organisation and network in 
2011â?¦ But weve been thinking hard here at OKI (meaning ??Open 
Knowledge International, the informal name for the organisation that 
supports Local Groups and Working Groups, and the rest of the network) 
and it really came down to asking ourselves how can we best support our 
groups around the world?

Point 1: representing an international network <https://okfn.org/network/>

Towards the end of last year, Rufus asked the question where should the 
next OKFestival be held? and members of the community on the 
OKFN-Discuss mailing list 
<https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-discuss>responded, as well 
as leaders of Working Groups and Local Groups who were specifically 
invited to share thoughts (see here for the original message 
search the archives <https://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/okfn-discuss/>for 
responses). A theme appeared in the answers: people dont want another 
European event, unless other parts of the world are being seriously 
considered for future events. That means we cant go ahead with business 
as usual, but need to rethink how we do things for our next event.

Its clear that, while the organisation seeks to support a global network 
of people passionate about open knowledge, historically we havent been 
very good at extending in-person support beyond Europe, despite the 
growing representation of areas of the globe through Local Groups, 
projects and staff hires. The School of Data 
<http://schoolofdata.org/>has been a brilliant flagship for reaching 
beyond Europe, with Partnership for Open Data 
<https://okfn.org/projects/partnership-for-open-data/>doing excellent 
work in broadening awareness and access of work already happening in the 
Global South, but generally the overall organisations efforts in running 
in-person events have been in Berlin, with the occasional foray into 
countries such as Switzerland, Finland and the UK (see our events page 
<https://okfn.org/get-involved/events/>for more information). We want 
that to change, and are committed to exploring how we can enable that to 
happen for future events.

Point 2: supporting the international network <https://okfn.org/network/>

Open Knowledge has arranged a fair few gatherings over the years, and 
enjoyed the partnerships with the Finnish and Swiss Chapters in running 
the 2012 and 2013 events respectively as well as liaising with the 
German Chapter over several years, but generally there hasnt been much 
room for supporting events around the community network beyond some 
promotion (such as here <http://okfncommunity.tumblr.com/>, here 
here <https://twitter.com/okfn>). Here at â??OKIâ?? we do our best to 
empower others to lead, and its pretty hard to lead when someone else 
takes all the attention! So, rather than effectively asking our Local 
Groups and Working Groups to compete with us if they want their own 
events (going up against Open Knowledge the organisation for scheduling, 
attendees and sponsorship), we want to step aside and encourage others 
to facilitate significant events that attract people from around the 
world to attend where they are located.

Furthermore, this organisation has its own agenda, goals, strategy and 
vision - it clearly wont be exactly the same as groups in the Africa, 
the Americas, Antarctica, Asia, Australia and indeed the rest of Europe! 
Open Knowledge â??Internationalâ?? doesnt claim to represent the UK, we 
just happen to be (mostly) UK-based; however we recognise that being 
primarily in the UK brings bias and assumptions, and we need the 
networks help to ensure other agendas and priorities are given 
centre-stage. Moving to the side-lines, to allow others to step in with 
their plans, is the right thing for this time - and, very excitingly, 
other groups are already starting to do just that.


While the organisation bounces enthusiastically from one big 
international event in one year to the next, we havent stopped to 
address how better to reflect our growing global network. Wed like to do 
that - but that means putting other things to one side; that is why were 
not running a big flagship event this year. Were stopping, breathing, 
surveying the scenery and thinking about what Open Knowledge should be 
representing through its events and in-person hands-on activities. Were 
already in touch with some of our amazing Local Groups, thinking about 
how they want to convene the network in areas local to them, and looking 
to see how we can best support from afar rather than assuming control. 
At present were considering our options in terms of how to investigate 
support structures for the Local Groups and opportunities for outside 
Europe in 2016 - be assured we'll be asking you all for your input.

Were excited about what the year ahead will bring!

What events can we look forward to instead?

Open Knowledge continues to support events throughout the Open movement, 
both remote (such as Open Data Day <http://opendataday.org/>) and in 
person, and are excited to be looking into supporting events from around 
the Open Knowledge community network in 2015. Various projects have 
geographic focus - such as Partnership for Open Data 
<https://okfn.org/projects/partnership-for-open-data/>, and FCO 
and of course the organisation will support events through the projects 
endeavours in those areas, too. In the meantime, keep an eye on our blog 
<http://blog.okfn.org/>for announcements, twitter 
<https://twitter.com/okfn>for updates and the community stories tumblr 
<http://okfncommunity.tumblr.com/>for local news.

Any questions?

Please feel to reply on this thread (as Im sure many will) or drop me a 
private message at this email address. I might not have all the answers, 
but Ill do my best!

Note on who I represent in this message: I am writing as 
Naomi-the-Open-Knowledge-[organisation]-staff-member, using we and our 
to mean the organisation rather than the network as a whole, and giving 
the official line rather than reflecting individuals opinions (this can 
get confusing, so I hope that clarifies).

With thanks for your kind attention over a long email,



Naomi Lillie

Network Director Â

skype: n.lillie  |  @naomilillie <https://twitter.com/NaomiLillie>

Open Knowledge <http://okfn.org/>Â Â Â - Â Â Â See how data can change 
the world

http://okfn.org/Â | Â @okfn <http://twitter.com/OKFN>Â | Â Facebook 
<https://www.facebook.com/OKFNetwork>Â |Â Blog <http://blog.okfn.org/>Â

Open Knowledge Community Stories |Â http://okfncommunity.tumblr.com/|see 
how people are changing the world

Open Knowledge is a not-for-profit organisation.  It is incorporated in 
England & Wales as a company limited by guarantee, with company number 
05133759.  VAT Registration â?? GB 984404989. Registered office 
address: Open Knowledge, St Johns Innovation Centre, Cowley Road, 
Cambridge CB4 0WS, UK.

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