OGDcamp participants; Photo thanks to  HermannPachulke on Flickr

For those looking for a reason to come to Helsinki with us this fall, the OKFestival Call for Proposals is released today – and it has an experimental, innovative focus.

The spin? For this year’s OKFestival (the first event of its kind, organised almost entirely through virtual conference calls, IRC chats and co-written documents by an international group of organisers), we’ve set a specific concentration on daring new methods – from collaborations to festival programming to open data categories to session formats. Given this mandate, the 2012 OKFestival theme is “Open Knowledge in Action”. We’re interested in finding out what value can be generated by opening up knowledge and working with open data, the ecosystems of organisations that benefit from and participate in such sharing, and the impact it can have in our societies. What kinds of new professions, ideas and community initiatives can emerge within our governments, markets, networks and neighbourhoods as a result of these engagements?

The exploration of this theme will be visible not only in the festival’s content, but also in its implementation as the first global event of its kind. As organisers, we’re all inspired by untraditional barcamps, unconferences and coding jams – and we want to provide you with the space to experiment with new types of workshops and interactive participation formats (I’m hoping someone proposes a ‘fishbowl‘ style dialogue, for example!).

We’re also opening up more than 2/3 of the programme to you as Guest Organisers. This move is based on our belief that when an event is crowdsourced through a co-operative combination of civil society representatives, programmers, data wranglers, students and members of government, the most interesting results (and relationships!) are facilitated. In the Call for Proposals you’ll have the option to submit either a group-run Topic Stream or an individual Presentation/Event – and we have several interesting spaces throughout the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture waiting to be filled.

The enthusiasm for OKFestival’s focus has already been very inspiring. On the public organisers’ discussion list, there have been months of lively discussion and planning conversations amongst 90+ participants located around the world. Between interviews on BBC Radio in the UK and open knowledge strategy sprints in Finland, it’s been an exciting ride for all of us on the Core Organising Team – and we look forward to many of you joining the Programme Planning Committee with us this Spring.

If you’re in Estonia next month, we are presenting OKFestival at the Free City festival in Tallinn – and in the meantime, we’ll see you online. The official Call for Proposals (submission deadlines on April 20th and June 1st) can be found here, and and more information about the details of OKFestival’s organisation, venue and presentation formats are on the Festival FAQ here.