OKFestival 2012 by Juha Huuskonen

A Special Gift for Festival Participants…

For the 600+ brave souls already registered for the world’s first-ever Open Knowledge Festival, here’s our first-ever participant bulletin! The gems and secrets below have been built from the weekly-curated, community-written summaries we’ve been sharing behind the scenes with our teams of Guest Programme Planners around the globe – and with less than two weeks left until we all meet in Helsinki, we hope they will leave you feeling as excited as we all are for what’s yet to come.

Haven’t joined the movement yet? Tickets are almost sold out, but you can grab the last few online. Still unacquainted with the OKFestival movement? Confused about all the fuss? We’ve also published an introductory summary which explains the festival and how it combines OGDCamp and OKCon. Now, on to the exciting bits:

An Interactive Online Schedule

Thanks to the tireless work of over 100 OKFest organisers and Guest Programme Planners, the entire OKFestival Schedule is now online. This year’s programme is amazingly diverse, with over 13 guest-planned Topic Streams from “Transparency and Accountability” to “Openness in Sustainability”. A summary for each of the Topic Streams active during the OKFestival week is also online, and we are finalising our morning INSPIRE Plenaries, which will gather all OKFest participants together for an inspiring introduction to the day before topic stream programming starts. An increasingly prestigious list of Keynote Speakers, from Hans Rosling to Anneli Jäätteenmäki to Farida Vis to Carl-Christian Buhr to Carlos Rossel, have finalised their participation and will honour us all with their ideas.

Crowdsourced Evening Events

Evening events and receptions during the OKFest week are now being finalised and planned collaboratively by participants, and we want you to get involved! Current events being planned include an OKFest Welcome Reception, a Helsinki Hacks & Hackers meetup, a craft beer festival, a Helsinki bar hop, the Open Sauna Evening, a Proactum Meetup for “Open Source-minded people”, and a series of Thematic Dinners based on the Harvard Berkman Centre model. Get involved by hosting a thematic dinner or another event on the group planning pad.

Active Calls for Participation & Free Public Hackathons

With the 2012 theme of Open Knowledge in Action”, getting involved is one of the most important parts of the OKFestival experience. This week is about looking at the value that can be generated by opening up knowledge, the ecosystems of organisations that can benefit from such sharing, and the impacts that transparency can have in our societies. With an ever-increasing list of (free!) public hackathons, festival workshops and hands-on workshops, there are many ways to get involved. Here is a snapshot of the many Calls for Participation during the festival week:

  1. DATA JOURNALISM HACKATHON: A day to design and build a functional news application from open government data. Finland’s biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, invites coders, designers and journalists to its Data Journalism Hackathon. Using data from the World Bank and other groups, you will be able to create a working app or visualization from scratch. Space is limited and registration closes Sept 10th, so please RSVP online.
  2. TAKE ACTION LIGHTNING TALKS: For those working to increase gender equality and diversity in their work, the Wikimedia Foundation is hosting TAKE ACTION, a set of public lightning talks with 12 spots available until Mon, Sept 10th – get involved on the planning pad.
  3. DATA CUISINE WORKSHOP: You’re invited to the world’s first open data cuisine workshop, the “Art of Data Cooking“. Send an email to opendatacooking (AT) pixelache.ac. Capacity is limited.
  4. CULTURE & SCIENCE HACKATHON: Cultural Heritage and Science meet for a joint Culture and Heritage Hackathon on Tues 17th Sept. Join a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, work with newly released datasets, develop a brand new PyBossa app or hack for Louhos research software libraries – plus much more! All ideas welcome – if you have a hackday activity, please share it. Numbers are limited – please use the sign-up form to get involved.
  5. OPEN PEER LEARNING WORKSHOP: Outside of open communities, few people know how to apply “open” tools, practices, and standards to their work. Creative Commons, P2PU, and the Open Knowledge Foundation will introduce the School of Open and the School of Data, followed by a Q&A and a hands-on, creative workshop to prototype “open” challenges and courses. Particpants will take an “open” learning challenge and design their own in culture, education, research, or data. Space is limited – please use sign-up form to RSVP.
  6. OPEN DEVELOPMENT HACKATHONS: On Thurs 20th Sept, Open Dev planners will be hosting the third event in the series of 2012 Development Data Challenges – a hackathon. As this is an open (and free!) event, coders and interested folk are invited to create new ideas for making aid and development data more accessible. There will also be an exciting opportunity to hack land data, hosted by the folk at the Land Coalition, and to join in with the Helsingin Sanomat hackathon on Fri 21 Sept. All hackathons are explained further on the OKFestival site. Space is limited – email opendevelopment (AT) okfestival.org to RSVP.
  7. OKFEST HELSINKI PHOTOWALK: On the Sunday before OKFest, you will also get the chance to see the most of Helsinki through your own lens during the OKFest photo walk. Organisers Peter and Irmeli will take you to several beautiful and historical places in Helsinki. The day will start with an interactive lecture on the meaning of mindful seeing and noticing within curation, utilization and collaborative (re)construction of open knowledge. Space is limited and registration closes Sept 15th, for more info see the Public Pad. And be sure to bring your camera!
  8. OPEN TRANSPORT WORKSHOP: On 17th Sept, the ePSIplatform team in conjunction with the Open Cities Topic Stream is hosting a sectoral workshop on Transport Data with a focus on fuelling future mobility and smart cities. The workshop is a round table meeting of transport data holders (ao HSL, Trafi, SNCF), open data policy makers (ao DG MOVE) and (new) re-users (ao OSM, iRail, Trafiklab, Samtrafiken, Google Transit). Interested in getting involved? There are still a few seats left – register today!
  9. SURVEY ON OKFEST DIVERSITY: The organisers of the Gender & Diversity Topic Stream session “Exclusive Diversity: A Conversation” have prepared a short Online Survey to get anonymous data on OKFest participants for use in the session. Your contribution would be very much appreciated, and useful for their efforts to make future Open Data “crowds” more inclusive.

The Continuation of a Movement

In an era of global digital communications, significant benefits are gained in all sectors of the society by opening up knowledge, including science, culture, governance and economy. What will happen when hundreds of community-builders, developers, scientists, academics, government and civil society representatives, teachers, students and open data experts descend on the shores of Helsinki to build new things and provoke positive change together? What will happen when participants adventure through Europe on the way to OKFest as Billy Meinke from Hawaii has done, or share their findings with key organisations like Creative Commons as Jane Park has done? What happens when Members of the European Parliament meet those organising citizen movements, when organisers of the Open Government Partnership meet those working towards open education, open hardware and Open Source software? The results are yet unknown, but they’re giving us all a great deal of hope for what’s ahead in Helsinki. Until then, we look forward to meeting you all in a few weeks!

CC BY-NC-SA photo taken by OKFestival’s own Helsinki-based Production Coordinator, Juha Huuskonen. Original photo on Flickr. More photos of OKFestival on Flickr Pool. For more information about OKFestival 2012, go to okfestival.org.