Wikimedia UK at SOOCon23

  • February 21, 2023

By George Colbourn, Fundraising Coordinator at Wikimedia UK

The State Of Open Conference brings together organisations, communities and advocates of open data, technology and knowledge. This year, Wikimedia UK was excited to attend SOOC23, where we spoke with attendees from across the sector about our particular role in the open knowledge movement. It provided us with a great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, learn about emerging trends and technologies, and gain new insights and perspectives. 

Keynote speakers included the Labour MP and shadow science minister Chi Onwurah, Google’s vice-president of Infrastructure Eric Brewer, and Open UK CEO Amanda Brock. Representing the Wikimedia Foundation was Movement Advocacy Manager Franziska Putz, who took part in a panel discussion on the relationship between open data and diplomacy. We were also delighted to hear from Jimmy Wales, who gave a fascinating keynote lecture on Wikimedia’s role in open-knowledge sharing and the challenges that both the Wikimedia projects and open knowledge sector faces today.

Jimmy Wales doing the keynote speech at SOOCon23

A particularly enjoyable aspect of this conference was the diverse range of topics covered, including cutting-edge developments in open software and hardware, best practices for team collaboration and the ethical considerations of open technology. Attendees were able to choose from a variety of sessions, workshops, and keynote speeches, allowing them to tailor their experience to suit their particular interests.

In addition to the educational aspect, this conference was a fantastic chance to connect with others, providing a chance for Wikimedia UK representatives to meet new people and form meaningful connections with potential collaborators or volunteers. After three years of largely online working, this event provided an opportunity to learn from industry experts, connect with peers, and gain exposure to the latest technologies and trends. 

Although Wikipedia is a globally recognised and utilised resource, many attendees we spoke with were not aware of the specific work that Wikimedia UK undertakes to contribute to the open knowledge movement. Therefore, it was great to be able to speak with those unfamiliar with our organisation and to discuss our work in the fields of cultural heritage, information literacy, and open knowledge advocacy. Our efforts sparked numerous questions and discussions regarding how Wikimedia can help shape the future of open technology and how to get involved with our projects.

Whether we were talking with experienced industry professionals or students just starting out, the conference was a highly  positive and rewarding experience, and it was great to speak with others who recognized the benefits of open collaboration and knowledge sharing.  As a first-time attendee representing Wikimedia UK at a conference, I was struck by the passion for open technology felt throughout the community. The commitment to advancing and promoting this sector was evident, and the experience reinforced the critical role that Wikimedia plays in this field. I was delighted to see the overwhelmingly positive response from many of the attendees towards the important work that we do.

Thank you to everyone who supported us during SOOC23, especially our volunteers Ian Watt and Navid Nezafati!

One thought on “Wikimedia UK at SOOCon23”

  1. The benefits of Wikipedia/Media/Data are becoming clearer thanks to your fantastic advocacy. However, we really need to add at least a basic introduction to all things Wiki in GLAM programmes of instruction – volunteers, apprenticeship thru to Masters courses – so that people realise the benefits and can open up knowledge for all. Perhaps CILIP, with their current workforce development initiative, could take the lead?

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