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.
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!