Conference Committee/Planning meeting 1/Notes

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On 13th May a number of volunteers met at the Wikimedia UK offices in London to debrief on the London 2013 bid and to discuss ideas for a London 2014 bid.


  • Harry Mitchell (Chair)
  • Joseph Seddon (via Skype)
  • Ed Saperia - Wikimania 2013 organised
  • Tom Morton
  • Mike Peel
  • Doug Taylor
  • Deryck Chan
  • James Forrester
  • Katie Chan
  • Leutha
  • Rock drum
  • Tom Morris

2013 London bid

Hong Kong won. London lost!

James Forrester debriefed the meeting on the bid process and the London bid in specific. Comments:

  • Jury is risk averse
  • London was a "Close second" and had a "Bold and ambitious plan"

UK bids feedback

London feedback

  • Chapter support was lukewarm even when there were two UK bids, but nothing really improved after that. But it was noted that WMUK had provided the support that the bid team had asked for.
  • UK chapter has money, but HK chapter dedicated a lot more trustee time towards the bid
  • Chapter needs to detail specific commitments
  • Need to focus on attendees who would be at the lower end of the budget spectrum: get hostels/budget hotels/uni dorms etc. early on
  • Jury liked the Barbican venue - good and well contained
  • The high cost leads to a much higher fundraising target requirement than some of its competitors. Some of the worry about what happens if the target isn't met might have been lowered if the bid were able to show how the budget could be modified in such a situation.

Bristol feedback

  • Bid team didn't turn up to IRC meeting etc.
  • Venues were too spread out - multiple venues not good.
  • Crazy expensive to get there - very few direct flights from outside of UK (London, Manchester etc don't have this problem). The lower cost of the location is not enough to compensate for the increase in cost of getting there.
  • One Jury had to ask the same question 7 different times and still failed to get a satisfactory answer.

The future of Wikimania?

It is possible Wikimania may change in the future...

  • Bid process may change significantly
  • There is interest in regional conferences to complement an international Wikimania
  • Which might mean Wikimania will move to biennial (with regional conferences in the other year)
  • Or it might not (regional/international conferences in the same year)
  • Out of the scope of this committee to push for either of those options, but we have to bear in mind that others might organise this
  • Discussion on whether to bid differently given this uncertainty.

2014 bid

The 2013 bid was critiqued by Ed, other possible venues were discussed.

  • London
    • Much of the 2013 bid text is reusable
    • Strengths and weaknesses of bid:
      University dorms would have been worthing getting
      210 beds within a few minutes walk
      ~1k beds around London bridge which is a couple stops away
      Very good choice of venue; interesting, lots in the venue
      Good cultural events program
      Pre-conference events; not much on it in the bid because it wasn't part of the bid criteria
      Many accomodation choices
      London First has a person who is specifically in charge of university accomodation for conferences
  • Manchester?
    Good transport links
  • Nottingham?
    • Issues with size
  • Brighton?
    • Popular conference venue, able to host large conferences
    • Fish and chips
  • Birmingham?

It was decided that the London bid laid so much groundwork that it made sense to stick with London as the 2014 venue city. But it was also agreed that exploring the other venues for smaller conferences (as yet undetermined) would be useful.

2 year plan

  • With the uncertainty over the future of Wikimania it was discussed whether this affected our bid plan. It was decided:
    • Whatever happens London will host a major conference in 2014
    • We assume (and will bid for) Wikimania 2014
    • If regional conferences are introduced we will be ready to organise that instead
    • Failing all of that the Wikiconference UK 2014 will be a major multi-day event
  • It was suggested that the committee devote time, in general, to UK conferences over the next two years.
    • Shows commitment and experience in conference hosting (to help convince a risk averse jury)
    • Strengthens ties with chapter/community/board
    • Makes UK conferences awesome
    • Don't step on other peoples toes (i.e. let others do their own thing if they prefer)
  • Mike and Doug agreed to raise Wikiconference UK at the next board meeting, to discuss whether the board would be interested in asking the committee to organise the 2013 conference
    • Maybe outside of London?

Issues to think about

  • Communications
  • Bank account
  • Staff time: Daria?
  • Board role?
  • Time commitment?

Action points

  • Team will "meet" regularly to discuss planning matters
    • Usually in the form of a monthly Skype/conference call
    • But next; in-person meeting set for 10 June
  • Monthly briefing of the board, staff and community (Harry, Tom, etc.)
  • Mailing List - Mike Peel
  • Domain name - Mike Peel
  • Contact details and other non-public information to be distributed via Google Docs to participants soon

Organising committee

  • Joseph Seddon - Committe lead
  • Harry Mitchell - Project Manager - People chaser
  • Ed Saperia - Wikimania 2014 lead
  • Tom Morton ErrantX - Committee Communications
  • Mike Peel - Committee technical lead
  • James Forrester
  • Katie Chan
  • Leutha
  • Rock drum
  • Tom Morris