Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Blog posts/Wikimedia Summit 2019
Wikimedia 2030 at the Wikimedia Summit 2019
Wikimedia 2030 and building the future of the Wikimedia movement were in the spotlight at the Wikimedia Summit, which was held in Berlin, Germany, from March 29 to 31, 2019. Around 200 attendees from Wikimedia affiliates, the Wikimedia Foundation, and various committees came together with members of nine movement strategy working groups to discuss our future, how we advance in our strategic direction, and ensure access to more knowledge for more people. A central focus of this year’s event was engaging the affiliates in structural work that’s been done to date by the working groups. Via interactive sessions, open space forums, and conversation rounds, participants analyzed scoping documents the working groups had produced and key questions they have formulated. These are the questions that need to be answered to find out what structural changes should be made to build the future we want.
“We’re here to work collaboratively on our future”
The Wikimedia Summit – formerly the Wikimedia Conference – is the annual meeting of Wikimedia affiliates, the Wikimedia Foundation, and three Wikimedia committees and focuses on strategy and governance of our movement. To this end, it provided the perfect setting to check in on and review where we wish the movement to head.
The opening speeches brought the bigger picture into view right from the outset. German Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Michelle Müntefering, acknowledged the work of Wikimedians in proliferating knowledge and spoke of the importance of reflecting different, diverse perspectives in this “new, democratic global library.” Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director, Katherine Maher, got straight to the point, stating “we’re here to work collaboratively on our future” before movement strategy process architect, Kaarel Vaidla, and movement strategy program manager, Nicole Ebber, to talk through the movement strategy and how to use the time at the Summit to build on the work done to date.
Deep diving into our movement
What do we need to change to advance in our strategic direction and become the essential support system for the whole free knowledge movement? How can we make access to open knowledge more equitable? And, importantly, how can we do this collaboratively? These questions and more drove discussions at this year’s Summit.
The scoping documents, prepared by the working groups and published prior to the event, provided the starting point for conversations. The guiding questions outlined in each document will help the groups gain a deeper understanding of our movement. The answers they yield will be used to create recommendations for structural change within the Wikimedia movement.
The Wikimedia Summit was the first opportunity that working groups had to discuss their work with Wikimedia affiliates, one of their key stakeholders. It offered an interactive space for working groups and affiliates talk about challenges and opportunities in the movement. Beyond this, it allowed working groups a chance to get first-hand insight from affiliates into specific thematic areas and start formulating and sharing ways to move forward. Among the key insights that came out of the Summit are that there is a need to turn existing frustration into positive energy; ensure that people are at the core of what we do; and create partnerships and share resources effectively and meaningfully.
Day one allowed working groups time to work together while affiliates were guided through how to use the scoping documents to kickstart conversations about our future as well as ask all their questions about the role they can play. The day was capped off by thematic meetups and dinner at the Wikimedia Deutschland offices.
Day two brought the scoping questions to the fore, with lively discussions among working groups and the affiliates about how to find solutions to these questions filling every corner of the event venue. The Wikimedia Board of Trustees rounded off the program with their reflections on the path towards our future before the evening festivities got underway at nearby hotspot Villa Neukölln.
After two days of discussions, ideas generation, and exchange, the third and final day of the event focused on how to build on these conversations and develop next steps. Working groups took the input they received on day two and used this to start crafting a plan for action for developing recommendations for structural change within the Wikimedia movement. Key listeners Emna Mizouni (Wikimedian from Tunisia), Sunil Abraham (The Centre for Internet and Society), and Ryan Merkley (Creative Commons) closed out the event, acknowledging the hard work it has taken to get to this point and offering words of encouragement to take us forward.
The Wikimedia Summit was a chance for participants to connect with the strategy for our future. Wikimedia affiliates could speak to working groups in person and about their scoping documents, which helped build momentum about how they can contribute . Feedback here included that this is a necessary process and that being at the Summit had strengthened their own ideas about the future of the movement and motivated people to take these back to their own community.
The Summit provided an open space for working groups to progress in their work, and many of the groups were meeting in person for the first time. The face-to-face format allowed room for ideas to flow and have extended, productive work sessions.
Taking this momentum to Wikimania and beyond
The working groups are currently determining a work plan to draft recommendations for change, diving into the content of their thematic areas and looking at what kind of research they need to undertake. The plan is to deliver draft recommendations around the time of Wikimania in August.
Like our projects, we thrive when more people, ideas, and perspectives contribute. The result is a better vision of where we want to go, and how we get there. We need your voice and your support.
Working across countries and cultures, we are gathering input on what our future should look like. And we need your help. Join us by adding your thoughts via the online community conversations, which are happening now on the Meta-Wiki page, on several language wikis, and also via survey. In this online conversation, you can share your insights and ideas for solutions that will make the Wikimedia movement future ready.