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Wikimedia Conference 2015/Documentation and Follow-Up/Wikimedia Conference formats

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Wikimedia Conference formats


After an introduction of all participants Nicole presented WMDE’s extensive grant report on the Wikimedia Conference 2015. She explained the program- and content-related lessons learned, and what went well and what didn’t go well before, during and after the conference.

After that, Nicole presented the preliminary timeline for the Wikimedia Conference 2016. The main improvement to the previous years will be the very early start date. Until the end of October, WMDE will work together with movement stakeholders and frame themes and priorities for the conference. In November, affiliates will have to select their representatives according to these themes and needs. Registration will close mid January (hard deadline, no exceptions!) and this enables WMDE to intensively work with the participants on the conference program for three months. For the first time, the conference program can be designed according to the participants’ needs and experiences. WMDE identified these four essential parts of the conference program:

  • Capacity building: Shared learnings; learn from each other and invite external experts where useful.
  • A – to be defined – movement topic: WMCON brings together movement leaders to discuss the future of the movement. Depending on the topic, consider inviting community leaders and/or external keynote speakers for inspiration.
  • Facilitated social activities: Create more opportunities for social exchange and for including newbies. Be creative and provide guidance for side events and evening sessions, create moments of sharing.
  • Wildcard topics: Since the agenda design process starts early, leave some space in the schedule for urgent movement issues that come up in the time between January and April.

Nicole then opened the stage and asked participants about their ideas on how to develop the topics and program for the Wikimedia Conference. One participant, who was a member of the last volunteer program team, described this team as “dysfunctional” and made a plea for a smaller and more effective program team. Additionally, s/he said, the tasks for the committee might have been too open. Nicole agreed and proposed idea of a few program advisors who could consult with WMDE and the Program and Engagement Coordinator in creating the program. Some participants said that they would like to see the conference focused on organizational development and capacity building. Other suggestions for topics were dealing with conflicts in chapters, burn out of board members and program evaluation from the point of view of the affiliates rather than only by the WMF. People also discussed a speaker training to better prepare for a successful conference.

One participant suggested to re-introduce the “State of the Chapters” presentations, two others agreed. Others argued that having around 60-70 organisations at one conference, such presentations would take too much time. One participant said that s/he understands the necessity of creating more moments of sharing ideas, projects and knowledge, especially as the last conference turned out to have a huge focus on regional cooperations as many initiatives were initiated there. S/he proposed a “Market place of ideas”, where conference participants could gather and create new cooperations. Nicole thanked all participants and concluded the session. In the coming weeks or months, WMDE will gather input for the conference themes and move forward in the program design process.