The events of the last weeks and months have shaken the Wikimedia movement and the Wikimedia Conference is the first in person meeting of the Wikimedia Affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation. It can provide a safe space to address the current leadership and governance situation and initiate the healing process. This session aims at creating an atmosphere where people feel safe to talk about how they experienced the recent events, where they can talk about what happened in their point of view, how they have been affected by it. It is a session where people listen and emphasize and where different stakeholders are not forced into a defensive stance. To ensure a productive and constructive session where we can look ahead, participants should be prepared to actively contribute.
This session will help us to create a safe space and an atmosphere of mutual trust which we consider the essential basis for the upcoming conference sessions and the look ahead.
Summary of the session
Katherine listening. In the background Nicole Ebber (on the left) and facilitator Annett Zupke (in the middle).
The Opening Session for the How to Move Forward Track was led by Annett Zupke, an expert in managing conflicts and non-violent communication. Anett introduced herself and explained the concept of the session. In the first part, participants were encouraged to discuss in pairs how the situation of WMF affected them personally and how they felt. After the discussion in pairs (~20 min), the space was opened and people could step up and speak openly how they felt.
We do not publish a documentation on the spoken word here, as the session was designed to be a Safe Space. A wide range of different participants (WMF staff, Board of Trustees, affiliates staff and volunteers) spoke up and shared their feelings. Topics were especially the internal situation in the Foundation, the relations between WMF staff and Board of Trustees, trust in the movement and what affiliates could do to support WMF staff. Several participants say that people needed to ask more questions, and be courageous and open to ideas. Several WMF staff members said that this session broke the isolation and it would be good to ask how people could support each other.