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Wikimedia Conference 2017/Program Design Process

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The Wikimedia Conference is the annual meeting of all Wikimedia organizations and groups to discuss the future of the Wikimedia movement in terms of collaboration, learning, strategy, and organizational development.

It is Wikimedia Deutschland’s interest to make this conference a working, thinking, and learning event. The conference offers a safe space for exchange, for a better understanding of different responsibilities and challenges; it is an event that focuses on active participation, capacity building, shared learning, and clear outcomes that lay the ground for future decision making. Bringing all movement organizations together will give us the opportunity to incorporate diverse perspectives and experiences into the program.

Incorporating the feedback and our experiences from 2015 and 2016, we are following our approach by setting four cornerstones for the whole conference. This enables us to create a truly focused program based on the needs, experiences and knowledge of the participants of the Wikimedia Conference.

The four cornerstones of the program


To ensure an impact oriented conference, we need different formats and target group specific sessions. We have identified four cornerstones that complete the program (this follows the concept we have created for the Wikimedia Conference 2016):

  • Overarching movement themes: WMCON brings together movement stakeholders to discuss the future of the movement. We have to make the most of the this unique opportunity where this group of affiliate and WMF representatives is gathering in one place and have them work, think, talk, listen, learn and shape our future together.
  • Capacity building. The culture of shared learning is slowly increasing among movement entities. We are getting better at learning from each other’s mistakes and successes, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Working and learning sessions will be built according to the participants needs; speakers will come from within and outside of the movement.
  • Facilitated social activities. Only a safe space in a creative, trustful atmosphere will enable a good, effective working environment that includes newbies and old hands alike. We will create more moments of sharing, of social exchange and provide guidance for side events and evening sessions.
  • Wildcard and must-have topics. Since the agenda design process starts early, we will leave some space in the schedule for urgent movement issues that might come up in the time between January and March.

Three programmatic tracks


Movement Strategy


Please check Wikimedia Conference 2017/Program Design Process/Movement Strategy for more details of this track

Developing a strategic vision for the future of our movement is one of the top priorities for 2017. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has tasked the Wikimedia Foundation’s Executive Director, Katherine Maher, with leading this effort, in partnership with community members and movement organizations. Although the Wikimedia Foundation is playing the primary coordinating role, this is meant to be a community process with involvement from across the movement, and all volunteers interested in engaging in its development are invited and strongly encouraged to participate. The Wikimedia Conference will serve as one of the platforms for participation and input from movement affiliates and allies. The conference has adapted its program for 2017 to encourage these discussions.

Movement Partnerships


Wikimedia organizations and groups have a wide variety of experiences and knowledge in working with partners to achieve our mission. However, we have never talked about what different kind of partnerships we can build nor what an excellent partnership looks like.

As we work on the emerging strategy to strengthen the movement and each of its components, partnerships become an increasingly more important topic. Being able to achieve our mission together with partners from within and outside of the Wikimedia movement has been the subject of occasional sessions at past WMCONs. This time we will deepen the conversation, try to develop a joint language and understanding of partnerships and open up opportunities for peer sharing and consultation.

Capacity Building & Learning


Based on great experiences at recent Wikimedia Conferences, we will again have a programmatic track that focuses on shared learning and capacity building among Wikimedia organizations and groups. Learning sessions will be built according to the needs, wishes, experiences and knowledge expressed in the registration form.

How to select the delegates


The Wikimedia Conference is all about participation. To make the conference a success it will be essential for the invited affiliates to deliberately select their delegates. Participants should come to Berlin to learn and to share, but also to bring the information and learnings back home. We are seeking delegates who will be actively engaged before, during and after the conference and can represent their affiliates. Ideal delegates are those who are

  • involved in the decision making processes of the organization,
  • striving to help shape the future of the movement,
  • or partnerships specialists,
  • or program leaders.

To increase diversity and have more diverse points of view present at the Wikimedia Conference, we advise affiliates to send at least one non-male participant per organization/group.

Participants should be eager to shape movement conversations; people with passion for partnerships with institutions, funders and like-minded organizations as well as people striving to improve their affiliates’ impact. Please don’t overthink it, consider this food for thought while making your choices.

Prepare for the registration


Registration opens November 18 and closes on January 8. Please note that this is a sharp deadline. In the months between the registration and the conference itself, the Program and Engagement Coordinator will work with the registered participants on elaborating the program of the Wikimedia Conference. Because we want to build the program to fit participant needs and experiences, we would like to learn a little more about your interests in advance. We will ask the following questions within the registration form; these questions can also help you to select the delegates. Our intention is to create awareness for the conference themes and for the “seriousness of the business”. The answers will then help to create and shape the program. They will help us to get a better understanding of everyone’s initial thinking.

Movement Strategy

  • In 20 years, how do you want our movement to be known?
  • Who is not yet part of our movement?
  • What are some of our movement’s biggest challenges today?


  • If you think about the partnerships your organization/group has initiated over the last years, what were the best, most impactful or most inspiring ones?
  • What would you need to have more good, impactful or inspiring partnerships? What would you need to learn or acquire to have such partnerships?
  • Is there an insight, idea, method or something else around partnerships you can imagine to share during the Wikimedia Conference?

Capacity Building

  • Please name one or two skills, tools, or resources, that you want to be able to bring back home to your local organization/group.
  • How can you contribute to the Wikimedia Conference? What skills, knowledge or insights can you bring to share that others can learn/benefit from?

Rough timeline


July/August 2016

  • communication of the 2017 conference date, WMCON follow-up at Wikimania Done

November 2016

  • publication of the improved program design process Done
  • work on and publish core program theme Done
  • work on an publish participant structure/number of delegates Done
  • call to select affiliates’ delegates according to the core theme (including an organizational briefing “How to select the delegates”) Done

November 18 – January 8, 2017

  • registration period (hard deadline, no exceptions) Done
    • offers the participants plenty of time to get involved in the programmatic preparations Done
    • offers the conference team enough time for working on the concrete program, to look for appropriate speakers and to create conference material Done

January 8, 2017 - March 2017 Done

  • program design process (to be completed)
    • further work on goals and desired outcomes
    • involve participants, consider their needs and experiences when creating the program
    • publication of a session outline
    • agree upon concrete speakers (Wikimedia/external), brief the speakers
    • create material for preparation
    • design the session formats
    • finalize the schedule

March 31–April 2, 2017 Done

  • Wikimedia Conference 2017, Berlin

After the conference

  • Follow-Up, work with participants, build bridges to other conferences like Wikimania ( Done at WMCON Follow-Up Day), IberoConf, CEE meeting etc.