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︎︎ Dr KitKat


Open Knowledge Festival
OKF x Finnish Institute x Aalto University 
Helsinki, Finland 

For most of 2012, my life revolved around a commute between Helsinki and London, working with a small team of wonderful collaborators across Finnish civil society including Juha Huuskonen, Jussi Nissilä, Antti Halonen and Massimo Menichinelli to curate the world’s first Open Knowledge Festival, an experimental event run on a shoestring budget with the Open Knowledge Foundation, Aalto University Fab Lab and the Finnish Institute. From an initial call-out on Slideshare that got 250,000 views in 2 months to the 13 themed tracks that were radically co-designed in collaboration with participants (from open democracy and citizen participation to open design, open cities, open heritage, open source software, open science and development), the festival sold out and defied all our expectations. Perhaps it is best summarised through this excerpt:

“For the past month, we’ve been wondering how to breach the topic of a ‘thank you’ message to the remarkable community that made this all possible… indeed, how does one thank the 1,000+ physical participants from more than 50 nations who made it a completely sold out event? Or the 12,000 viewers of our video streams who participated online? Or the 214,000 enthusiasts who shared our call-out with the world? How about those who flooded Twitter with over 18,000 #okfest tweets and those who published more than 200 media features? Or the festival’s 100 programme planners, 60 volunteers and 400 session facilitators? This was the first event of its kind to address open knowledge on such a large scale – and its overwhelming success has marked a significant push forward for transparency and openess, both in Finland and abroad.”

Selected press:

Photos: Daniel Schildt, CC BY-ND.

“I want to dance for the renewal of the world.” - robin well kimmerer