OKFestival Publishes Its Pioneering Programme

  • OKFestival, the major international open knowledge event of the year, has released the full programme of its festival week, themed "Open Knowledge in Action".

    The theme of OKFestival is "Open Knowledge in Action", highlighting that the value of open knowledge materialises when used to its full extent by society's different sectors. The festival week consists of 170 events and sessions planned by over 100 guest programme planners and partners from all around the world, including hackathons, hands-on workshops, and talks.

    "Open knowledge is still a new concept for many but it plays a significant role in creating a healthy society, a vibrant culture and a viable economy", comments Jussi Nissilä, programme director from the Finnish Institute in London.

    The festival, which combines the Open Knowledge Foundation's popular annual events Open Government Data Camp (held last year in Warsaw) and Open Knowledge Conference (held last year in Berlin), has been centered on international cooperation from its onset. Its main organisers are the Open Knowledge Foundation, Aalto Media Factory and the Finnish Institute in London.

    "It has been amazing to see OKFestival grow from a fledgling meetup amongst a few open data advocates in Helsinki to a movement of hundreds of leaders around the world, all working together to make this event a truly collaborative experience," says Kat Braybrooke, community coordinator for the Open Knowledge Foundation.

    Roughly 800 daily visitors, change-makers and experts from private, public and community sectors coming from over 50 countries are expected to take part in this nearly sold-out event. The programme boasts a diverse programme with 13 topic streams covering all aspects of open knowledge, from transparency and accountability issues and open governance to participatory democracy and using open data in business.

    The festival has listed a total of 22 featured speakers, including Hans Rosling, the data visualisation wizard, Farida Vis, data journalism advocate, Martin Tisne, director of policy at Omidyar Network in London, Tiago Peixoto, Open Government Specialist at the World Bank and James Cameron, founder and the non-executive Chairman of Climate Change Capital.

    The festival is not only about talking, but also about doing. Its theme "Open Knowledge in Action" manifests itself in the many hackathons, interactive coding sessions combining developers and experts, where new solutions are developed on-site using open data. Hackathons such as the annual Green Hackathon, Development Data Challenge Hackathon and the Helsingin Sanomat Open Data Journalism Hackathon will use different forms of data to better understand and solve some of the greatest challenges of humanity, such as environmental sustainability, poverty and health.

    New initiatives such as the launch of Finnish Code4Europe Fellowship, recruiting web developers, designers and entrepreneurs to work for municipalities and other public institutions, and publication of Transport Data Helsinki Declaration are also part of the programme. The festival works also as a kickstart for Finland in joining the Open Government Partnership, an international network of 55 countries promoting transparency, citizen empowerment and harnessing new technologies to strengthen government.

    "Finland has historically been a pioneer in openness and transparency, and we have a genuine culture of working together", Nissilä argues. "We are delighted to be involved in bringing the world's largest open knowledge community to Finland and working with the numerous partners and individuals in organising the event."

    Open Knowledge Festival 17–22 September 2012
    Aalto University
 School of Arts, Design and Architecture,
    Hämeentie 135 C, Helsinki, Finland

    To purchase a ticket, please visit okfestival.org.

    For more information, interviews and press accreditation, please contact:
    Animaya Grant, Head of Communications, The Finnish Institute in London
    animaya.grant@finnish-institute.org.uk / +44 207 404 3309