Hello Wikimania team,
Wikimainia is only 30 days away now and things are getting very busy on our side in Cape Town now.
Here are a couple of updates that have happened since my last email. As I write this email it is raining hard which I feel is a great omen.
The program committee has released the program for the main event at Wikimania.
I want to thank the Program Committee and the co-chairs (Liam, Emna and Felix) for managing and producing a great program for Wikimania this year. You all did a great job!
I want to send out an especially big thanks to Liam for taking the lead and managing the Herculean task of wrestling with the ironically named Easy Chair system and with AirTable to get the program organised. Liam also did a great job as the main point person for organising the program team.
We will get the pre-conference events up on the program soon as well.
We have gotten a huge response for volunteers (103 responses) with a large number of high quality applications (largely measured as the number of people with past conference volunteer experience). Our contacts within the University of Cape Town really came through and we also got some great applications from there. Raymond and I have already done a preliminary check of the list. Raymond and Erin Lacey (WMF) will be getting back to successful applicants within the next week or two.
Due to a shortage of space for meetups at the conference venue and due to the super abundance of very nearby locations to have events at we have decided to encourage people to host their meetups at locations offsite. There are a large number of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, within a hundred meters from the venue. Some of them stay open late. I have made a helpful map of such locations that you can see here.
I want to give another big thank you to Blanca Flores (WMF) and James Hare (WMF) for helping out so much with the reworking of our website. Blanca did a great job of working on the design aspects and James pulled it all together. We have simplified the site and changed the look and feel. You will also notice the new logo which pays homage to Zulu bead work.
==My current focuses==
* Getting locals to attend as part of our outreach efforts within South Africa. My focus has been on a diverse group of people ranging from Librarians, to university academics, government officials, copyright activists, civil society, GLAM partners, educators, and students.
* Monitoring the 50% discount system for South African attendees
* Publicity for Wikimania - I am doing a number of press interviews to publicise Wikimania in the South African media.
* Water sustainability event(s) - Given the water situation in Cape Town we have decided to have water sustainability as a focus for a number of Wikimania events. It is an issue that will very likely affect more cities in the future so it would be same to 'waist' this crisis in the context of Wikipedia. I am currently working on at least one edit-a-thon with a strong water focus to be the Wikimania edit-a-thon that will take place on the Thursday before the main conference begins on the Friday. I am already in talks with the adviser who is in charge of the civil society aspect of the City of Cape Town's water crisis outreach efforts to make this event happen. We hope to organise multiple water focused events at Wikimania but we will see how it evolves. Please let me know if you would like to get involved in helping organise this or have any ideas. Once this has reached a certain point of development I will be handing this project over to Rossouw van Rooyen to implement it during the conference.
* Dealing with Plenary Speakers - all three speakers have given me their speaking titles and I am just getting the last of their biography details (pictures and written bios) as well as their speech descriptions.
* Opening and closing sessions at Wikimania. The closing session is largely sorted out. As for the opening session I am just trying to sort out a few details but otherwise it is also looking good.
==List of responsibilities==
An updated, non-exhaustive and current list of team point person responsibilities can be found here.
==General team requests==
One thing we all as team members need to focus on for the next week or two is outreach and getting local (South African) attendance up. So please let all of your South African, and especially Cape Town based, contacts know about the event. We really want to see more locals attending Wikimania. With this in mind 80 complementary tickets to local Wikimedians and key partner groups have already been given out to attend Wikimania. We are unfortunately out of complementary registrations but South Africans can still claim a 50% discount when attending Wikimania this year. Lets push this and let the world know.
Overall everything so far seems to be on track and going well.
Douglas Ian Scott
South African mobile number: +27 (0)79 515 8727
Wikimania-l mailing list
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