June – summer reporting
This month ended with our biannual ‘Gathering’. As we are based around the world, we all (active and non active Fellows) get together every 6 months to:
- To share and to learn
- To collaborate and grow stronger
- To analyse and amend
- To speak and to solve
- To plan and to ponder
This Gathering was fabulously hosted by Francois, who took us to CERN, where we learnt a that we all basically knew nothing about how the world is put together – or indeed our purpose on it. So please expect some silliness in further reading and in the pictures at the end of the post!
For Francois, the entrée consisted of the launch of a series of geotagging experiments in collaboration with UNOSAT, aimed at exploring how well volunteers could match images of destruction in Libya to points on a map of the country. This represents a breakthrough in the CCC relationship with UNOSAT, as we have found a project that could be really useful for their clients, who can use the images to better assess damage on the ground.
The amuse-bouche was recording my pitch for a second year as a Shuttleworth Fellow from the back of a taxi in the Beijing rush hour. Again and again and again and again.
The pièce de resistance was hosting the Shuttleworth Fellow gathering at CERN. It was a combination of French food, Swiss food and Dog food in large quantities – with a smattering of antimatter and some hadron sauce. The highlights for me included testing out P2PU for citizen cyberscience, and role playing to explore the challenges of protecting indigenous people’s biorights.
The plat de fromages included a slice of the Open Access Initiative workshop, where I spoke about Citizen Cyberscience, a sliver of time with the projects board of the Open Society Foundations, which will hopefully lead to some concrete projects, and a dash to London to plan the next London Citizen Cyberscience Summit with colleagues at UCL, King’s and Imperial, for February 2012.
The dessert was running a panel with Rufus on Open Science at the OKCon in Berlin and a one-day hackfest/workshop just prior to the conference. Both events exceeded expectations both in the number of participants, the work we got done and the new contacts and projects that were established during an intense few days. It was a very sweet experience!
Open & Collaborative Resources
OKCon – Gave a presentation about “Hacking Education” (and P2PU) and together with other P2PU volunteers ran the P2PU workshop. Focus of the workshop was the creation of:
More Schools — School of Open Data (with OKFN/RP) and School of Citizen Cyberscience (with CCC/FG) are officially under development. Very excited to start working in these two areas – and do so with other fellows.
Building the Org – More interviews and discussion with the lawyers how to hire staff. Also getting ready to bring on three new people on in July/ August and a lot of the organizational groundwork has to be put in place. Also started working on book-keeping / financial set-up with Karen (CFO, Shuttleworth Foundation).
Gathering — I loved how every time I thought I couldn’t possible eat another bite of cheese fondue, Rufus would pass me the Raclette spatula. I strongly suspect that I sat next to a future nobel prize winner during at least one of the lunches. Probably the last one. By the way, rumors that I ordered cheese fondue again at the OSI dinner are entirely true. Thanks for organizing FG!
Highlights for Mark include:
1. New Siyavula identity created
2. New website, siyavula.com, launched which more accurately reflects what we do than the old one.
3. 3 Grade 10 textbooks were submitted for review for inclusion on the national catalogue, Mathematics, Physical Science and Wiskunde.
- Open Repositories SWORD Workshop: Met with the SWORD technical team to learn more about the second version of SWORD to make sure it would work for the OER Publishing API. Decided to use SWORD for the publishing API. The full reasoning is published in two blog entries: here and here.
- Publishing Clients: Continued investigation into clients that will use the SWORD service, including two translation clients and one word processing document uploader. More info here.
- The Gathering: Met everyone, was given the idea for a WordPress plugin to publish OER, and fell for CERN.
- Sprinting in Cape Town: The goal of the sprint was to learn about SWORD (the publishing API), start a generic implementation of a SWORD service for Plone, and get a couple of clients off the ground. We had 7 participants and even got started on the WordPress (or more generically, blog) plugin for publishing OER. More info here:
Access to knowledge
Kabir was also focussed internally with:
1) A number of strategy meetings to develop strategy documents for the way forward for the organization through 2011 and 2012
2) Presentations on community protocols at the 2 day meeting on Economic Justice organized by OSISA
3) Acted as the legal advisor to the African countries at the 1st meeting of the Inter-governmental Committee on the Nagoya Protocol in Montreal
4) Legal advise to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on reviewing the South African IP Amendment Bill
Rufus held an Open Data Event and Workshop in Bulgaria <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/06/07/open-data-workshop-and-opencamp-in-sofia-bulgaria-4-5-june/> and also an Open Gov Data Conference in Vienna – included a 1-day CKAN workshop and semantic web meetup the evening before.
It was also the month for OKCon – <http://okcon.org/2011/after> – which is the annual event hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation. “OKCon is a wide-ranging conference that brings together individuals and organizations from across the open knowledge spectrum for two days of presentations, workshops and exchange of ideas.”
Gavin spent this month signing off research and spending time out in the field with the agency, talking directly to target audience and starting to unpack issues around youth unemployment and disenfranchisement in SA townships.
Work was also done, conceiving and working up the Ikamva Live one-week magazine sprint: another opportunity for immersion and road-testing aspects of Live Magazine with a group of township teenagers – to be completed and sent to print in early July.
He is super excited about the Google-powered mobile learning idea beginning to emerge and take shape, with positive early conversations with Google and other potential collaborators. Lastly,the Gathering: meeting, presenting to – and being presented to by – the other Fellows and SF team. Great pleasure and honour to spend the week at CERN with everyone, (but sad to have missed the raclette – die to Chilean ash clouds!).