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Be part of State of Open Con 23

Amanda Brock
18th December 2022

It’s been a privilege over the last 6 months to be leading OpenUK in building its first annual conference, State of Open Con 23. It takes place on 7 and 8 February in the heart of London, at London’s pre-eminent conference centre, the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre just off Parliament Square We have 5 floors and the exterior of the building for #SOOCon23.

Be a Speaker CFP Closes 18 December

If you want the opportunity to speak in one of 5 tracks, please do complete the CFP (call for proposals) with your talk or panel 👉 before midnight EST on Sunday 18 December 👈

Speakers whose talks are accepted will be notified by 5th January.

But if your talk isn’t accepted never fear. There will be an Unconference hosted by Terence Eden, Hannah F. and Paula Kennedy where you can ply your topics to our world.

I will host our plenaries considering the Future of Open Source Software, its curation, maintenance and funding. They will open up the global policy discussions around open source software which have been taking place at international government level engaging the conference audience, to everyone, and will even include the United Nations. There will also be a number of Keynotes.

Look out next week for our first Keynote Speaker announcements. Plenaries will follow soon and we aim to have a full Schedule published between 5 and 10 January.

The Track rooms’ leadership will have Hosts (who are going to be elbow deep in the nitty gritty) including:

For #opensourcesoftware

For #openhardware Lesya Dymyd and CFP Chair Erik Riedel

For #opendata Emma Thwaites and CFP Chair Sonia Cooper

All tracks are being recorded and most are being streamed.

Sustainability and DEI

We are full-on busy, immersed in the organisation. OpenUK is building something that will have a slightly different approach and feel. This will align with the slightly different course you’ve seen us take over the last three years. We will be building on our incredible volunteer leadership community and the work we have done to create events that have a fun, warm atmosphere, and include complimentary activities beyond our core mission, like our Awards Ceremonies last year at COP26 and this year in the House of Lords. We aim to bring people together in ways that are convivial. Where humans can both have the important conversations and fun together.

OpenUK has worked hard to lead on Sustainability. The first open source organisation to have a Sustainability policy and a Chief Sustainability Officer we led one of the most successful fringe events at COP26 and our second indomitable CSO has just been appointed Leanne Kemp ★★★ 康灵安. Under her leadership we hope to see this area grow in importance.

Belonging (DEI) is important across our diverse community and we have just appointed our first Chief Diversity Officer in Nicolas Vibert who will start to measure and enhance the diversity in our organisation.

Our approach has been holistic, to focus on ensuring that that these themes -Sustainability, DEI, Community – run through everything we do. It’s unsurprising that our aims for our first conference follow. Sustainability, DEI, and Community aren’t separate channels, tracks or topics. They will run through SOOCon23. It won’t be perfect, this year (or ever). But we are trying to play our part and to help to lead a societal shift that aligns with and elevates the values of Open Technology.

Who is the SOOCon23 audience?

It’s unsurprising for that a year one confernce with a differnet approach is being asked this.

The answer is simple. You are.

Our event is for the whole Open Technology ecosystem. Those who use, and/or contribute to, and/or distribute (or want to do any of these) to open source software, open hardware and open data.

We hope to see individuals, their employers (whether enterprise or the public sector) regulators, lawyers, policy makers, students to government members. All relevant disciplines from engineers and devs, to community builders, standards makers, marketeers, lawyers, policymakers, business people and entrepreneurs. We want to remove silos and open the conversations to a broad audience. We all need to know about, participate in, and bring our skills to bear on the same issues and conversations. Everyone in this community need to hear the same facts and stories.

Delegate Experience – DX

There will be tables (tabletops only not booths), demos and interactive space, perhaps leaning towards something of a festival vibe. Our hallway track may be more than a little different and will include some unexpected partners like Boeing providing an interactive experience. Community voices will resonate from partners like GNOME Foundation, the Open Source Initiative (OSI), Rust Foundation,, Database on Kubernetes, and both the Open Data Institute and Wikimedia Foundation.

We have a creche and doggy day care to support you being able to attend. There is space to go work (if you must) and spaces to hang and chill. We respect neurodiversity needs with an appropriate area to escape the conference’s buzz in our quiet corridor and universe chill room.

There are numerous media partners, some of them podcasting live from the venue like Mike Schwartz and Open Source Underdogs, The New Stack, The Stack and many more. If you want to be one of these then contact our partners at onebite, Mark Kember to discuss. Delegates can look forward to podcasting, YouTubing or maybe even TickTocking.

Entrepreneurship and access to founders

The Entrepreneurship room is not open for a CFP and will be hosted by Katie Gamanji, Matt Barker and Professor Eleanor Shaw OBE

This room will have structured and very focused content. It will begin to tackle a gap in education for those working in Open Technologies or who want to. Building this knowledge and these skills will in turn support the development of individuals with the right skills – knowing how you build revenue when you have given away your IP, how to build and work with community and to manage healthy contribution – for our Open Technology workforce?

The room offers unprecedented access to Open Technology founders (including Peter Zaitsev, Frank Karlitschek, and, Avi Press) set out banquetings style with round tables that will each include a founder, 9 delegates and a scribe. The founders will host small group round table discussions after each on stage session. You can look forward to a report from these discussions in Q2.

As with all tracks the entrepreneurship content is being recorded and will be made available afterwards. In addition we plan to use some of the content led by Jono Bacon and our founders int this room and indeed some of the Security Room content as part of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which will be made available through an academic partner afterwards.

Our first Keynote will be announced next week and a full schedule will be shared between 5 and 12 January. Trust me… you are going to want to hear the content and you are going to want to hang out in our space.

Incredible low price of £199

We have made this first OpenUK conference available at a vastly subsidised price of £199 for in person attendees and free digitally, with 5 rooms being streamed. That’s not a limited price, although we’d love you to sign up now. That’s a vastly subsidised price, made possible by our fantastic partners and the trust they place in us and our community to make this special. If you really can’t afford this please get in touch as we have volunteer tickets and some access to travel funds.

Samantha (Sammy) Hepburn and Kim Fletcher are organising our volunteer community who will all receive free tickets, and you can see more and register your interest in attending

As a not for profit we are organising this with massive volunteer and community goodwill and support. But this low ticket price for a conference in London’s pre-eminent venue is possible only thanks to the sponsorship of our outrageously generous headline sponsor IEEE Standards Association Open (thanks Adam Newman and Silona Bonewald)and to our Incredible sponsors Arm and Bristows Law Firm, Fantastic Sponsors Google and Avanade and many others. Of course some are still to be announced.

Thank you to everyone who is or decides to participate in this event for allowing the entire Open Technology ecosystem this opportunity. Access to such an event at a time when expensive conferences are beyond many’s reach is important.

There are plenty of sponsorship opportunities and table for all interested in participating, tables are free to other not for profits, but I, and OpenUK need you. We need you as a community to contribute in whatever way you can, whether by providing content, by volunteering as staff, by sponsorships if you can and most of all by just being part of SOOCon23.

We’re looking forward to a series of blogposts by Jennifer Riggins starting shortly which will investigate more of what I have shared with you here and please, if you have questions or would like more information, reach out to

Do, please join our Community and be part of SOOCon23.

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