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An Open Letter on Belonging

Open UK’s Valentine to the Open Tech Community

Sign up to our letter by sharing it on social media with the #OpenUKBelonging

OpenUK seeks Belonging Partners – not for profit organisations who encourage a range diversity and inclusion through their activities –  to be a part of our ecosystem to advance belonging in Open Technology together and sign up to this letter by sharing it on social media. We will launch these partnerships on International Women’s Day on 8 March and will support each of the partners throughout the year.

Download the letter in PDF

Dear Open Tech Community,

One of life’s most urgent questions is what am I doing to support others? We, the community and leadership of OpenUK, see this letter as a duty of activism and care.

We want to emphasise across the Open Technology communities, the magnitude of systemic exclusion and discrimination that continue to exist in society today. As Open Technology (open source software, open hardware and open data) is the engine powering the UK’s Digital Economy, each one of us has a responsibility, plays a key part, and must do more, must do better, in eradicating these problems.

Covid-19 and the rapid pace of technology development has increased the urgency for action.

At the start of the pandemic, in 2020, Ofcom estimated 1.8m children were without adequate access to devices, the gap that already exists is widening, with ‘less than one in five of UK technology workers being a woman or from a BAME background and only one in 10 having a disability’ according to Amali de Alwis, in 2020.

The consequences of digital exclusion include narrow talent pipelines, technology that does not represent the people it serves and the refusal to provide those under-represented groups the opportunity to earn equally and to experience the opportunities that come with technology.

At OpenUK, we work on 3 Pillars. One focuses on building Learning in Open Technology, to inspire confidence and motivation in our children from an early age. Our message is that everyone and anyone can belong to the Open Technology community. This reaches the systemic root of digital exclusion and aims to fulfil our purpose of not only developing but also sustaining UK Leadership in Open Technology.

Although we have supported over 47 schools and over 3000 young people learning digital skills in 2020, we must do more to reach those who remain digitally excluded. Our individual work alone will not be enough. Unless collective action is taken, we will be left with a workforce struggling for diversity, in thought and experience, leading to gaps in
creativity, innovation and ingenuity.

To take a step forward we must remember that the issue is not Black, White or Female. Regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, creed, colour, age, neuro divergence, socioeconomic status, origin, or sexual orientation – we are people, not labels. Everyone, each of us, should have the opportunity to succeed and feel “a sense of belonging”.

We choose the term “belonging” as it represents acceptance and security for each of us. It focuses on people and everyone’s innate need to belong. From this point in time, we will focus our attention not on individual groups or certain agendas but to recognise the vital need to accept everyone.

We are counting on you, our Open Technology community to recognise and commit to belonging with us by:

  • Leading with data; capture metrics, set targets and create accountability
  • Teaching, inspiring and empowering leaders and a culture that promotes belonging
  • Paying attention to young people, retention and promotion – not just recruitment
  • Looking outside to develop a supportive ecosystem and make a social impact
  • Be courageous. Take action. Be the change you want to create.

Sign up to the commitment in this letter and help OpenUK lead the Open Tech community into a brighter future.

We are counting on you. But more importantly future generations are too.

Please consider joining us by

Become an OpenUK Supporter or Ambassador

to support our mission of UK leadership in Open Technology – an

outward looking and collaborative goal

List of Valentine’s day signatories to the #OpenUKBelonging Letter
Adrian O’Sullivan Sponsor, OpenUK
Adrian Woodhead Honours List, OpenUK
Alexandria Palamountain Sponsor, OpenUK
Amanda Brock CEO, OpenUK
Amy Howlett Support Manager, OpenUK
Andrei Cioaca Ambassador, OpenUK
Andy Bennett Awards Committee, OpenUK
Andrew Back Honours List and Emerging Telco Group, OpenUK
Andrew Katz Legal & Policy Group, OpenUK
Andrew Wafaa Sponsor and Honours List, OpenUK
Anne Todd Legal & Policy Group, OpenUK
Ashleigh Monagle Digital Inclusion Lead, OpenUK
Ashley Nicolson Ambassador, OpenUK
Basil Cousins Honours List, Lifetime Achievement OpenUK
BCS Open Source User Group Friend to OpenUK
Blessed Tabvirwa Awards Winner 2020 and Judge 2021, OpenUK
Bryan Che Sponsor, OpenUK
Carla Gaggini Ambassador, OpenUK
Charlotte Lee Legal & Policy Committee, OpenUK
Chris Kranz Ambassador, OpenUK
Chris Lamb Honours List, OpenUK
Chris Simmonds Ambassador, OpenUK
Christopher Eastham Chief Legal Officer, OpenUK
Christopher Howard Ambassador, OpenUK
David Jobling Awards Committee, OpenUK
Dawn Foster Board, OpenUK
Deb Bhattacharya Project Manager, OpenUK
Dominique Top Ambassador, OpenUK
Ebrahim Bushehri Honours List Honouree, OpenUK
Eddie Jaoude Honours List Honouree, OpenUK
Elefteria Kokkinia Web Designer, OpenUK
Fiona Nielsen Honours List, OpenUK
Henry Nash Ambassador, OpenUK
Iain Mitchell QC Honourary QC, OpenUK
Ian Burgess Board, OpenUK
Ian Watt Ambassador, OpenUK
Imogen Heap Kids Camp Contributor and Double Grammy Award winning Singer and Composer
Jack Kelly Honours List, OpenUK
Jamie Harper Chief Partnership Officer, OpenUK
Jason Evans Ambassador, OpenUK
Dr Jenny Malloy Honours List, OpenUK
Jeremy Bennett Awards Shortlist and Honours List OpenUK
Jimmy Wales Honours List, OpenUK and Founder of Wikipedia
John Laban Board, OpenUK
Jonathan Riddell Chair, Awards Group and Honours List, OpenUK
Justin Cormack Honours List, OpenUK
Kara de la Marck Honours List, OpenUK
Katie Gamanji Ambassador, OpenUK
Laura Czajkowski Honours List, OpenUK
Lex Roberts Museums Committee, OpenUK
Liz Rice Ambassador and Individual Award Winner, OpenUK
Lorna Mitchell Ambassador, OpenUK
Lou Peers Board Facilitator, OpenUK
Lowena Hull Kids Camp Intern and Awards Shortlist, OpenUK
Lucy Fox Chief Business Development Officer, OpenUK
Lucy Yu COP26 Partner and CEO, Octopus Centre for Net Zero
Magdelena Rzaca Future Leader, OpenUK
Mandy Chessell Honours List, OpenUK
Marc Cluet Honours List, OpenUK
Mark Hambleton Honours List, OpenUK
Mark Kember Chieff Communications Officer, OpenUK
Matt Jarvis Board, OpenUK
Matthew Buck Kids Camp Animator, OpenUK
May Cheung CFO, OpenUK
Max Schulze COP26 Partner and Executive Chairman Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance
Michael Burling Chief Relationship Officer, OpenUK
Michael Meeks Honours List, OpenUK
Nick Jones Ambassador, OpenUK
Olof Kindgren Awards shortlisted nominee, OpenUK
Pamela Boal Curriculum Adviser, OpenUK
Paul Barker Supporter, OpenUK
Paul Taylor Learning Group, OpenUK
Rehana Soltane Kids Camp, Creative Director, OpenUK
Ritwik Sarkar Awards Committee, OpenUK
Robert Grannells Co-Chair, Future Leaders Group, OpenUK
Rob Knight Sponsor, OpenUK
Rob McQueen Board, OpenUK
Rob Taylor Board, OpenUK
Rochelle Farmer Legal & Policy Group Member OpenUK
Dr Sara Thomas Honours List, Open UK
Sami Atabani Honours List and Legal and Policy Group Member, OpenUK
Serena Ricci Kids Camp, Media Lead, OpenUK
Shaz Ali CTO, OpenUK
Simon Phipps Honours List, OpenUK
Steph Bower Kids Camp, Voiceover Artist
Steve Helvie Ambassador, OpenUK
Steve Millidge Awards Shortlisted Nominee, OpenUK
Stuart Mackintosh Board, OpenUK
Terence Eden Board, OpenUK
Tim Davies Honours List, OpenUK
Tim Pockney Supporter, OpenUK
Tim Telford Ambassador, OpenUK
Toby Crick Legal & Policy Group Member OpenUK
Tomas Lamanauskas Emerging Telcoms Group, OpenUK
Tumai Hoang Marketing Manager, OpenUK
VM (Vicky) Brasseur Advisor, OpenUK
Dr Victoria Betton Honours List, OpenUK
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