With the OpenCon application period over, you might be wondering how you can contribute to making a more open future. One concrete way to do this is to host an OpenCon satellite event. Satellite events are held in partnership with the main global meeting, and typically combine content, themes and ideas from the main meeting with local talks or activities. Anyone is eligible to host a satellite event, and the events themselves can be any size, in any place, at any time! Hosting a satellite is a great way to catalyze local progress on Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education, while also being part of a global discussion on open issues.
Satellite events are the largest part of OpenCon. Last year, amazing people from across the globe hosted 30 satellite events in 20 different countries, reaching 1500 participants in total.
OpenCon 2015 Satellite events in Berlin (left) and Faisalabad (right).
Growing our OpenCon Satellite Community
When we made our first call for hosts in 2014, we had no idea if satellite events would work. Since then, satellite events have become a critical part to building our global community. This year, we want the fight for a more open future to reach even more communities and even more people. We asked ourselves how we could grow our satellite program in four key areas:
Scale: How can we see more satellite events and more participants, in more countries for 2016?
Ease: How can we make the satellite planning process as easy as possible for hosts?
Impact: How can satellite attendees can get the most out of participating?
Catalyse: How can satellite events build community and catalyze progress on Open issues in the long term?
To do this, we are developing some exciting improvements to the support we provide to satellite hosts. Here’s a preview of what to expect in the coming months.
“Off the Shelf” Programming
In past years, OpenCon satellite hosts have often combined content from the main event (e.g. online streams of keynote talks) with local speakers or activities. We realize that not everyone has the time or resources to design their own satellite program, so we’re currently working behind the scenes to create user-friendly, “off-the-shelf” satellite event agendas that hosts will have the option of using. In addition to these ready-made agendas, we’ll be providing hand-outs about Open issues that hosts can distribute at events, as well as releasing guides to hosting unconferences and preparing for institutional-level advocacy days.
Event Promotion Support
We know that finding people to attend your event can sometimes be difficult. This year, we’ll do everything we can to help events reach as many potential attendees as possible. We’ll be keeping track of OpenCon 2016 applicants who live in regions where satellite events are happening, so we can notify them about local opportunities to participate. We’re creating a wider selection of customizable promotional materials. We’ll also be offering website integration with Facebook Events and Eventbrite to help hosts leverage social media to promote their events.
In the next month, we’ll be working to revamp our fundraising resources so that they include templates for budgets, improved step-by-step fundraising guidelines, as well as suggestions on how to organize successful events that can also operate on low cost.
Guidelines for Catalyzing Change
OpenCon satellite events are a great way for people in your local community to learn about Open issues, but they also have the potential to be more! We’ll be providing hosts with tips on how to use their OpenCon satellite event to build strong communities, where participants can work together catalyze institutional or regional-level progress on Open issues in the months that follow.
Travel Scholarships for Satellite Hosts
Hosts make up an integral part of our community. We want to recognize this, and the hard work that goes into planning satellite events—which is why at least two 2016 satellite event hosts will be awarded travel scholarships to attend OpenCon 2017, upon successful completion and reporting of their satellite event.
Interested in hosting a satellite event or learning more?
1. Join our OpenCon Satellite Community Call! We're inviting anyone interested in hosting a satellite event this year to join the call and hear from past hosts, discuss their concerns, and start the process of organizing. If people find the call useful, we’ll be happy to expand this to a regular monthly OpenCon community call!
Our Satellite Community Call will be on Wednesday July 27, 2016 (12pm EDT / 5pm BST / 6pm CEST / 4pm UCT) and anyone is welcome to join. You can RSVP for the call here, and if you can’t make it, you can access the call agenda and notes here.
2. Head to our website to read more about the process for hosts. The bottom of the page also includes a form to register your interest. We’d love to see even more OpenCon satellite events happen this year, and hope that you’ll consider helping grow our community in this way!