Who would you like to see as a keynote speaker?

Right now the OE Global Conference Committee is taking suggestions for keynote speakers. Speak up here with your ideas.

Who would you like to see as a speaker? Why?

What kind of format might be effective in an online conference?

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I’ve been participating in a small think tank exploring the Future of Open. I’ve found it really helpful in stimulating my understanding of where open is now and where it might be going. It explores open not just from an education perspective but across all sectors. Many of the participants are people I haven’t heard before.

Here are a couple of people from that group whose ideas I found inspiring:

Michelle Thorne (Mozilla). Michelle is a Senior Program Officer at the Mozilla Foundation and leads the Open Design of Trust Things (OpenDoTT) PhD program with Mozilla and the University of Dundee. She founded Mozilla’s Open Internet of Things Studio, the Mozilla Festival and Maker Party, and previously worked at Creative Commons. She is currently interested in making the internet carbon-neutral.

At the last Future of Open session she talked about “Commons, clouds and other solarpunk dreams”, urging us to imagine alternative futures based on the idea of the commons. She pointed out that we are increasingly losing control over our data and that the storage and processing of data are increasingly contributing to the climate crisis. As a result, we must look at “data responsibility and climate responsibility” as interrelated concerns that we need to address in attempting to build an “alternative sustainable internet for all”. According to Michelle, we should be refocusing our efforts on the concept of the commons (in both its physical and knowledge commons incarnations) instead of getting lost in discussions about technologies and licensing terms.

Teemu Ropponen is the General Manager of MyData Global, an award-winning international nonprofit. The purpose of MyData Global is to empower individuals by improving their right to self-determination regarding their personal data. MyData Global, which was formalised into a nonprofit in late 2018, already has over 600 members, including over 90 organisations, from over 50 countries on six continents. We facilitate the 2000+ strong MyData Global community around the ethical use of personal data. Before working at MyData Global, Teemu has most recently worked as Executive Director of Open Knowledge Finland, with the goal of using open data and open collaboration to create an open society. He has also worked in non-profits, government, startups, corporations and academia, in Finland and abroad.

His presentation presented the work of MyData on a human-centric model for personal data. The objective of the model is to empower people to get value from their data and control how it is used, while at the same time enabling organizations to make ethical use of this data. This model aims to put individuals in control within open ecosystems thereby attempting to bridge the contrasting approaches to openness, between data protection and open access discourses. Teemu highlighted that the MyData approach has recently been recognized as an approach that “promises significant benefits to individuals” in the European Commission’s European Data Strategy. The new strategy provides a window of opportunity for this community-driven approach to become an element of future European policies in this area.

One of the facilitators of this Future of Open group is Paul Keller who summarized Michelle and Teemu’s presentations by saying: "What binds these presentations together for me and ties them in with our thinking about the future of open is that they both point to the urgent need to engage in agenda-setting, on the meta level. As an open movement what are the issues that we want to shape and take responsibility for? This week’s presentations both pointed to the fact that how we relate to the data we produce has consequences that go way beyond the issues that the open movement has been dealing. And that these issues are also too important for us to ignore any longer. The fight for a sustainable internet for all requires us to develop an agenda that deals with the issues of sustainability and personal agency and economic fairness alike Hopefullly the next sessions can contribute to shaping such an agenda for the open movement.

I realize these speakers and topics are a little outside the main open education areas of focus such as OER, open practices, and open pedagogy but as you know I think open education is part of a bigger open. These presenters align with my own thinking that we need to re-constitute the vision for open to be something different and more inspiring than the current one. We need to create a vision that weaves the multiple means of open into a shared narrative - one that benefits all.