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Exceptional times call for new and open solutions: #osoc20 will be fully remote

- May 5, 2020 in Featured, Open Data, Open Innovation, Open Knowledge, Open Source, open Summer of code, osoc20, projects, remote

A virus is throwing a spanner in the works for businesses and organisations around the globe. At the same time, we are witnessing a surge in innovation, creativity and flexibility from all parts of society. Open Knowledge Belgium wants to take on the challenge and be part of the solution. How? With Open Summer of Code, we provide both private and public organisations with the opportunity to tap into the creativity of digital natives and build a prototype for digital projects in only 4 weeks time. Changing times call for thinking out of the box Open Summer of Code will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer. This unique summer program – where student teams devise and develop innovative digital solutions for societal and other challenges – has become an institution. Throughout the years, we have managed to make Open Summer of Code grow with more students, partners and impact. As a result of the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, we’re ready to take on a new challenge: organising #osoc20 as a fully remote edition. Thanks to our experience and solid supporting network of coaches and partners, we are confident and excited to turn this fully remote aspect into an opportunity for more and faster digital transformation. We are currently adapting our program in such a way that we make it work remotely. Here are a few changes that you can expect for this remote edition:
  • Set-up of the infrastructure for effective remote collaboration
  • Review of our code of conduct so it works remotely
  • Documentation will take precedence over explanation
  • Supporting coaches with tutorials & an online skill board
  • Demo day: live-streaming all project presentations to a broad audience.
Does this imply that we’ll never meet each other face-to-face? Not necessarily! We want to keep the door open for small physical meetings. If governmental measures allow, we might organise smaller team gatherings, but remote work will be the norm. In case it’s difficult for students to work from home, we will provide them with a desk. Open is the key to innovation The pandemic has forced many of us to isolate but this hasn’t stopped the world from coming together to fight the corona virus. Traditional silos are being demolished while new ways of collaboration are popping up everywhere. From researchers to makers, from app developers to citizens with a sewing machine, … Magic happens when all noses point in the same direction. As an umbrella organisation for the open community in Belgium, we are proud that Open Knowledge, Open Data and Open Source have played a significant part in these developments. We strongly believe in the power of open as a motor for innovation. All applications and solutions that are developed during Open Summer of Code are Open Source, and often based on Open Data. This way we can introduce the projects and partners to the (Belgian) open community while training a next generation of open advocates. Of course we ourselves try to practice what we preach by using as many open alternatives when organising Open Summer of Code. Even more so now that we are preparing for a fully remote edition. Together with you, we want to develop the world of tomorrow This year’s edition of Open Summer of Code provides a unique opportunity: it combines the societal need for more digital transformation and the strong motivation of talented students in a remote setting. 171 students have already submitted their application to be part of #osoc20. Today, we’re still looking for more partners who want to build a prototype for their digital project and give a team of students the chance to put their skills into practice. In previous editions of Open Summer of Code, teams of students have built prototypes for many different kind of projects – to highlight a few: In short, what can you as a project partner expect to get out of Open Summer of Code?
  • The opportunity to turn your project idea into a prototype in only 1 month thanks to the digital creativity and dedication of a talented team of students and coaches.
  • Joining a network of organisations, coaches and nearly graduated students who are eager to make a difference.
  • Social impact, as thanks to you students get the chance to work on an impactful digital project.
  • Becoming a digital pioneer and gain visibility before, during and after the program with your next digital project.
  • Being a part of a larger innovative hub where synergies arise spontaneously.
Do you recognize yourself or your organization in the description above? Then osoc is what you’re looking for! You can become a partner by contacting us directly via info@osoc.be. For more info, take a look at: summerofcode.be.

EqualStreetNames Brussels: Launch of open data visualisation

- March 3, 2020 in EqualStreetNames, Featured, Open Data, openstreetmap, Wikidata

Less than 7% of street names have been named after a woman in Brussels: launch of EqualStreetNames.Brussels Open Knowledge Belgium, an association advocating for the use of Open Data, Noms Peut-Être, a feminist collective advocating for more equality in the public space and 60 citizens have created a map visualizing the street names of Brussels by gender. With male names highlighted in yellow and female names in purple, the platform visualizes the imbalance present in the attribution of a name to a public space in Brussels Region. Results: only 6% of street names are named after women and only one street is named after a transgender man.  The names of public spaces (streets, avenues, squares and others) define the identity of a city and how citizens interact with it.There are several ways to approach the inequality of street names and leverage a positive change in our society. Ours is with the use of Open Data to create a map visualizing the street names of Brussels by gender. “To create this map, we have used Open Data – data which can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose – from OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia”, explain Manon Brulard, in charge of the project for Open Knowledge Belgium. To link this data, 60 citizens gathered on 17 February to add Wikidata tags (a tag containing all the information from a Wikipedia page) to the streets on OpenStreetMap. Using Open Data has unlocked a new range of possibilities, the project being now replicable in other cities and the analysis being completely transparent. “Public space is currently only “public” by name. Everyone should be able to use it equally. Yet, this space remains masculine, part of it because of the type of names that have been attributed to streets. A street, it’s a place where we live, where we meet, where we work. It’s a place that will stay in our collective memories. It’s a shame to “forget” women who, whatever the time, have done remarkable things”, says Camille Wernaers, member of the feminist collective Noms Peut-Être. Collaborative workshops will be organized from March until December to suggest new and more diverse names to municipalities. Biographies of these women will also be created. These suggestions will be added to the platform and will serve as advice for municipalities to choose from. The first workshop will take place on 23 March 2020 from 18:00-22:00 at La Maison des Femmes de Schaerbeek (Rue Josaphat 253, 1030 Schaerbeek). More information & registration here: https://equalstreetnamesworkshop.eventbrite.co.uk
EqualStreetNames.Brussels is made possible thanks to Equal.Brussels
About Open Knowledge Belgium is an association advocating for the use of Open Data and for Open Education. Website: https://be.okfn.org/ Noms Peut-Être is a feminist collective aiming to, in Brussels Region, to put forward women* from here and elsewhere, denounce the invisibility of women* in the public space, in History and to propose new inspiring models for everyone. The collective is active throughout the year by doing civil disobedience actions. Website: https://nomspeutetre.wordpress.com/ Contact:  Open Knowledge Belgium: Manon Brulard Email:  equalstreetnames@openknowledge.be Noms Peut-Être: Camille Wernaers Noms Peut-Être: nomspeutetre@gmail.com

Press articles:

Towards Equal Street Names with Open Data

- February 3, 2020 in EqualStreetNames, Events, Open Knowledge, opendata

We are using Open Data to build a map visualizing the streets names of Brussels by gender. We need your help!
The names of public spaces (streets, avenues, squares and others) define the identity of a city and how citizens interact with it. Brussels suffers from a major inequality between male and female street names and we want to help fix this! Event info & registration: http://equalstreetnamesbrussels.eventbrite.co.uk/ There are several ways to approach the inequality of street names and leverage a positive change in our society. Ours is with the use of Open Data. We want to use technologies to create a world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few. How do we plan to do this? Several not-for-profits Open Knowledge Belgium, OpenStreetMap Belgium and Wikimedia Belgium are partnering up to build a map vizualizing the street names of Brussels by gender. To make this happen, we will use open data – data which can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose – from OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia. And to do so, we need your help! Although the data exist, we still need to link both data sources. During this event, we will add Wikidata tags (a tag containing all the information from a Wikipedia page) to the streets on OpenStreetMap. Linking this data will allow many possibilities such as using existing Wikipedia profiles as suggestions for cities or analysing what types of profiles are used for street names. To be very clear: you don’t need to have a technical profile to join but rather the ambition to make a change. We’ll start the evening with a brief introduction about what needs to be done. By participating, you will contribute to OpenStreetMap, Wikipedia and to a project that could easily be replicated in many cities across the world. We aim to gather 100 people Many streets in Brussels – more precisely, several hundreds – are missing the adequate Wikidata tags. Therefore, please do bring along a friend! We want to fill the whole room with 100 people and do our very best to get it all done in one night. Why is there still so much manual work to do for a technological project? To do this project, we could have used an expensive data mining software, which would make the project difficult to replicate in other cities. By using open data, we want to make it more sustainable and contribute to the web we want. When is it? Join us on Monday 17 February at 18:00 in the offices of Doctors Without Borders (Rue de l’Arbre Bénit 46, 1050 Ixelles) I need food in order to be productive. Will there be food? Croque-Madame & Croque-Monsieur are offered (whatever your preference is!). Please just don’t forget to register so that we know how many people we should expect. What do I need to bring? You need to come with your own computer. Do I need a technical profile to come? Absolutely not! Just your ambition to change the street names 😉 Organised by whom? This project is the result of a collaboration between not-for-profit organisations Open Knowledge Belgium, OpenStreetMap Belgium, Wikimedia Belgium and the feminist collective Noms Peut-Être. The event is made possible with the support of Equal.Brussels.

We’re hiring a Community & Communications Coordinator for HackYourFuture Belgium with up to 3 years of experience (F/M/X)

- January 16, 2020 in hackyourfuture, Jobs

Open Knowledge Belgium (non-profit/vzw/asbl), as local chapter of Open Knowledge Foundation, is an umbrella organisation for various open knowledge and open data initiatives in Belgium. We strive for a world in which knowledge creates power for the many, not the few and proactively promote openness through activities, to the general public as well as to experts in the field.

As a grassroots organisation we consist of people, mainly volunteers, passionate about openness, using advocacy, research, technology and projects to unlock information, enabling people to use and share knowledge. Today we are looking for a Community & Communications coordinator who will play a key role within the growing open community of Open Knowledge Belgium in general and, more specifically, HackYourFuture Belgium. HackYourFuture Belgium is a coding school for refugees and migrants from a vulnerable background. The school was founded in 2018 and is part of an international network. In 2020, HackYourFuture will train 90 refugees to become software developers. You, in collaboration with our general coordinator and educational coordinator, will be responsible for managing our community and taking care of the external communication with different stakeholders (refugees and migrants from a vulnerable background, volunteer-coaches, project partners and companies looking for developers). In return, we offer an exciting and dynamic environment where you can be at the forefront of impactful open projects and develop new skills that are vital in the global civic tech and open community.

As Community & Communications Coordinator, you:

  • Have a bachelor in communication management, or equivalent skills and experience
  • Have up to 1 to 3 years of professional experience in community and/or communication management or, to put it differently, you have been in charge of the communications of a project and/or created an engaged community, professionally or in your spare time
  • Know how to lead, facilitate and engage a community of passionate people both online and offline
  • Have a good understanding of how to use social media and how digital tools can help engage new people
  • Are able to manage the communication planning and keep deadlines
  • Identify and leverage open knowledge opportunities and projects
  • Are not afraid to take decisions which concern various stakeholders
  • Like to work both autonomously and within teams
  • Can effectively communicate written and verbally to the general public
  • Communicate fluently, both written and verbally, in Dutch and English, plus you have an intermediate level in French
  • Have experience with local and European funding and grants or how to communicate about technical matters (open data / open source) — this is a plus but not mandatory
  • Are eager to be an advocate in open education and inclusion & diversity

You’ll be in charge of:

  • Actively managing the community of HackYourFuture Belgium, which consists of 250 students and volunteers, as well as being the point of contact for different stakeholders
  • Managing the online channels of HackYourFuture Belgium, as part of Open Knowledge Belgium
  • Recruiting students, volunteer-coaches and personal mentors to help students land a job
  • Organising graduation & matchmaking events by the end of each class
  • The further development of the HackYourFuture Belgium alumni network
  • Practical organisation to prepare the classes of HackYourFuture Belgium
  • Proactively looking for partnerships within the network of HackYourFuture Belgium & Open Knowledge Belgium to develop new opportunities
  • Fostering relationships with other NGOs & other organisations working in the sector
  • Finding, together with the team, strategic ways to embed HackYourFuture Belgium in Open Knowledge Belgium as umbrella, by creating synergies between activities of HackYourFuture Belgium & Open Knowledge Belgium and its HackYourFuture Bootcamp, Open Belgium conference, Open Summer of Code and Open Knowledge Belgium’s working groups.
  • Putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of HackYourFuture Belgium by ensuring:
    1. Diversity in the selection of students by organizing women taster classes
    2. Inclusion in the recruitment process
    3. Diversity and inclusion are reflected in communication
  • Organising regular exchanges with other international chapters from HackYourFuture to learn from each other and share best practices
  • Creating opportunities to bring all volunteers together on a regular basis

What does an Open Knowledge Belgium employee look like?

  • You are eager to strive for a world where knowledge is open, free and accessible for all
  • You have a passion for open knowledge, open data and open source
  • You’re a team player and like to work with volunteers
  • You’re not afraid to go abroad and meet people of the international community
  • You’re ambitious and motivated to take Open Knowledge Belgium to the next level
  • You don’t necessarily want to reinvent the wheel, but rather want to find out what works and what doesn’t
  • You are not just an employee but are willing to be an ambassador of open knowledge

We can offer you

  • A competitive full-time fixed-term employment contract until the end of November, with the possibility to be extended (depending on funding)
  • Flexible working hours
  • Meal vouchers
  • Health insurance benefits
  • Compensation for commuting via public transport
  • Five open-minded and very motivated colleagues who want to make a difference
  • You have a say in what direction the organisation moves to
  • You’ll be working in a leading tech environment with international partners
  • Desk in our office at BeCentral, the digital campus at Brussels Central Station
  • Working with dedicated hardworking volunteers

Interested?

Send us your resume and motivation letter to jobs@openknowledge.be. The deadline is Wednesday 29 January 2020, 22:00 GMT+1. Suitable candidates will be invited for a personal conversation. Candidates who are immediately available, are asked to apply right away. Open Knowledge Belgium vzw/asbl does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status and sexual orientation in any of its activities or operations. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, and partners. When equally qualified, preference is given to the candidate who reinforces diversity at Open Knowledge Belgium. Recruitment in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

Open Knowledge Belgium is preparing for open Summer of code 2017

- May 31, 2017 in belgium, Civic Labs, Events, General, Open Belgium, Open Data, Open Knowledge, open Summer of code, oSoc17

In the last few months, the open community in Belgium has had the chance to gather multiple times. Open Knowledge Belgium organised a couple of events and activities which aimed to bring its passionate community together and facilitate the launch of new projects. Furthermore, as summertime is coming, it’s currently organising the seventh edition of its yearly open Summer of code. Let’s go chronologically through what’s going on at Open Knowledge Belgium.

Open Belgium 2017

As the tradition goes, the first Monday after International Open Data Day, Open Knowledge Belgium organises its Open Belgium conference on open knowledge and open data in Belgium.

Open Belgium was made possible by an incredible group of volunteers

This year’s community-driven gathering of open enthusiasts took place in Brussels for the first time and was a big success. More than 250 people with different backgrounds showed up to talk about the current state of and next steps towards more open knowledge and open data in Belgium.

All presentations, notes and visuals of Open Belgium are available on http://2017.openbelgium.be/presentations.

Launch of Civic Lab Brussels

It all started during a fruitful discussion with Open Knowledge Germany at Open Belgium. While talking about the 26 OK Labs in Germany, more specifically being intrigued by the air quality project of OK Lab Stuttgart, we got to ask ourselves: why wouldn’t we launch something similar in Brussels/Belgium?

In about the same period of time, some new open initiatives popped up from within our community and several volunteers repeatedly expressed their interest to contribute to Open Knowledge’s mission of building a world in which knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.

Eventually, after a wonderful visit to BeCentral — the new digital hub above Brussels’ central station — all pieces of the puzzle got merged into the idea of a Civic Lab: bringing volunteers and open projects every 2 weeks together in an open space.

The goal of Civic Labs Brussels is two-fold: on the one hand, offering volunteers opportunities to contribute to civic projects they care about. On the other hand, providing initiative-takers of open project with help and advice from fellow citizens.

Open in the case of our Civic Lab means, corresponding to the Open Definition, yet slightly shorter, that anyone can freely contribute to and benefit from the project. No strings attached.

Civic Lab meetups are not only to put open initiatives in the picture and hang out with other civic innovators. They’re also about getting things done and creating impact. Therefore, those gatherings always take place under the same format of short introductory presentations (30 min) — to both new and ongoing projects — followed by action (2 hours), whereby all attendees are totally free to contribute to the project of their choice and can come up with new projects.

Open Summer of code 2017

Last but not least, Open Knowledge Belgium is preparing for the seventh edition of its annual open Summer of code. From 3rd until 27th July, 36 programming, design and communications students will be working under the guidance of experienced coaches on 10 different open innovation projects with real-life impact.

If you want to stay updated about open Summer of code and all other activities, please follow Open Knowledge Belgium on Twitter or subscribe to its newsletter.

Open Knowledge Belgium is preparing for open Summer of code 2017

- May 31, 2017 in belgium, Civic Labs, Events, General, Open Belgium, Open Data, Open Knowledge, open Summer of code, oSoc17

Launch of Civic Lab Brussels

- May 5, 2017 in Civic Lab, Civic Labs, Events, Open Data, Open Knowledge

Last week Open Knowledge Belgium launched, in collaboration with Wikimedia Belgium, Civic Lab Brussels, a biweekly action-oriented gathering of open enthusiasts with different backgrounds and skills who work together on civic projects.  
How did we come up with this idea?
It all started during a fruitful discussion with Open Knowledge Germany at Open Belgium earlier in March. While talking about the 26 OK Labs in Germany, more specifically being intrigued by the air quality project of OK Lab Stuttgart, we got to ask ourselves: why wouldn’t we launch something similar in Brussels/Belgium? In about the same period of time, some new open initiatives popped up from within our community and several volunteers repeatedly expressed their interest to contribute to Open Knowledge’s mission of building a world in which knowledge creates power for the many, not the few. Eventually, after a wonderful visit to BeCentral – the new digital hub above Brussels’ central station – all pieces of the puzzle got merged into the idea of a Civic Lab: bringing volunteers and open projects every 2 weeks together in an open space.

Much more than putting open projects in the picture The goal of Civic Labs Brussels is two-fold: on the one hand, offering volunteers opportunities to contribute to civic projects they care about. On the other hand, providing initiative-takers of open project with help and advice from fellow citizens. Open in the case of our Civic Lab means, corresponding to the Open Definition, yet slightly shorter, that anyone can freely contribute to and benefit from the project. No strings attached. During our Civic Lab meetups we don’t only put open initiatives in the picture and hang out with other civic innovators. We also want to get things done and create impact. Therefore, our meetups always take place under the same format of short introductory presentations (30 min) — to both new and ongoing projects — followed by action (2 hours), whereby all attendees are totally free to contribute to the project of their choice and can come up with new projects — just let the organising team know in advance. Kickoff Civic Hack Night At our kickoff meetup we were pleased to welcome 33 open believers — what corresponds to a show-up rate of 92% (!)— and had 4 projects presented: Thanks to the diversity among attendees, our kickoff meetup turned out to be a big success. This is also where the potential lies for Civic labs: bringing researchers, hackers, civil servants, entrepreneurs and civil society representatives in the same room and inviting them to collaboratively work on open projects.

Civic Labs Brussels Kickoff

What to expect from our next Civic Lab meetups? During our next open gathering there will be presentations about both running projects —e.g. air quality, OpenStreetMap and open food data —  as well new projects in Civic Lab Brussels as, for instance, from Wikimedia Belgium and Dewey. Next to those project-specific presentations, we’d like to invite researchers and students to come and tell us about their findings from their work related to anything open and international visitors to meet our local community and share their stories. Last but not least, we’re happy to announce that Chris and Umut, both interns at Open Knowledge Belgium, will also present the onboarding process they developed for W4P – open source crowdsourcing platform – during the Civic Lab meetup on 23 May.

How to get involved: Noteworthy: Civic Lab Brussels has its own Wiki page – https://be.wikimedia.org/wiki/Civic_Lab_Brussels

Launch of Civic Lab Brussels

- May 5, 2017 in Civic Lab, Civic Labs, Events, Open Data, Open Knowledge

Last week Open Knowledge Belgium launched, in collaboration with Wikimedia Belgium, Civic Lab Brussels, a biweekly action-oriented gathering of open enthusiasts with different backgrounds and skills who work together on civic projects.  
How did we come up with this idea?
It all started during a fruitful discussion with Open Knowledge Germany at Open Belgium earlier in March. While talking about the 26 OK Labs in Germany, more specifically being intrigued by the air quality project of OK Lab Stuttgart, we got to ask ourselves: why wouldn’t we launch something similar in Brussels/Belgium? In about the same period of time, some new open initiatives popped up from within our community and several volunteers repeatedly expressed their interest to contribute to Open Knowledge’s mission of building a world in which knowledge creates power for the many, not the few. Eventually, after a wonderful visit to BeCentral – the new digital hub above Brussels’ central station – all pieces of the puzzle got merged into the idea of a Civic Lab: bringing volunteers and open projects every 2 weeks together in an open space.

Much more than putting open projects in the picture The goal of Civic Labs Brussels is two-fold: on the one hand, offering volunteers opportunities to contribute to civic projects they care about. On the other hand, providing initiative-takers of open project with help and advice from fellow citizens. Open in the case of our Civic Lab means, corresponding to the Open Definition, yet slightly shorter, that anyone can freely contribute to and benefit from the project. No strings attached. During our Civic Lab meetups we don’t only put open initiatives in the picture and hang out with other civic innovators. We also want to get things done and create impact. Therefore, our meetups always take place under the same format of short introductory presentations (30 min) — to both new and ongoing projects — followed by action (2 hours), whereby all attendees are totally free to contribute to the project of their choice and can come up with new projects — just let the organising team know in advance. Kickoff Civic Hack Night At our kickoff meetup we were pleased to welcome 33 open believers — what corresponds to a show-up rate of 92% (!)— and had 4 projects presented: Thanks to the diversity among attendees, our kickoff meetup turned out to be a big success. This is also where the potential lies for Civic labs: bringing researchers, hackers, civil servants, entrepreneurs and civil society representatives in the same room and inviting them to collaboratively work on open projects.

Civic Labs Brussels Kickoff

What to expect from our next Civic Lab meetups? During our next open gathering there will be presentations about both running projects —e.g. air quality, OpenStreetMap and open food data —  as well new projects in Civic Lab Brussels as, for instance, from Wikimedia Belgium and Dewey. Next to those project-specific presentations, we’d like to invite researchers and students to come and tell us about their findings from their work related to anything open and international visitors to meet our local community and share their stories. Last but not least, we’re happy to announce that Chris and Umut, both interns at Open Knowledge Belgium, will also present the onboarding process they developed for W4P – open source crowdsourcing platform – during the Civic Lab meetup on 23 May.

How to get involved: Noteworthy: Civic Lab Brussels has its own Wiki page – https://be.wikimedia.org/wiki/Civic_Lab_Brussels

Launch of Civic Lab Brussels

- May 5, 2017 in Civic Lab, Civic Labs, Events, Open Data, Open Knowledge

Open Education Kickoff Meeting

- February 21, 2017 in Open Data, Open Knowledge, open-education, universities

Belgium is lacking behind when it comes to opening up their educational data. Therefore some bottom-up action is needed in order to make this possible. As a response, an interesting Kickoff meeting about Open Education was held on February 15 2017 in Brussels. Data providers, data re-users and data facilitators were sitting together and discussed the possibilities regarding open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices. What’s the problem? Students and staff want information which is up-to-date and easy to find. This can be brought by applications. The only problem is that most colleges aren’t keen to open up their data, whereas opening their data to build applications would make things a lot easier for students as well as for the colleges itself. It would change both institutional and wider culture. Another problem lies in the fact that every institution works with a different database. Therefore it is also interesting to discuss about an open data standard for every college or university. How can we solve this? Organizations need concrete information about what data they have to open and its consequences. Therefore this working group can help to discuss the possibilities op Open Education to create some extra pressure to colleges and universities. Do you want to be part of the Open Education Working group? Are you interested or do you want to be part of the Open Education Working Group? Click here to join our Slack group and keep the discussion alive.