The festival of WordPress
January 22, 2021

Young person holding a globe

Speaking at WordFest Live 2021

As we move through this journey towards WordFest Live 2021, we’re continually listening to you and your feedback.  One question that has come up a few times is ‘What topics are you looking for?’ and what a great question! 

So we thought we’d share some ideas.  But remember, these are just our limited perspectives.  We’re very open to hearing from you about any style, format, and topic. 

So to start it might be helpful to talk a little bit about WordFest and the general concept of the event.  There are two foundational elements, both of which you may gather from the title;

  • Word – The WordPress bit
  • Fest – The Festival bit

So it’s a Festival of WordPress.  It’s a 24-hour event, covering four distinct regions.  Starting in Oceania, then moving to Asia, next we’ll be in EMEA, and finally the Americas.  We’ll spend six hours in each region. 

We’ll be running a minimum of three ‘Stages’ (think Tracks if you’re familiar with in-person conferences).  The Main Stage will deliver one session every hour, for the full 24-hour event.  Stages 2 and 3, will feature at least two sessions per region.  So for each region, we’ll be delivering ten sessions.  Which of course, makes a grand total of forty sessions for WordFest.

A limited number of these sessions will be pre-determined with help from our wonderful sponsors.  The rest will be open to our blind selection process.  And this is where you come in! 

So, when registering to speak, be sure to select at least one Region.  Of course, you’re welcome to select multiple, but be sure you can be awake when we hit that timezone!  Your submitted session will go into this region(s) when we run the blind selection.  

female speaker virtual conference

So “What topics?” I hear you ask… 

WordPress and the open-source project is a key focus for WordFest, but it’s not the sole focus.  Also, we’re very aware that ‘WordPress’ is a huge title.  Are we talking developers, designers, business owners, users, marketers, accessibility consultants, implementers, SEO experts, security specialists and so on, and so on?  The list is long, and we love this!  It’s what helps make the WordPress community just that, a community.

In short, we want to hear from you about all topics related to WordPress.  

And the format of these sessions? 

Well, this is a really interesting time and space for sessions.  Something we’re heavily focused on is delivering a high-quality event.  As such we will ask a number of sessions, if the format works, to pre-record the content.  All individuals involved in the session will also join us ‘on stage’ live for Q&A and other live interactions but the body of the session may be pre-recorded.  

The really exciting element of this… it allows sessions to be delivered in new and unique ways.  You don’t simply need to sit or stand at a desk, in front of a camera.  You can edit your session to your heart’s content.  So why not grab that camera and take it for a walk as you deliver your session?  

We’re very open to discussing this further and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

But you’ve defined some sessions on the open call? 

Yes, that’s right. We have.  We wanted to provide you with a starting point.  So I’ll give you an idea of how we define these formats, that’s not to say this is the only definition: 

  • Standard Talk – the most common style of session you may be used to at a conference, both in-person and virtually.  An individual or multiple people, present a talk on a subject matter they are knowledgeable on.  Slides, video and audio can be used to support the session. 
  • Panel Discussion – this session features a moderator and multiple panel members.  The moderator will have a list of discussion topics, for the panel members to discuss and debate. It is the moderator’s responsibility to keep the session on the topic. 
  • Workshop Style – a practical session in which an individual or multiple people will have developed pre-prepared learning material for the attendees to participate within.  This leaning material can take the form of many different styles and in a virtual environment, video tutorials may be a suitable model. 
  • Fireside Chat – similar to a Panel Discussion, however, this usually features a lower number of participants.  Often just two, with one participant taking the lead in opening the discussion, whilst the other may share their knowledge and experience.  More of a conversational session. 
  • Other – this one is totally up to you!  We’re all very aware we’re having to adapt and evolve how we do things.  Let’s bring that to this space too.  Have an interesting idea on how to deliver a virtual session?  We’d love to discuss it with you. 
Individual sat in the woods working on a laptop with a small tent to next to them

But what about the Festival? 

And as I mentioned; WordFest is also a Festival.  So we’re looking for unique and unusual ways in which we can bring about the festival experience in a virtual format.  Some of the suggestions we had so far include; 

  • Live music sessions from bands and solo artists. 
  • Ad-hoc jamming sessions for the musically talented (and untalented) to come together.
  • Global cookery classes, as we travel the world. 
  • Live team quizzes. 
  • Contribution session, giving back to the WordPress project. 

And several others that we’re looking into the logistics of.

Again we want to hear from you if you have a skill that you think might be fun to bring to the virtual stage.  We’re open to all ideas and we want you, the community, to help shape the first-ever WordFest Live. 

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