The festival of WordPress
July 23, 2021

Overjoyed African American woman raises palm and looks gladfully aside as meets someone wears casual jumper poses through paper background in hole expresses positive emotions.

WordFest Live Call for Speakers is Now Open

You have knowledge.
You have experience.
(And maybe your heart is orange, too.)
Now you can share all three with the world!!

As we journey toward the next WordFest, we continue our commitment to make speaking as pain-free as possible. To do so, we once again address the question ‘What topics are you looking for?’ and as always we’re so glad you asked! 

To help, we’ve pulled together some ideas to get you thinking. But remember, these are just our limited perspectives. We’re very open to hearing from you about any style, format, and topic. 

Before we dive in any further, let’s 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

That makes this event the Festival of WordPress! It’s a 24-hour event, spanning the six inhabited continents. Starting in Australia and finishing in North America, we’ll spend four hours on each continent. 

We’ll be running two Stages (think tracks if you’re familiar with in-person conferences).  Each stage will deliver one session every hour, for the full 24-hour event. So for each continent, we’ll be delivering eight sessions (including interviews, wellness talks, full-length sessions, and lightning talks). Which of course, makes a grand total of 24 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 continent. Of course, you’re welcome to select multiple, but be sure you can be awake when we hit that timezone! Whatever you pick, your submitted session will go into that continent(s) when we run the blind selection.  

So “What topics?” we 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” and “Well-Being” are huge categories. Are we talking developers, designers, business owners, users, marketers, accessibility consultants, implementers, SEO experts, security specialists, yogis, nutritionists, 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 or Wellness. 

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 live “on stage” for Q&A and other live interactions but the body of the session may be pre-recorded.  

Two illustrated people sitting at a desk, talking into two microphones towards each other.

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 – check out the open Call for Speakers. We wanted to provide you with a starting point. So we’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. (30 minutes + 10 minutes Q&A)
  • 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. (30 minutes + 10 minutes Q&A)
  • 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 learning material can take the form of many different styles and in a virtual environment, video tutorials may be a suitable model. (40 minutes)
  • 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. (40 minutes)
  • Lightning Talk – this will be a quick 10-minute talk on any subject. Maybe you have tech tips or wellness ideas. The sky’s the limit – as long as it fits in 10 minutes.
  • Wellness Sessions – these will be 30 minutes including Q&A, and can be anything from yoga to food prep to journaling. If it’s wellness-related, it fits here!
  • 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.

But what about the “festival” part? 

And as we 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 or recorded 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.
  • Any other creative ideas you have!

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. Feeling inspired?

GREAT!!!

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