Wikimania is the annual conference for the Wikimedia Foundation (so basically the Wikipedia conference). This year it is in Washington, D.C. and in previous years it has taken place in Haifa, Gdańsk, Buenos Aires, Alexandria, Taipei, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Frankfurt.
The host city is chosen, not surprisingly, in an open, wiki-like manner by members of the Wikimedia community and bids are invited from cities/communities that are interested in organising the event.
Thanks to some amazing work primarily from Steve Virgin, a board member of Wikimedia UK based locally, Bristol has entered a bid for the event in 2013. There is some stiff competition (including London which I find slightly strange with two bids from the UK..as if anyone needs another event in London!) and the bid from Hong Kong in particular looks very compelling.
That said the Bristol bid stands out in my opinion (no bias there of course!). Steve has pulled together a hugely impressive list of local organisations and companies who have agreed to support the bid and the city has a vibrant Wikipedia community as well as a wonderful potential venue with Bristol Uni supporting the event. Plus god knows we know how to throw a party 🙂
I think an event like this in the city would be a real opportunity to get alot of new people interested in Wikipedia beyond just a tool to settle the occasional pub argument and as evidenced by the huge success of things like Ignite Bristol people in this city love to learn as long as its a little bit fun as well! Not to mention the support I’m sure the event would get from our friends down the road in Bath who have just delivered an amazing Digital Festival.
I’m hoping to convince organisations like JISC, the Research Councils, Mozilla and Creative Commons where I know they have a commitment to ‘open content’ etc (and where I know the odd person!) to say some supportive things in public as well.
I think the Plone Conference back in 2010 organised by Matt and the guys at Netsight demonstrated Bristol was a great venue for big geeky conferences and bringing Wikimania to the city would be a real win I think and I encourage everyone I know to ‘back the bid’ even if just with the occasional tweet.