Ten days ago, on September 27 to 29, FSFE held its first European Coordinators Meeting (#ECM) in Berlin. Therefore, the FSFE invited Fellowship Coordinators from all over Europe to come for a weekend to exchange knowledge and visions between FSFE staff and the Fellowship. In total, we have been 22 people from 10 different countries which served as a good base for a lot of input. As the main organiser of the weekend, I would like to give you a report and feedback of the weekend.

Group Picture of FSFE's first European Coordinators Meeting

On Friday evening, all attendees were gathering inside FSFE’s new office in Berlin for a warm-up meeting. As the office is pretty small, shortly the room became very crowded with so many people. On the other hand, this was a good way to directly get in first contact with most people, as everybody was just standing next to each other. And, standing in the office, was also a good chance for everyone to directly grab FSFE’s promotion material.

Then, on Saturday morning, we started the official Agenda at E-Lok, a local youth club that also hosts LinuxWorks! and GNU funzt!.
Discussion during ECM 2013 We started the day with individual presentations of the different Fellowship groups across Europe, represented by their coordinators. I was pretty impressed by the variuos characteristics of the different Fellowship groups. Well, many Fellowship groups like to go into public by setting up booths or giving talks. But still, each group has its local characteristics: There are the ones from Düsseldorf that act as a main junction for all Free Software groups around, there are the ones from Vienna that succeed in getting a lot of public and media attention, there are the ones from Finland that organise via Internet and focus on political work and advertisement … and there are the newbies that are still in progress to set up a Fellowship group. That’s why, from the very first beginning, I was quite sure, that it will become a weekend full of interesting exchange of knowledge and experience among all participants. Interesting sidenote is, that most Fellowship groups stated that one of the most exciting things they have done is to organize a Document Freedom Day event or even a DFD national prize.

Next, I took over moderation and presented FSFE’s technical infrastructure to use, promotion material, where to get help, how to contact Fellows, how to get funding, how to spread news and boost public attention … or in short: all you need to know as a Fellowship group coordinator.

For lunch – thanks to Michael “Majestyx” Kappes, Fellow from Berlin and 5 star cook – we enjoyed a delicious Indian rice meal before we started an open discussion about FSFE, the Fellowship, how to coordinate, how to engage and how to present. Many attendees told me later that this discussion was very important for them and highlighted the importance of the Fellowship.

During the afternoon we were having “workshops” [1] about

  • the translation team
  • event entries
  • Fellowship pages
  • Organisation of Free Your Android workshops
  • and how to set up a booth

The next day, in retrospective, people were missing a bit more the classic workshop character in a way that small groups are working together on concrete goals. I noted this down and promise to do so for the next meeting.

In the evening we did a tour through c-base, Berlins first and most famous Hackerspace. The underground in c-base is impressive and after the tour we were able to enjoy the dance floor on the upper level in c-base. I got a lot of positive feedback for this night amusement, and I think it was pretty good way to get to know each other besides working together.

Image from working session during ECM 2013 On Sunday then, we were explaining some key campaigns (PDFreaders, Document Freedom Day, Ask Your Candidates and I love Free Software) that are very easy to participate, especially as a local Fellowship group. Finally we opened the discussion about what to do to spread our message, open our meetings, better interact between Fellowship groups and other Free Software groups.

After another awesome lunch by Majestyx, we had the obligatory closing round, including feedback session, Farewell and Thank-You.

The afternoon and evening I enjoyed with those people who were able to stay until Monday and we had very enlightening talks and ideas about further development of the Fellowship.

To all attendees and coordinators: Thank you very much for your participation and for coming here to Berlin from all over Europe, you made this weekend memorable!
Additional and special thanks to Paul who made everything possible with the E-Lok for us to stay and once again to Majestyx for you awesome food.

Hope to see you all and many more next time!

[1] Well, I was referring to them as workshops, but indeed, it was more like a talk and dialogue – situation