Rufus Pollock Talk in Glasgow on an "Open Information Age" March 16 2016


On 16th March 2016 at 5pm I will be giving a CREATe Public Lecture at the University of Glasgow (East Quad Lecture Theatre, Main Building) on “Making an Open Information Age”. Full details about the talk are below.

Talk Video

Open Knowledge Scotland Connections and Meetup

As well as the talk itself, this is a great opportunity to organize a meeting of Open Knowledge Scotland folks – and others more broadly interested in openness. In particular, I wanted to suggest an informal supper after the event where we could all catch up.

I would also welcome help promoting this to potentially interested parties. This is a public lecture with good capacity. If you have suggestions of organizations or people please reach out to them or let me know in the comments.

/cc @ewan_klein @Graham_Steel


Making an Open Information Age

Power, freedom and inequality in an age of bits

If you have ever been online, watched a movie or taken a medicine you have been a user of information. Today information in the form of software, databases and innovations is becoming more important than ever before. Information is becoming main thing we make, trade and use.

This is a new world being built on “bits”. Its virtual nature makes it different from the physical world of bread and land and cars which can only have one user at a time. By contrast, information can be used by many at the same time — it is nonrival in the terminology of economists.

The implications of nonrivalry are huge. It makes a world of open information both possible and desirable — that is a world in which all public information can be openly and freely used, shared and built on. This is a world where no-one is denied access to life-saving medicines because of cost, where everyone has access to our cultural heritage, where artists, innovators and creators are paid more and more fairly.

But getting there will not be easy. Dystopia is the default: if we do nothing we will get a world of exclusion and control where information is made to play by the same rules as our old physical one using “intellectual property” monopoly rights like copyright and patents.

In this talk we will explore the road ahead and explain why we can and must create a world of open information and its implications for our technology, politics, laws and economics.

The talk will be presented at a level that is suitable for both specialists and the general public. It is for anyone interested in the coming information age and its impact on society.

About the speaker

Dr Rufus Pollock is Founder and President of Open Knowledge, an international non-profit using advocacy, technology and training to unlock information and see it used to create insight that drives change. He was formerly a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow and a Mead Fellow in Economics at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge and remains an Associate of the Centre for Information and Intellectual Property Law at Cambridge. He is an adviser on open data to several governments and has worked extensively as a scholar, activist and technologist on the social, legal and technical challenges surrounding the creation and sharing of knowledge.

"Open" Supper for Open Knowledge Scotland 16 March 2016

Dear Dr P,

Apols for not responding to an earlier email.

Yes, I’m more than happy to promote and will be there on the day.

Looking forward to hearing you give a talk in person.



@rufuspollock Is the sign-up link going to be available soon? I think it makes more sense to publicise the event widely once we can give people an opportunity to register.


Should be available tomorrow i am told. Will post as soon as I have it.


Signup link is available:

Also posted in the main topic above.

/cc @Graham_Steel


I’ve just sent an initial email to ok-scotland list and a first tweet. @rufuspollock: do you want a specific hashtag on tweets for this event?


Thanks @ewan_klein !!

I’ve pushed out a couple of tweets and will continue to do so.

@rufuspollock Do you have a preference for a hashtag as @ewan_klein said or shall we come up with one for you ? Always wise to have this in stone before an event.

Are you just up for the talk in Glasgow and heading back home straight after or will you be around before/after ?



@Graham_Steel @ewan_klein here are some examples:

Is a world of #OpenData and #OpenInfo possible? Find out at @rufuspollock’s talk on 16 March {{url}}

Interested in #Freedom and #Inequality in a #DigitalAge? Come along to this talk on 16 March {{url}}

Please do more :slight_smile: and we can tweak and shorten (e.g. just have “Find out at this talk {{url}}”

Also do you guys have a Facebook group in Scotland? You could promote there.

Around the Event

@Graham_Steel I am indeed around before and after the event. As I said in my original topic post:

This is a great opportunity to organize a meeting of Open Knowledge Scotland folks – and others more broadly interested in openness. In particular, I wanted to suggest an informal supper after the event where we could all catch up.

In fact, would you be up for identifying a suitable dinner venue where we could go after the event e.g. around 7:30pm?


Great :grinning: Thanks @rufuspollock

We do indeed have a Facebook group but it’s only got 26 followers…

My bad for not spotting the informal supper after the event. Great. I’ll do some sniffing for a suitable place and rouse some troops !


OK, so confirmed supper guests so far:-

Andy Byers
Ewan Klein
James Baster
Rod Page
Sheila Macneill (maybe)
Graeme Arnott (maybe)
Lorna Campbell (maybe)

"Open" Supper for Open Knowledge Scotland 16 March 2016

@ewan_klein @Graham_Steel I also wanted to ask if there are specific organizations or groups we might promote this to e.g.:

  • Cultural sectors (libraries, archives etc)
  • Government and public sector - both main government and city governments
  • Academia (which departments)

If either of you have specific thoughts or have groups you have already contacted could you list them here.


BTW @rufuspollock the EventBrite link at the top of this page leads to the wrong event…


Fixed! Damn copy and paste errors!


Outreach on this tweet just there = 10,000.

BTW, @rufuspollock, unless you/the venue have it covered already, I can stream/record your talk if you want.


Continuing the discussion from Rufus Pollock Talk in Glasgow on an "Open Information Age" March 16 2016:

GLAM: most of them have their headquarters in Edinburgh, and that’s where my contacts are. But they also tend to be on the ok-scotland mailing list so probably know about the event.

Public sector: Probably best thing would be to post on the KHUB. I can do this.

Academia: I’ve done my best in reaching out to UBDC and Computing. Presumably the event organisers also have an academic network. I guess it would be worth pinging the Institute for Future Cities at Strathclyde Uni.


@Graham_Steel @ewan_klein Thank you very much for helping to promote this event. Just a note on some of the communities that I have reached out to so far from the University of Glasgow:

  • Staff and students from the College of Social Science and School of Law
  • The Urban Big Data Centre
  • University of Strathclyde Law School
  • Policy Scotland
  • Research Strategy and Innovation Office and Partners
  • Glasgow City Council

I look forward to meeting you at the event next week. Please let me know if there are any other people or communities that I can help to contact directly.


Great stuff @Kriseric appreciated :slight_smile:

See you next week.

Any news on eTicket sales to date ?


To add to the above, the invitation has now gone out to

  • Young Academy of Scotland
  • TEDx Community Glasgow

Currently we are at 40 registrations. The event is now featured on the main page of the University here:


I’ve added info to OpenTechCalendar (which via the curated list mechanism automatically publishes to and posted it on the KHub Open Data Scotland forum.


Thanks @Kriseric @ewan_klein

For the open supper aspect, we still have 6 confirmed and 3 “maybe’s”.

Table booked for 10 folks as matters stand.

I’m sure La Vita Spuntini will be able to host more folks (within reason) if required :wink: