I’m writing this en route to Bristol, UK, to World IA Day and to some seriously rainy weather. In two days time, this Saturday February 15, I will be talking about placemaking, grues, videogames and information architecture at Bristol’s local World IA Day 2014 event.
WIAD is a global conference the Information Architecture Institute started in 2012 to bring the worldwide information architecture community together. One day of local events both large and small, a self-organizing all-volunteer network of grassroot information architecture activism. And growing, in numbers and outreach. This year it’s 24 cities in 4 continents. When Bristol starts out, World IA Day Tokio will be closing down. When Bristol will be closing down, World IA Day Los Angeles will have yet to begin.
When we started it, we gambled. The Institute had been running the IDEA conference a few years, and IDEA was an extremely successful conference. Nonetheless, we thought it had run its course. We thought we needed a different way to reach out to those national communities and individuals who did not travel to the large international conferences. We wanted to have a local impact but live up to the Institute’s global mission, and engage our community worldwide. We rallied behind World IA Day, we made it our primary concern, and we waited. After three years, we can certainly say that the response has way exceeded our rosiest expectations. Hundreds of speakers. Thousands participating. Conversations spanning continents. Ideas spreading.
Seeing Tokio, Paris, New York, Rome, Sao Paulo appear on our map of locations was seriously thrilling. But events being held in Dubai, Bogota, Kuala Lampur, Johannesburg? And Tehran this year? That has been way beyond amazing.
This WIAD is going to be my last as president of the Information Architecture Institute. It’s definitely not going to be the last one I’ll be participating in, but this is a one-time chance I have to pat our collective back and pay back a few debts. I’m on my way out, right?
So, let me extend my most heartfelt thank you to Abby Covert, who came up with the idea and pitched the concept of a ”glocal” wide-reaching World IA Day to board officer Dan Klyn; to my fellow board members who enthusiastically supported the idea; to our executive producers, Jessica DuVearney, Dan Klyn, and Kaarin Hoff; to all local coordinators, volunteers and speakers; to our sponsors. Let me extend my thank you especially to you, who have attended and shared and made World IA Day a smashing success I’ll be proud of for as long as I’ll be around.
It’s a great thing, this thing we did together. Keep it going, tend it well. As a parting gift, here is Jorge Arango’s video address that opened up World IA Day 2012 and set things in motion. It’s a compelling, passionate description of what it means to practice, research and teach information architecture today. Watch it, and I’ll see you this Saturday at some World IA Day event around the world. I’m counting on that. You’ll recognize me: I’ll be the guy with a grue.