Editor’s Note: In this post, our Global Network Council (GNC) Representative reflects on her experience in participating on the GNC. Christina is an awesome collaborator and I’m proud to be working alongside her on CC Canada – Gryph
Author: Christina Hendricks
I still remember first learning about Creative Commons at a workshop at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. I was taken both by the name “creative commons” (what a great idea—a commons space to which creators contribute and from which they can draw to create new things) and by the whole idea of a structure that makes it easier to reuse and revise work without asking direct permission. It must have been about 12-14 years ago, but I vividly recall the room and the person who introduced me to CC, and I’ve been using CC licenses, and talking to others about them, ever since.
Still, I had little experience with Creative Commons as an organization until I put myself forward as a candidate for the CC Canada Representative to the Global Network Council in 2018. I must admit I wasn’t entirely sure what I was in for; CC had recently gone through a process of restructuring an earlier system of country affiliates with which I had no previous experience. My connections to CC had just been in terms of using and teaching others about the licenses.
Before volunteering I read through the 2017 Global Network Strategy document that lays out the rationale, the mission, values, and structure of the new Global Network model. It also specifies that the Global Network Council (GNC) is the governing body of the CC Global Network. Joining the GNC seemed like an exciting opportunity to help shape this new network model from the early stages.
We had our first meeting as a GNC in November 2018, and we really were starting from the ground up. We needed to create and adopt a charter for the GNC itself as well as for two committees of the GNC: the Executive Committee and the Membership Committee. Then we held elections from within the GNC representatives for each committee, and I was elected to the Membership Committee. Since GNC reps only serve for a term of one year, we had to determine when that term would actually start. It made most sense to begin in January 2019, when the charters for the GNC and its committees were approved.
Much of my work in 2019 was focused on engaging with the Membership Committee to try to figure out how best to carry out the function the committee has been tasked with: determining a process for and approving new CC Network members. There were a number of steps we had to address in the workflow: the application, how to get vouches from other members, what the adjudication process would look like, how to notify people of results, and how to go about appeals if necessary. Some of the these were process-oriented, and others were technological issues that CC Headquarters worked on. All the way through we have been approving new membership applications; I would say I read between 5-10 applications a week on average.
Another thing I worked on in 2019 was an election for a new CC Canada chapter lead after our previously-elected one had to leave the position. This took much longer than I had originally hoped (my fault!) but I am excited to be working with Gryphon Theriault-Loubier as our new chapter lead!
In October 2019 the Executive Committee invited participation in a feedback exercise on the Global Network, two years in (the new structure started in 2017). The Executive Committee of the Global Network Council has summarized the feedback comments and is working on ways to address the issues identified. There were concerns raised about the process of becoming a member of the CC Network, about the structure and governance of chapters, and about funding and the reliance on volunteer work, among other things. I am excited to see how things change over the coming year in this still-evolving new network structure.
Which brings me to one last point: you may notice that it’s now June and my 12-month term as CC Canada’s representative to the Global Network Council should have ended in January. At the December 2019 GNC meeting (only our second general meeting as a group) it was decided that the terms of the existing GNC reps would continue until the Creative Commons Summit in May 2020, in Lisbon, Portugal (which has been cancelled due to the pandemic). The plan was for the GNC and CC Headquarters to work at the Summit on clarifying term rules for GNC representatives (given, in part, that multiple chapters didn’t form early enough to have had GNC reps for one year yet). Now that the Summit has been cancelled, it’s not yet clear when or how those conversations will happen.
We here at CC Canada are making plans to move forward with an election for the CC Canada Representative to the Global Network Council, in the Fall of 2020. Please be on the lookout for an announcement about that via email and on the CC Canada Slack channel. I encourage anyone who might be interested to run, and I’m happy to answer any questions if you have them!