Keynote sessions

When we reviewed the talk submissions we received for WordCamp Edinburgh 2017, there were several proposals that really stood out. They reached across disciplines, posed difficult but necessary questions, and above all, reminded us of the power of democratising publishing.

We decided to set these talks as keynotes which span both tracks, which therefore will include all conference attendees. We hope they will continue to challenge and inspire you after the conference is over.

Get to know our keynote speakers and their talks:

Day 1

Opening keynote: WordPress and civic engagement (title TBC)
Leah Lockhart

Closing keynote: Are Twitter threads killing blogs?
Franz Vitulli

Day 2

Opening keynote: Using WordPress to create social change
Bridget Hamilton

Closing keynote: Blogging as therapy: a personal journey
Rachel Martin

The WordCamp Edinburgh 2017 schedule is up!

With the last speakers confirmed we are pleased to publish our full schedule for WordCamp Edinburgh 2017 (subject to last-minute changes, cancellations, and additions, of course.)

We couldn’t have been more pleased with the depth and variety of what our speakers had to offer, and to that end, we have two very packed days!

You’ll find the full schedule here.

Each day will begin and end with keynote talks – topics which we felt reached across disciplines and levels of experience. From there, the day will split into two tracks, with each time slot offering something for everyone.

We’ll be publishing lots more this week – including information about the all-important afterparty!

Meet our third speakers!

While we’re still waiting for our final speakers to confirm, we’d like to introduce you to our third batch of speakers, who will be covering accessibility, polyglots, agile development, WooCommerce, and Jetpack.

Ben Usher Smith

Ben is a designer specialising in WordPress, illustration and branding. He runs a small design shop in Edinburgh called BU-S.

Ben loves his clients even if they think he’s difficult and tell him so to his face.

Ben has been helping people solve design problems on the web since 1998 on projects both BIG and small. He’s still learning from clients and colleagues everyday.

Kat Christofer

Kat is a California native and former journalist working for Automattic, writing and editing documentation for 400+ WooCommerce products. Her journey began in 2007 at, then moved to self-hosted and building e-commerce stores for private clients. A digital nomad for two years, she travels full time and is in love with the sea but surfs badly.

Luminus Olumide Alabi

Luminus Olumide Alabi is a Happiness Engineer in the WooCommerce team at Automattic.


Graham Armfield

Graham is a Web Accessibility Consultant for his own company Coolfields Consulting. He works with organisations to help them improve the accessibility of their websites – testing the websites for accessibility, and advising the designers and developers on how to fix issues found. He has also written detailed training courses on accessibility for developers which he presents on a regular basis.

He is also a WordPress developer, and has built many accessible WordPress websites for clients – both large and small. He has contributed the Make WordPress Accessible Team and has spoken on accessibility to many WordCamps and other WordPress meetups.

Outside of work you’re likely to find him playing his guitar, recording his next album or performing at local open mic evenings.

Claire Brotherton

Claire is a freelance web developer and accessibility advocate based in Edinburgh. Claire’s ideal clients are businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs who are passionate about access and inclusion. She loves learning and blogs regularly on her site A Bright Clear Web.

Daniel Casserly

Daniel is a self-employed software developer working in Edinburgh. He has been working in PHP and WordPress for 9 years and has done everything from plugin and theme development to setting up brand new sites for customers.

Andrés Cifuentes

Andres is a Colombian front-end developer currently living in Sevilla after working in Paris for five years. He is a WordPress enthusiast working at OnTheGoSystems in support, training and lately as a Community Events leader.
He is a Colombian coffee addict, a traveler and an eternal languages student.

Kayleigh Thorpe

Kayleigh is a WordPress Support Specialist at . She works supporting customers with their WordPress related issues and enjoys using WordPress in her personal as well as professional life, and also enjoys contributing to the community.

Get your ticket today

Can’t wait for the third and final group? Get your #wcedin ticket today. It covers both days of the conference – 22 and 23 July – and gets you access to all sessions, lunch, coffee breaks, swag, and the after party.

Meet our second speakers!

Yesterday we introduced you to our first batch of speakers for WordCamp Edinburgh 2017.

Here’s our second batch, who will be speaking about the REST API, customer service, getting started with WordPress, development workflows, and using WordPress for social good.

CJ Andrew

CJ Andrew is an independent web consultant & contractor, specializing in ecommerce and custom CMS solutions. CJ has helped individuals, businesses and agencies achieve their goals using WordPress and WooCommerce. The unique insight he brings to each WordPress project is guided by a background in traditional IT support, change management, and web administration.

When not delivering WordPress or WooCommerce solutions, CJ enjoys jazz music alongside a long walk.

Bridget Hamilton

Bridget Hamilton founded Verbal Remedy, a taboo-tackling blog and multimedia company which was nominated for a National Diversity Award in 2015. She holds an MA in Radio Production and Management and has created content for platforms such as the Independent and the BBC.

Tom Nowell

Tom works his days as a VIP Wrangler at VIP for Automattic. He reviews and deploys millions of lines of code each year for large sites at scale.

He’s also a community moderator at WordPress Stack Exchange, project lead for the WordPress The Right Way ebook, open source developer, and conference speaker.

Stef Mattana

Stef works at Automattic as a Happiness Engineer. She helps users who need support for products mainly on the area such as VaultPress, Akismet, Jetpack and Polldaddy. WordPress evangelist, Stef is active in the International and Italian communities.

When she’s not working online or lifting heavy weights, Stef either stalks dogs or ends up people on fiction.

Stef has led the sponsorship and finance team of WordCamp London in 2016 and 2017.

You can find Stef on Twitter @stefmattana and on Instagram as eraniapinnera

Dave Green

Dave is a web developer with over six years experience in Front-end, WordPress and WooCommerce development. By day, he’s a director and senior developer at the WordPress development agency Make Do. By night, he’s a huge Film & TV geek, sarcastic husband and crazy step-dad.

Get your ticket today

Can’t wait for the third and final group? Get your #wcedin ticket today. It covers both days of the conference – 22 and 23 July – and gets you access to all sessions, lunch, coffee breaks, swag, and the after party.

The Wapuunicorn origin story

by Ben Usher-Smith, #wcedin graphic design lead

All the best characters have great back stories and the Wappuunicorn is no exception, from his multi-coloured WordPress Orb of Web-Platform Power to his magical mono horn.*

A wapuu, of course, is the mascot of WordCamps. Every WordCamp around the world creates their own, usually with good local humour. (For more on Wapuus read here).

Last month, when we confirmed WordCamp for Edinburgh 2017, we felt it was time to retire our 2015 mascot, brave little Jimmy Wapuu (AKA Edinburgh Wapuu.)

Wee Jimmy Wapuu is currently at home with The People’s Friend.

He was still full of life but his bagpipes were oot of tune. So we would replace him with a new mascot.

In a range of discussions which toed the fine line between cultural appropriation and copyright lawsuits waiting to happen, Salt and Sauce Wapuu was discussed, along with Irn-Bru Wapuu, Forth Rail Bridge Wapuu, and even a Begbie Wapuu amongst many others.

Unbeknown to the WordCamp organising team…

That day, a short distance away in the dark damp cavernous vaults beneath Edinburgh’s Old Town, an ancient orb sprung to life.


The orb that had been dormant for centuries glowed in glorious rainbow technicolour, and from it sprung the Wapuunicorn.

Summoned by the organising team’s frustrations

it projected its image into our minds.

It then made ready for the great gathering of minds known simply as ‘WordCamp Edinburgh 2017’.

An initial sketch after my first Wapuunicorn vision.

After discussion (and possible magical intervention) it was unanimously decided that the resplendent Wapuunicorn, saviour of the Scots and champion of all the peoples of the web, would be our mascot.

The back story on the back story

Why a Unicorn?

The Unicorn is Scotland’s national animal. The Scottish Celtic forefathers believed that unicorns symbolised the spirit of purity.

According to folklore, the lion and the unicorn hate each other, but we shan’t dwell on this fact (see ‘What’s with the multi-coloured orb?’ later in this article).

A description by 17th century Scottish writer John Guillim makes the Unicorn sound quite formidable …

‘The greatness of his mind is such that he rather chooseth to die than be taken alive; wherein the Unicorn and valiant-minded soldier are alike, which both contemn death, and rather than they will be compelled to undergo any base servitude or bondage they will lose their lives’

What’s with the multi-coloured orb?

The multi-colour orb is representative of our multi-coloured world. It’s meaning is as multi-layered as it is multi-coloured. Whether that’s the mime of the mythical web worker who can wrangle the tasks of a UX Designer/Architect, Visual Designer and Developer.

Or, whether that’s celebrating the wider and more important diversity of mankind.

Wapuunicorn has got you covered.

Unicorns have been mascots since at least the Romans. And, over the centuries their appearance and traits have had modifications and ‘upgrades’.

For those attending WordCamp Edinburgh next month look out for this latest incarnation: Wapuunicorn.

*(meanwhile at WordCamp Central: “Wait, ‘magical mono horn’? Orb? And what the heck is The People’s Friend?!”)

Meet our first speakers!

We were over the moon with the quality and variety of the talk proposals we received for WordCamp Edinburgh 2017.

We will be announcing speakers over the next few days and hope to release our final schedule before the end of the week.

But without further ado, here is our first batch of speakers, who will be covering topics ranging from theme development to Facebook ads to blogging to filters to civic engagement to speed to security (phew!)

Leah Lockhart

Coordinator, collaborator, guide. Exploring social good enabled by digital things. Currently Digital Engagement Partner with Democratic Society, Scotland.

Kathir Sid Vel

Kathir is an eCommerce consultant who runs a digital agency in Edinburgh. He has been championing and building WordPress and Magento solutions since 2008. Focusing on marketing and coding disciplines, he advises and helps over 60 digital businesses – some of whom turnover millions of pounds through their websites.

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is a developer and Co-founder of Highrise Digital, a specialist WordPress agency focusing on custom development that is built to last. Mark has been using WordPress since late 2005, all the way back to version 2.0. He is also an active member of the UK WordPress community attending meet-ups and WordCamps in the UK, as well as getting involved in organising such events.

Franz Vitulli

Franz works as a Product Manager at Human Made, a top-tier WordPress agency that provides development and consultancy for large-scale sites and enterprise clients, creates awesome products online, and runs its own line of events—so far based on the WP REST API and remote working.

As an open source evangelist and social media enthusiast, Franz loves sharing his knowledge and helping other people in the greater tech community succeed.

When he’s not in front of his laptop, he’s either playing one of his bass guitars or hitting the gym. Chat with him on the Slack main WordPress team (@franz) and find him on Twitter (@franzvitulli).

Gavin Bell

Award-winning entrepreneur, Gavin Bell, helps businesses grow by harnessing the power of social media.

He launched his social media agency, Blue Cliff Media at just 21 years of age and now works with businesses around the world, helping them to transform the way the communicate online.

He takes an interesting view of marketing, by focusing on psychology first and tactics (ie, social media, search, advertising) second. Gavin is a speaker, writer and vlogger.

His vlog, despite being an early concept, has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. He’s passionate about creating content that inspires and educates entrepreneur and marketers. He’s been featured on the likes of, Huffington Post and Social Media Examiner.

Tim Nash

Tim is the platform lead at for their Managed WordPress product in addition to being the companies Developer Advocate. One day he will work out what either of those job titles means. Until he does he spends his day in a mix of Dev, security, ops and project management as well as speaking at user groups and conferences. He also helps run WordPress Leeds and writes for several publications including his own site

Rachel Martin

Rachel is an Australian, cargo-bike-loving mum who lives in Scotland, and works for Automattic. She provides technical support for Jetpack, Akismet, VaultPress, Simplenote, Cloudup, Gravatar, WPJM, Sensei, and Polldaddy.

Mark Smallman

Mark is a former resident of Fife, having moved there in 2007 from his native Northern Ireland. In 2009, he set up his own graphic design business, this was soon followed by discovering WordPress having been asked by several clients to help them with setting up sites where they could easily manage their own content.

In 2010-2012 Mark attended a few of the WordPress Edinburgh Meetups. But, had to return to his home in Northern Ireland in 2013. In 2014 Mark started Northern Ireland’s first WordPress Meetup group, which is still going strong. He was also lead organiser for their inaugural WordCamp in 2016.

Sarah Semark

Sarah Semark is a designer, developer, and world-traveller. After running a business for eight years, she now works for Automattic designing and building WordPress themes. She has visited over fifty countries, and she has built things in most of them.

When she’s not busy making things, Sarah likes obsessing over typography, collecting impractical footwear, and exploring new places.

Get your ticket today

So what are you waiting for? Get your #wcedin ticket today. It covers both days of the conference – 22 and 23 July – and gets you access to all sessions, lunch, coffee breaks, swag, and the after party.

Welcome to WordCamp Edinburgh!

It is on!

WordCamp Edinburgh 2017 will take place on 22-23 July at CodeBase, the UK’s largest startup incubator, located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. Find out more about our location.

We have opened up the calls for sponsors, speakers, and volunteers. We are absolutely over the moon with the applications we have received so far, so keep them coming!

Don’t want to wait for the full speakers lineup? You can buy your ticket now.

As WordCamp approaches we’ll be posting regularly about our speakers, talks, and sponsors. We’ll also offer tips like hotel lists and nearby restaurants.

Want to know more about what to expect at WordCamp Edinburgh? Come to our next regular monthly meeting of our WordPress Edinburgh meetup group on Wednesday 21 June. You can also browse our WCEdin 2015 archive.

To stay up to date on the most recent news follow us on Twitter @wcedin.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions, just get in touch with a member of your organising team.